An old model adorning the mantelpiece in one of the tea rooms. No one could tell me anything about it but that it had been in the house for as far back as anyone could remember. Note the turret/gun houses with gun barrels facing all four points of the compass
It has been a busy but thoroughly enjoyable weekend! Yesterday, the 13th, was Laurel’s birthday and our wedding anniversary and so the celebrations started on Saturday. We visited some friends of ours that live in Maldon and enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea at Mrs Salisbury’s Team Rooms - there was so much to eat that the cakes inevitably came home with us in a box and indeed, were not finished until yesterday!
The eatables with Laurel looking very warily at the firework display! The sandwich selection consisted of Tuna crunch (cucumber and peppers), ham off the bone with mustard and cheese with mango chutney - all were very tasty indeed! Note the wallpaper design consisting of a lot of balloons with various means of propulsion - my thoughts wandered to using the designs, adding some weaponry and making a game out of it….
Gotta love a scone with jam and cream - note the shape of the scone which, had it survived being eaten my yours truly, would have been quite apt for Valentine’s Day!
The big event of the weekend was our overnight stay at the Roslin Hotel in Thorpe Bay - just along the coast from Southend. This was a big deal as it was the first time that Laurel and I have been away since her surgery in January last year. The hotel is not cheap but fortunately for us the stay was a present from Laurel’s sister - and what a wonderful present it turned into! We were only there for one night but opted to make use of the spa facilities and so whilst Laurel had a lower leg massage and pedicure yours truly opted for a head, neck, shoulder and back massage, courtesy of a young Polish lady by the name of Anna. She was short and slightly built but was incredibly strong and so managed to unknot knots that I didn’t realise I had. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I felt incredibly loose-limbed afterwards.
Included in the package - described as the ‘Sunday Special’ - was a three course traditional Sunday roast which turned out to be probably the best Sunday roast we have ever eaten out. We opted to have the same starter which was an old school prawn cocktail except this was anything but. Set on a bed of avocado purée, topped with lettuce and cucumber and with a prodigious quantity of prawns in rose Marie sauce and sprinkled with smoked paprika it was simply delicious. The roast beef main course was served with all the usual trimmings - roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese with a hint of mustard, puréed carrots and swede, cabbage and Yorkshire pudding. All cooked to perfection and served piping hot. The homemade horseradish sauce was hotter than expected for sure! Deserts were a Tiramisu for Laurel - the size of a house brick and after the culinary onslaught of the previous course she barely managed to eat a half of it - and a chocolate and hazelnut torts with a cherry sauce and vanilla ice cream for me.
Not quite the Mediterranean but easy on the eye nevertheless….
Monday morning dawned bright and sunny and so the view from the balcony was a pleasant one to wake up to (Sunday had been uniformly grey and drizzly). We had a full English breakfast so as to avoid needing lunch and checked out at eleven to head for home.
Monday afternoon, as it was such a nice day we took the decision to go to the local nature reserve at Hullbridge to feed the squirrels - not that they needed much in the way of feeding judging by the size of the above specimen!
As is the tradition in our house whoever’s birthday it is gets to choose the takeaway - invariably Turkish or Indian - so with the family we sat down to an Indian yesterday evening and so our wonderful birthday and wedding anniversary gastronomic weekend came to a close.
It was fantastic - and much needed!