Not Martha

My Vacation Slides: Day 8, Rain Gods and cake for elevenses

my feet standing at the stairs of a double decker bus

It was on this day that I started to suspect I might be a rain god. We had planned to spend the morning visiting either a grand estate, or having good old fashioned tea in a large family home. But it was raining again, and when we stepped out the front door my umbrella blew inside out. So we headed to see more of Nottingham, and Scott and I rode a double decker bus for the first time, the staircase of which is shown above.

Missed photo opportunity here: Laura and Andy still get milk delivered and I forgot to grab a picture of it waiting on the stoop.

a rainy bus window

It was so rainy we couldn’t see anything from the front window of the two-story bus. It was still thrilling to ride it, though.

old tombstones used as paving stones

First we visited a very old church. Outside they used old tombstones to pave the courtyard.

memorial stones set in the floor

Some very old, very dead people.

a unicorn statue

A unicorn!

two lovers

The entryway had big heavy doors with different tiles, this one was my favorite.

three boxes for money labeled Poor, Flowers and another one for Requests

small gold fork

Then it was nearly eleven in the morning and we figured it was time for cake. We went to The Walk, which had recently been profiled in the New York Times. The place was lovely and cozy and offered an impressive display of cakes. The waitresses all wore fascinators in their hair. The dishes and tea pots are all different, and I especially liked my fancy fork.

lemon and cream cake

This lemon cake was so good. I want to fly back so I can eat more.

battengerg cake

And you might not believe me but this Battenberg Cake was delicious as well, even the almond paste covering was yummy.

a wide upholstered chair

Then it was another stroll through John Lewis where I fell hard for this chair. The smiling man in the background was happy enough to end up in the frame as long as I didn’t mind.

cake forks, with a wider side for cutting

Cake forks! Forks are made just for eating cake. We need a set of these.

a tow food long chocolate egg

The British are serious about their chocolate Easter treats, and I think this was the largest chocolate egg we saw on our trip.

packages of chocolate pigs

I forgot to mention that I did buy some yardage from John Lewis, some of which is laminated and I didn’t realize under after it was cut that perhaps folding it and shoving it into a suitcase wasn’t the greatest idea. Luckily it made it home just fine.

Worchester Sauce flavored chips

We bought sandwiches for the train and I got a picture of these chips, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy them.

the back yard

Then it was back to Laura and Andy’s house for lunch. They have a lovely back yard and I was sad it was too wet to sit outside and look at it.

close up of mushrooms and lemon zest, with a cat in the background

Daisy was interested in what was being prepared.


I have such trouble getting pictures of Scott without the “someone is taking a picture of me” face. I have the same problem myself.

pasta on a plate, still steaming

Lunch was delicious, pasta with lemon, mushrooms, thyme I think and just a bit of garlic. It was perfect for an almost-Spring but still cold and damp day.

Then it was off to the train. On the way to the station we passed this, the only one of it’s kind in the UK:

a Hooters restaurant

On behalf of all reasonable Americans I would like to apologize to the entirety of the UK. We are sorry.

Thing I learned the hard way

Umbrellas: it’s worth investing in one that won’t turn inside out.

Previously: Day One arrival and beating jet lag; Day Two big impressive monuments, unexpected meetings, needing to pee; Day Three The Metro, a museum, and French onion soup; Day Four dogs in paintings, startlingly large arches and towers; Day Five pastries and scoldings; Day Five the bit about the mangosteens; Day Six trains and vegetables; Day 7, Ye Olde-est Pub in England and a giant space suit

Next up: Day Nine accordions and chestnuts

· comments [24] · 03-24-2010 · categories:travel ·

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 barrie // Mar 24, 2010 at 7:37 am

    two of the reasons i haven’t been interested in visiting though is a) the cost, i can get a lot more for my money elsewhere and b) rain, rain and rain BUT you might have convinced me with that unicorn. now that, i have to see in person.

  • 2 kerry // Mar 24, 2010 at 8:06 am

    my husband and I were in Westminster Abbey about 7 years ago. One of the “guys in robes” (was it a priest who was giving tours?) chatted with us for a bit about our traveling companion (a 10″ tall Homer Simpson doll which hangs from our backpack), and then he pulled back the sleeve of his robe and showed us his Homer Simpson watch.

  • 3 kerry // Mar 24, 2010 at 8:07 am

    loving the posts from your vacation BTW.

  • 4 mia // Mar 24, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I wish you would’ve bought the crisps (chips). Walkers salt & vinegar are amazing, but the Worcester Sauce are my FAVORITE!! So good-

  • 5 Seanna Lea // Mar 24, 2010 at 9:47 am

    What is the filling for the lemon cake? I want to try and make it!

