A little tear rolls down our cheek. Our trip has finally come to an end and we’re back in Sydney.
This is our last IG Edition from the northern hemisphere for a while, but don’t worry, there’s plenty more going on back in Sydney to keep us busy!
You might also see more photos going up on Instagram of our trip in Europe over the next few weeks. We’re not there now, so don’t get confused. We just didn’t want to overload your Instagram feed with millions of photos in one go.
Mrs Romance’s photo count has gone well into the 10k mark, so we’ve got plenty of shots we want to share with you.
We hope you enjoy this week’s IG Edition – and if you’re an English expat yearning for a good UK curry, don’t read any further. You’ll only get jealous!
Jim & Christina xx
My mum and dad have been keen to spend a bit of time with the both of us since we arrived, and now seems to be a good time.
It’ll be the first time the four of us have been away together for years and we’re all looking forward to it. We’ve found a cottage to rent that’ll be big enough for us to relax in and that isn’t too far to drive.
These are our digs for the next 2 nights – a little place in Fritton, Norfolk – about half an hour from Great Yarmouth.
When I said ‘the four of us’ I actually meant five. Mum and Dad have brought their cat Mr Splodge along. He’s a lovely cat – probably about 14 years old now. He’s from a rescue centre.
Mum’s worked her magic on him though and he’s fitted right into the family. She’s even taught him to walk on a lead as you can see.
We’re taking a walk around Fritton Lake (Mr Splodge has gone back inside) and on our way we’ve discovered this amazing thing. It’s a kind of bouncy castle/trampoline and it’s part of the kids’ play area here.
There’s also a zipline and an impressive recreation centre where you can hire boats and stuff. For us, we’re happy to pull our shoes and socks off and have a bounce.
It’s actually a lot harder than it looks and the surface is hotter than the sun on bare feet, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s really quite big though – you can easily see it from Google maps.
The grounds around Fritton Lake are beautifully maintained with plenty of history and pretty flowers to keep everyone happy.
My dad’s more interested what lies beneath the waves though; he’s a very keen freshwater fisherman as you can see from his Instagram feed.
Mrs Romance loves hydrangeas. I’m ambivalent, but my dad hates them! Apparently you can change the colour of the petals by putting tealeaves or coffee grains in the soil at the base of the plants. It changes the flowers purple or blue.
Back at our cottage, we’ve put together a bit of a platter for dinner. Mr Splodge is kindly keeping watch for thieving robins.
It’s quite the spread we’ve managed to pull together. As if we needed any more cheese in our diet… not that I’m complaining.
Mrs Romance and I love shopping for this kind of thing in the UK. There’s just so much more range here than in most shops in Australia.
She’s a real knack for putting platters together. Check out her top tips for making platters.
It may or may not look like it but Dad’s only just holding it together here. I think it’s because he knows he can’t touch the food till we’ve taken the photos that makes him want to touch it even more!
We’ve finished dinner and – for our own safety – have put what’s left in the fridge. No, we couldn’t finish it all in one go. Instead, we’ve swapped gluttony for giggles.
If you haven’t played Cards Against Humanity before, you should definitely give it a go. It’s so funny… as long as you’re not squeamish or easily embarrassed by your parents reading out some very rude statements!
This was one of Mrs Romance’s favourite hands of the night. The idea of the game is one person reads out a black card from the deck and the other players pick the funniest/most surprising/most revolting card to answer the black card from their hand.
I believe my card was ‘Hot cheese.’
It’s our last night here at Fritton. It’s taken Mr Splodge all day to settle down but he’s finally come down from the 1st floor landing where he’s been all day.
He’s not much of a sofa cat. He prefers a windowsill or a floor rug. He definitely doesn’t do people’s laps. So when he comes and sits next to me on the couch, it’s a really big deal.
Before we head off home, we have time to take a walk around Fritton Lake again. It’s very pretty here. The English countryside is certainly one of the things I miss about not living here anymore.
Apart from admiring the views around the lake, there are a couple of pubs to visit. This is the Fritton Arms – a cute little place that’s been done up to be more like a gastro pub and boutique hotel.
After our walk, we sit down to a quick beer but decide not to eat here. There are bar snacks, but the menu itself is a bit over the top. Dad’s not at all impressed with the price of the burger.
Especially because he’s comparing it to last night’s meal at the Waveney Inn right on the waterfront of the Norfolk Broads.
We’ve made our way back to Suffolk after a lovely couple of days ‘up north’. We’ve dropped our bags back at our friends’ place and have gone back out with Mum and Dad for dinner.
