Our day trip to Winchester.

We don’t own a car. Yet. I say yet as after three years of not owning a car I am starting to wonder what possessed me. And has it now been excorsised? We struggle with the food shop. EVERY TWO WEEKS. We own a house and have to use up a whole day off just to get to a DIY store and back on a bus. That’s BEFORE we’ve even done any DIY! We rent cars when we visit family, expensive I can tell you. We take trains everywhere. No fun when you have to rely on the train people’s schedule and not your own.

So when we have a whole week off we do all the DIY we can and throw in a few day trips to break things up.

Today, dispite the patchy rain and intermittant sunshine, we journied by train to Winchester. It’s a ten minute bike ride to the local ferry port, a seven and a half minute ferry ride to the train station and then an hour on a train to Winchester. I’m sure we could get there quicker if we had a car but that’s a story for another post.

We hit the high street, grabbed a coffee and pastry and then found ourselves a Primark; and might I say, the NICEST, TIDIEST, CLEANEST, NEWEST, QUIETEST and most remarkable Primark I have ever had the occasion to visit. After this we needed culture. For that OH and I need Museums.

I wanted to go to the Cathedral so we worked our way up the high street to the Concil buildings and the Great Hall- a Medieval looking creation with arched, vaulted cielings, gothic arches and a Round Table, complete with King Arthur portrait and the names of every Knight painted around it’s edge.

Then we found ourselves the Winchester Military Museums and had a really nice wander through the ‘Horse Power’ exibit (The King’s Gaurd) with the whole place all to ourselves.

After that we headed out and back into town for lunch at The Pitcher & Piano. All I can say is. Yum. And… With the BBQ burger, you’ve got to be ready for a challenge; an 8oz juicy burger with bacon, jalepenos, tangy bbq sauce and creamy cheddar cheese toppings and fries.

Back to Museums and we journied half-way up the high street again to The City Museum located at the edge of the Cathedral’s boundary gates. An incredible building and some really fantastic early Winchester history- from the Iron Age to Tudor society.

Then, The Cathedral. Apart from the fact that it is the only Cathedral/Abbey/Church I’ve ever paid a rather excessive and irritating addmission fee for the interior was stunning. I will admit my heart lies in Durham Cathedral; it’s architecture, it’s atmosphere, it’s setting. It is magic. So close to my heart now that even the incredible Winchester Cathedral cannot come close. It’s beautiful but the volunteer at the door immediately offended me by insulting my northern accent. This is one reason why I do not like talking to volunteers in religious settings. They assume as I am under twenty five I am undeserving of common courtesy as I’m probably a rude lout myself. But any way, we saw the memorial for Jane Austen and marvelled at the amazing stained glass and (my favourite feature in Cathedrals) the ceiling…

All in all a wonderful day, Winchester is a beautiful city. The history is well presented and obviously a key part to city, I wouldn’t just visit for shopping although there are some great boutiques and variety. As far as the Cathedral is concerned it was awe inspiring but the thing is… I still love Durham. It’s magic has woven itself into my bones.

I am monogomous when it comes to architecture 😉


Guilty Pleasures…

So, first on my list of guilty pleasures has to be baking… at 8 o’clock at night. Eating Double Chocolate Sticky Muffins practically straight out the oven. OH will winge he wants something sweet to eat after tea. I, being the most gracious of little-women, will happily jump up to make him my favourite DCS Muffins.

I’ll post the recipe soon.

Curling up in my squishy ‘Big Red’ chair wrapped in my dressing gown with my huge cat on my knee and one of my favourite books in my hands. I will sit for hours and hours, not eating and not talking, just reading. Heaven. The only problem I have with my reading addiction is the quality of story (and I only read series) cannot be written fast enough.

Then next on my list has to be fried chicken. Cold. Especially cold. With no sauce or fries or anything. I very rarely get to eat this take-out style and NEVER cook it at home. This special little treat is reserved for the rare occasion I have enough dosh and am walking past the big red building at the top of the high street and feeling in a particularly self-indulgent mood.

American TV shows. BIG guilty pleasure right there. From dramas like Grey’s Anatomy (come on, McDreamy right?), Private Practise, Dexter, NCIS, CSI- Miami, Las Vegas AND New York, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, House, Boardwalk Empire and Justified to Diners, Drive-in’s & Dives, Man Vs Food (see a running theme here?) Ace of Cakes, Ice Road Truckers (ask my parents what they call this program, it rhymes…) Bridezillas (Hell Yeah who doesn’t love watching the crazies now and again?) Well, basically any American TV show. Star Trek. Now that’s one not everyone wants to admit to loving. Any of the vast array of spin-offs and series- Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Next Generation… All of them. Wonderful.

So, what else… Home Wear Stores; kitchen and furnishings… gadgets and art prints. Window shopping ONLINE. Without crowds or noise or fuss. I like nesting.

Shoes. Dresses. Turning the heating on when you know you could soldier on with just your wooly jumper. Coffee. Lots of coffee. Grabbing a taxi home from work when it’s raining. That HUGE extra portion of home made, slow-cooked chile or Musakka.

The idea of building my own home. This consumes me so much and so vividly sometimes that I can see myself walking through the rooms as if they’re already built. The fact that even getting the kitchen done was enough to give me hives doesn’t get a seconds thought.

I know you adore half of these things too. I know you just want to curl up in a big squishy chair with a huge spotty cat, a mug of coffee and the bestest stickiest double chocolate muffin straight out the oven crying to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I know you treat yourself to that extra portion at dinner. I know you secretly want to own a Star Trek ‘United Fediration’ uniform. I know you’d wear your Uggs and PJ bottoms to work if they’d let you.

You know why? Cause I’m just like you.