Sights, Smells, and Places to Rest our Heads

Yesterday morning I woke up from a dream in which Marc and I were at one of the B&Bs from our trip. We were eating, like we did on our trip, our full English breakfast (consisting of egg, sausage, bacon, baked beans, sauteed mushrooms, toast, and cooked tomato — that’s toMAHto, not toMAYto, of course). As I took a bite (in the dream), I looked up at the ceiling. One part of it suddenly started to cave in and red liquid began spreading on the ceiling from the point where it was buckling. When I alerted the B&B owner to what was happening her daughter said, “That’s just my dad.” Meaning: daddy was dead and rotting in one of the upstairs bedrooms and now soaking through the floor. They helped us move our plates to a table in the kitchen so we wouldn’t have to sit under that for the rest of our meal, and we were, for some reason, comfortable with that.

Luckily, there were no sights, nor smells, nor things like that above our heads on our actual holiday! We did, however, have all sorts of culinary experiences along the way, and thankfully the majority of them were good.

Now we knew we weren’t going to Italy or France and that England isn’t usually known for its culinary expertise. I mean, it’s known for dishes like “bangers and mash” and “kidney pie” (which I just realized probably means kidney beans, right? Not actual kidneys from animals…) after all. But I love potatoes. I had mashed potatoes for breakfast on our wedding day. I have what I call my “poutine thighs” from when I self-medicated my depression and life problems with A&W poutine the year after Olivia was born. So, in my books, going to England where there’s shepherds pie and fish and chips (read: potatoes at every meal) was more than fine.

So here is a brief rundown with pictures of some of the potatoes (and other carbohydrates) we ate along the way:

Mike and Shirley (Marc’s dear old family friends whom we spent a few days with) prepared three delicious meals for us: homemade fish and chips, the traditional roast beef Sunday dinner (pictured above and eaten in their conservatory), and a traditional English breakfast the morning we left. So good. I could eat that meal in the picture right now — possibly every plate on the table.

Marc also commented in his first post about London that people eat a lot of picnics in England. And we got to have two with Mike and Shirley, and one with Chris and Toni, whom we visited and stayed with next. Good homemade meals with Chris and Toni, too (just didn’t take any pictures of them, unfortunately). Incidentally, if you want a chronological view of the trip I think Marc will be doing it that way over at his blog.

Yes, the traditional English breakfast. One of the main reasons I wanted to stay at bed and breakfasts for the remainder of our trip. Fill up on the “free” food, so you don’t have to pay for it in a restaurant, and hopefully you’ll eat enough to keep you going well past lunch. Which we did. Every day we’d eat the big breakfast, grab a snack for lunch, and then have a nice meal out.

And I found us some great B&Bs. Not the fanciest, but not the cheapest, and all with great tripadvisor ratings. Here’s the one we stayed in at Bath:

And since this is one of only two pictures we got of the English breakfast, I figured you’d rather see me in a bathrobe than Marc:

I definitely picked well in Bath. And we did well again in Lyme Regis:

Especially since this was our view:

One of the things Marc said he was looking most forward to on this trip was the luxury (because we were sans kids) of being able to eat anywhere, anytime we liked. And that was pretty luxurious. We had some great meals:

Fantastic Italian food on our anniversary (once we found an Italian restaurant!), with a banana split for dessert (not your normal restaurant dessert, but boy was it good! They know their ice cream over there!).

Cream tea in the afternoon overlooking the English channel in the garden of the Alexandra Hotel when we arrived in Lyme. That’s clotted cream there next to the scones. And, yes, that was the highlight of the trip for Marc.

And of course you can’t go to England without having fish and chips.

I want you to look again at that picture. Yes, I look like a dork. But did you notice that that piece of fish is actually longer than the width of my torso and arms combined! That was a massive plate of food. I barely ate half of it. And the worst thing? The only thing that had any flavour was the mushy peas. And do you see that half-a-teaspoon of tartar sauce they gave me for the giant piece of fish?! Anyway… it wasn’t terrible, just way too much food. I should have ordered off the kids’ menu…

However, the worst eating experience we had was the night we spent in London. To us any pub in England looks old and rustic and cozy. We can’t tell the difference between the “rundown, horrible” old ones and the “good” old ones. We chose the former, unfortunately. And because I was trying to make the most of my island experience I chose something with seafood and, of course, potatoes: “Fisherman’s Pie: an assortment of seafood in a white sauce topped with mashed potatoes”. Sounds good enough. Except it was mystery fish essentially in water with mashed potatoes on top. It was so gross. Plus there was literally no service: the waitress took our order and brought us our food. No other stops. And we had to go up and ask for the cheque and even then Marc had to wait for that while she visited with one of the cooks!

All in all, though, the eating experiences were great. Sure the majority of the restaurant food was a little bland and the drinks were over-priced, but, heck, we were eating anytime we liked! In the end that didn’t really bother us and we had some very good times.

Posted in Dreams, Travels | 7 Comments

7 Responses to Sights, Smells, and Places to Rest our Heads

  1. Deniece says:

    Loved it, Dixie. Neat overview of the “food” parts of your trip, and between all of that, I got a lot more of your trip as well. Loved the pics, which in and of themselves, are each worth a thousand words too!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. aMOMymous says:

    Ahh,,”steak and kidney pie”…your Grandpa’s favorite.
    And, it IS real kidneys..not beans. You really should
    try some next time !

  3. Collette says:

    those B&Bs look pretty! great photos.

    and yup, yer mom is right, kidney pie is actual kidneys 🙂

  4. Toni says:

    I see aMOMymous got there first about the Kidneys. As a child I hated steak (well, the manky bits of cow that were all we could afford) so my wonderful grandmother made me kidney pie (with a shortcrust pastry top) without the ‘steak’. And very nice it was too.

    “We can’t tell the difference between the “rundown, horrible” old ones and the “good” old ones.” This made me laugh, and cringe a little at the same time. It’s hard to find a pub in London that’s both old and not manky. Many ‘nice’ ones tend to be newer and shiny, although there are exceptions. Outside London it’s different, with many pubs substituting for restaurants in out of town areas, although they’re often part of large chains, all selling the same slightly dry & processed food.

    I’m also sorry to say that I laughed a little at your description of fisherman’s pie, though I’m not surprised. There ARE great fish and chip eateries around (try ‘rock salmon’ – actually a kind of shark) for melt-in-the-mouth wonderful fishy flavours, and add plenty of salt and vinegar to bring them out. In the north of England they fry the chips (and sometimes fish too) in lard, which gives a wonderful flavour and clogs arteries like nobodies business!

    Once again, it was great to see you two.

  5. Toni says:

    BTW you look really happy in that last pic, and that’s great.

  6. Angela says:

    Love it! A highlight for us sans kids, is the eating out, too! It is a luxury! SO glad you enjoyed it!

  7. roo says:

    amazing photos. love the one of you and marc….luxurious indeed.

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