About time too

Well it has now been several days since our last post, the reason being that we have been relaxing at Hilda and Ken’s in Hail Weston.   We left London on Monday and caught the train up to St Neots where we were picked up and went to Hail Weston.  We have now been here for some three nights and have been relaxing.

After arriving on Monday afternoon we spent time regrouping and getting up to date with washing, tidying our possessions, taking a breather and enjoying the company of Hilda and Ken.   A relatively early night was had after repacking all of our bags ready for the next step in our saga.

Tuesday dawned bright and sunny and Ken went off to golf, we stayed and continued washing and relaxing.  Roy took his early morning trot around the village and out into the country.   Isn’t it interesting how news gets around.  Passed several, mainly women, people walking dogs in the early morning.  Polite good mornings exchanged each would carry on in their respective direction.  This morning approaching two women with three dogs stopped on a corner in the High street, greeted them with the usual good morning, which was responded to, then was taken aback by one asking how was I  enjoying our holiday and wishing us all the best.  On speaking to Hilda on returning home she did not recognize the women from my description (which may say more about the description than knowledge of the women) but it seemed from the context that the word had got around.

We got the day underway, after attending to the washing,  around eleven when Hilda took us into St Neots to get a couple of things from the shops.  Surprisingly it turns out that neither Hilda nor Bernice are avid shoppers so it was a very quick trip to a couple of stores and then we were ready to come home.   However Hilda decided to show us parts of Eaton Socon which is now part of St Neots but is itself and old part of the local countryside.  We went to a place alongside the Great Ouse river and there found a lock, mooring for river craft, and a lock.  There would have been a good twelve narrow boats moored  in the marina, probably an inflated description as it was more like a blocked off part of the river with a number of floating pontoons with the craft moored to them.  As we arrived there was activity at the lock as two pleasure boats a twelve and twenty foot, inboard cabin boat pulled into the lock going downstream.  They moored in the lock and then  proceeded to let the water out of the lock to lower them down to the lower river level at the downstream end of the lock.  This was achieved by closing the upstream lock gate, then winding up a shutter on the bottom of the downstream lock gates letting the water out of the lock.  When the water was no longer flowing out of the shutter they then simply pushed the long arms on the lock gates and and opened the gates.  The boats then maneuvered out of the dock and continued down river.  A very interesting procedure to watch in real life for the first time.   And of course not captured on camera at any stage because some dodo had forgotten to grab the camera when leaving the house.  Next time we will get photos of the process.   Having exhausted ourselves watching some hard work we decided it would be a good time to stop for lunch and it just happened there was a pub at the lock in an old flour mill that was on the banks of the river.  So a short shopping trip turned into a prolonged day out when we arrived back home sometime after three o’clock.

Ken arrived home from golf an hour later having won not only his match, but his team having won the competition only losing half a point in doing so.  We then got ready to go out for an evening meal with ken and Hilda’s daughter Jackie, Husband Hossain, and son and daughter Ben and Lara.  We were greeted very warmly and immediately felt at home in a warm and generous environment.  Hossein was chef for the night and had prepared an Iranian based meal.  This was interesting to us as it involved flavours and food combinations which were new and different from those we are accustomed to. It was rather delicious and we thoroughly enjoyed it all.  It was a very good evening with lots of laughs and great company.

Iranian Dinner

Dinner with Hossein, Jackie and family

Next day dawned bright and it was time to rectify the lack of photos of the lock.  Roy was up at this usual hour and after sorting emails, catching up on Facebook etc set out to walk to the lock.  half way up the hill realized he had forgotten to put out the green waste went back sorted that out and set out for St Neots and the lock at Eaton Socon.  However it turned out to be a little further than anticipated so having reached the outskirts of St Neots turned back in time for breakfast.

This day we were to meet Hilda and Ken’s other daughter Dawn in Bury St Edmunds, and visit the market there.  We set off around eleven and after an uneventful drive arrived and were warmly welcomed with tea and a range of goodies to eat.  As the day was threatening rain at Hail Weston we had brought some of the wet washing to hang at Dawn’s which we did and then proceeded to the town centre and market.   What a very interesting place.  We pulled into a car park at the bottom of the town immediately opposite the ruins of an old abbey.  The original abbey was founded in 633, various buildings had been built, destroyed, rebuilt, damaged, rebuilt, through a number of cycles culminating in the present abbey having a new tower being built for the millennium.  Work continuing to the present day on the elaborate interior and ceilings.

We made our way up the main street to the market and then wandered around looking at local produce, the usual stalls of bric a brac and interesting items.  Some of the most interesting elements were the actual building lining the streets.  These ranged in age from the early 1500’s to modern, with all time periods between.  We also found the smallest pub in England (we did not even go inside).

England's smallest pub at Bury St Edmunds

After the odd side trip and general wander we made our way to the abbey grounds and wandered around looking at the ruins before entering the cathedral and looking at the interior and seeing gilding of the new ceiling being carried out by a young man (probably in his early thirties) who was the third generation in his family  performing this type of work and whose father and family had actively been involved in the restoration of a number of major buildings both here in England and abroad.

During our tour the weather decided it was time for a shower or two and in fact the rain started in earnest,  We decided to retreat to an early dinner at a local hotel overlooking the square and cathedral.   The Angel Hotel is where Dickens apparently wrote Pickwick Papers.  We had a very enjoyable meal and then made our way back to Dawn’s house.  On arrival the washing which had been brought  to dry was found soaking wet but with a little assistance from mechanical devices was dry by the time we left after tea and coffee and conversation.  It was the home to Hail Weston and into bed.

Today we catch the train to London and then on to Dover for a night before boarding our cruise ship tomorrow.

Photos to follow as we are in rather a hurry to catch the train.

Foodie awards for the past few days:

A very good Iranian based dinner with Jackie, Hosssain and family.  All sorts of interesting  flavour combinations, very well presented in an atmosphere of family and friendship

An also ran prize to the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds for an interesting mushroom entree.  Five types of mushroom simply prepared on ciabatta with salad and a very nice dressing.


2 Responses to “About time too”

  1. Grandchildren and the return journey | The Vannini's Manoeuvres Says:

    […] met Ben and his lovely family when we were in the UK four years ago. You can read about our visit hereHowever, we did manage to visit our friends Pat & Sue as they are currently in Christchurch. We […]

  2. Family reconnections | The Vanninis' Manoeuvres Says:

    […] the late afternoon the talking continued as there was much to catch up on since our last visit in 2010/2011. However, all good things come to an end, and with fond farewells it was time for us to […]

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