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England Days 1 and 2: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

England in November. It's probably not the best time of year to go. The weather's crappy. It's cold and rainy. The upside is that there aren't hordes of tourists everywhere. We had planned a dive trip, somewhere warm and beachy. But then one day Mike was talking to his friends from high school who now live across the pond and they convinced him that we must come to England. I admit, I still wanted to go to the beach. But I did get to go to Africa while Mike stayed home with the dogs so who was I to say no? England it was!

We landed on a Sunday morning a little after 9a, after a nine hour flight and some really bad airline food. After walking what seemed like a marathon through Heathrow, we finally made it through immigration and customs, and seated ourselves at the Globe Freehouse Pub to wait for our ride. Our first two nights in England were to be spent at the home of Mike's high school friend Debs, her man Scott, and their two young children Holly and Dylan. Scott works for the rail system in London and he was getting off work that morning so he offered to pick us up at Heathrow and drive us to their home in Wivenhoe, a village in Essex, northeast of London. We were trying to figure out how to call him but the pay phones wouldn't take my credit card. Finally, Mike remembered we had a laptop so he pulled that out, hooked up to the Heathrow Wi-Fi and Facebook messaged him. Ahhhh technology! Scott arrived about thirty minutes later and we were off.

It was about an hour and a half drive to Wivenhoe and most of the trip I just spent trying to stay awake. We arrived at their home and received a quick tour but Debs was anxious to get us to the neighborhood pub. It was only about 100 yards away so we walked on over, the whole family went, kids and all.


Mike got to have his first Guinness in England.

Ours wasn't the only group with kids. Apparently the neighborhood pub really is just that.

Everyone there was unbelievably friendly. Mike and I didn't pay for a single drink. The other patrons were so happy to welcome us to their town that they wouldn't allow us to pay for anything. We had a great time and were disappointed when the pub closed at 5p. We walked home, stopping off at the store on the way for some beer and rum. Debs had been cooking a traditional English Sunday roast all day so for dinner we were treated to lamb roast with mint jelly, gravy, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, potatoes, and broccoli. It was the best lamb we've ever had!

By now, jetlag was starting to really catch up with us so we called it a night around 9p.

A good 12 hours later, we woke feeling much better. Debs made us crumpets with butter and jam. They were so good. The kids were in school until early afternoon so we decided to walk down to the waterfront and explore town a little bit. Wivenhoe is a peaceful, cute little village with neatly built houses.






We passed by Scott and Debs' favorite town pub that was closed due to a recent fire. It particularly hit home for us.

We passed by their church, St. Mary the Virgin.

Debs was speedwalking.

We arrived at the waterfront.

A spaniel that had obviously been swimming was there waiting for someone to throw her ball. Mike obliged and threw it for her a couple of times.

We decided to stop in for a drink at the Rose and Crown. We ordered a snack, too, but I guess they forgot to tell the kitchen because we never got it.



It was almost 1p and time to pick up Dylan from school so we made our way back into town to the school he attends. Mike liked this old rowboat turned into a planter we passed along the way.



We picked up Dylan then walked over to the grocery store where we caught the bus to the next town over, Colchester.

Just a few miles from Wivenhoe, Colchester is one of the oldest towns in Britain.

We were starving by now so we stopped for lunch at the Slug and Lettuce, an English chain restaurant, kind of like Chili's here in the US. Debs and I had an extreme cheeseburger with fries. Mike had the bangers and mash, his favorite English food.

After lunch, we walked around town a little bit but even around 3p it was already starting to get dark and cold.

We walked down to Colchester Castle which was built in the late 11th century under the orders of William the Conqueror.

In front of the castle is a monument and surrounding the castle grounds is a park.






It started to rain so we headed to the bus stop and caught the bus back to Wivenhoe. Holly and Dylan entertained us for a bit while Debs and Scott took care of dinner.



For dinner, Scott and Debs made delicious pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy and baby corn with pea shoots. Scott and Debs were pretty tired so they went to bed early. Mike and I followed later on. We had to get up early the next day to catch the train to Liverpool.

Posted by zihuatcat 21:09 Archived in England Tagged england wivenhoe

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