More English Experiences

Monday 11 April

Sunny, warmish 19 degrees

Caught up with some washing and ironing while Janet went to see the doctor – all is well.  In the afternoon we went upstairs to Pat’s flat for a lovely afternoon tea, with lots of chatter and laughter.  Pat is a delightful granny with a keen sense of humour and an adventurous spirit.  She was telling us about a 4 month cruise that she has booked on the Queen Elizabeth II later this year.

Tuesday 12 April

Overcast, cool 15 degrees

Janet and the two of us spent the morning visiting some of the nearby towns, looking at christening gowns and suits.  We went to Crowthorne and Bracknell and then, after lunch, we went to Marlow to a Bump and Baby shop, where we found some gorgeous baby clothes. (won’t purchase any until we know what colour we need!)

Wednesday 13 April

Overcast, cool  11 degrees

Most of the day was spent relaxing.  Janet went for a catch up with her antenatal ladies, while the two of us enjoyed a walk into Maidenhead.

Thursday 14 April

Overcast, cool

Janet took us for a walk down to the station to show us how to use the ticket machines and we purchased our tickets two off peak travel card, ready for this evening – 27 pounds for the two of us.  This entitled us to the overland train from Maidenhead into Paddington and any number of tube rides we needed to take plus our return journeys.

The three of us went out to lunch at the Shire Horse, which is a traditional English Pub set in the countryside not far from Maidenhead.  Richard had a beef and ale pie and a pint of Stella, which he thoroughly enjoyed; Sandy had Chicago chicken and Janet had a jacket potato.  We enjoyed our lunch and a chat while soaking up the atmosphere.

At 4.30 the two of us got tarted up, ready for our night out at Royal Albert Hall for the Mountbatton Festival of Music, our Christmas present from Janet and Adrian.  We walked down to the station, where we caught an express train into Paddington, which only took 20 minutes.  Once again we were impressed with the speed and quietness/smoothness of the express trains.  At Paddington, we headed to the Underground to catch our tube to High Street Kensington to discover that there was an issue with the signals on the line we wanted to use and the announcement was telling everyone to catch the next tube and change at the next station for the onward trip.  We were impressed when a nice gentleman (a Londoner) standing behind us was able to ensure us that we could catch the next train with him and he would show us where to get off and which train to catch to get us to where we needed to be. We enjoyed chatting to him and it turned out that the train we were on actually took us to High Street Kensington!

We walked along Kensington Road towards Royal Albert Hall and came to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and the Albert Memorial.  This is a monument to Prince Albert which was commission by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved late husband who died of typhoid in 1861.  We sat in the park and ate our sandwiches before heading over to the Hall.

The distinctive exterior of the Hall was inspired by the architecture of Northern Italy and was built from some 6 million red bricks and 80 000 blocks of decorative terracotta. The Hall, which was opened in 1871, is round in structure and holds 8,000 people in a combination of stalls, grand tier, circle of three tiers of boxes each holding 8 people and the upper gallery. Janet and Adrian had organised a box, number 15, in the Loggia section for us with a magnificent view.

The Mountbatton Festival of Music is the Massed Bands of Her Magesty’s Royal Marines, and this year was the 39th year of the Festival, which brings together the best musicians from Marine Regiments.

We were entertained with excerpts from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Buble, classical music as well as traditional military pieces.   The drums demonstration was even better than those that we had seen at the Edinburgh Military tattoo in 2009!

The time passed very quickly and too soon it was time for us to walk back to High Street Kensington Station for our tube to Paddington and the much slower train back to Maidenhead.  We arrived back at Maidenhead at midnight to hear the town clock striking 12 times.  Richard had borrowed an overcoat from Adrian, which he put on for the walk back to the flat!

We have had an absolutely wonderful day!  We really enjoyed our present as this is something that we would not have thought to do ourselves!


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