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 6 — Donnington Grove

We head down the rather steep hill (Di’s sitting in her wheelie and I’m backing “up” so she doesn’t go rolling down at breakneck speed) and stop for a pot of tea (for Di) at Costa Coffee and then to the newsagent’s for magazine, candy and cigarettes. They didn’t have the cigarettes she wanted, but we got candy and her gossip rag. Then it’s back up the hill a bit to the coffee shop and the remainder of her tea.

About ten to six, I begin to push her up the hill to the bank building and it begins to rain — no, we don’t have any rain gear as we hadn’t anticipated being around so long. The doorway has a small overhang and we didn’t get too wet as the taxi was right on time. In goes Di, in goes her “wheelie” and in goes I. Fifteen or so minutes later we’re “home” again.

Gerry and I go to the local fish and chips shop and get four orders of fish, three of chips and one of “mushy” peas. The food was good although Di didn’t really like Maria’s putting the chips in the oven to crisp them up a bit — they were no longer proper “English chips” but American “French fries.”

Trip - The Donnington Hotel - Our room is in the building on the right.
The Donnington Hotel – Our room is in the building on the right.

On Wednesday it’s time to leave Maria and Gerry and head to Newbury where we will stay a night in a hotel before Heathrow and a plane to Corfu on Thursday. The same driver who brought us to Hopton picked us up about 11 am and the three-hour journey begins. Less traffic, a bit less conversation between the two ladies but a much higher volume on the radio, BBC2. Oh, what a headache.

We arrived at the Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club. No one’s playing golf because of the rain. Our driver helps with unloading our gear, but we then find out our room is in a separate building, again uphill of the main building and reception. Another major job of moving luggage (grumble, grumble, grumble). I put Di’s scooter back together and she motors up to the room while I schlep our luggage in three or four trips.

Trip - Donnington Grove Hotel Main Entry
Donnington Grove Hotel Main Entry

She has a couple of cigarettes and I make her a pot of tea to keep her company while I take a walk — the first real exercise I’ve had in a week.

“Oh, didn’t you get enough exercise going up and down the stairs at Gerry and Maria’s or dealing with the luggage and Di’s scooter?” No. I don’t call running errands for the wife exercise.

The golf course was rather pretty, had a nice old bridge and ducks and swans aplenty so I took my camera along on the walk. I found a public footpath through the golf course and had an hour and a half walk.

Back at the hotel I enquired after a bite to eat and a drink. The whisky was good but the English make a “Canadian pour” look generous. I also brought a menu back to the room for Charlie to look at.

Oh, yeah, when I charged my drink to our room the bartender said he’d just brought my wife fresh milk and sugar for her tea.

Di’s sister, Tricia, was in the room with Di and they made dinner reservations for six o’clock. Dinner for Di and I as Tricia had to go home and get packed and ready to fly with us the next day.

Trip - Di and the finally chosen wine.
Di and the finally chosen wine.

The dinner was very good. I had a salmon Caesar salad and poached salmon while Di had a small green salad and the poached salmon with boiled new potatoes. The only snags had to do with the waitress thinking I’d ordered the pork and having to wait for my salmon and the wine.

Charlie ordered a half bottle of a sweet dessert wine and when it arrived it turned out to be not what was on the wine list, red and not very sweet or desserty. Eventually, the bartender found an acceptable wine, which Charlie liked (she had a glass or so and I finished off the rest).

Then it was off to bed to wake up at 3:30 am and picked up at 4:45 am for the trip to Heathrow and an 8:50 flight to Corfu.