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Twelfth Night

With twelfth night upon us and Epiphany approaching it’s time to take down the tree,  remove the glittering decorations and delicately wrap and store them for next year.

So many different theories abound as to when this should be, however conventional wisdom suggests either the 5th or 6th of January, depending on when you count the 12 nights from. The Church of England decrees the 12th Night to be the 5th of January or Epiphany Eve.

Kernolou Christmas Tree comes down on twelfth night

Traditionally it’s believed to be unlucky to take your decorations down early or indeed late, although some Christians do leave theirs until Candelmas on the 2nd February.

Happy New Year one and all – wishing you health and happiness for 2018

Pearson’s Arms, Whitstable

We headed down to Whitstable for the day recently, the weather wasn’t the kindest but was a great opportunity for a bracing walk along the almost deserted beach. Having worked up an appetite we were just thinking about a bite to eat when we happened on Pearson’s Arms and jolly glad we did!

Whitstable pub, the Pearsons Arms

The pub is cosy. There was a real log fire burning gently in the open fireplace, large comfy wing-back chairs to slump into and what a nice relaxed atmosphere. Dogs are welcome, Herbie the mischievous Miniature Schnauzer snuggled down very quickly.

Miniature Schnauzer and Andrew relaxing in the pub at Whitstable

We ordered from the bar menu and the food was served promptly, piping hot and was delicious. No opportunity to try each other’s dishes this time as we both opted for the fish finger sandwiches with thrice cooked chips served with a rather lovely tartare sauce. All washed down with a cider for the other half and a glass of the splendid house red for me.

Fish finger sandwiches at Whitstable

No fancy goujons here, just proper fish finger sandwiches. The fish was melt-in-the-mouth, the tartare sauce was just right and the chips, well suffice to say they didn’t last long. We both agreed that this was definitely the best fish finger sandwich we’d ever enjoyed. Thank you Pearson’s!

There is a separate restaurant area upstairs and also one at the back. The menus look appealing and if the food is as good as the bar menu, then great value for money. We’ll definitely be back to try some of those mouth-watering dishes.

Super food, great atmosphere, lovely service and above all, a stamp of approval from pampered pooch! The longs walks on the beach followed by a mooch around the shops had really tired him out so Herbie was ready for a rest in the warm and cosy pub.

You can see more about the highly recommended Pearsons Arms and other fine eateries on my TripAdvisor

Ye Olde Rose & Crown, Greenwich

After that bracing stroll through Greenwich Park with H the mischievous Miniature Schnauzer we had worked up a healthy appetite. A quick google search revealed the dog-friendly Ye Olde Rose & Crown as being almost at the gates to the park.

We were lucky enough to bag the last table and settled down for a leisurely lunch. Part of the Greene King chain it offers a traditional pub style menu with pies, burgers, sandwiches together with more substantial “Great British Classics’ and a reasonably priced wine list.

There was just one member of staff on duty at the time who gave us a lovely welcome followed by excellent service. Food was served promptly, piping hot and delicious, couldn’t ask for more.

The other half went for the usual fish finger sandwich (goujons) and a pint of cider while I opted for a steak sandwich – I think I drew the best straw! Succulent steak, cooked just perfectly for my taste with the freshest bread washed down with a large glass of house red, spot on.

I remember frequenting this pub when I lived in nearby Rotherhithe many years ago and happily not too much has changed. Rainbow flags adorn the bar proudly welcoming the local gay community, visitors and tourists alike. When we visited recently the atmosphere was calm and relaxed, just perfect for a Saturday late lunch session.

down river to Greenwich, the home of time

Although world-famous for the Meridian Line, Greenwich is also home to the National Maritime Museum, the Old Royal Naval College and the amazing Painted Hall, the Cutty Sark and of course the Royal Observatory.

Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Greenwich Park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks that extends to a staggering 183 acres with stunning views over the skyline of Canary Wharf on one side and is the gateway to Blackheath on the other.

