So last week I've been to the green island of England. Despite Brexit they still let me in - hooray! I guess August is probably the best time to go to the UK, and I was really lucky with the weather - not a single rain drop in 6 days!!
It was my first time in England - kind of. I heard I had been to Cornwall when I was 2 - shame I can't remember any of that. And I had been to Guernsey with my family when I was maybe 12 or so. And Gibraltar later in life. But does that count as the real England? I don't think so!!
So I was pretty excited to explore a bit of the country so many of my friends come from.
I flew to Bristol late Monday evening, and of course it got delayed by an hour, so I arrived at 2:30 am. My dear dear friend Richard and his 80 something year old mum (bless her heart) picked me up from the airport and drove me to her apartment in Portishead where he stayed for a few days, transiting between Kenya where he works and the United States where he was going to fly to meet old friends.
The next morning we started with a healthy, erm, proper English breakfast in a nearby restaurant. They seem to be obliged to print the calories next to the menu so I found out that a regular English breakfast (ham, baked beans, eggs, toast) contains almost all of my daily calories. Thank God they had fruit salad!
Afterwards Richard and I had a little walk around the harbour of Portishead which was lovely. It reminded me of Hamburg's Hafen-City, so it felt almost like home. I loved that everybody spoke English! Made me feel even more home, weirdly.
Then we took the bus to the city.
It was weird meeting Richard again. It had been a year since I last saw him so it felt a bit strange but it was fun spending time with him again. He showed me the city where he grew up and went to school. Bristol seems a very cool town, again reminded me of a small version of Hamburg, with a small harbour, and some nice record and book shops.
We had a nice lunch in a place with lots of vegan and glutenfree organic foods - heaven when you live in Spain and your usual choice of foods outside of your house is reduced to crisps and olives.. He walked me through lovely English parks with very friendly squirrels. I loved England from the start! It was so nice to have some fresh air and green countryside and cultural life and lovely polite people that don't shout at you (no offence Spaniards!). We ended our tour walking over the Clifton Bridge, and had a lovely dinner at home prepared by his mum.
The next day he flew to Boston, and I made my way to Shalford, Surrey. It took a while to get my train ticket though because the lady said I would need to change 4 times, and take the train via London and it would cost around 60 pounds, and I insisted that couldn't be, I had seen on the internet that I would need to change only once, and it was only 28 pounds or so. Until we found out in the end that I wanted to go to ShAlford, not ShElford. Small little differences in pronounciation.
In Shaaaaaaaaaalford, my sweet friends Peter and Veronique picked me up with their dogs Ela and Ricky. I hadn't seen them in 2 years, so it was lovely spending time with them again. There was a reason I had come to their place! I was going to prepare their wedding menu on Saturday! Very exciting!
In the afternoon I had a little walk with Vero to the next village for our first Gin & Tonic, followed by a great dinner in a church.
The next day I started preparing a few foods while they decorated the garden. We had a little "girl's" night out with Veronique and Peter's sisters.
The day before the wedding I spent in the tiny kitchen, making food for 70 people on maybe 7 square metres. It was a challenge but also fun. Peter's son came over and helped with the Gazpacho soup and a Tiramisu.
And then the wedding day came. I started early in the kitchen with the last food preparations and canapés, while the lovely couple went to the hairdressers and got all pretty.
I couldn't join the ceremony but that was only 15 minutes anyway. Then the guests arrived and the food got served, and it all went well. I was so happy I could help them have a beautiful day. The weather was great, the friends and family cheery and the couple dance a smoking hot Argentinian tango ....aaaaaaaaaaw :)
The next day I helped a bit with the clearing up, and then took the train to Gatwick airport.
Shame I still haven't seen London, and couldn't meet some of my friends living in England! So I definitely need to come back.