As I mentioned on Monday, I have this week away from the office to spend with Dori. The reason I chose this week is because it is our anniversary. We have spent previous anniversaries in Paris and London, but with the credit crunch ‘n all, times are a little more frugal at the Yellow House :-) So we have spent the week here at home, and have had a few days out to celebrate being together.
On Wednesday we went to the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, just over the Wiltshire/Gloucestershire border. It is a wonderful place for just hanging out and enjoying getting close to nature. We both said that it must have done wonders in lowering our blood pressure! It is good to get back to nature sometimes. For more info on the Arboretum, and some wonderful pictures of the trees and plants there, see Dori’s blog entry for today.
Yesterday we ventured out again. This time we stayed in Wiltshire and started the day off in Devizes. Devizes, apart from famously being part of a limerick – “his ears were of different sizes...”, is a small market town in the centre of Wiltshire. And it was the market that we were heading towards Devizes to see. The main part of the market is in the central Market Place in the town – the largest in the West of England - and has a lot of stalls selling fruit & veg, fresh bread, cheese, clothing and other household items. Right next to the Market Place is The Shambles, which was originally built in 1835 as home to a butter and poultry market. Nowadays it acts as an extension to the main market and there was a good variety of different stalls in there too. We walked around both the outdoor and indoor parts of the market for a while – making our way into The Shambles when the rain got a bit too heavy!
Having not found anything that really grabbed our attention, we crossed the street to the Corn Exchange, which holds its own flea market on Thursdays. This was much more of a treasure trove of fascinating knickknacks. There were stalls selling jewellery, paintings, postcards, toy cars (oh, how I wish I had kept the CASES full of toy cars I had when I was little!), old music sheets, old board games, painting sets and lots and lots of other bric-a-brac. We picked up a few items for ourselves, including this wonderful little jug and teacup set.
...and this mug celebrating the silver jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.
Some of the items we bought may well end up on eBay, but some will definitely have a home here in the Yellow House.
After we had spent the morning in Devizes we decided to head over to Swindon. We were going to see a film, but first we went to the restaurant next door – Frankie and Benny’s. This is a New York style restaurant and bar, which we had never visited before. We were in for a treat. We had spotted the Frankie & Benny’s restaurant at the O2 on a number of our visits up there, but had never had the time to try it there. So, when we were trying to think of a place to have our anniversary meal, we came up with the idea of the F&B outlet in Swindon. The interior of the restaurant reminded both of us of many restaurants that we have visited in the States and the atmosphere is enhanced by a constant soundtrack from people such as Dean Martin, Billie Holiday, The Drifters, Bobby Darin, etc. And when we found out that they refill your drinks for free, in the American style, we were sold!
We enjoyed a wonderfully delicious meal - I really would recommend an F&B restaurant if there is one near you – and then headed next door to see “The Uninvited”. This is a horror/mystery type thriller of a young girl who has been disturbed by the death of her mother. It was quite enjoyable, with the requisite twist at the end. As you will see on the right hand side here, I gave it 5 stars out of 10, though maybe 5½ would be more accurate. It may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it was certainly an agreeable way to while away a wet Thursday afternoon. :-)
So, that has been our anniversary week travels. Today we have just chilled out around the house, and did a few odd jobs here and there. Luckily, Monday is a Bank Holiday here in the UK, so I still have three more days until I have to return to normality. Here’s to a great weekend for all of us!