Every year on 29th March, which is the anniversary of Dad's passing, Mum and I spend the day out, having lunch and buying a plant for the garden to remember Dad. This year we decided to go to Oakham, Rutland, which is about 30 miles away. I looked online to find somewhere with reasonable reviews to eat our lunch at, and found the Fox and Hounds at Knossington. Mum drove there, which allowed her to have a glass of wine with lunch as I'd be driving back.
The weather was stunning - a beautifully warm day, and you were only reminded that it was still March when you looked at the bare trees! Fortunately, the food at the Fox and Hounds was stunning too! A really lovely little pub, in a very tiny village, with a landlady who made us feel very welcome. I asked if there were any vegetarian options (before seeing the menu) and she said "we can do whatever you'd like", which is something I've never heard before! She told me there was a mushroom dish on their evening menu they could do for me, and being a mushroom fan I said yes without hesitation! The dish was actually four large field mushrooms in a garlic, cream and Stilton sauce served with spinach with a side of pommes frites. Yummy! I just about had enough space left for pudding, and chose the delicious Strawberry Mille Feuille. It was just as tasty as the main course. And we were able to sit outside in the sunshine too!
After lunch we went to the nearby Gates Garden Centre at Cold Overton, which was huge! It took us an hour to get 'round it all and we came away with a lovely rose called 'Special Anniversary' for Dad, some perennials for the garden and some cauliflower and cabbage seedlings for the veggie patch.
Then we drove on into Oakham itself, where we spent a couple of hours wandering around the landmarks including the Buttercross, the five-hole stocks (anyone know why?!), the castle and the amazing 12C church.
All Saints' Church
It was a really lovely day. I'm so glad we remember Dad each year in this way.
I spent the majority of my visit in Emerald, up in the Dandenong Ranges where Paul & Bel live, but I did manage to spend a little time in the city and I followed a walking tour I had picked up in the tourist information centre. It was around Eastern Melbourne, which is a very old, affluent and leafy area. It was a really hot day, but made a nice change from just walking around the shops!
Helen & Chris's wedding in Melbourne was wonderful. My little sister sure scrubs up well! The food was fabulous (we wouldn't expect anything less with Chris at the helm), the sun shone and the whole place was full of new and old family, friends, music and LOVE!
I've been meaning to post these pics for a couple of months. Back in December, just before my birthday, Mum let it slip that she'd knitted a Fair Isle jumper for Auntie Sam back in the seventies and I convinced her to make another one for me, as a birthday present. So we found a pattern and chose the wool, and Mum started work on the project around the beginning of December. She told me she wouldn't get it finished in time for Christmas, but hopefully for the Spring.
It was a bigger project than we anticipated though, and a seriously fiddly pattern. Evening after evening, Mum sat in the living room knitting away. And finally it was finished. At the beginning of July! What a masterpiece! It really is so beautiful and was totally worth the wait. I thought I would probably have to wait until Autumn to wear it, but our summer has been so lousy I've worn it quite a few times already, and I'm really looking forward to having it to keep me warm in the chilly winter months.
Here's a few pictures from the weekend. We went to the market with Auntie Sheila & Uncle Aldo. Italian markets are amazing! The food is so fresh, all shapes and sizes (they ignore the EU suggestions on straight cucumbers and all that - I wish we would to!) and you can chose how much you want! It's not pre-packed. Fantastic.
Anyway, after the market we went to a favourite restaurant, Buon Amici, for lunch. Then we returned to cool off in the pool.
Yesterday we went into Rome, but I'll save the pictures from that for tomorrow...
Picked these hyacinths from our garden yesterday and they've been flooding the whole kitchen with their amazing scent.
I hate knowing that Hyacinth season is almost over, but then Lilac season is just around the corner. And then there'll be Lily of the Valley, then Philadelphus and Roses and...
I love fragrant flowers.