I think I'd underestimated just how uncomfortable I'd feel in enclosed spaces with strangers. We went to a couple of restaurants, and stayed in a hotel, and although they weren't super busy, coming into contact with anyone had me convinced that I'd contracted COVID. Fear of the unknown is a weird thing and, being honest, I'm not a fan of it.
Still, it was nice to have a bit of a return to whatever constitutes normal in 2021. Even if that "normal" is punctuated with lateral flow tests and running back to the car to grab a disposable mask.
I've felt old this week. I twisted my back a couple of weeks ago and it is taking absolutely ages to get better. I've booked a physio appointment because it's started to wear on me now. Not being able to exercise full-tilt has got me feeling like (and probably resembling) a bowl of blancmange. In general, not in a great place physically or mentally. Time off is time off, though, and I've tried to make the most of it, hobbling about all over the place!
Fairly certain we will always stop at Cobham services for a Greggs on this journey. You're about to see why I feel like a jiggly bowl of pudding - it's not like I'm surprised or anything.
Went to look at the Pelargoniums just in case we don't make it up again before they're gone.
Tabitha will always pick a posy whilst we're there.
First time meeting my mum's "new" dog, Stephy. She is super cute, and very funny.
My mum has a load of carnivorous plants. I love these things.
We went to Melt in Bromsgrove. I don't know why but I like buying pizza by the slice.
The wax I use when cleaning my car makes the rain water bead up in a most-pleasing way.
We tried a recommended curry place. Cheese curry is likely to be the death of me.
We went to Hanbury Hall. Beautiful grounds but I'm not that into the house.
Heard you liked creepy trees. How about creepy trees with sheep in?
Tabitha getting as full an experience out of this place as she can.
"Yup, it's a small, wooden room alright"
A terrifying-looking, small, wooden room.
Apparently it was a thing to hammer coins into trees. Now there's a sign up asking people not to do this because it kills the tree. Who'd have thought?!
We went to The Jinney Ring to see some glass blowing, but they were taking their lunch break. We saw these lovely black ducks that shimmered green, and I utterly failed to capture it.
We went to Coughton Court to see the ford, and they were having a commercialised (£4.50 per duck!) pooh-sticks race with rubber ducks. It was pretty fun actually.
We wandered around the grounds. They're beautiful here too, but my back was about ready to fall off.
Our duck came third, and Tabitha won a paint-your-own owl nesting doll set. What a weird sequence of words that is.
Tabitha experienced her first ford.
We went back to Melt for the full menu. This was a very good call.
They had a sign for Charlotte.
Tabitha waited for her food. In a shop, this guy asked where we get her clothes, and I think Charlotte was pretty smug about this as she made this cardigan. I would've been too, to be fair.
We tend to order a load of food for the table then share, when visiting a new place like this. It was all excellent, and the best Beyond Meat burger I've ever had. I think they'd chargrilled it. It had a nice crispy coating like I remember a flame-grilled Whopper or something.
We went to see the monkeys as Trentham gardens and meet up with Perkins, whom I haven't seen for approximately 9 years. He met Tabitha for the first time, and I met his wife and kids for the first time. And we wandered about with monkeys. We got there super early and made grass bracelets (presumably in an attempt to see if you can die from hay fever) whilst we waited.
Tabitha climbed. She gets a real kick out of being able to do things that either 1. older kids can't do or 2. boys can't do. She aced the monkey bars (they probably just call them "bars" here) at this park.
This would've been a great place to use my Canon and big zoom, but I only brought my Leica and 50mm, so these are more like candid street shots of monkeys.
And that's pretty much it. We decided to come home on Friday so we could have a full Saturday. Turned out to be a great call, because traffic was somehow almost completely clear the entire way back. On a journey that uses the M6, M1, M25, and M23, that's no joke.
10/10 week, not taking into account that I was in pain for almost all of it!