Up North, a set on Flickr.The holidays for us began with a trip up to Stoke and because Rose & Asa were joining us, we took the opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing too! Unfortunately, not all our photos came out too good - I don't always like using the flash, but then the photos come out blurred, but still here's what we have... You can actually click on them to see larger versions. Some are missing, but if you click on the above link - you will be able to see the rest.
The first photos including a lovely one of Rose and Asa were taken at a great little curry house which we think is called Castle India in Newcastle-under-Lyme. It was recommended to us by Crazy Charlie, owner of our favourite Vegan cafe The Big Strawberry in Hanley, Stoke-On-Trent. The Curries are of a really good quality, big portions and brain-bogglingly cheap! The friendly waiter understood veganism and made us a fab feast including vegan naan bread. It's our new favourite curry house.
The next set of photos are of The Brampton Museum again in Newcastle. We visited it many times when we lived in the area. Rozzy had forgotten it until we went upstairs to the "street scene" and her memories came flooding back. There is a good little art gallery downstairs and featured some great quirky works, our favourites being the delicately embroidered tea bags and this painting by Corrina Rothwell !
We paid a visit to the Potteries famous Gladstone Museum situated in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. The three external photos show the bottle ovens that were once such an intrinsic part of the cityscape. There were literally hundreds of bottle ovens in the city, but the Clean Air Acts of the 50's and 60's effectively outlawed their use and now sadly only a few remain. The Gladstone Pottery Museum is the best preserved pottery works in the city and is definitely worth a visit . Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the day hence the external shots only!
We visited my Mum, Bebe. Look at the photo. What on earth was I doing in this position? My back aches just looking at it.,
There's a photo of Sal and Rose on the wall. They really haven't changed much!
We cant go to Stoke without a large plate of roasted veg at The Trentham Hotel in er, well, Trentham! They bent overboard (like me at my Mum's) to accommodate our vegan palates - the vegetables are usually cooked in butter, but they made us some hearty-sized non-buttered portions, along with some vegan stuffing & gravy. A great time was had with Grandad Gerry and Nana Stip-Pep!!!
We took two nostalgic photos in Hanley. One is of the former Evening Sentinel newspaper HQ, Stoke-on-Trent's premier periodical. Today it bears the moniker "Allure". I shudder to think............
On now to the vegan panacea that is The Big Strawberry, a veritable cornucopic temple of gastronomically compassionate delights. It's very good. Check out Charlie's home-made chocolates. Wow! Not for sale though but presents for family and friends. Charlie and the chocolate factory?
Asa and Rose had two different wraps, both delicious, while Kay and I went for Toad in the Hole....A triumph of egg-free batteryness. The photo unfortunately was too blurry ! The dessert was a vanilla vegan ice cream with some amazing chocolate brownie-type balls that Charlie made in double -quick time. We will return!
The photo taken from the roof of the car park in Hanley shows an infeasibly blue evening sky. If you squint, you can just make out the outline of the Job centre queue next to the cannabis house and crack den. Just joking, it's the abattoir.
Sadly, it was time to leave the Firenze of the north and spend a happy few hours on the ever romantic M6 motorway, recently described in Lonely Planet's Best Motorways Guide as "A jewel in the crown of British tarmacness" - be sure to slow down at junction 15 north in order to take in the breath-taking beauty that is the newly refurbished central reservation barrier.
We were sad to finally leave the majesty of the M6 and join the woefully inferior M5, very rightly described in A.S Phalts mighty tome "A dangerously full bladder and 30 miles to the next services" as "very possibly the worst motorway connecting the Midlands to the south west."
All roads lead to Glastonbury though and sure enough when we spotted the road sign indicating a left to Glastonbury, we followed this direction and it led us to Glastonbury. Which was a relief.
We had been thinking for quite some time about our friends Kath and Jim and how we must pay them a visit sometime. It was then that we realised that they lived in Glastonbury and as we were there we could actually see them in person as it were. What a coincidence.
We had actually already arranged to meet and left it to our friends to choose a suitable establishment in which to partake of some vegan fayre.
Kath and Jim took us to Galatea and what a fine dining experience was had and no mistake. Kay, Kath and I had a coconutty curry and Jim had a veggie lasagne. The mulled wine, or as they call it in Glasto "mulled wine" slipped down a treat and we had a good old natter. We heartily recommend Galatea. God bless her and all who sail in her. Or something like that.
The last two photos show a Glasto pub interior. I'm damned if I can remember the name. Blast! Glasto Blasto! It was however a fine establishment full of tipsy revellers, a handsome dog and a trio who were rather good. There is a picture of the handsome dog and one of the trio. You can easily spot the difference because the dog isn't playing the white violin-bass guitar. Whilst standing at the bar a snappily dressed and inebriated old chap shook my hand and said how good it was to see me again. I of course agreed with the stranger.
It is always nice to see our friends and we had a lovely evening with them, lots of great food and chat.
It was all over too soon and Kay and I found ourselves back at the Connaught, I mean budget hotel and finally drifted off into a fitful sleep soothed by the melodious sound of the nearby trunk road. Why do they have to build big roads so close to cheap hotels? Before leaving the town, Kath cooked up a pan of delicious green soup, which we enjoyed with bread, houmous & salad, followed by her cranberry flapjacks - wow !
We had a great time and are so glad the world didn't end... Because we'll get to do it all again!!!
Anyway, Zebedee's arrived so it must be time for bed. Goodnight all.