The next four days were beautifully chilled and spent at home:
Monday – More cooking breakfast, out for coffee, lots of laundry and left overs of Saturday and Sunday dinners. Bliss.
Tuesday – We pop on the bus to Harborne for lunch at a hooligans pub, coffee at my old regular Sunday afternoon writing haunt Niro’s and most importantly purchasing of best New York cheese cake in the world from Waitrose. In the evening, I take advantage of the free cinema preview tickets for the Hurt Locker. I don’t normally receive or don’t notice these offers but we are offered 3 over the 2 weeks! BF loves the film, I think it is pretty impressive for a war time film directed by a woman no less.
Wednesday – Today the new Tarantino film, Inglorious Basterds comes out and this is the one we had planned to watch together during this holiday. Afterwards, we’ve agreed to meet my best friend for drinks but I already have every confidence all would go as well as it does.
Thursday – Last chill out day before we hire a car and get back on the tourist trail.
Friday – We both go to pick up the car and then I drive us straight down to Bletchley Park, the only place the BF has on his must do list but I very much enjoy the visit and find the Ian Flemming hut particularly enlightening. The day is made better by the afternoon drive across to my home town, Bedford. The BF lives near Bedford in New York so this was significant for both reasons but mainly it’s too get my hair cut as I have no other way of getting here without a car. We make it too late for lunch at my favourite Italian; Amici’s and just make it to my re-arranged appointment. My hairdresser is who I have known the longest in my life and I thought it would be interesting for Italians from both sides of the Atlantic to meet in Little Italy, England. Amici didn’t open until 6pm so instead we enjoy fish & chips for Friday from the best place in Bedford, Denmark Street and eat in nearby Russell Park. I finally give the American the English F&C experience. £6.
The day ends perfectly.
An American Knight
Saturday starts gloriously. As we already have the car, we indulge in another one my cooked breakfasts (I think that’s nearly every day now) before heading down to see the wonders of Warwick Castle, the one place I insisted we visit, after all Americans love a castle. And the same was true of mine.
I still consider the jousting to be great entertainment although it’s a little more childish than I recollect but inside the state rooms is what I love best. This is where I would move into given just a micro chance to be the hostess with the mostest but the BF appears to like the flight of the eagle display best. I know this because he not only checks the itinerary for it but perks up and actually gets his pad out to make notes. I’m even summoned to take photos but all is worth it as I have a sneak preview – a rare thing- of the very brilliant article when he returns to NYC. I’m not saying that out of bias but partly it is because he calls me ‘mi lady’ which I feel rather cute.
We just have snacks at the castle and after the 20 minute walk back to the car park, to append to the 10 minutes of tense frustration looking for the car, we drove to Stratford but only because I was driving. BF is ready to hit the road home but I insist it’s against all common decency to be so close the old-world Stratford upon Avon and not at least drive through it. Result, we get a space right outside M&S and pop into to get lunch snacks and dinner for later. Not finding anywhere to park and eat, we just park in a car park close to the river – exactly where I want to eat and enjoy another of our picnics under Shakespeare’s statue. With a rejuvenated American in tow I take photos with the big man – and Shakespeare – before we wonder a little into town to at least see the bard’s house. Having already stopped for chai by the river and fed the swans with the leftover bread I had bought, I don’t get to take advantage of the places offering afternoon tea – even though neither of us drinks the stuff it would have been a nice opportunity to have another quintessentially English meal.
Another easy chilled out drive home, unlike the journey to Warwick this morning which was full of road works and then I go the wrong way having seen the sign too late adding 10 minutes.
I’m still full so it’s leftovers for me leaving BF too enjoy one of the Italian dishes we bought back, Spaghetti Carbonara.
I convince the American to stay home for our last day in Birmingham, even though we have the car to go to Liverpool. I think next time we’ll go up there for a couple of days as I have never been either, even though I wanted to when it was the European City of Culture in 2008. We just pop into Harborne after the now habitual breakfast and again have coffee in the place where I used to write every Sunday before going to NYC. It was like old times in another way too as BF writes his article whilst I enjoy the background music and chai with the Sunday newspapers. Only difference being the music isn’t live and we are not in Peekskill, New York.
We don’t need to buy any food in M&S as we actually should finish everything in the fridge before departing for London next morning but we pop into M&S to get some things – I have the car to carry it in so just have to take advantage. Shame I don’t have access to a freezer.
Sunday night we share the lasagne I bought for last night and add everything we can to clear the fridge. This was when the revelation came; not only has the food been good in England for the New Yorker but he admits he is amazed the M&S Italian range came up with the goods. He wasn’t expecting that.
We shared one more lemon mouse before lights out.
Part 5 to follow