Moving Around

No we have not disappeared off the face of the earth. What with travelling around and meeting lots of unknown rellies, lack of wifi points, lack of stay still time we have been a little slack, however here goes.


After the last few hectic days, we thought it was time to have a slower start to the day and a much quieter day ahead. As this is pretty much peak tourist season, we have made the decision to put off going to see things like the Tower etc as we will have more time later on when things are much quieter and the queues not quite so horrendous.

Alex had kindly taken our washing home the previous night and she returned mid morning with the laundry all done for us. We headed out for the day, first stopping by the concierges desk to book tickets for a show that evening. We have to say that the concierge at the Strand Palace Hotel are amazingly helpful and friendly with nothing too difficult for them to sort out for us. It was off to the bus stop to head to the Natural History Museum. Walking to the end of the queue was a mission in itself (see photo). At this point we decided that a better course of action would be to give up the idea of any of the major museums or other attractions and defer them to later dates. Across the road is the Victoria and Albert museum and there were no queues there so in we went. Being hungry we decided on a spot of lunch sitting in the central courtyard of the V&A surrounded by stunning architecture, gardens and history – amazing!

Natural Histoty Museum queue

Courtyard where we had lunch at the V & A

We spent the afternoon wandering around this fascinating museum with Alex and Bernice taking in the Grace Kelly exhibition whilst Roy took in more of the museum. The whole experience was pretty much sensory overload as there was just so much to see and take in, we will definitely be back. There was a Quilting exhibition advertised which seemed like a good idea until on closer reading it was found to have finished at the end of July!!

Back to the hotel, this time on the tube. As part of our stay at the hotel, we were given free travel cards for the buses and the tube which have come in very handy.

As we had booked a show package, it was soon time to go straight out for dinner near the theatre, this time we were back onto the bus to head off to Charing Cross Road which also just so happens to be where a number of bookshops both second hand and new are located. Foyles has to be one of the best bookshops ever with a huge range on every topic under the sun. A quick look in the bookshop plus a couple of others and it was time to head to dinner. We had no idea where we were having dinner as it was part of the show package, but it turned out to be a fantastic Japanese restaurant named Bincho. We had a great meal of a delicious salad which had a fantastic dressing, miso soup and then a selection of 6 grilled skewers. Very filling and very delicious. Then it was just down the street to the theatre to see the Jersey Boys – the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – wow, what an amazing production. Even better that we all knew all the words to most of the songs!

Foodie highlight of the day was definitely Bincho!!!!!

Salad at Bincho

Skewers at Bincho


This was the surprise day of our tour, we had heard from Bernice’s cousin that there was to be a meeting of a number of the Womersley family (Bernice’s mother’s side) in Glasshoughton in Yorkshire and we just had to fit it in as it is unlikely that the opportunity will arise again. After looking at the cost of training up and back to London and then next day going down to Mayfield (Alexandra’s work place last year), it was decided a car was the way to go. Between the GPS and Alex using the iPad in the back seat and google maps we found our way to the Singing Choker in Glasshoughton. Admittedly there were a couple of instances of the driver being less than attentive to instruction, but we got there nonetheless. Immediately on entering the pub we saw Ken and Hilda and then a sea of unknown and yet vaguely familiar faces.

The Womersley descendants

There is a strong family resemblance and it was evident that a lot of the attendees weere related. There was one of Mum’s brothers, one sister and many, many, MANY cousins. Hilda had produced a very long family tree chart which allowed everyone to see where they fitted in the whole picture. A great afternoon was had by all and at the end of the day a few tears were shed. We then to headed off to Hail Weston, Cambridgeshire where cousin Hilda and her husband Ken had kindly offered to to put us up for the night. Hilda made us a lovely dinner then a good nights sleep was had by all.

Food for thought was a pasta prepared by Hilda ahead of our arrival. Good home made sauce served with care and attention.


Roy manged to explore the ditrict at some ungodly hour of the moring returning with samples of unidentified hedgerow plants, fruit and vegetables. Again using the sat nav (overridden at times by Alex with the google maps!) we were on our way to Mayfield. Avoiding London via the ring roads, we were soon driving thru some amazingly picturesque quintessentially English countryside to arrive in the chocolate box cover village of Mayfield. Country lanes, old houses, we are staying in the Middle House in Mayfield which dates back to the 16th century – mind blowing! Some of the buildings are now resting at odd angles, roofing lines are not very straight and some houses have ther front doors literally on the street. Our room is the most gorgeous quaint room with uneven floors, crooked walls, leaded windows, and charm oozing from every corner. Intsead of a roll together bed we have a roll together room as there is a distinct floor sag into the middle of the room.

The Middle House

A stroll through the village in the afternoon took some time as it seems Alex is known by most of the locals. Every few yards we were stopped by people greeting her and our being introduced. The hospitality was over whelming from all sides young and old.

After a great meal we retired to our four poster bed, super super king sized, for a good nights sleep.

Best meal of the trip so far was that with which we were greeted last night at the Middle House. Very well prrepared and presented. Very good balance of flavours and menu composition was both varied and complementary within and across courses. Having seeen the kitchen and now sampled the output would recommend that anyne having business or visiting anywhere in the neighborhood, or just curious and wanting a good nights relaxation make a point of visiting The Middle House in Mayfield.

Back to London.

One Response to “Moving Around”

  1. Family get together | The Vanninis' Manoeuvres Says:

    […] reunion of descendants of my grandmother, ie my mothers mother. We attended the first of these reunions 9 years ago so I already knew a handful of people mainly cousins and second and third cousins as […]

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