Friday went really well meeting Vivienne for lunch. In the morning, I headed down to the seven dials and stopped in at Monmouth Coffee company and enjoyed a double espresso to get my day semi warmed up. Then I walked around looking at the shops and headed in the direction to the Gap store I was to meet her outside of.. I was waiting for her outside the wrong GAP store, but it was only a few minuets down the road. We went to a really nice thai restaurant and I had a delicious chicken and pumpkin squash with cashews, with a side of Chinese broccoli. We talked about family and things that we have done over the years. It was really great meeting her and she was so nice. She even brought me a gift from Fenwicks, a lovely scarf with horses on it. We finally decided to be on our way, and I continued to do some browsing around. I always get so close to buying something, but change my mind. It is a new years resolution to wear clothes that don’t have “The North Face” labeled on every layer. But I have got time, even though all these sales just look so great. Anyways, I made my way back to Swiss Cottage, picked up my backpack from the hostel, and took the tube down to paddington station. I looked up where the closest planet organic/ whole foods was, and it was about a 20 min walk from the station. I had about two hours before the train left, so I walked there to have a bite to eat. Of course I got stuck talking to someone about how California is starting to be polluted with all the toxins from the earthquake disaster that happened a year or two ago….I love health food stores, always the most interesting people. I headed back to the station, and used my 15 min of free internet, then stood looking for what platform my train was going to be on. I ended up going to the information desk because I never trust myself, and he had told me that I missed it. “oh wait, no you haven’t, it just hasn’t been assigned yet.” I could have killed him. So I stood and waited more with my eyes fixed on the board. The train to Plymouth finally showed up, but the preparing was still flashing. I am glad that I was standing there at the ready, because when the platform number lit up, just about everyone there took off at a very brisk pace to get there. I was able to get on and find a seat without a problem, sitting next to a gentleman who was doing something on his iPad, speaking to someone on his iPhone, and also had one of those cool nike fuel bands on his wrist. There I was, sitting there with my book.
I arrived in hungerford around 7:30, where Jeremy was stood waiting for me. He was very surprised that the train was on time, sometimes it even gets cancelled! We made our way to their house in Lambourn, and Marie had dinner ready for us. She was also surprised at the punctuality of the train. The next morning, I went for a walk with Jeremy and one of the dogs to get a tour of Lambourn. We went through the main area, and around the parking lot of the Equine hospital (Valley Equine). After we had a few more cups of tea, the three of us headed out to see the white horse of Uffington, as well as Uffington castle. The white horse reminded me a bit of Northumberlandria with all the winding paths that make out a picture from another view. Next we went to the village of Avebury and walked around the stone circle. There were some people “wassailing” which is a tradition of singing and drinking cider to bring a good harvest of apples the next year….non of them looked like farmers to me. We sat and had a cup of tea and people watched a bit, then headed back home. I made my chicken and veg stir fry for dinner, and they both liked it! Phew! Sunday we took a trip out to Windsor. We walked along the Thames river, which was completely full and overflowing into some restaurant and apartment patios. A few kayakers taking full advantage of the conditions. It was FREEZING that day, by the way. We walked through Eton and saw the school where Harry and William both went, and I saw the uniform someone was wearing which looked like a ballroom dancing costume…a tailcoat, and huge white bow-tie. We headed back to a cafe and I had a delicious soup that warmed me up from the arctic weather outside. then we walked up to Windsor castle, and you could see that the queen was in because the flag was up. We walked around the shops a bit, then headed back home. Monday was a sit in day. I went for a run around the town, and through the public footpaths that were backed up to the training farms. They were all so spectacular. The mix of the green grass, the white racecourse fencing, the young horses, the brick barns with their black and brass fitted stall doors, with all the decorative features. I watched some horse and rider strings gallop up the slopes, and headed back to the house. I went for a walk a bit later that day, but it was short lived because of the rain. Marie had made a delicious hearty soup for lunch, then took on remaking my chicken and veg stir fry, which she aced!
These are two of the places that I ran past, I need to go back and get some pictures!
Today, Jeremy and I went to Bath. Unfortunately Marie could not go with us since she had to work.It was so pretty! We almost missed the train due to to absence of any parking spaces, but we eventually made it to the platform after a mixture of running, and waiting patiently in line for the tickets. After the woman at the counter told use the train leaves in two min, she started having a conversation mid-sentence while pausing to hand us the tickets. Really?! The train was a bit behind, so lucky for us, we were at the platform a full 30 seconds before the train got there. It was a quick train up there, and it was only £7.04 for there and back, since I am a railcard holder! Anyway, we walked along the river avon, and had a cup of tea in a little cafe inside the bridge on the river. The view was very nice. Then we walked up to see the Circus and the Royal Crescent, and walked through a couple parks, through the shops and past the abbey. All the buildings and houses were very pretty, and there were little hidden shops and cafes hidden in all the little back roads. I also went into the pump house where the restaurant had a live band playing some classical music, it was also next to the entrance of the Bath spa museum. We had lunch at another nice cafe that had a great view from the second floor. I convinced Jeremy to have the American club sandwich, and he enjoyed it. Boring me had a turkey salad, and had to dodge the huge scoop of coleslaw hidden underneath it. We stopped in at a local bakery and picked up some Bath cakes for Marie, then also got some fudge from another shop. We stopped for some tea in one of the little alleyways, then walked past the Thermal spa and picked up a leaflet. One day I will go there, it looks so peaceful! A rooftop spa from the natural spring of Bath. Ahhh….We headed back to the train station and from Swindon, made or way back home. The sun was out the whole day, and the sites were so gorgeous. I can easily understand why this place is so packed in the summertime, with all the pretty flowers and greenery.
Some good news that I got this morning was that my mom was able to get some contacts of more of her family that I can meet up with soon. Some in Manchester, some in Brighton. I did have Brighton on my places to visit list, but now I have an even better reason to go! AND, the lady who is part of the Referral Equine hospital at the Royal Veterinary College of London said that I can visit for a full or Half day any time except the 20th next week! YAY!
I have some planning to do!