Local Heart, Global Soul

May 15, 2015

Breakfast And A Radiant Day For A Wedding …But Is It?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch have arrived in Ely in England for a family wedding. Himself’s cousin has arranged a booking in a Travelodge close by so that three families coming from the Netherlands could all stay in the one hotel.

The hotel was undergoing extensive renovations during our stay so all of the hallways were covered with plastic sheeting and there were scaffolds in various places because they were busy painting the ceilings.

“Reception” was in a portacabin in the parking area out the front of the hotel but at least all of the staff were very friendly and most apologetic for the inconvenience of the renovations.

Luckily Mark’s cousin, knowing about my asthma problem had pointed out that fresh paint would be a problem, so they arranged that our room would be right at the end of one of the wings as that section had been painted first, in the previous week and they also aired the room as much as possible before we arrived.

It meant a long walk to our room and a very long walk to the other family members who’s rooms were at the extreme end of the opposite wing, so knowing I would see plenty of them at the wedding, I opted to stay and rest in our room and let Himself and the kids go backwards and forwards to see rest of the family in their rooms.

Right next door to the hotel were several fast food restaurants and we all arranged to meet for breakfast the next day at the “Little Chef” next door. Little Mr was delighted with the single portion servings of cereal,  Kiwi Daughter  adores maple syrup so pounced on the pancakes and Himself and I went for a cooked breakfast.

Afterwards my sister in law , cousins and families visited our room before we all departed for the wedding, ladies sharing make-up tips and making sure that husbands and children were suitably presentable.

The weather as we got ready that morning was wonderful, bright blue and not a cloud in the sky. Himself and I even  wrote in the wedding card, mentioning that they had fabulous weather for their wedding… but an hour and a half later as we left the hotel we all got a surprise as we stepped outside, the skies were suddenly grey and ominously dark, and everyone had been so absorbed in conversation that no one had even noticed the change…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 3, 2013

Finding Edward Makes Our Day Complete…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer Family Kiwidutch took our visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” with us on a European holiday.

As per yesterday’s post she and I are staying at the Saracens Head Hotel in Great Dunmow, close to Stansted airport in the UK whilst Himself and the kids pitch the tent with a group we are meeting here.

This afternoon after lunch I had a nap whilst they went out to the campground and installed themselves, and gossiped caught up with other early arriving friends who are also there.

By early evening Velvetine is back  at the hotel and I’m rested enough to get the crutches out for a walk around town. We are on a mission…  after our earlier disappointment at the hotel restaurant today, we are on a fish and chip finding mission.

Velvetine’s fears of  freezing in the United Kingdom are allayed by the fact that the weather is hot and dry and the early evening temperature is a balmy 25 C so perfect for an evening exploring. We set out down the main street and after several blocks come across what looks like the perfect fish and chip establishment. It’s called “Edwards” and the  fish looks great.  At £4.40  per piece it’s not cheap, but the pieces are decently sized and it’s quality fish so we don’t mind the price in the least.

I’m  also keen on trying a battered hot dog and Velvetine  is interested in trying a fish cake and a pickled egg  as well as our piece of fish each so we skip getting hot chips (fries) and concentrate on the bits that we know we are really craving.  Back in our hotel room we unwrap our goodies from their paper packaging cocoons and tuck in…. hmmm these are exactly what we have been looking forward to in recent days.  Seriously yummy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 2, 2013

Saracens Head Menu, How Much… For HOW Much???!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

With some help from Himself and the kids Velvetine and I have installed ourselves  in our hotel  room at the Saracens Head Hotel in Great Dunmow and now the troops  declared  themselves hungry and thirsty so the next logical step is to adjourn to the hotel restaurant for lunch.

As with any visit to the United Kingdom we are usually hanging out for a fix of fish and chips, and so duly asked if it were available on the menu please.

It was, but only on the children’s menu and the mention that we had just arrived from abroad and were really looking forward to fish and chips along with a polite request for the adults to please have a child  (or even and adult) portion of fish and chips was as equally politely  refused.

We were rather taken aback but they were adamant, no fish and chips would be served to adults.  We had no clue if this was standard attitude in the UK these days or if it was as it seemed to us, just plain weird. Half of us were keen to go elsewhere for fish and chips for all of us, but we had hit on that age old restaurant dilemma, we didn’t know the town, or where to find fish and chips, we had made ourselves comfortable, it was hot and the cold drinks we had ordered had arrived, and the kids now wanted said fish and chips from this menu.

The adults craving fish and chips were now in the uncomfortable position of the possibility of looking elsewhere with no guarantee of success so sucked it in and took a look at the menu to look at alternative options.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Under  the heading of “light lunch”  we chose “Pan fried Mackerel fillet  on toasted ciabatta served with herbed potato salad (£11,–)” and a “home-made british beef burger, mature cheddar cheese with smoked bacon, skinny chips and mixed salad (£10.50) “, fish and chips  for the kids and added  a portion of pork scratchings because we none of us had ever tried them before and were intrigued.

Our lunch arrived and we were all very hungry. I have to say it was all delicious but clearly “light lunch” actually meant miniscule portions more than mega healthy menu  and all three adults were still hungry after we’d eaten. (the pieces of bread the mackerel was served on were about as long as your thumb). The waitress came to ask if our lunch was ok and Himself  mentioned that it was delicious but there didn’t seem to be much of it, she shrugged  her shoulders in response and said that was how they served it here.

Now somewhat annoyed by these facts we decided to cut our losses and get an earlier than planned fish and chip dinner. The final blow came when the bill arrived, …with added cold drinks for five people the bill came to roughly £55,–  (approx Euro 70,–) which seemed an awful lot  of money for so little food.

It certainly made the job of deciding where to have dinner easier:  at these prices, anywhere but here.  It’s entirely possible we are out of touch with UK prices… is this maybe now the norm? We remembered it being far far cheaper in the past, have things changed so much in recent years since we were last here?

There is certainly nothing wrong with the food, but the tiny amount for so much, has definitely put us off returning  here again. Live and learn.  We leave still hungry, poorer and wiser.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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