Tuesday, April 23, 2013

We Found Them! They're Here!

Rather shockingly, the week before last saw LC and I reaching the epic milestone of one year married. Truly, such a feat is deserving of being immortalised in song.

Anyway, we decided to spend a few days away. And LC selected Alnwick as our destination, although I'm sure that had absolutely nothing to do with the poison garden... So, we found a suitable B&B, made a reservation, and off we went.

We drove down on the Thursday, a journey that was largely uneventful, although I did note the existence of a disputed zone at the border, with both England and Scotland laying claim to a thin strip of ground. Which I'm sure the "Better Together" campaign will promptly declare to be one of the unresolved issues that the SNP absolutely, positively must answer. But I digress.

We stayed in "Aln House", a rather nice B&B with some six rooms. We didn't see any of the other rooms, but ours was very nice, with everything you might expect - a bed, a TV, several chairs, more cushions than any self-respecting gent can bear, and an en suite bathroom. Very nice. One nice touch was that there was also a common sitting room where people could, in theory, socialise while staying there. And the proprietors were very nice also.

For dinner we ate in a sit-down fish and chip (not fish supper) restaurant, which was rather nice. I had chicken. And then bed.

Friday was the day of the anniversary, and so we spent some time opening the various cards and presents that we had either arranged for one another, or brought down with us. LC got me a rather nice book of soup recipes, while I gave her a package containing all the newspapers from our wedding day (which I referred to in the blog post about the wedding, lo those many months ago). Oh, and tickets to go see "Sleeping Beauty on Ice" (which was very good also).

We then spent the day seeing Alnwick Gardens and Castle, including the poison garden (which I survived), the haunted cellars (which I survived), and the Quiddich demonstration (which was wierd). We had a rather indifferent lunch in the gardens (which I survived - no oranges anywhere!). And, at some length, we returned to the B&B to change for dinner.

Dinner was at "The Treehouse", which is exactly what the name implies. Alas, my hopes that we might be served by Ewoks came to naught, although since Ewoks are cannibalistic that's probably a good thing. The meal was absolutely fantastic, which was fortunate as it was priced to match.

On Saturday, we went to Barter Books, a huge second-hand bookstore. And, incidentally, the place where that "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster was found, thus causing that dratted meme. LC bought some books; I decided against.

In the afternoon, we went to Banburgh Castle. Which I didn't realise until we got there was once 'Bebbanburg', one of the key locations in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon series. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before going to the castle, we went for a walk along the beach. And in the course of getting to said beach we encountered these little guys...

Yes, it's true. We now know the answer to the question "Where are the frogs?"!!

We then went to the castle, which was absolutely fascinating, because I kept seeing just what Cornwell meant when he kept commenting that that place couldn't be taken. It's going to be fascinating to see how (or if) he resolves that particular issue. And then we walked around the town for a bit, and then we went home.

That evening, we watched "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", which was interesting enough, although I found Maggie Smith's character somewhat hard to bear - it was a good performance of someone rather unlikeable.

And on Sunday we came home, stopping along the way at Lindisfarne to see another castle. Which was interesting, although it seems that the castle would have been absolutely ideal some centuries before it was built, but rather redundant by the time it was actually built. Still, interesting enough. (The players in my various games may have noticed a sudden increase in frog- and poison-related matters in games recently. They may well find that there's an increase in castles and monasteries shortly, too.)

And that was our holiday. I actually really enjoyed it, being a good opportunity to just leave things behind and have a few days of stress-free relaxation. Given that the start of that week had been a rerun of the disaster that was Christmas (LC was busy with an essay; I was ill), this was a really good thing. Of course, we came back and were immediately caught up in a week of madness. But never mind...

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