Friday Bob got off work early to go to Staples in Cambridge to get green paper for the squadron holiday party. (They are printing play money to run a casino. Get this - Bob designed the money by scanning in real bills, and changing the faces and mottoes out with local 'celebrities,' and when he went to print them, his $5 bill - the least realistic one - only printed 1/2 way and then he got a warning about counterfeiting. I'm not sure how this was resolved.) We all went along for the ride.
Staples has a parking lot, which was pretty cool, and meant we didn't do the "park and ride" this time. I also have a project up my sleeve, as the homeschool group is having a Thanksgiving party this Thursday and I am bringing sugar cookies to paint. The only thing I needed was paintbrushes. If I'd thought of this in advance I could have had my mom send me some, but I didn't. Anyway, Bob got his paper, but they didn't have paintbrushes.
So, having seen on the map that we weren't far from a shopping center that we'd been to before, we decided to go on down to it. We found the parking garage with a little trouble, and were off. In Poundland - basically like Dollar Tree in the US - I got some toothbrushes, mini Christmas crackers, and... There was a package of long handled paintbrushes that I hesitated over for awhile and finally got two of. There are 12 brushes in the package, 6 of which will be usable, I think. We also went into a department store to look for gloves for my dad, but their sizes aren't the same as they used to be. At this point we were hungry, so we went to Chili's.
Chili's in Cambridge isn't IN the Grafton shopping center, as we'd been originally told. Go out the back door - at the bus stop - and Chili's is across the street.
The menu is pretty much the same as in the States; the tables look the same; the dining room is HUGE. This is the biggest restaurant I've seen in England. Get this - they even offer free refills on soda!! We were early for the dinner rush, so there was no trouble getting a big table, and the service was quite good. In all, it ran us $80 for the meal, but it was nice.
Saturday we went to Bury St Edmunds. (Every time we say "Bury" it makes us think of the TV show "The Last of the Summer Wine" with poor, hen-pecked Barry.) First we went to the Warehouse Clearance Superstore (which also has a parking lot!) - it's kinda like Big Lots in the US. Bob got a string of 15 battery-powered Christmas lights to put on his desk at work. Christmas lights here are very expensive. There, at the discount store, a string of 200 cost 20GBP. Last time we bought lights it was at WalMart for $3 per box, I think. We wandered around looking for paintbrushes, and finally found some that could do, in a pinch. And then we found them - MAKEUP brushes! A pack of 10, 7 of which I could use, for 1.25GBP. So all together, I think I'll have enough brushes.
Then we left the store by a different road, and found our way downtown. Since reading that Mary Tudor was burried in St Mary's church, Bury, we've wanted to go. It is right next to the Cathedral so it's easy to overlook, in spite of being one of the largest parish churches in the country. It is a really beautiful church, with lots of history and interesting things around every corner. We want to go again.
It was lunch time, so we moved to a big parking lot close to the city center (we'd been in 1 hour parking on the side of the street behind the church) and unloaded the stroller, etc. Walked down to the McDonald's for a cheap eat. We even splurged and got ice cream. Then we walked through the market, but the good cheap strawberries were not to be found. I did get some produce, and we got two shirts for Taryn and some photography magazines for Bob. Turns out the shirts aren't going to work like I thought, but maybe she can use them to layer.
Then we went home and gave the boys haircuts and baths, and had chocolate gravy and biscuits for dinner.