31.03.2016 - 02.04.2016 12 °C
Thursday the county of Essex provided us with glorious sunshine for the whole day (well, right up until 5.30 when there were a couple of spots of rain) and I went outside without my raincoat for the first time in forever. I think the temperature got to 12 degrees, so wasn’t QUITE bikini weather, but getting closer. The daffodils have been telling me it’s spring for a couple of weeks now but I’m only just starting to believe them. And the improvement in the weather correlated with an improvement in the health of the Buccheris, with an increased enthusiasm for adventuring (despite continued snuffliness).
We started the day with a Skype date with Nanno 'I'm too good for rehab’ McDonald, Marg ‘not even wearing a jumper’ Hodgetts and Lisa ‘The RubySitter’ Buccheri, followed shortly after by Jason ‘I’ve got new chairs’ Buccheri and Ash ‘they’re my new chairs too’ Buccheri. Unfortunately we couldn’t offer Skype tours of the mansion because it requires changing wifi connections four times and the internet doesn’t actually reach to the top of the house, but never mind.
After a stroll with Mash (aka Mashton Kutcher), we had lunch and then went to do some more amazing things in Saffron Walden. Literally. The Bridge End gardens contained a hedge maze, which we completed with the guidance of a young child at the top of the tower. And then the Jubilee Gardens contained a labyrinth within a bandstand, which was dizzying simple for Simon to complete. Despite the lady at the visitor information centre saying there was no such thing. Whatever.
Afterwards we decided to enjoy the sunshine some more and did a spot of geocaching around Wendens Ambo, before coming home to enjoy the couch and Mash’s company while watching Pointless and then sampling Debden's finest wares at the Plough Inn. Good to be up and out and participating more actively in life again!
The next day we had another cuppa with Colin and Nigel and solved the world's problems before going to Yuva in Debden for some Indo-Nepalese fusion cuisine. It was no Fusion, but I enjoyed the experience of eating curry in a stereotypically English building - low ceiling, exposed beams, the usual. Simon practically turned into an onion after it all, so it was lucky that I had a stash of mints handy. We walked off our Indo-Nepalese cuisine with some more geocaching around Finchingfield, possibly the most photographed and quintessentially English village. My highlight was when the gps co-ordinates (unexpectedly) took us right past public toilets that Google had said didn't exist. Geocache for the win.
Today's expedition was London - also very frequently photographed but slightly lacking in the duck/pond/windmill department. The train took us from Audley End to Liverpool Street Station in an hour, and from there we commenced our solid program of Learning Stuff and Things. Step 1: Hunterian Museum, based on the anatomical collections of John Hunter and run by the Royal College of Surgeons. Really brought back memories from anatomy pracs at uni!
Step 2: The British Museum, based on every ancient civilisation ever and housed in a building of epic and intimidating proportions. Everything was in excess - the building, the exhibits, the tourists, the queue for the toilet, and the temperature. I confess to being so overwhelmed by the displays that I couldn't process anything properly and didn't learn as much Stuff and Things as I would have liked. But we did listen to a talk about the evolution of money, starting with cowrie shells and finishing with 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.
Step 3: Walking tour of the City of London with American John. Yep, American. With just a hint of a lisp. Not who I expected to hear about the history of London from, but ninkers can't be choosers. We met a pair of working-holiday Kiwis on the tour - vaguely comforting to hear another Antipodean accent. Unfortunately the Curse of the Walking Tour continued, and the rain arrived halfway through, but it wasn't enough to make us too soggy. After covering about 18km for the day, the train ride home was a welcome opportunity to sit down, relax and watch the Anglian world go by.