    Yes, my name is Seanna Lea and I am a lemon demon.

  • 6 megan // Mar 24, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Seanna Lea – It was a dense cream filling, it tasted like vanilla, I think. The cake was soaked with lemon sugar water and had lemon zest in the sugar topping so it was all lemony.

  • 7 ArchitectDesign // Mar 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

    What a lovely day that was -especially the cakes…mmm!
    I’ll have to try that pasta combo, it looks delicious!

  • 8 Evangeline // Mar 24, 2010 at 10:55 am

    You know, I loved hearing about Paris because it’s exotic. But I am loving hearing about Nottingham even more because when you are British and live in Britain it all seems so dull. I am sure I can speak for all fellow Brits when I say we’re probably a bit ‘meh’ about double decker buses, and even more ‘meh’ about the rain, but I suppose everywhere in the world is a little bit glamorous if you don’t live there all the time! Your posts have made me determined to find more wonder in my daily life and appreciate the flavours of crisps (or chips if you will) available to me on a daily basis ;). Cheers, say I!

  • 9 Jen // Mar 24, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Just so you know….. you can get milk delivery in the Puget Sound area. (They also deliver a million other things right to your cute little front porch insulated milk box.) We’ve been getting milk delivered fresh for years :-)

  • 10 Jessie // Mar 24, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I second your apology, but also extend it to all of Austria, and to Vienna in particular. I saw a Hooters there near Stadt Park, and it made me cringe. *sigh*

  • 11 Jessi // Mar 24, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Oh my gosh, that unicorn is epic!! Why was there a unicorn in a church?

  • 12 Lizzi // Mar 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Why didn’t you buy the crisps? Aside from my husband and child, they are the best thing on planet earth.

  • 13 Sam // Mar 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Am I completely unrefined or are cake forks not commonly used of late?

    I LOVE dessert plates and the like but I feel I must now know what makes a fork a cake fork and where I can buy them!

  • 14 K // Mar 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Oooh, that cake looks delish. And I love the forks too. Nice views of your boots!

  • 15 Denise // Mar 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I am noticing your boots in several of your pictures! I just bought myself a pair (brown suede) thanks to your recommendation. How have they held up? Also, I am going to try those herbed-baked eggs you linked to the other day. They look so good!

  • 16 megan // Mar 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Jessie – Really? Yikes!

    Evangeline – I really really cannot emphasize enough how great just being able to walk around downtown was, the absence of the noise and danger of cars whizzing by was actual sort of restful.

    Lizzi – We were already bringing a bag of crisps with us and returning home to an apartment full of junk food.

    Sam – I had never even known there was such a thing as cake forks, so no, you’re not unrefined. I think they just have a wider side, maybe that comes to a gentle edge, for cutting and maybe scooping?

    Denise – They served me excellently. I didn’t get blisters, they stayed waterproof (I didn’t add any extra waterproofing to them) and they continue to generally be my favorite footwear.

  • 17 sioux // Mar 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    oh good god. must own those cake forks!

  • 18 Sigga // Mar 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Love the vacation posts and just wanted to say re: umbrellas & the UK, the expensive ones break just as easily as the 2 pound ones do. I learned that the hard way. Now I just buy the cheapo ones and don’t feel bad when they break.

  • 19 barrie // Mar 25, 2010 at 6:13 am

    jen, we get smith brothers too! eggs, milk AND greek gods yogurt. all at a very reasonable cost. i never go shopping for that stuff anymore. it’s pretty amazing and i love the cute tin box too.

  • 20 Jody // Mar 25, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I spent a semester in London in college. The picture of the walker’s crisps is making my mouth water! My favorite flavor was Prawn. Sounds gross – but oh so good!

  • 21 Amélie // Mar 25, 2010 at 8:45 am

    I love your posts about this trip.
    I jsut thought you might be interested in this umbrella:
    I don’t have it myself, but I’m considering getting it. It does look like it would solve the problem of inside-out umbrellas!

  • 22 Jo // Mar 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Worcester Sauce crisps are the best! I’m going to go and get some right now in fact…

    also, I agree with Evangeline, the UK seems much more exciting when seen through they eyes of a visitor. Thanks for your posts, I love your blog!

  • 23 Janna // Mar 28, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Brilliant ending. Beautiful photography. I fell for the forks, too.

  • 24 Sarah Dean // Mar 29, 2010 at 7:07 am

    To answer Jessi’s question, a Unicorn is on the royal coat of arms for the United Kingdom. So despite the fact they are they not exactly biblical, it is not that unusual for one to be on furniture in a Church of England church.

    I too as an English person, have really enjoyed these posts. And you have changed my mind about Nottingham. With all the gun crime and so on, I hadn’t really ever felt the need to visit.

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