Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A trip to the country

Last week The Actor and I went to visit my Dad in Norfolk.  We had to hire a car as The Actor is learning how to do some fancy moves on a fixed gear bike for a role.  There was no way the bike was going in his 'Italian Job' Mini Cooper which can barely fit my handbag in.

I wasn't sure about the Vauxhall Insignia we hired with but it turned out to be a good car and you could have fitted a king sized bed in the back.  Perfect for me who likes to take everything.

As usual we were late getting out of London and the weather took a turn for the worse

Elvedon Woods, Suffolk.  Hmmm... A lovely bit of English weather.

We arrived about 7pm and hung out with my dad and his elder sister Penny.  It was very odd being there without my aunt Murry.  We talked about her a lot and I still expected to see her at any minute.

It's nice to wake up to the view of their garden and a much brighter day.

My dad moved to Norfolk from London fifteen years ago and Murry moved from Cambridge.  They loved it, they're into animals and gardens.  Murry always preferred animals to people.  Personally I would rather they'd been nearer as Norfolk seems so far away.

In all that time I've never really explored the area.  I think Penny and dad wanted to watch Wimbledon in peace so they convinced us to go for a walk on the beach.  The Actor being a mentalist decided he wanted to go swimming in the sea.  It wasn't exactly warm.

This is Holkham beach.  That teeny, tiny bit of blue in the far distance is the sea

It's about four hundred miles away from the road and the tide's gone out.  Marvellous.

I look like I've got dressed in the dark.  I had long boots on but changed into Fitflops when I got out of the car and realised how wet it was.  They're not exactly working with this outfit.  Everything I'm wearing came from Ebay - John Rocha poncho £1.70, a YSL pussy bow blouse which was £15, modal leggings £10 and a modal snood £20.

Where the sand dunes and the salt marsh meet the sea.  East Anglia's very flat and the beaches are quite desolate.  

This poem is on a signpost nearby;

"Where the wings of the sea-wind slacken,
Green lawns to the landward thrive,
Fields brighten and pine-woods blacken,
And the heat in their heart is alive;
A land that is thirstier than ruin;
A sea that is hungrier than death;
Heaped hills that a tree never grew in;
Wide sands where the wave draws breath"

In the Salt Marshes
by Algernon Swinburne

The Actor got his kit off and ran straight into the sea

There's no way I was going in there so I took a few pictures of him running off starkers

That's him - the little black dot in the distance in the centre of the picture. He said it was quite "bracing" Yeah, whatever.  I'm still not going in.

You can go on a boat trip and see seals.  I'm so up for that.
I wish I could pat them too.

Especially if they have faces like this!

Holkham is a picture postcard English village owned by the Earl of Leicester.  Here's his family seat,  Holkham Hall.

The Actor decided he was hungry after his swim.  I was totally windswept but luckily I had hair and make-up in the car so after a quick spruce up we decided to find a restaurant.  What we really wanted was a seafood platter being near the coast.  You'd think that would be easy, wouldn't you?

The first place we came across in Holkham was The Victoria Hotel and restaurant which looked rather good.

We went in for a look

It was lovely but it didn't have a seafood platter and was empty on a Monday night, unsurprisingly for the middle of nowhere.  We headed a few miles along the road to Burnham Market.

 I took this out of the car window.  You don't see these very often.

I love the Georgian architecture in the village

and pretty flint covered cottages

All done in Farrow and Ball by the looks of it

Burnham Market reminds me of the TV series Midsomer Murders, without the murders.

The Actor likes the look of this house

Then we spotted The Hoste Arms a 17th Century coaching Inn.  And it serves real ale so The Actor was happy.

Unbelievably it was completely packed out ON A MONDAY!  You'd be hard pressed to find that in London.

The car park was wall-to-wall Range Rovers.  I'd heard lots of people who have houses in Norfolk frequent the Hoste Arms - Stephen Fry, Anneka Rice and Amanda Holden - I think I read that in the Daily Mail.

The Hoste owns various places to stay in Burnham including this old railway carriage you can rent.

We still didn't find a traditional seafood platter and this sounded rather fancy but it's good to try lots of things.  Plus by that time we were starving and we'd already waited for a table.  They gave us a lovely table tucked away in the corner of the wood panelled restaurant.  There are five rooms you can eat in.  All were booked.

For two to share - "Potted Cromer crab with Irish soda bread, Brancaster oysters with white tomato granite, Letzer's locally smoked salmon with cream cheese and dill croute, Norfolk brown shrimp Caesar salad, chilled lobster milkshake with crayfish, caviar and chives" (a lot better than it sounds).  It was all excellent.

The Actor chose a bottle of South African red

We shared the "New York steak (enormous, we took a doggy bag home to dad's animals), twice cooked chips and beer battered onion rings, field mushrooms and grilled plum tomatoes with peppercorn sauce" and a side of asparagus. 

I can definitely recommend the food here.

These are the stairs to the loo.  How jazzy is this?

Here's the ladies complete with chairs to sit on to do your make-up.  I wanted these Fired Earth tiles in my bathroom but the quote was eye watering.

They've even got them on the ceiling!  I had to take a picture of that.

Here's a little bit of our table, complete with a couple of sculptures.  We enjoyed our night at the Hoste.  I'm sure we'll go back next time we're there.

The next morning I tried to take pictures of birds and squirrels on dad's many feeders but they were too quick for me this time.

