Saturday was 5 Nov which is Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night in England -ever hear of Bonfire Night in Canada Dana? (For a link explaining the tradition go to http://www.bonfirenight.net/.) If you read the history in the link it kind of makes you wonder if that is where the term "fall guy" originated. Probably just a coincidence though. Anyway, to celebrate the tradition we were going to meet the Lheureaus and Freys at a local castle (http://www.tutburycastle.com/) to watch Vikings and fire works. Steve ended up waiting to long to get tickets so it was just us and the Lheureaus celebrating the failed attempt to blow up parliament and the king. The night was fun for a few reasons - celebrating with friends, our first castle adventure, and fire works. The gate opened at 6 PM so everything was dark which made taking pictures a little tough. The castle has some interesting history, it was first recorded in 1071 AD and was a frequent prison for Mary Queen of Scots. Unfortunately for her it was also the place where she became involved in a plot that led to her execution. The castle was neat although there wasn't much exploring since it is mostly ruins now. Even still it was our first castle! The Vikings were a little disappointing, more on them below.
A few pictures of the event. Taking photos was a bit of a challenge since visibility was poor so I ended up using the flash to lighten the picture area before I snapped it. Some of my successful pictures:
One of the Vikings pre-battle.
A block Fleur-de-lis window. An example of the Norman influence in the construction of the castle.
Waiting for the battle to begin.
The Viking "battle". It was basically 10 Vikings per side skirmishing until one side is vanquished. We also had a Viking narrator to describe the battle as it unfolded. Unfortunately he sounded more like Charlie Brown's teacher than a narrator. The battle itself was less than real, Karl quit watching when one of the warriors lowered his shield and his opponent didn't split open his skull. Plus their weapons were dulled (another Karl observation). Probably geared more towards the wee folk than teenagers.
The chief died in battle so the remaining warriors and family are marching off to his funeral pyre. The lady in brown in the middle was his wife and from her screaming protestations she was joining hubby on the floating fire boat.
The body of the slain chief.
Funerals were always a family affair.
Still screaming her protests. She was quite believable.
Paying their final respects.
A couple fire work pics. Nice fire works but not as nice as 4th of July at home. Maybe the Brits would match us if Guy had been successful.
The Lheureaus - another RR family over here.
Sunday - On to Cadbury World! Kalle was SO excited. Her teacher had been talking about visiting it all week so Kal was ready to rock. Her teacher has been there 9 times.
But before we arrived we stopped for brunch at Frankie & Benny's. Pretty good but I don't recognize some of their dishes, maybe because I'm not from NY?
Dana Johnson pic of the day. Triple stack pancakes, three fried eggs and three rashers of bacon. US bacon since it is an American joint I guess but rashers is a Brit word, or is it a NY word? The layered presentation surprised us, but Karl and I thought it tasted very good and looked great.
And finally onto Cadbury World! Talk about disappointing. Chocoholic Kalle's teacher had been talking it up most of the week so she was quite excited to go. We have heard a lot of people talk about it actually but we all ended up being disappointed. You do get some free samples and some of the history was interesting - the Cadbury's were Quakers so their vice was chocolate instead of alcohol or tobacco. The chocolate itself was great, smooth and creamy - probably from the one and a half glasses of real dairy milk they kept mentioning. But the tour itself was not very interactive and the kids weren't that interested in the history of the company. The website is http://www.cadbury.co.uk for those interested in learning more about the company or history. Needless to say this will not be a tour stop for any Yanks coming over for a visit. A "check in the box" as Steve said afterwards.
The group on our way into Cadbury World.
Map of the site - very large. The Bournville history was very interesting.
I made Kalle come back from the ticket line to stand by the poster. And she did for about 2 seconds, I was probably lucky she stayed that long. The one and a half glasses of milk is some kind of well known logo for Cadbury's.
Karl standing next to Hernan Cortes, the Spaniard who wiped out the Aztecs and brought the cocoa bean to Europe.
Her favorite part of the tour was signing her name in chocolate.
I think I may add a new topic also - the Dan Stine complaint of the week. For those who don't know Dan he has the patience of a saint (I am sure living with Christy tests him but he still maintains his cool - love ya Christy!) but I remember him complaining about something on one of our excursions. I asked him what was wrong and he said nothing, I just like to complain. So now its my turn. I collect shot glasses on my travels as reminders of places and I have yet to find a shot glass over here. None at Ye Olde Trip or Cadbury's. I may have to switch to coffee cups or pint glasses. Decisions, decisions.
Kevin Coleman pic of the day. Badger beer has been brewed since 1777 per the label. I bought a sample pack at Costco and the First Gold on the right is one of my favourite beers so far. The single hop adds body to the beer but doesn't have a strong hop flavor. Um um good! Tangle Foot is good as well. I also enjoy Marston's Smooth on occasion.
Overall I have not found a bad beer yet but don't worry, I will keep looking. There are a lot of ciders and bitter beers here but I have been trying to avoid them. I am also looking for some good stouts but they are proving to be elusive so far.
A final note from a previous post - on the last petrol fill up we averaged 29.25 miles per US gallon. Not as good as I expected.
Thanks for listening,