Some Time Alone
This weekend Alex was successfully returned to his mother for a weekend. He went from Friday at 6 and we picked him up on Sunday at 6. He spent most of the weekend playing out with his friends, however the most important issue is that he and his mom did alright and he will be returning again in a fortnight for his bi-weekly visit. This will accomplish two things: 1) Alex and his Mom and siblings seeing each other on a regular basis and 2)Andy and I getting some much needed alone time.
So, on Saturday morning after not hearing anything from Alex, Andy and I packed our bags and headed down to the South-East Cost of Norfolk. We drove quite far and landed in a place called Holkam for a hike throughout gorgeous woodland and beach area. After a few hours of hiking we continued on by car and passed through some gorgeous stone and brick villages, most of which had names such as Wells Next-the-Sea and ended up in a town down past Great Yarmouth on the South-East Coast. To get there we even passed a place called California. I realized at this point how unoriginal the folks from the 'old country' were when naming the new settlements of North America - or maybe they were just homesick??? Anyway, after travelling down to these places, we decided to have a quick tea-time snack of sandwiches before heading back up the coast to the particularly pretty villages we'd passed earlier, and settled for the night in a coastal town called Sheringham.
We picked a bed-and-breakfast at the top of a mountainous road and happily booked ourselves in for the evening. We happily got ready to go out for some fine dining, based on the suggestion of the Guest House hostess. As we were leaving our room we noticed loud voices coming from the room two doors down and I quickly mumbled 'I hope they are not so loud late tonight!
I Don't Much Like Fish, But This Sole is Good!
We made our way to one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been in. It was an old converted stable, aptly named - The Stables. It had a gorgeous selection of fish, amongst other things and I happily ordered the pan-fried Sole, it was served on a bed of salad, and accompanied by creamed almond spinach, new potatoes and veg... yummy. Andy ordered the pheasant, which was really gorgeous.
Prior to the meal, we were shown up a set of stairs into the 'loft' of the restaurant and were the first ones to be seated. Another couple arrived shortly after us, and almost immediately after, the quietly romantic atmosphere was broken by a very loud voice coming up the stairs. Two very flamboyant men were seated at the table directly across from ours. I was reminded instantly of Jack from Will and Grace, only this Jack was about 10-15 years older, with a deeper, English accented voice! I quickly leaned over to Andy after and whispered 'I believe those are our fellow housemates!' His answer was a surprised, 'I think you might be right, but I hope not!'
The lady diagonally across from me meet my gaze a couple of times and cringed at 'Jack's' loudness. The other fellow, although much quieter was very eccentric. They happily began by ordering a bottle of wine (very probably not their first of the night) and quite vocally discussed their food choice for the evening (they finally both settled on the sole). As Andy and I were eating our appetizer, 'Jack' somehow noticed me and added me to their conversation. Of course as soon as I began to talk he became very smitten with my accent and proceeded to ask me a number of questions, thus sharing information about himself and his partner. Me being myself, I was nothing but polite and gracious ;) I was practically kicking Andy under the table to assist him in refraining from making a sarcastic comment.
Once the gentlmen's food had arrived they quickly delved into conversation about how divine the food was. I consciously tried to concentrate on Andy, and managed to tune out most of the conversation. I wanted to focus on my husband and was amazed at how easy it was proving. Andy on the other hand, as were many of the other patrons, having a bit of a hard time. However I must admit, during our conversation we heard Jack exclaim profusely, at least four times 'I don't much like fish, but this sole is GOOD.' After the third time Andy couldn't help himself and made the comment 'I don't much like fish, but this pheasant is GOOD' under his breath to me and I couldn't help but giggle. It was all becoming very amusing.
After they had polished off their dinners and two bottles of wine, Jack's partner Andrew (yes that was his name) got up to leave. He had decided he'd had enough and informed Jack that he would meet him back at the Guest House... As he stood up he nearly crashed head-long into our table. He made it the few steps to the top of the stairs and almost toppled straight down. How he ever managed to get down those steps without falling is beyond me. After about 10 minutes Jack finally got up and announced to the room that he'd better go find his friend and make sure he was alright. He stood, fell and knocked over a nearly full glass of wine. That didn't surprise me as much as the loud 'fuck' that came out of his mouth. He bent to wipe up his mess, stumbled and gave up, the whole time muttering (well what he probably figured was a mutter) 'fucking hell, I don't believe this!' It was all becoming a bit tortuous to tell the truth! He finally straightened up and made his way, rather precariously, down the stairs leaving us all in utter silence, only broken by the soft classical music in the background...
After we had paid our bill we stopped in at the local pub for a pint before heading back to our room. We wanted to make sure the 'boys' had been settled in before returning 'home' for the night. The next morning we discovered from the owners that 'Jack' had made it back around 9:30 the previous night, however Andrew hadn't made it back until 3 a.m. - he showed up ringing the doorbell loudly. The owner let him in and warned him about noise, to no avail - most everyone heard him coming in and then arguing with Jack afterwards. Turns out Andrew had fallen over on his way home and had lain down on the waterfront promenade until this hour. He tried telling the owners the next morning that he had been mugged (his face was bruised) however it was very obviously not true, especially the next morning when he pleaded they would not be able to pay due to his 'mugging'. Even if he had been mugged, there was nothing from stopping 'Jack' from using the credit card he'd paid for their meal with in The Stables the night before. They also tried to leave a false address, however the owner intelligently saw through that act. Up until the morning, Andy and I had found the situation more amusing than anything, however upon hearing that this couple had ruined their sheets with cigarette burns, and left without paying the nice couple running the B&B,(the first time this had ever happened to them in 30 years) we just found it to be gross. We had originally just thought they were a flamboyantly drunk, issue-ridden couple but it turns out they were just a couple of assholes.
The Journey Home
That morning we took a train ride through three villages and back on an old steam engine train. On the way back, we got off at the 2nd station and walked the mile into the village for a look around. We made it back to the station in time to catch the next train back to Sheringham where we hopped in the car and headed to Burnham Market where we lunched at the coolest pub/hotel I have been to in England. We sat in a sunny solarium with the most comfortable leather couches, ate our sandwiches and drank a pint (Andy had a shandy), while reading the papers. It was fantastic and I hated to leave. I do think we will be taking a trip back to 'The Hoste Arms' to stay the night in the near future!
Jody @ 'The Hoste Arms'