Friday, July 13, 2012

England at a glance

During my stay in England with Dawn, Billy and Sean, we did so many things.  We mostly stuck to areas that were nearby Rugeley as we all are probably aware of the challenges of traveling with an infant for long distances by car especially.  That said, they (not only Dawn and Billy, but the ENTIRE Jones clan) made my visit there as memorable as I knew it would be.  From touring Staffordshire with Grandma and using her handicap placard to park ANYWHERE we wanted to and eating at the Soup Kitchen (which up until the point that we arrived I thought it was an ACTUAL soup kitchen in the American sense. Thank God it wasn't and we had a lovely meal where I had the best baked potato I have ever had in my LIFE!!!of course complete with dessert. When you are with Grandma you eat dessert...there's little discussion to the contrary.   We also saw the world's first Iron Bridge (the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution), went back to Victorian times at Blists Hill where Dawn "won" a coconut and I LEGITIMATELY won my little cup and ball game :) It was really cool to change our current money for the currency of the time and do business with it instead.  That is also where I had my first traditional fish and chips...which were absolutely delicious! I couldn't eat it all so I just wrapped up my leftovers and stuffed them in my purse.  They were yummy reheated too. Sure makes the fish and chips at the Voyager restaurant where I work look ridiculous! After my leftovers we had a few scones (warmed up... ha ha) and of course a glass of Pimms of which Dawn is the resident mixologist and she does a great job with that yummy yummy drink!.  Then we went off the feeling like we were in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory with our tour of the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. They gave us so much chocolate it was ridiculous. My kids really appreciated me bringing it back to them. They loved the Crunchie and the Curly Whirly the best.  We also  paid our respects at the National Arboretum where they honor their lost soldiers. It was a wonderful momument and even though the weather was not cooperating (the coldest and rainiest day yet) being able to touch the names and experience that site was remarkable.  And how could I forget out trip to the National Brewery? SAMPLES!!!! Yes, even though beer is not my drink of choice (PIMMS is though) I did try the samples and actually found beer not to be as bad as i thought when you learn of it's ingredients and processing.  
We were joined by Dawn's mom on a visit to Lichfield Cathedral which was beautiful and then she treated us to lunch in town where I got to see the local town crier walking about. A missed photo op! Dang, but our lunches were a delicious treat! Dawn and Billy were sure to make sure I had the foods I had wanted to try since the last visit and I did just that with our last meal at the Ash Tree where I had my Steak and Ale Pie which was absolutely yummy! It was so filling, this was the one time that NO one, not even Sean had a dessert.  
In addition to our meals out, I had delicious meals cooked by Dawn and her mom (the Roast pork was ace) and Dawn made some kick ass lasagna too.  I would also like to mention that I actually had the opportunity to visit Dawn's dad at work at the Rugeley Fire Station where we actually sat in on an in-service training for them. It was especially exciting when we sneaked out a shirt for me and then they got an emergency call.  Grandma Jones made some of the most delicious deserts (or pudding as they refer to them) A damn delicious homemade Cheesecake for desert for Father's Day and then we had a scrumptious homemade cake for Mama's birthday! Made me think of my own grandma baking from scratch and us kids fighting for the mixer paddles and licking the bowl.
Overall, I'm just a truly blessed person to have all of these wonderful people in my life.  Who knew being the Female BLACK Austin Powers would lead to such great things for me! I'm forever grateful and will remember this time forever. Especially when I put up my bunting for the start of the Olympics even though I know my neighbors will think I'm a right NUTTER, but if anyone asks I will proudly tell them that I'm just reppin' for my family across the pond! Til next time. Deuces!

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