The Trip — 2016: Part 27 — Shopping and St. Thomas of Canterbury

Trip - No Fishing
No Fishing

This morning I made Di tea and went to the front desk for some coffee and milk which were delivered ten minutes or so later. Finally figured out how to use the coffeemaker in the room, Magicmix. Coffee isn’t very good but it does put caffeine into my bloodstream to start the day.

It’s cloudy but not raining and Di is able to have tea, smoke and read on the patio. We’ll be heading into Newbury for some last-minute shopping later in the morning.P1010051bsmall

Toward the altar

Pryors picked us up at eleven-fifteen and deposited us at the edge of the pedestrian shopping area in Newbury at noon (and to return at three). Oh, goody, three hours of following my wife shopping and carrying her purchases.

We visited a number of shops looking for four things: a suitcase to replace the one lost by BA, a fruit bowl for Helen to brighten her new kitchen, books, and, of course, candy.

Altar window

I found a bowl for Di in John Lewis (designed in Britain and made in China), found a suitcase in another shop (no I didn’t get the one going for £695), purchased a dozen books in WH Smith and candy at Tesco‘s. Picked up the suitcase after the books and candy and loaded them into said suitcase. Then returned to John Lewis and purchased the fruit bowl — in a lot of bubble wrap.

We then found a café in a quiet courtyard and Di had a pot of Earl Gray tea and I read The Daily Mail. Just before three we headed out to where our car should be waiting and there it was. The return route was the reverse of the morning’s and again we passed Tricia’s home in Hampstead Norreys.P1010069bsmall

Upon returning to our hotel room we discovered that our room’s phone still was not working. Helen showed up at four to have tea with Di. I helped Di to the restaurant and then went for a walk through Goring and went to look at a church I had noticed earlier in our stay.

To the back

The church turned out to be St. Thomas of Canterbury. I walked around the church and through the attached graveyard and memorial to the local dead of WWI and WWII. The interior was simple with a beautiful stained glass window high on the wall behind the altar.

Di and Helen were demolishing a second pot of tea when I returned to The Swan and so I retired to the reception area to read and blog. After two hours of tea, Helen and Di returned to our room and said their good-byes.

Tricia arrived a while later and we moved to the restaurant. We found the same low table and comfortable chairs we’d had the previous night ordered drinks: Pimms, whisky and gin and tonic. Starters, dinner, dessert and conversation. In all it was a nice dinner and company for our last night in England.

(to be continued)

The Trip — 2016: Part 25 — Croquet and Swan

Sunday — We rose a little after seven; coffee and tea and a shower later I packed up our belongings. (A bit difficult as we are still down one BA lost suitcase.) Di paid the remainder on our bill and Mima checked us out of the hotel.

Trip - Di's gift from Patrick Mavros
Tricia wearing Di’s gift from Patrick Mavros.

Note: Aside from our quibbles with the “accessible” room (accessible, not specifically designed for those who are handicapped and may need assistance), our stay was quite pleasant. The personnel at both The Old Bank Hotel and The Quod Restaurant were invariably courteous, polite and helpful, including putting out the portable ramp over the entry step for Di’s scooter.

Trip - Tricia's Garden
Tricia’s Garden

Our driver (the same gentleman who took us to Highclere Castle/Downton Abbey the previous week) was waiting in the car park and helped to load our luggage and Di’s scooter. It was a short drive to Goring-Streatley and The Swan Hotel where we left our suitcases; it was too early for check-in. We then wended our way along narrow country roads to Tricia’s home near Newbury (Hampstead-Norreys) — laundry, lunch, family and croquet.

A bit after two in the afternoon Helen, Richard (husband) and Theo (son) arrived after battling London traffic with roads closed and re-routings for an international bike race.

Trip - Theo and Di
Theo and Di

We had a good time with food, wine, a game of croquet and a sisters’ game of Bananagrams. Helen’s family returned to London and Tricia, Di and I played a game of croquet before adjourning to the house.

Trip - Richard

About eight-thirty in the evening Tricia drove us back to our hotel and we recovered our stored luggage and checked in. I thought our room was an improvement over that of the Old Bank in Oxford but Di was disappointed. (When all was said and done, we enjoyed our stay at The Old Bank much more than our stay at The Swan.)

It had a great deal more room and the bathroom has more handholds than our previous room. However, the room was not carpeted and Di was afraid of falling on the hard floor. There are no handholds in the main room and the chairs are on casters — they roll — not a good choice for handicapped people or others who have difficulties with balance.

The bathroom is roomy but there are no handholds from the entry to the toilet nor are there any at the sink. The shower area has more handholds but is the same slippery type of floor as the Old Bank Hotel which necessitates multiple bathmats. There is neither a shower door nor a shower curtain and the shower area is open to the rest of the bathroom.

Trip - Theo, Di, Tricia and Richard
Theo, Di, Tricia and Richard

I made Di some tea on Monday morning and myself some instant coffee in the room this morning. Di went out on the patio for a smoke and book read. I walked to the front desk for a newspaper — there were none. I asked for a directory of services and was assured one would soon be delivered to our room. I then walked around the grounds and found the restaurant. Some of the halls and walkways had ramps and others just stairs. There was no one in the restaurant/bar to answer questions although there were people seated.

Trip - Entry to the Newbury RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) - Joe's wine glass.
Entry to the Newbury RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) – Joe’s wine glass.

Returning to the room, Di wanted to call Pryors for a trip to do some shopping in Newbury on Tuesday — the phone was dead. I went to the front desk and informed the clerk there. A few minutes later another clerk knocked at our door and asked about our fan not working. How can someone get “dead telephone” mixed up with “fan?”

A few minutes later another young man came in to check the phone — another failure. I also told him the light on our patio was out. He said he’d replace the bulb this afternoon. The phone? — he left mumbling something about maintenance.

(to be continued)