View across the River Thames from Greenwich

The Observatory, Museum and Covered Walkway

Getting there

Greenwich is easily accessible by Tube, the DLR and more recently by London’s only cable car (see my previous post) which crosses the River Thames to the Greenwich Peninsular and the O2 or Millennium Dome as it was formerly known.

Highly recommended for escaping the city for a few hours… check out the tourist information website for all things Greenwich

 

Saturday lunchtime treat at the Marquess

Almost hidden away in the depths of Canonbury near the New River Walk, the Marquess is one of those pubs that looks fairly unremarkable from the outside. Walk through the doors though and it’s obvious this is no ordinary boozer. Decor is eclectic, there are plumped up comfy leather chairs, scrubbed tables with mis-matched chairs, masses of cushions and a rather lovely dining room festooned with stunning glass lamps.

Marquess Tavern bar Islington
It was the New River Walk that drew us here; H the mischievous Miniature Schnauzer loves a weekend stroll along this little oasis in the heart of Islington. Like many of the pubs here they welcome dogs so we decided to stop off for a bite to eat.  (of course H got down from the table when our food arrived)

Herbie goes to the pub in Islington
There is a rather impressive menu with some mouth-watering dishes and an excellent grill menu, however being lunchtime we were looking for something lighter. Sadly no lunch menu so we opted for the Marquess Prime Burger with Barber’s Cheddar, old spot bacon, baked onion, tomato relish and served with a generous portion of fries. All washed down with a glass of of bold red for me and a cider for the other half. Delicious.

Burgers at the Islington Marquess Tavern
Although we thoroughly enjoyed the food, we both thought the menu would suit us better for an evening meal. Service was great, efficient and attentive.

The prices are a little on the high-side so this wouldn’t be a regular haunt for us, however I’m sure we’ll be back to try a little more of the menu one evening when we’ve saved up our pennies!

Check-out the latest menu and make a booking online

http://www.themarquessn1.co.uk

 

Time for an Autumn tidy

As Autumn is upon us it’s time for a quick trip over to the cottage to pack away the summer furniture, tidy the garden, plant a new batch of spring bulbs and stock-up the log store.

 

Wood shed at the cottage

On Thursday we’ll be heading down to Plymouth to catch the overnight sailing onboard the Pont Aven, Brittany Ferries flagship.  Although it’s a bit of a long haul down to Plymouth, once we land at Roscoff the following morning we’re just an hour’s drive away from Kernolou.

It won’t be all work though, I”m sure we’ll find time for some culinary experiments in the Kernolou Kitchen and some long leisurely walks along the Nantes-Brest Canal.

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perfectly pint-sized patio

We spend endless hours lovingly tending the gardens at Kernolou, quite certainly disproportionate to the time we find to sit and relax there.  Conversely our pint-sized patio in London that we use on a daily basis has customarily received scant attention apart from the occasional watering, wash and brush-up.

All change this year though. We’ve repaired and repainted the walls; the old garden furniture that we bought from that stalwart of the high street Woolworth’s for next to nothing some 12 years ago finally gave up the ghost and has been replaced. New pots, tubs and containers are all brimming with flowers, fruits and herbs and we’ve installed some solar lights so we can enjoy the space well into the evening.

Although the pint-sized patio is less than 12sqm we’ve nurtured and harvested the freshest of tomatoes, a lovely crop of succulent strawberries and now have a constant supply of fresh herbs.

Right now the geraniums are a riot of red clambering ever higher out of the window box and the new succulents in their pristine terracotta tubs are producing a wealth of trailing delicate daisy-like flowers.

As it gets a little cooler moving into Autumn we’re already thinking about planting snowdrops and daffodils, in fact ‘All Kinds of Everything’

Check-out my garden gallery for more pics!

Courtyard garden gallery

a little oasis in the heart of London; even surrounded by 8′ high walls our tiny courtyard garden is a real sun-trap

a little solar lighting to brighten up the dark nights..

