Monday, 7 April 2008

Forget White Easter - our second weekend road trip with Mum and Dad saw proper snow fall over all of England, including London. And this after a Thursday when the mercury, as they say, hit 18 degrees and we all thought actual springtime was here. Sunday morning (staying in Coventry with Mum and Dad) we woke up to this.

The previous day we'd driven north-west to Stratford-on-Avon and checked out all the Shakespeare-related sights, including two amazing gardens (one at Shakespeare's birthplace and one called the Great Garden, at Nash's house (another historically significant house in Stratford - built by Shakespeare's wife's father or someone). Consequently the flickr shots are dominated by pretty flower shots which I love but perhaps they're not so interesting to everyone else.

We stayed in a small hotel outside Coventry called the Glengarry. It looked pretty ordinary from the outside, especially given its location on the corner of two converging major highways, but inside it was cheerful and relaxed with a bar that played great music from the '60s and '70s and a conservatory-style glass-lined restaurant. We had a drink or two in the bar and then some huge, delicious meals served by the charming waitstaff. London does have its moments but I always feel like people outside the city are so much friendlier and genuinely interested to talk to me. In London I very often feel like the minute people realise I'm "just another" Australian, they're even more cold and dismissive than usual. Anyway, the dinner was perfect after a long day in the weather and we slept well, particularly as we weren't being subject to bone-shaking dance music from the bar below like we had in Yeovil!

After the surprise snowfall overnight everything looked like a wonderland, and added to this the sun was shining in a beautiful clear blue sky. We drove into Coventry, and then pretty much drove straight back out, partly because the combination of one-way systems, bus-only lanes and roadworks meant we spent a long time driving up and down the same roads trying to find a way out!

Then we were on to Leamington Spa, which is obviously always quite picturesque but with the snow and blue skies, it was one of the most beautiful places I've been in a long time. We took a long walk through the snowy Jephson Gardens. There was a marathon or fun run or something being run so there were lots of people about, and there were excited kids playing in the snow, more amazing flowers, swans in the pond, all set to the sound of church bells from the nearby church. I took a ridiculous amount of photos but I tried to restrain myself and not post too many on flickr.

Finally we drove into Oxford and wandered the streets, before piling back into the car for the trip back into London.

Mum and Dad are in Ireland this weekend and I had a friend's birthday drinks last night so it's been a quiet day. Next weekend: Portugal.

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