Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Tuesday -- Finally Getting to the Point

[Which might have been titled, "We See Dead People", but that seemed inappropriate given that we also saw grandparents.]

The Bath House apparently doesn't have a central dining room, so breakfast is delivered to your room -- you order it the night before by checking the time and food on a card, similar to many hotels. I rarely do this, since it is often stupidly expensive, but breakfast before clothes (and not having to do it myself) really is kinda decadent.

I went for the traditional English Breakfast, to compare with the American version. The sausages were good -- pepper-spicy but less salty than the usual American breakfast fare. The bacon, OTOH, was OMG salty and very tasty, and a bit meatier than most American bacon. The highlight of the meal for me, though, was the crumpets, and realizing that these must be what Thomas' English Muffins are trying to imitate: springy, flavorful, replete with nooks and crannies for butter to flow into. Mmm, crumpets. (Now I'm wondering if there anyone makes a decent version of them here.)

We had a couple of hours before we needed to hit the train (especially since we knew that Kate's folks, driving from London, were running slightly late due to coffee delays and draconian traffic laws), so we wandered over to Bath Abbey:

To a degree I'd never seen before, the Abbey is dominated by memorials. OMG, vast numbers of memorials, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. They cover the walls:

They cover the floors:

Many of them are simply memorials for folks who are buried elsewhere, but there are several full-scale crypts inside:

To be fair, there is also a lot of beautiful stained glass:

This one shows the complete life of Christ, if you read left to right, bottom to top, with the Big Important Scenes running up the middle.

And You Know You're In the SCA When you take a look at the heraldry carved into the pews, apparently to indicate which front-row seats belonged to which families:

and you start trying to estimate *when* it was done based on the heraldic style and amount of marshaling involved.

(That's it for pictures for now, as we move out of the tourist zone. Yes, I entirely forgot to take any pix of relatives.)

Back to the train for the quick (< 30 min) trip over to Bristol Temple Mews. Cab to the hotel, where we met up with parents. Wandered down to the pub for cider, beer, and disturbing potato chips. British crisps are just like American potato chips, except that they are a *lot* more creative with the flavors. The steak and onion was definitely the winner for "strange, but tasty".

We wandered over to the assisted-living facility where Eric (Kate's grandfather) is living, rendezvoused with Aunt Linda and Chris (Kate's brother), and introduced me to Eric. On the one hand, he turns out to be not much taller than me; OTOH, that's because he is 92 and *quite* stooped by now. He clearly would have towered over me, probably even just a few years ago.

Then we packed up the whole family to the home where Vera (Kate's grandmother) resides. It's a lovely place (frankly, much nicer than most nursing homes I've visited), and introductions were made again. Kate, knowing exactly how this was going to go, sat down next to Vera and was told, "Ring", which she duly showed off.

Since the occasion (and the point of the trip) was the celebration of Vera's 90th birthday (actually the previous month, during the Olympics, but we weren't dumb enough to travel to London in that), the home provided us with High Tea -- really, a preposterous amount of food given that there were only eight of us. Delicious sausage rolls (pigs in blankets, but better); strawberry tarts; pate sandwiches; birthday cake; etc, etc. Fortunately, it was explained that the leftovers would be the afternoon snack for the home, else I would have felt guilty at how much was left.

Then wandering around the neighborhood, first with Peter (Kate's father) and then the whole family, and thence back into town, where I sprang for dinner at Severn Shed (which it appears, based on the website, is in the process of being acquired by a chain). Good food, but the mixed apps that I got were a bad choice: all of it was hard on my stomach. And the first attempt to serve me was a failure -- it was clear that "bring my apps with everyone else's mains" turned out to be "make the apps in advance and leave them sitting on the counter while everything else cooks", since they were almost stone cold when they arrived. (And cold fried calamari is *nasty*.) It had to be scrapped and redone, although it was good on the second go-round. Not a failure of a meal (and better than Lunn House), but mixed.

Next: more family time
Tags: europe 2012

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