Islington

Our London home is in Islington just moments from the Angel. The area is called St Peter’s, it’s a leafy, quiet sort of place with a mix of rows of Georgian Terraces and the new high-rise luxury apartments springing up along the City Road complemented by the peace and tranquility of the Regent’s canal at the heart of it all.

Islington canal barge

Islington Tunnel

After passing through the Kings Cross-Islington tunnel, the Regent’s canal surfaces here and narrowboats, longboats and river cruisers of all shapes and sizes are moored along this short stretch. These are visitors moorings so boats may only stay up to 14 days at a time.

Regents canal tunnel islington

Pubs

In addition to the hundreds of bars and restaurants along Upper Street just a few minutes walk away, we’re spoilt with a wealth of local pubs in the immediate area, each individual and with its own unique twist, but all serving great food and fine ale!

The 170 year old Charles Lamb, named after the Essayist and Poet who was born just around the corner on Colebrooke Row, is a local’s delight with board games a-plenty, real ale and a warm welcome for humans as well as their dogs!.

Charles Lamb

Herbie favours the bench seating…

Charles lamb pub Elia street

Just along the canal opposite Wenlock Basin is the hugely popular Young’s pub, The Narrowboat. Food is seasonal, fresh and the Sunday lunches here are legendary. It’s a dog friendly pub too..

Where else would you expect to find Britain’s first (and only) Certified Organic Pub? The Duke of Cambridge on St Peter’s Street offers a daily changing menu celebrating all things fresh and seasonal from their own farm, complemented by a wide range of organic wines and beers from small independent breweries. Pampered pooches are permitted in the bar area..

Riverford duke of Cambridge pub

The Island Queen, on Noel Road defines itself as Islington’s local pub with great food, a weekly quiz night and an upstairs lounge. High ceilings, etched glass and mirrors combine with scrubbed tables and soft sofas to provide an enchanting and welcoming atmosphere. Dogs allowed.

The Earl of Essex is Islington’s first BrewPub, and.they’re serious about their beer. They also serve great food and have an amazing beer garden tucked away at the back. You guessed it, dogs allowed but best avoided on the weekends when it can and does get lively!

Islington pub

Finally, the new kid on the block – formerly the Prince of Wales and now beautifully restored and restyled as the Plaquemine Lock, this welcome addition to the area is the brainchild of renowned restaurateur Jacob Kenedy.  The simple menu is based on Cajun and Creole cooking; it’s all very relaxed, great atmosphere, great staff and above all great food. Friendly canine pals are welcome.

Although not a pub, I couldn’t resist recommending the cheekily named Canal No 5 at City Basin for their amazing breakfasts. Just the perfect location to watch the world go by.

Flying over the Thames with the Emirates Air Line

The Emirates Air Line, London’s only cable car has been open for just over five years and last week was the first time I’d got round to experiencing it first-hand.

It was a lovely sunny afternoon with just a hint of a breeze, in fact near-perfect flying conditions. So after lunch I took the DLR to Royal Victoria – the Emirates terminal is just a few minutes walk away.

There’s a huge array of fare options including visits to the Emirates Aviation Experience but.on this occasion I opted for a single trip which cost about £4.50. Fortunately there was no queue and before I knew it the next car was to be my exclusive air craft for the following 10 minutes

Each car takes up to 10 passengers, you can take dogs but they must be carried onboard. No problem for Herbie the mischievous Miniature Schnauzer there then.

I didn’t take any great photos as I was so entranced with the incredible views as we soared high over the River towards the Greenwich peninsular. Even in the calmest weather you can feel a slight sway during the flight, but maybe I felt it more being the only passenger..

Once on terra firma I took a few more photos and this short video.  It’s a bit noisy as the Peninsular is a huge construction site!

The Emirates Air Line is a great addition to the London skyline and as well as being an extra commuter link across the river makes for a fab tourist attraction.  I’d definitely return for another trip and maybe take in the Emirates Aviation Experience at the same time.

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