Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Northern Exposure: A story in two parts (Part II - The Other Part)

We arrived at Suze and Phil's just in time for happy hour on Friday.  So we drank and watched the Olympics and drank and ate a delicious dinner of homemade spinach and ricotta cannelloni and drank and watched more of the Olympics and drank.  And drank.

Miraculously, no one woke up with a hangover on Saturday morning so we hit the road towards the Lake District.  To amuse ourselves during the drive, I pulled out my atomic sours and invited Suze to have a go.  Since it's far funnier that anything I could possibly come up with on my own, here's how she described the experience:  "My mouth feels like I have drank a litre of petrol and chewed a half dozen razor blades. My jaw aches and I've pulled a face that looks like an amateur Picasso print. And yet, they are VERY good." 

Even though it positively pissed down rain for most of the day on Saturday, we still had a great time.  First stop was Ambleside, an adorable little town - even in the non-stop rain.  But we took refuge in Lucy's for lunch and ate ourselves stupid.  

I love the clouds hovering over the hilltops.  

This little house on the bridge is 300 years old and was originally built as a storage house for an apple orchard.  Since then, it's served as a residence for a family with six children (in the mid 1800's), a cobbler, an antique shop and a gift shop.  It's now owned by the National Trust and is an information center for the Lake District.  (And by the way, kind of puts things in perspective considering I complain that our three bedroom house back in Raleigh "isn't big enough to have a baby in".)

After wandering around Ambleside, we got back in the car.  And drove up a hill and right smack into the center of a cloud.  Seriously.  Thick as pea soup!

We flipped a coin to try and decide where to go next and it came up tails - to the waterfall, Aira Force.  Miraculously, it pretty much stopped raining long enough for us to walk around the falls area.  

Off the pathway to the falls sits this log for kids to hammer coins into.

Well, kids... and Jason.  The whole thing is positively covered.

I love all this nature shit.

Jason risked life and limb for this one.

Me, Suze and Phil walking to the bottom of the fall...

Quite possibly the most beautiful sight I've seen anywhere in England.  It was absolutely stunning!  And because of all the rain, it was really powerful.

The only downside is that the mist spraying off of it doesn't exactly do wonders for one's hair.

It was all so romantic that we were moved to pose for a Hallmark card shot.

We loved this tree.  It looks like it's wearing a loose stocking.

The view across one of the lakes.  Which one?  Dunno.

More cloud-over-hill lovleyness.

Saturday night, we all piled onto the couches for more Olympics and eventually a music trivia game.  Since Jason and I were the guests, we let our hosts win.  It's only good manners, you know?  (In reality, they wiped the floor with us.  To be fair though, some of the music was British crap that no self-respecting American would ever have heard of.  And some of it was comprised of the mating calls of local fauna.  Whatever.  I'll still kick their asses at Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture.  Not real Trivial Pursuit, mind you.  Phil would clean up at that, what with his vast knowledge of metals and Georgian building materials.)

Saturday, we headed out to see Beeston Castle and to the town of Chester.  But on the way, we were treated to this surprise.  A huge windmill made out of hay!  Apparently, they build something new every year...  This fact comes from Phil who knows quite a lot of helpful bits of information.  Over the duration of the weekend, as previously alluded to, I got a crash course in metals and metal alloys and sandstone.

Beeston Castle - or what's left of it...

Apparently, you can see eight counties from up here.  I don't know if that's true, but the views are definitely excellent.

Playing around the well.  I invited Suze to jump in and see how deep it was but for some reason, she wasn't keen.

So we tested it another way.  The verdict?  DEEP.

The four of us - Phuze and Jaser.  That's our celebrity couple names.  (Jason wants me to make sure everyone knows that Jaser is pronounced like laser.  It's cooler that way he says.)

Looks like the paparazzi have found us.

I'll turn my lens on them and see how they like it!  (Only kidding.  That's just Phil.  And as far as I know, he doesn't have a second job as a paparazzo.  Or does he?  Only kidding.  He doesn't.  Unless he does.)

Jason surveying his kingdom.

Me terrorizing a huge chicken.  (Insert lots of Napoleon Dynamite "large talons" quoting and "huge cock" jokes here.)

On our way into Chester, we got pretty close to the Welsh border so I asked if we could drive to it so maybe we could finally get our photo of the "Croeso i Gymru" sign.  No dice.  It still evades us.  So help me god I will have my photo taken by that sign before we leave here. 

The lovely town of Chester - all tudor all the time.

This clock was made for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne).

Sidewalk art

And the cathedral...  

We had such a great time and Phuze were outstanding hosts.  If ever you're up North and need a place to rest your head, pop into the Phuze B&B.  I highly recommend it.  But say "no thanks" if they challenge you to a music trivia game.


Suze - Manchester UK said...

Touché! And thanks for the recommendation - we've already had a call from Lonely Planet booking the spare room.
To clarify: no chickens (or cocks) were harmed in the making of this blog.
Now, am I going up against the two of you on my own in September on TP Pop Culture?? If I win will you put 3 of those sour candies in your mouth at once?

Felanie Melanie said...

My two favorite parts of this post..."I love all this nature shit" and "Jaser...pronounced like Laser." Man I miss you guys!!! Come home soon!!!

Jessi said...

Love the pictures. Thanks for sharing! The falls look beautiful and the tree of the stairs is really cool!

Raquel said...

What great pictures. Looks like you guys had a fantastic time together. Thanks for sharing. :)

Muz and Mo said...

Looks like a really fun weekend! I must admit it still kinda is weird to me to see you guys in pics together - but I'm so glad you all get along and you know what I am BUMMED that we missed out! Anyhow, glad you had a fab weekend, and I love the pics!!

London Southern Belle said...

amazing photos!