10 June 2012

Bits and Bobs (The Giveaway Edition)

I'm realizing you all may need a break from the travel photos. (Although for you who aren't bored, I did add some great pictures of the Cotswolds today.) I promise there is only maybe about two more days to go. So I thought I would have a little Bits and Bobs interlude.

The Books
My reading has been very slow so far this year. Here we are only about 20 days from the halfway point and I am only at 25 books. No doubt I will make up some time, but all the company we have had this spring has really kept me from reading. And even on our recent trip, I didn't get much reading done. Normally garden visits means that John goes around taking pictures while I sit in a pretty spot on a bench reading a book. But this time the gardens were all so beautiful and interesting, that I found myself almost as interested as John.

I did, however, recently finish The Flame Trees of Thika, Elspeth Huxley's novel/memoir of her childhood in Kenya before the outbreak of WWI. It really was a fantastic book and I think there were lots of sensitive, insightful observations about Kenya especially given the British colonial context in which Huxley lived.

I also finished A Game of Hide and Seek, my first Elizbeth Taylor novel. There was one patch where I didn't think too much of it, but overall I really enjoyed it. I think I may even want to read it a second time.

The Giveaway
On our recent trip to the UK we were witness to Jubliee mania (we returned to the US the day of the flotilla) and all of the wonderful Jubilee memorabilia. There certainly was some tat, but I was surprised overall at the quality of the souvenirs. I think marketers have finally realized that good design can accompany jingoistic fervor. I could have really gone crazy buying stuff, but there was so much of it I think I felt a little overwhelmed by the choices and so kind of stayed away from most of it.

However, I do have two of these tea towels to giveaway by random drawing. Drawing is only open to those living OUTSIDE the UK. You people have had enough.  Just leave me a comment and let me know you want one.

Food Consumed in 8 Days in the UK

This list is not inclusive of everyting I ate, merely a recap of the my quest to eat some UK favorites, or in some cases try things for the first time.

Fruit scones with jam and clotted cream: 8

Slices of Victoria Sponge: 6
It was really two slices and then an entire cake I purshased from M&S.

Full English Breakfasts: 4

Slices of Melrose and Morgan Jubilee Battenberg: 2
Thanks Miranda and Donna

Fish pies: 2

Mini pork pies: 1

Cornish pasties: 1

Black pudding: 1

Appletiser: 1
Mmmm. Didn't Eddy make fun of Saffy for drinking Appletiser instead of alcohol

Scotch eggs: 0
I can't believe I missed out this time. I always seemed to be full when I saw them.

Something I shouldn't have to miss
I saw this picture of Emma Thompson as the Queen in an advert before we left England. Some dramatization of the night in the 1980s that Michael Fagan made his way into the Queen's bedroom. I think it aired last week. I wonder if it will make it across the pond?


  1. I want the tea-towell, Thomas, and I'll send you something in return.

  2. BORED??? Are you kidding?! I salivate over those photos!

  3. I see you've noted fish pie twice so it must be good. I will try one when I'm in England at the end of the month. And of course, I would love to enter your giveaway! Thank you, Thomas.

    P.S. Your pics are just what I need right now. Love them.

  4. I hadn't spotted those tea towels before, so I've just gone and bought my own from Amazon - I love the design.

    And even those of us in the UK had to miss Emma Thompson if we didn't have Sky Arts 1 - which almost nobody has. I can't believe Emma Thompson was relegated to such a channel... Well, my brother has Sky, but he won't have been watching.

  5. Well, I would dearly love a REAL souvenir from the Jubilee, so please put my name in the draw. I so envy your trip. I would have eaten the scones, and those homemade 'chips' wrapped in newspaper. And if they don't sell them anymore, don't tell me. :<)

  6. I'd love a tea towel.

    I'm not even sure what some of that food is but it all sounds good.

  7. Eight days and eight scones with jam and clotted cream? Now that's doing an English vacation right!

  8. Oh, I'd love a tea towel!

  9. Sign me up; that tea towel is the bees knees.

  10. A tea towel sounds great! I'd love to win - so, definitely sign me up. And I absolutely envy you that you ate scones with clotted jam - those are my favorite! I miss those the most - when I lived in England I must have eaten a scone with clotted cream and jam nearly 3 times a week. And always with a cup of tea :) And just so you know, I love your pics - I seriously doubt anyone is bored looking at them. They are fantastic!

  11. Love the travel photos of the places you visited. Also laughed at the list of food. Very informative and the tea towel would be good fun!! Pam

  12. Count me in for the tea towel. I am drooling over the food and specially for the Battenburg cake. No one does it anymore and you may spot it only once in a while at a five star hotel tea! glorious food.

  13. I would love to have one of the towels! Or a scone with cream and jam for that matter. So far it looks like it was a great trip, I'm wicked jealous!

  14. I collect (and use) tea towels so count me in. Charming!

  15. Loved reading about all your travel adventures, esp to the UK, which is a place I could never get tired of returning to (or reading about). :)
    Pls count me in for the tea towel, too! I think the Queen is one of the best examples of what it means to be ageing gracefully.

  16. My daughter sent me a shot of a window display in Canterbury and it was full of souvenirs of the same design as the tea towel you're offering. They're gorgeous! She has sent a parcel with a towel and a tote bag but good luck to the others hoping to win one. You're lovely, Thomas!

  17. The winners of the Tea Towel are Nan and Michelle (A Reader's Footprints). Ladies please email your mailing addresses to me at onmyporch (at) hotmail (dot) com

    Thanks to all who entered. I wish I had more to give away.

  18. Thank you so much Thomas, for sharing so generously on your lovely trip and the tea towels!
    I hope the Queen doesn't mind Chinese tea. :p

  19. So tickled to have one a towel!


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