The Actor kindly strimmed the entire garden which took forever.  I was given the job of sweeping the bits up and removing them in a giant wheelbarrow.  Even that was hard work.  When he finished he said "That's it!  We are NEVER getting a big garden"  I don't know how dad does it.  It's all getting a bit much now so he's talking about downsizing.  That will be his next project.

There's Muntjac's (miniature deer) in them there woods.  Dad informed us we were up too late to see them but said they've had the heads off most of his flowers.

Apart from the snap dragons.  They must taste funny or something.  We used to do little plays with these as they look like faces with mouths.  Does anyone know what I'm talking about?  Or was that just me?

I'm slowly progressing with my reading.  To everyone on my blog list and my new commenters, I shall visit you very soon I promise.  It's hard catching up when you're so behind but I'll get there.

Have a wonderful day, I hope it's sunny again xxx

Monday, 27 June 2011

A belated thank you

Husam el Odeh

I recently went to my friend Husam's studio warming.  I blogged about it at midnight so Husam wouldn't have seen what I'd posted.  Later the same morning I was woken by my postman with a surprise 'sign for' parcel.

I love surprises and this was totally unexpected

I am over the moon with my present - a silver spoon encrusted in raw crystals from Husam's new collection.  Mary - this was your favourite piece too.

I haven't taken it off since

Thank you so much Husam, I absolutely love it! xxx

As predicted we've been having a heatwave in London, here's the best picture I managed of the blue sky.  

Sunday was amazing, it was such a beautiful day.  I went to my friend's Danny, Russ and Frances' two doors down for a barbeque at lunchtime and then to John and Lizzy's with Jon Cooke and Jo Butler in the evening for Pimms, Prosecco, poached salmon and Jersey royals.  I had a lovely day and night, it makes a change to be able to sit outside all night in this country.

Today was boiling but not as sunny.  I went for long walk and when I got home I found a stray Crabbie's alcoholic ginger beer in the fridge.  I'm loving this drink at the moment.  I think I'd need about twenty for them to actually have any affect on me.

I'm so behind on blogging and reading again but sunny days are so few and far between I thought I should make the most of it.  I'm on a huge catch up with blog reading and I'm grabbing every hour I can.   I promise to visit everyone asap.  I've missed you all.

One last thing - I found the full Morrissey quote from my last post.  I think it's much better in full.  It's from a 1985 interview with David Kelly for the NME.

You've got three minutes to live.  Tell us what it is that you're actually and endlessly trying to convey to us.

"If I've got just three minutes... I'll say something that you won't accept... but which I want people to believe... oh stop being so boring Morrissey... I want people to know that almost everything that concerns them in their daily lives is of no consequence whatsoever.  Nothing and nobody is really important.  Oh, this is so negative... nothing is important so people, realising that, should get on with their lives, go mad, take their clothes off, jump in the canal, jump into one of those supermarket trolleys, race 'round the supermarket and steal Mars bars and, y'know, kiss kittens and sit on the back of bread vans.  Whatever makes people happy they should just do it, 'cos time is a mere scratch and life is nothing"

(b. 1959)

Have a great day, let's hope it's a sunny one.  I might go and race around in a shopping trolley.  I often try and do it but they tend to have dodgy wheels and you can't get the speed up xxx

Friday, 24 June 2011

A few quotes and other bits and bobs

"Whatever makes people happy they should just do it,
cos time is a mere scratch and life is nothing"

(b. 1959)

I've only switched my laptop on once this week.  I'm dying to catch up with all my favourite blogs but my concentration is lacking and I like to read and comment on things properly.  I've completely neglected blogging and trying to think of something short to post was hard enough.  I didn't get my Friday quotes together again this week, I've been pondering about life and death and how quickly the time goes by.

I watched Morrissey playing at Glastonbury earlier.  I'm enjoying Glastonbury from the comfort of my daybed while it rains relentlessly outside.  I feel for all my friends that are there dealing with the mud but I know they'll still have a brilliant time.  I think Morrissey's great but I have to say his performance didn't blow me away tonight.  (NB.  Although I re watched it and have to change my mind.  I must have been having an off day!)  Mumford and Sons, a band that have never been on my radar before really stood out.  Check it out on iPlayer if you can.

I've been re-reading The Beautiful and Damned.  The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite novels and I've always been fascinated by the Fitzgeralds.  I understand a lot of the witty lines came from Zelda's diaries.

I love Zelda, the original flapper and party girl.  Shame about her tragic end. 

Neither of them lived very long.

Kate Moss's favourite book is The Beautiful and Damned

It was the theme of her 30th Birthday party.  I think she looks gorgeous and her vintage 30's dress is beautiful.

When Jamie Hince proposed to Kate he wanted something really special and tried to track down Zelda Fitzgerald's original diamond engagement ring.  He couldn't find the original but managed to get hold of some sketches of it and Bond Street jewellers S. J. Philips copied it.  I think it's fabulous that he tried to find Zelda's actual ring.  Extra points to Jamie.

Tallulah Bankhead in Penguin's edition of The Beautiful and Damned

"There's only one lesson to be learned from life, anyway" interrupted Gloria, not in contradiction but in a sort of melancholy agreement.
"What's that?" demanded Maury sharply
"That there's no lesson to be learned from life"

from The Beautiful and Damned
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

If I haven't visited you yet, I shall this weekend.  Thank you SO much for all your kind words about my aunt.  You're all absolutely lovely and I really appreciate it.

Have a fantastic weekend.  My friend tells me it's going to be a heatwave... we shall see xxx