Sunday, 9 March 2008


I got up at 6:15, and greeted each child as he or she straggled into the living room. At 7:15 they were all awake and starving, so I set them to eat cereal, and went to wake up Bob. He'd got off a little early Friday, so we went to bed together at 11:30ish. I made us each an egg, and got everybody a muffin. Not bad, but this brand of whole wheat flour is a coarser grind than the other brand, and I don't like it as well. The cocoa and peanut butter chips helped things out some. :-)

By 9:00 we decided that we wanted to go to Orford Castle and got directions from Google maps. By 10:30 we were out the door. (Did you feel the momentum come to a grinding halt? We all got ready, got a lunch together, fed the baby, printed the maps, went to the toilet........) It's about an hour and a half to get down there; the first half is on a highway, and the second half on narrow winding roads. I know in my mind that leaning to the inside of the car doesn't actually make it move over, but I couldn't stop myself. And I really don't know why I think it would be better to to have a wreck with a strained look on my face, but I sure cringed every time a car came too close.

We made it about noon. It was cool and very windy (being near the coast). Seeing the long line of steps up to the castle (it was built on a hill) we decided to leave the stroller in the car. So we got William out of his seat and changed his diaper and put him in my "pouch" - a soft baby carrier. I put my jacket on over that to keep us both warm, and put a too-big hat on his head. Ella wanted to wear the hat, but she has one built into her coat. This castle is owned (or operated by) National Heritage, which we joined, so it was free entry. The castle is very interesting. (only the keep survives) The main central room is round, with a 30 foot ceiling (I'm guessing here) - there are three levels of this - main hall, upstairs fancy hall, and downstairs room with a well. Around that there are a couple of rectangular sections with bedrooms, a chapel, several toilets, a kitchen, and storerooms. The stairs were a little freaky, being spiral with no rails. The main staircase had a rope to hold onto, and the steps were about a foot deep on the outside, but the secondary stairs were much narrower and had nothing to hold onto.
It wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't afraid of heights, and I didn't have something blocking my view of my feet, and I didn't have to help someone else up and down. Up wasn't too bad, but down was nerve-wracking.
We went out onto the roof, and that was cool. Literally. If the rail wasn't there someone would have blown off. But great views.
On our way out William was fussy, so I went on to the car to feed him and Bob took the other children around the dry moat to run and play.

Now it was 1:30 and high time for lunch. We decided to see if there was a place in the town of Orford. There was a pub on the main strip, but no parking. So we thought we'd go to the ocean and have a snack, then eat lunch at the Little Chef about 1/2 way home. So we got down to the quay, but no parking allowed. They do boat trips (kinda pricey), and there was a place to buy fresh fish, but not much else. Anyrate, it wasn't the ocean. There is a river that runs parallel to the coast there, and runs into the ocean a ways south. So that wasn't as big a deal as we wanted it to be. We took one more turn through the town parking area - still nothing. But on the way out we noticed another pub, and it had its own private parking. Bingo! It looked crowded, but we gave it a try (here they say "gave it a go"). There was one table open, and it had a bench on one side and a high chair already set up there. Bob, Riah, and I got chairs, and the other 3 sat on the bench. Bob got fish and chips, I got a bacon sandwich (they call ham bacon - bacon is called streaky rashers), Taryn got "cheese on toast" (Welsh rarebit), and the other 3 had egg, sausage, and chips. Bob's was okay; Taryn didn't like her cheese; mine was delicious, and the eggs were okay. The pub had a nice atmosphere. The people at the other tables were real chatty, and it really felt like a fellowship meal. Everyone commented on our "large" family, and how well-behaved the children were.
I mentioned later to Bob about the number of empty bottles left on the table behind us. Not single-serving beer bottles, but wine and whiskey. It's a wonder any of that group could stand up straight. Bob said one of the guys at work has decided all Europeans are alcoholics. He (the guy at work) says, "They get up and drink. They drink on their lunch break. They go to the pub and drink. They go home and drink. They're just alcoholics."

We missed a turn on the way home and had gone a couple of miles before I was sure of it, so we had to turn around and go back. But no harm done. It drizzled on us some on the way home, so I'm glad we went in the morning instead of after lunch.

In Moulton there was a flock of sheep, and lots of baby lambs. So I asked Bob to stop and take a picture, and he did. Actually parked the car on the street and walked over to the edge of the field. As he was about there, a man who was walking down the opposite side of the street stopped to talk to Bob. Turns out it's his field. He said something about having just mowed it, and they chatted for a minute before he went on home and Bob went on to photograph. We had the window open in the car and could hear the bleating. Those lambs sure are cute.

So that's Saturday. Another castle to cross off the list. :-)


Ganeida said...

lol. I know winding English roads ~ & their pubs are the best. The food is almost always decent. However I will take a winding English road safely on the ground over a winding Swiss or Norweigian road suspended in thin air & minus safety rails any day of the week. Dearest still turns pale at the memory of Swiss mountain roads.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great wonderful day. I bet there was no problem sleeping that night.

MamaOlive said...

ganeida, lol at roads suspended in mid air. I prefer my feet on the ground.

jc, it was a blast.