We’re at the fabled Little India in Halstead, Essex. I came here with Mum and Dad for New Year’s Eve a couple of years back and it was excellent.
I’m glad to say Mrs Romance is suitably impressed too. The food here really is first class.
Apart from the countryside, this is also what I miss about not living in the UK.
It’s back to work today at our friends’ Clare and Dave’s place. Their spaniel Flo is a task master and is keeping us hard at it… and by ‘it’ I mean playing fetch with her.
She’s very good at making fetch happen.
Tonight we’re out with Clare and Dave, and also Clare’s sister Heather and hubby Des. It’s been ages since we were all out together – Clare and Dave’s wedding in Greece in fact – so it’s going to be a good night.
We’re in Colchester – one of our old stomping grounds – at the North Hill Noodle Bar. This place is a bit of an institution in Colchester, though this is actually my first time here!
The food is incredible, so if you find yourself in Colchester looking for a decent dinner, come here. Make a booking though; it’s popular.
After last night’s frivolities, it’s taken us all a while to get up this morning. But we’ve made it and we’re out with the dogs at Dunwich near Woodbridge.
The fresh air is really helping and the dogs are in very fine spirits. As for the weather – well, look at that sky!
Once again, Mrs Romance and I are caught by the beauty of the English countryside. It really is a pretty place.
Dad and I often used to come round this way when I was younger. The walks you can go on along the coast and along the estuaries are awesome.
Dunwich really does have everything. On our ramble, Mrs Romance has even found a door worthy of her camera lens. There are cottages all along the coast near the nature reserve you can rent.
We all think this is has excellent potential for a weekend away next time we’re up.
We walk along the pebbly beach here at Dunwich. With an ice cream of course. It’s not a walk by the English seaside without a 99 with a Flake, is it?
It’s quite windy here today and the water looks moody and even more uninviting than in its usual brown flatness.
Flo and Ruby are having the best time in it though. This is good news. Our aim is to tire them out as much as possible so they’ll go to sleep when we get home. I wonder if it’ll work…
If someone could find a way to harness the energy of a springer spaniel, we’d be able to do away with fossil fuels forever.
I’m currently trying to write but Flo isn’t having any of it. If I’m in the garden, it means I have one purpose. In fact, that’s also true when I’m in the dining room or the living room or the kitchen. I throw, she catches.
Moments after this shot, my aim goes amiss and Mrs Romance cops a dog chew to the forehead. Game over.
If you haven’t put these three things together before, can I suggest you fix that asap? Warm croissant with Nutella and Biscoff is the very pinnacle of breakfast food.
What is Biscoff? I hear you ask.
We discovered this wonder product in Holland – well, our friends Pat and Sara-May put us onto it, but it’s actually from Belgium.
It’s basically a spreadable form of those delicious cinnamon sugar biscuits and it’s superb!
We’re back in the Suffolk countryside with Mum and Dad for the last couple of days of our trip. Near where they live are a couple of goats – Billy and Charlie. This is Charlie and he’s trying to get at the plum tree leaves.
He and Billy have eaten all the branches they can reach and now Charlie’s discovered he can push this old cable reel around for a boost!
This is Billy. He’s not quite as smart as Charlie, but he has better balance and higher reach. He can stand on his back legs and walk up to the trees to get at the lower branches.
I think he’s off target this time though.
Tonight – our last night in England – we’re out for dinner with Mum and Dad again for our last taste of delicious English curry.
This time we’re trying out a new Indian though. This one has the tantalising name of The Mughal Knight.
This is in the historic market town of Clare, a pretty little town on the heart of the Suffolk countryside deep in the Stour Valley.
Have we over-ordered? Maybe. Do we regret it? Not one little bit. In fact, the food here at the Mughal Knight is so good, there’s very little left by the end.
I think Little India has definitely met its match here though. The food, service and ambience of Mughal Knight are all superb. It’s a great way to end our amazing trip.
As we make ready to head to the airport, the lavender is in full bloom and the big fat bumblebees are busy.
We’ve had an absolutely terrific time in Europe. Even better than that – at least a third of our conversations with friends and family has been about when we’re coming back and where we’re going to go together.
We can’t wait.
And that’s all she wrote… Or it’s all I wrote anyway. We really hope you’ve enjoyed following us on our adventures through this IG Edition series. Of course there’ll be more in-depth stories to come from all this travelling. In fact we’ve got more videos and stories coming your way very soon!
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By the way, this photo is from the other week when we climbed the huge hill in the Cotswolds to see the Broadway Tower. I thought I’d tweak its crenulations. Cheeky!
Speak to you again soon – Jim & Christina x