Country hikes, curries and the Italian coast

It’s hard to believe how fast time is going. We’ve already been in the UK for two and half weeks already – Mrs Romance has even left for Italy in fact.

On one hand it feels like we’ve only just got here and on the other we’ve already done quite a lot. Thankfully we’ve got these IG Editions to look back on and remind us of some of the highlights. We hope you’re enjoying them too.

This week, we take a look around Buckinghamshire while we catch up with my sister, we also fit in an enormous curry – our first since we’ve been back. Definitely one thing we miss about the UK: the excellent Indian restaurants.

Anyway, we hope you enjoy this latest IG Edition. Chat again soon

Jim & Christina xx

It’s been so good hanging out with my mum and dad – and Clare of course, who’s lingering in the background there! This is one of our shots from when we went for a stroll around Dedham and Constable Country last week.

The weather hasn’t stuck around though, I’m afraid.

We thought we’d share another photo of our generous hosts and dear friends Clare and Dave. We’ve talked a lot about their lovely dogs Flo and Ruby, but these guys have been putting us up and putting up with us these last couple of weeks.

It’s been amazing to be able to spend so much time with Dave and Clare. Really reminds us how much we’ve missed them.

This weekend we’ve headed west to catch up with my sister Jayne. She lives in Buckinghamshire and has scoped out some great walks in the stunning countryside.

We’ve also been blessed with some exquisite weather today. Let’s hope it sticks around!

Spring and early summer is such a beautiful time to be in England. The wildflowers are all in bloom, and everything smells and feels so fresh. I took this just to test my camera’s exposure, but I quite like it.

My dad reckons these are White Campions… I have no idea. Smile and nod. Smile and nod.

It’s not a walk in the English countryside without finding an overgrown telephone box, is it? These things are becoming more and more of a novelty. They certainly add a certain accent to the country scene, don’t they.

I’m just glad I don’t have to use them anymore. They look lovely from the outside but behind that heavy red iron door always lurked suspicious smells and puddles and at least one piece of rubbish.

On our perambulations around the Bucks countryside, we’ve come to Claydon House. This beautiful old manor house was once the holiday home of Florence Nightingale.

Its grounds are stunning, with lakes, a range of old architecture and views out over the rolling hills of Buckinghamshire.

Best of all (and probably why my sister likes the place so much), you can find an excellent selection of cakes and pastries in the courtyard of Claydon House.

Phoenix Tea Rooms is a charming little spot to refresh after (or in the middle of) your hike through the fields and hills of the surrounding countryside.

Mrs Romance’s strawberry tart is extremely photogenic, isn’t it? I doubt if its beauty will last long!

At the heart of Buckinghamshire is – of course – Buckingham! We’re here to have a look round this pretty little town.

One of the more noticeable buildings in Buckingham is the Old Gaol. This gothic style building has actually only been here since the mid-1700s, but it’s a beautiful, tubby old creature well worth a photo.

Further down the street in Buckingham’s Hidden Quarter is a great new bar and restaurant called The Garage. If you’re in town and you’re after a perfectly made cocktail, come here.

Nuno behind the bar has some serious skills. He even ‘throws’ cocktails – an old technique you don’t see very much where instead of shaking or stirring the drink, he pours it at a distance from one shaker to another. It’s amazing to watch.

My gin martini, made with a local gin from Foxdenton Distillery. Their 48 is absolutely delicious even though it gets its name from the fact that it’s 48%abv!

In fact, I enjoyed last night’s martini so much we’ve come to the pretty little market town of Winslow for the weekend farmers’ market where Foxdenton Estate has a stall. I’ve bought 2 bottles!

Back in Buckingham, we’re enjoying the old buildings and exploring the little streets. This pretty little thatched cottage is a great example of what you can find here.

It’s not just Buckinghamshire’s buildings and gin that garner our curiosity. We’re in the little town of Brill, and the locals are just as intriguing.

We’ve found a paddock full of bullocks – and they seem more interested in us than we are in them. Especially when they’re intent on shoving their wet noses all over us. Cute in a grim sort of way.

If this isn’t the best example of a tree house, I don’t know what is. This thatched shelter has actually been here for about 200 years, and the local council has adapted the roof and structure the whole time the tree’s grown.

How cool is that?

It’s almost time for us to leave, but before we do, my sister has taken us into Buckingham for a spot of breakfast at Vibin’s Café.

My rosti with smoked salmon is good, but I think Mrs Romance’s Egg Royale with extra spinach wins the day.

It’s Mrs Romance’s last night in England before she leaves for Italy. As is only proper, we’ve gone for an Indian – and what a feast!

This is at the Bengal Diner in Fox Street, Essex. But all this isn’t just for me and Mrs R. My mum and dad, and Clare and Dave have joined us too!

Even so, the 6 of us are going to struggle to get through all this.

And Mrs R is off! Her views out over the rolling green Stansted countryside will soon be swapped for the romance of the Italian Riviera. Her first stop on her journey is Genoa… or is it Genova? I never know.

The coastline of the Italian Riviera is just stunning. Mrs Romance is here to visit some old family friends. And by ‘old’ I really mean it. These lovely people are in their mid 90s – though Piero is coming to meet Mrs R to take her to her hotel… on foot!

Well, that’s all from us for this Edition. We hope you’ve enjoyed it.

We’ll chat again soon.

Cheers

Jim and Christina x

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