Sunday, 9 December 2012

Royal Crown Derby & Lincoln Christmas Market

Hello Readers,
Since we have had a slow couple of weeks I am including two weekends in this post.  Enjoy.

I may have found the best Indian restaurant in Derby at our last Better Halves Club lunch.  We ate at Mumbai Chilli, link, a highly rated place that I haven't selected yet because of its location.  It's not in a great part of town but okay in the daytime and probably safe in the evening as well.  The drawbacks are limited parking in the area and the place only has about five tables in it.  Small place but the food was excellent.  There were five and half there (the half didn't have school that day due to the flooding in our area) so we all picked a different dish and shared.  My favourites were the spinach dish Paneer Saag Malai, lamb dish Rengdang Lamb and a chicken dish whose name I forget.  They also had a killer Papadums red chili sauce that I hadn't had before.  Everyone took home takeaway menus as we all enjoyed it so much.  For the locals wanting to try it you may want to make reservations for evening meals due to the size of the place.

Carol Seppanen Book Update.  I have had some free time on my hands lately as the trip planning is caught up so I have been reading more than usual.  Not so much reading in the daytime, more nighttime as the TV selection has been less than stellar lately.  My first book was The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre, 258 pages.  It was okay but not riveting.  Not sure if the age of the book, copyright 1963, was a factor or not but I wouldn't rank it near the top of the spy thriller genre as it is ranked by many.  Maybe it was special in its day or maybe I just prefer more action in my spy novels.  The second book on my classics kick was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 227 pages (451 degrees F is the temperature at which paper catches fire and burns in case you didn't know - not sure why but that fact always stuck in my head).  This was copyrighted in 1953 and left me with a similar feeling as the Le Carre book, okay but not special for me.  Interesting concept of The Man running everyones life in the future.  Some of the themes in the book included a society that encourages anonymous snitching, governmental coerced isolationism through encouraging technology and discouraging social interaction (hmmmm - anyone with teenagers thinking the same thing I am right now?), and a fire department that burns all books as well as houses where books are found in them.  This book has been in the back of my mental reading bucket list for many years so now I can cross it off.

My next book was Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler, 306 pages.  It was a good quick read but not as smooth or as captivating as The Big Sleep.  It did provide me with a couple of words for Auntie "B" Word of the Week tho - stertorously and lapis lazuli.  I will also include another Chandlerism, in reference to a copper - "He looked poor enough to be honest."  He has such a unique way of phrasing descriptions.

Now onto the weekends.  We were able to check off a local attraction when we visited Royal Crown Derby (link).  I didn't know what to expect as I am not a big fan of fine china (typically my stops in the fine china departments are to tie a loose shoe lace) but a lot of people have asked if we've seen it yet so I figured it would be worth a trip.  And I have to admit it was; some of the pieces were as beautiful as artwork we have seen in the best museums on our travels.  The site has a gift shop (pictures to follow), a museum covering important historical pieces (i.e. anything related to the Royals since 1761 and colourful pieces dating to late 1700's), and a factory tour.  Unfortunately factory tours aren't available on the weekends so we couldn't partake and they didn't allow pictures in the museum so I can't show you some of the impressive artwork.  Overall it was a short stop but well worth our time.  Even better was the antique fair that was on display the weekend in the museum so the eight pound family admission fee was waived.  Bonus!  The antique fair was a bunch of over priced junk btw.

Museum entrance.

This hand sized elephant captured my eye.  See the price tag?  It was on sale, normal price was 215 pounds.

Some pretty and expensive paperweights.
More paperweights, I liked the ones in the bottom left.

Here's another Titanic fact Ben Foster!

There was also dinnerware for sale.
More plates.

Coronation facts.  This was part of the Royals exhibit. 

A 1950's room.  Not sure what this room had to do with fine china.
Check out the TV.  The kids couldn't believe anyone would want to watch this until I explained to them that this was most families first TV.  

For the Queen's Coronation.

Everywhere the Royals go it is a big deal over here. 

Sarah Anderson Pic - Here you go Dana, a rare Canada mention from your mother country.  I snuck this picture in the museum section just for you, eh.

Dana Johnson Pic - I brought the family to Mumbai Chilli for lunch.  This is the Paneer Saag Mahili over mushroom rice.  It was very good and Lori liked hers also.  A funny note - we walked in and saw BHC member Mattie and her family there.  It was even funnier a few minutes later when BHC member Shirley and her husband walked in.  It was funny because none of us had planned going there but we all ended up there for lunch. 
We had an interesting and frustrating turn with the suddenly crazy landlord this past week.  Short story is we are looking at moving to a new place.  One property in Etwall fell through so we are in a wait and see mode now.  Wait for the landlord to snap and go crazy on us again or see if we can find a short term property that will work for us.  Trying to stay positive but it definitely is not a great turn of fortunes for us.  Stay tuned.
This Saturday we went to the Lincoln Christmas Market (link) again with our friends the Frey's.  We went last year as well only this year Lori ditched us for a stateside business trip.  Timing was not good as I found a few gifts that would have made nice Christmas presents but Lori was just clearing Ireland airspace as we sardine canned our way through the crowds so I didn't buy them.  We did find a few items for us though.  Lots of people and lots of stalls, overall a good trip in spite of the unfortunate timing.
Lincoln Cathedral with Tennyson statue-ing (as Aunt Joanie's red pen jumps into her hand) in front.  Alfred Lord Tennyson (Wiki link) wrote Charge of the Light Brigade for the non-literary people in the audience.

Some of the stalls were in the Medieval Bishop's Palace outside Lincoln Cathedral. 

View of the Bishop' Palace ruins with the Lincoln Cathedral in the distance.

Dana Johnson Pic - I had a Lebanese Chicken Shawarma wrap for lunch.  Very good, reminded me of the food on our Israel trip.

We are between the Cathedral and Castle now.  Sunny and a little cold (low 40's F) day.

Castle courtyard straight ahead.  Yeah crowds!

This is high sun position during the wintertime over here.  The sun's winter altitude is perfect for blinding drivers and walkers alike.

On our way out we had to walk by this German sausage booth.  I (and most Americans) don't like the sausage over here so it only makes it worse to have to see and smell these meat piles of deliciousness.  We had just eaten lunch but I was still tempted to get one and stuff myself sick just to taste the sausage.  Two more months til Germany... two  more months til Germany... two more months til Germany... I can't hardly wait Ma! 

Remember the sun?  Well it's almost 4 PM by now so the sun is almost down.  We just made it to the Park & Ride lot and were on the road a few minutes before it was pitch black dark.  Not sure which is worse in the winter, the darkness setting in at 4 PM or the sun blinding us on the days it is actually out.  
We are onto a new month so it's time for Lori's not so favourite part of my retirement - the Facial Hair of the Month.  This month's winner winner chicken dinner is the Frank Zappa.  Since Frank was born in December and died in December I figured I would give me a month.  I almost invited The Lemmy back but invited newb Frank instead.  I was going to include some Zappa quotes this month but after looking them up I just don't get them so I won't.  So instead I will just call the kids Moon Unit and Dweezil all month instead.  Haha, JK Lor.  I will only call them that for the remainder of the month.  Seriously.  
The far out Frank Zappa.
Thanks for listening,

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