Tuesday Bob came home from work and announced that he had off Wednesday and Thursday. Yippee! What do we want to do? Well, we figured, since it was 2 days off, we could go a little farther than usual and just be tired the next day. Only, we didn't find anything before bed.
So Wednesday we got up (I at 5:50, Bob at 7:30) and after breakfast we planned. We needed to go on base and get gas, so we tried to find things in the northerly direction. Only thing is, everything north of here is either not open at all til next week, or is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. grrr. So it took us a few minutes, but we found Framlingham Castle. (Understand we were only looking at English Heritage properties, since we bought the membership and go free.)
So we collected coats, hats, gloves and scarves (it was about 40* all day), diapers, and directions. Then we went to the base to get gas. It was 10, so we thought about lunch... eat now or buy a picnic. Decided to eat now, so we went into the BX, but the hot dog place and the pizza place don't open til 11, and the children don't like the sandwich place. So we went to the commissary and got picnic stuff. They actually had whole wheat bread! I think that's the first time I've seen that there. By the time I got out of there it was nearly 11 anyway. I tried to open the sliding door next to Ella, to put the bage in front of her, but it wouldn't open since the car was in gear. But it opened enough for the "door open" light to come on. So we pulled over, put in park, and opened and shut the door (it is electric, so no one got out and walked over there) - I mention this detail because it comes in later.
Framlingham was just over an hour from the base, and we didn't make any wrong turns! We sat in the parking lot and ate our lunch, then bundled up and got out. We knew the stroller wouldn't go up the stairs, but there seemed to be a lot of places we could use it, so we took it. When I went to get Ella out, she only had one shoe on. Usually when she throws something down, it goes right beside the door, so I looked around - no shoe. I looked outside - no shoe. We got all the stuff out of her floorboard - no shoe. So we figure when we stopped to shut the door, her shoe fell out, and was now laying in the mud beside the road near Lakenheath. What are you gonna do? She spent the rest of the day in one socked foot.
Just to be different from last week's Orford castle, Framlingham had the wall nearly intact, but no keep. There was the 'poor house' made into visitor center and museum, but that was the only interior building. So we went in there and got the audio tours for Bob, me, and the 2 girls. They have two versions - the adult, calm version, and the 'topsy-turvy' version for children. After listening to one of each, I recommended the girls listen to the adult one, as it's much easier to understand. First thing to do was go upstairs, so we parked the stroller and carried the two babies. Up stairs and out onto the wall, where it promptly began to rain. No worries, though - by the time Bob got his camera cover on, it stopped. The clouds were alternating dark and brooding with bright and sunny the rest of the day.
We walked all the way around the top of the wall, which was pretty cool. Riah and Ced ran and played and fell down and shouted, while the rest of us listened to our audio thingys and took pictures. We saw two other couples there the whole time, so we didn't worry about bothering people or getting in the way. On the way down, back to the main building, there was a little hall off the stairs that led to an area museum. It was cute. Then on down to the visitors' center, where Riah had to go to the bathroom. SO I took him outside to the toilet area - both ladies and gents had "closed" signs up, and a man was there working on the electrics. So I went back in to ask the lady, and she said, well, there's the handicapped toilet by the car park... well, there were men working on it when we came up. So we went back out and asked the electrician if we could get in, and he let us use the ladies' room. Phew.
We got the stroller loaded back up and walked around the grounds a bit. First, the courtyard, as that's where we were, and then outside the walls. Bob was trying to get a picture of the whole thing. We went to one side of the gate, then around to the other side. The 'back' side was steep, as it had earthworks (used to be a walled garden there), and muddy from the recent rain. But we made it down and up. There we could see the "mere" - lake in Oklahoman - and the remains of the prison tower. The boys ran and climbed the muddy hill to the castle wall, and the girls tried to. Ella wanted very badly to "play," but she had no shoe. William fell asleep. Finally we'd had enough and headed back to the car.
Since William woke up getting in the car, and we had a decent drive ahead of us, we stopped just down the hill from the castle and I fed him while Bob went into the church.
On the way out of town (I always get direction going, but not coming back!) we missed a turn, ad so ended up coming home another way. Basically we went south and came home the same way we'd come from Orford last week (minus the wrong turn). The two castles are 12 miles apart, and if a person knew what they were doing they could both be seen in one day.
It was only 3 or so, so we decided to go to Mildenhall rather than home. We were there Sunday and looked at grills (BBQs), and Bob had decided to get one. There was a gas one for $199, and it seemed like a good deal. So we go in (used the toilet) and started looking. It wasn't there. There was a whole pallet on Sunday, and now they were gone. We asked a guy, and he said they'd ordered some 4 weeks ago, so maybe in a couple of weeks... bah. We went ahead and had supper, and thought and pondered. Bob thought he'd like to go ahead and get one, so back we went. He asked what I would do (dangerous!). So I said I'd get a charcoal one anyway, because it has better flavor. Oh! He didn't know I liked charcoal better than gas! Well, it's his thing, so whatever. So there was a couple of kettle types, from $80 on up, and two big barrel types from $120. I thought we ought to get the barrel type because the heat is adjustable, but Bob said he could work with the other and it would be fine. So we got the $80 kettle-type, and some charcoal and lighter fluid.
Then, finally, home by 7:00.
See pictures at www.flickr.com/photos/oliveplants