Mum and Dad arrived just in time for a rather unusual white Easter. In fact the weather the weekend they arrived was freakish in a number of ways. Friday morning last week dawned to blue skies and just a few fluffy white clouds. However, by the time we were standing in Heathrow waiting to meet our visitors, ominous dark grey clouds were looming, and then, just as we climbed into their hire car and shut the doors, actual hail started pelting down. Having not taken the extra insurance for windscreen and tyre damage, there was some panic, but we quickly regrouped and The Boyfriend drove us out onto the M5 for our first London driving experience. Which actually went surprisingly well, other than a wrong turn that sent us into deepest Chiswick - not much of a problem though because we had never been there before, and it actually looks quite nice.
The next day we headed west out of London for a drive around the Dorset/Cornwall area. We stopped to check out Salisbury after driving through or past Basingstoke, Andover, Amesbury and this very picturesque but tiny place called Thruxton, courtesy of a wrong exit off the motorway. England continued to shock us with more sun, but it wasn't to last. The skies clouded over just as we left the motorway just out of Salisbury and drove into a small place called Burcombe, and while we were enjoying an amazingly good lunch at this place, snow started falling. This is the first time we've seen both hail and snow in England, so all in one weekend, and Mum and Dad's first couple of days - I felt that even for London's notoriously contrary weather, it was fairly impressive.
After piling back in the car, we kept on towards the west through a bunch of places including Wilton, Shaftesbury (past Stonehenge), and Sherbourne, finally reaching Yeovil where Mum had booked to stay the weekend. We wandered around the town and had delicious pizzas and lots of wine for dinner, and then walked home. Yeovil itself was not the most exciting place, but we used it as a base to drive all the way to Torquay the next day - along the way seeing a large range of English beach towns including grand, run-down otels and uninviting, pebbly beaches. We managed to find another fantastic place for lunch - again completely by accident - and some gorgeous bay views in Torbay.
After so many huge, delicious meals we had a little trouble finding something light for dinner on Sunday night, so we trekked around Yeovil again (at times accompanied by drunken singing and/or torrents of cursing from the local football fans on their way to or from a game, which I think Dad discovered later had involved the local team. So I didn't blame them for their dedicated celebrating.).
The next day we were back to London and after an extremely welcome long weekend, back to work. I have had some really long workdays recently, including a 2am arrival home the previous Wednesday. Hopefully not too many of those this week. Photos of the weekend on flickr here.