Horses, Constable and the horror of London Bridge

Our second week in England has flown by. It’s been pretty much the dream start to the trip; relaxing but busy at the same time. And the weather has been a massive bonus too.

The sun has hardly stopped shining, so we’ve been able to explore a lot of the beautiful English countryside we’ve both missed so much.

However, the only cloud has cast the darkest shadow; the vile, cowardly terror attack on London Bridge and Borough Markets on Saturday night has left the country once again shaken.

Lucky for us, we were far away from the danger visiting my sister when it happened. We watched the situation unfold on TV hardly able to believe what we saw.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families of Saturday night’s sickening and mindless horror.

But on with our latest update from England. We hope you enjoy.

Cheers

Jim & Christina xx

Mrs Romance has relocated her ‘office’ to the back garden this morning to enjoy the sunny weather. We really can’t believe how warm it is here in England.

We were preparing for the worst before we left Sydney… and perhaps that’s why things are going well now! After a spot of work, we’re planning on a bit of a drive around with our lovely friends and generous hosts Clare and Dave. This is going to be good.

A trip down memory lane, we’ve come to The Whalebone Inn in the little town of Fingringhoe in the Essex countryside. It’s an intriguing name, isn’t it?

This pub’s been around for hundreds of years and its history is fascinating. Records of this old inn go all the way back to 1735 – of course ‘memory lane’ for me doesn’t go back quite that far, but I remember coming to this pub many times with my parents when I was a kid.

Inside The Whalebone, the bar offers some great ales, but it’s the food menu that’s always drawn us to this lovely country pub.

We’re out in the garden of the Whalebone, which has some stunning views out over the hills of the area… but I’m more captivated with the view of my lunch! An excellent cheese and bacon burger.

England certainly seems to have lifted her burger game since I was last here.

This morning, we’re back out in the country taking a walk around the beautiful area around the Orwell River and Pin Mill in Suffolk.

We’re with Clare and Dave taking their dogs for a walk through the woods down to the river.

Here are the dogs – Ruby the Irish Terrier and Flo the Springer Spaniel. This is their before photo.

And here is their after photo! They do love a swim and River Orwell is one of the loveliest rivers to do it in! The water’s so clear.

It’s been a great walk through the little town of Pin Mill, so we’re rewarding ourselves with a quick drink in the busy riverside pub called the Butt and Oyster. It’s the perfect pitstop after a hike!

I’m out in Sudbury in Suffolk with Mum and Dad this lunchtime. They’ve taken me to one of their favourite cafes run by an excellent fellow called David. His cafe – appropriately called David’s Cafe Deli – serves up amazing food thanks to his Michelin Star skills.

My burger is absolutely spectacular. Yes, that’s blue cheese on top of this 8oz beef and pork delight.

Meet Fruity. She’s one of our friend Clare’s sister Heather’s horses. Isn’t she a beauty? While I’m gobbling down that big burger, Mrs Romance is out visiting the horses and putting into practice her riding lessons she’s been doing in Sydney this year.

Mrs Romance is known for taking things one step further. From riding a horse, she’s now trying out some horse vaulting tricks! This beautiful boy is called Blue and I think Mrs R has found a new best friend.

And there’s the next step further again. Yup, Mrs Romance is now standing on a horse!

Tonight – and nothing to do with the horses we’ve just seen – we’re having a curry. Dave’s got some mad cooking skills and has knocked up a real Indian feast for us.

I’m always excited about cooking curry, so I’ve thrown my hand in too and put together one of my favourite veggie curry dishes – a brinjal bharji (made of eggplant). Here’s the recipe for my dish.

Today, we’re out on a big outing for a march across Constable Country! We’re out with Clare and my mum and dad at Flatford Mill following the Stour River round to Dedham – one of famed painter John Constable’s favourite walks. Constable grew up in this area and took this walk on his way to school each day.

The River Stour is the subject of many of Constable’s paintings, and no wonder. It’s a beautiful river – especially when the weather’s this perfect.

Our walk (conveniently) ends at the Marlborough Head pub in the beautiful little town of Dedham. This pub has been around since the 16th Century and is another trip down memory lane for me. Mum and Dad and I used to come here for dinner all the time when I was younger.

The food here is still amazing and the beer is also excellent. Woodforde’s Wherry is an awesome beer and well worth hunting down.

After lunch, we’re exploring Dedham town. Some of the houses here are absolutely adorable with the tiniest doors you’ve ever seen.

We’re having a great time looking around the English countryside. I’m sure there’ll be more to come!

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