DH and I headed out the next day to Leeds on our way to visit S&R.
Neither of us had really "done" Leeds so we mostly walked around. The buildings were fantastic. There was also a main shopping street that was packed with street performers. I tell ya, the guy singing Jason Mraz was better than JM himself!
After Leeds, we headed up to Almscliffe. DH and his buddies would go up there on a semi-regular basis to go climbing or bouldering.
I mean, look at that view. Gorgeous!
We spent the night at S&R's beautiful new house. They are in the home stretch for their first bebe and are going to be fabulous parents.
Thanks for hosting us S&R!
Day 7-10: Cambridge/Stevenage/London
The next morning we detoured through Cambridge on our way to visit DH's best friend, C, in Stevenage.
Again, I'd never been to Cambridge so it was super fun to walk down the river(?) and see the punters, all of the old colleges and in general, get a feel for the place.
DH's ex went to Cambridge so he knew about a fun little place for our afternoon tea.
The Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester is, not surprisingly, a tea shop in the middle of a beautiful fruit orchard.
Founded at the turn of the century, the Orchard boasts an impressive list of alumni, called the Grantchester Group, including Virginia Woolf, Alan Keynes, and Rupert Brooke, who wrote a poem extolling the virtues of Grantchester.
A little further along, Sylvia Plath (loooove!) and Ted Hughes spent time at the Orchard. Plath wrote:
“Remember Rupert Brooke’s poem? Well we had tea by the roaring fire at ‘The Orchard’ (where they serve tea under flowering trees in spring) and the ‘clock was set at ten to three’ and there was the most delectable dark clover honey and scones.”
I have to agree with Sylvia, the scones were delicious!
We headed to Stevenage quickly because our tea was threatened by whipping winds, threatening dark clouds, a swarm of wasps who were quite interested in our tiny pots of raspberry and strawberry jam.
That night we broke out the bubbly and toasted our wonderful friends C1 and C2. DH's best friend (and best man!), C1, proposed several weeks before to his wonderful girlfriend, C2. (He did it at the Take That reunion concert. How cute is that??)
The next morning we headed to London for a walk around, shopping, and a bit of pubbing. Now, I've been to London 6(?) times and this was by far my favorite day I've spent there.
We started in Covent Garden, which was filled with shoppers and street performers. We moved over to Wagamama, my favorite lunch spot for ramen noodles.
(Word to the wise: Wagamama has finally opened a branch in the US, in Boston. If you are in the area, PLEASE go and have chili chicken ramen. That stuff is THE BOMB.)
(Clockwise from top left corner: Brilliant pear cider in London, C&C at Wagamama, the dumbwaiter at Waxy's, more pear cider, C&C again, DH enjoying a pint)After a bit of light shopping (yes, I stopped at Cath Kidson again. She really is the new Laura Ashley.) we went to Waxy O'Connor's Little Sister right off of Leicester Square. The upstairs bit to this bar is so clever. There's a dumbwaiter where you write down your order and stick in money for the bill. Lower it down and in a few minutes your drinks are hauled up to you. Definitely beats trying to carry your round up the stairs!
We then headed to The Living Room off Regent Street for delicious cocktails. A beautiful bar, the drinks were strong and the atmosphere posh without being stuffy at all.
If you try going to the restrooms downstairs here's a clue to what to look for. -->
After dinner we headed back to Stevenage on the train for a night of Rock Band. As I drifted off to sleep, I remember thinking that the day was one of the nicest I've had in a long time.
I really feel lucky to have been blessed so much in my life.
Never underestimate the fun of good friends, beautiful weather, and a couple of cocktails.