Summer in England 2015 – part 8: Aylesford Priory

Sadly, time always passes by so quickly and our time together was almost done.  We had a few hours to spare on the last day, so I thought we could have a quick trip just down the road to Aylesford.

I used to play in a band when I was about 17 and 18 and we used to practice in one of the band members houses in Aylesford, so I know the town well – and it has a very interesting history with an active Carmelite Friary that dates back to the Crusades. Read More

Summer in England 2015 – part 2: rowing on the river at Tonbridge

The next day was overcast and had rain forecast, but we’re made of tough water resistant English stock – no hiding inside for us!

We had wanted to hire a boat and cruise down the river at Tonbridge, but the exchange rate was terrible and my $AU are now worth about 30% less in £GBP than last year, so we had to downscale our ambitions a little bit.   Read More

Back to England – part 2

The weather was beautiful, so we made the most of the local parks and my parents garden (which has a teeny freshwater crayfish in the brook that runs through it), playing with the kids and generally having fun.  We made good use of the village shop and bought all kinds of yummy treats – thats the one good thing about living in a village – the trusty shop, which sells all kinds of esoteric stuff, including some yummy Kentish beer 🙂 Read More

Trip to the UK – Part 3

It was still freezing cold, but we refused to be couped up indoors – I only had a week and I wanted to get out and about with the kids as much as possible.

We went off to the duck ponds for a wander around – there was still a little bit of snow around and the lakes were still frozen several cm thick – probably more in the middle

Brrr! Read More

Trip to the UK – Part 2

So, we’ve been having a great time here – it’s been a relatively quiet one this time as it’s been freezing cold, most cool places are actually closed for the winter and we’re all too busy kicking back.

We did go swimming which was cool.  No, litterally, it was freezing.  The poor boy (who has the physical appearance of the terminally malnourished) went blue and his teeth were chattering uncontrollably.

He did try to swim, but the belly ache he had when he got out indicated that he was actually trying to drink the pool level low enough so he could stand. Read More

tripski – final part

We had some other nice days, went out for lunch – actually, there’s a story there all by itself

Never go to Pizza Express in Sevenoaks – they were terrible, forgot our order, lied to cover it up and told us it was ‘just in the oven’ but 1/2 hour later it still hadn’t arrived, stuffed up with the deserts and eventually, after nearly 2 hours (yeah, I know, I was ready to blow) we just walked out.  So, Pizza Express – you were terrible, beyond awful and I have no hesitation in not recommending that anyone go there ever, under any circumstances.

And I’m going to tag this post and tweet it too.  Customer service is sometimes about recovering from a stuff-up – and they just made it worse.

Anyways, before I get on my high horse too much, back to the week..

Lunch, days out, fun, etc.

Then we decided to go to Hastings Aquarium with my sister.

Having a 7 seater hire car has some benefits – we could fit them all in one car and go together.  So, after much palaver getting car seats in, we trotted off in gloomy but clearing conditions.

We arrived in Hastings and it was shrouded in the thick sea fog – couldn’t see the tops of the townhouses it was that thick.  There was no way to make out the horizon between ocean and sky.  The aquarium was a bit of a disappointment if truth be told, it was small and didn’t have that much in there, but still, the kids had a good time.  We had lunch (fish and chips, of course) and then went for a walk on the beach

Good times 🙂

Had a nice day the next day, but then I had to take them back home, which was sad as it had been such a lovely week.  I hate to leave them, its horrible.  But, time will fly and I’ll be back in the summer.

Best Hotels

I was reading Baby Girl’s blog – and she was talking about a new fabulous hotel in the grounds of the Palace de Versailles in Paris will be created from a disused mansion – the Hôtel du Grand Contrôle.

It looks amazing – and will probably cost an arm and a leg too I suspect.

Then I got to thinking, what hotels have I stayed in over the years – here’s some of my favourites.

1.  Savoy – London.  Yes, it was everything they say and then some.  The room itself was not huge or excessively opulent (but it was pretty bloody good), but then it was only a standard room, but the facilities, bars and restaurant were amazing.  Roof level swimming pool anyone?

2.  CompleatAngler, Marlow – UK.  My best friend got married there and it was something else.  We bumped into Piers Morgan at the reception and also had a chat with Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton (who were very lovely).  It did cost something disgusting like 360 pounds a night, but it was awesome and situated on the Thames, it was a lovely place to stay

3.  L’Imperial Palace, Annecy, France.  I stayed there for two nights on business and it was an amazing place with views across the lake to old Annecy town. If I remember rightly, the room was lovely and the restaurant was pretty special too.

4.  Sofitel, La Defense, Paris.  It’s not the most obvious choice, but it was a reaaaally good hotel, and the bed was the softest I’ve ever slept on.

5.  Erm. I honstly don’t know where to go from here – the rest fall into the decidedly average category.  I guess 2 weeks on an old school cruise ship (P&O Victoria) could be counted – that was a very cool experience – but the room was hardly palatial.  The food was amazing though.

So there you go.  These are the best places I’ve ever stayed.