So, last year, Melba and I had a bit of a misunderstanding. Scratch that. When she had to change her plans to see me I was a passive aggressive prick about it. Oh come on – that shouldn’t surprise anyone who actually knows me. I’m an arse when I want to be but I readily admit it. I’m actually paid pretty well in my chosen career to be a bit of a thick-skinned bitch. I’m aware that I sometimes make enemies, but I try never to keep them. So anyway, I apologised. Not a flowery emotional speech, but a genuine heartfelt apology. And like a true Aussie, she said ‘no worries’ and everything was right again.
So, fast forward to this year and she’s planned another trip to the UK. I played it cautiously. No pressure, be nice to see you, totally understand if you are busy, blah blah blah. However, everything I suggested was met with unbridled enthusiasm, so I got to planning. Now, you’ve already read about the girls’ weekend in Paris. And that was great. But Melba was up for a little one on one time so I put it out to you guys and got suggestions from the very width and breadth of the country. Sweden was even thrown into the mix briefly.
In the end I kept it simple and decided to show her some of the stuff The Husband and I had seen in the summer.
My instructions to her were simple: get on a train to Bath, bring your swimmers, I’ll get my buns out. Frankly, I’m shocked she still turned up.
Oh, relax, I’m talking about Sally Lunn’s Buns. Featured the night before her visit on the Great British Bake Off (that Melba watched! Gah, BBC… spolier alert!!) we entered the cute little 17th century place and settled down for a couple of buns.
Not just any bun, this is a creation dating back from the 1680s using a faggot oven. (I can’t wait to see what traffic using that word brings to my blog) The bun is neither savoury nor sweet, a bit like brioche but nothing like it at all. You can have virtually anything on one – bacon, cheese, jam, or in my case above, lemon curd.
Feeling stuffed to the gills, the next stop on my whirlwind tour was a visit to the Roman Baths? Because you’d be a bloody idiot to go to Bath and not see them. Plus, I got a sweet combination ticket deal through the Tourist Information Centre that allowed us to skip the queue to get in.
What I didn’t realise is that Bath is also the perfect place to turn a corner and run into an old friend from Sydney I haven’t seen for 12 years. Melba said it was serendipity or something like that. She knows lots of big words. Thank fuck I was wearing a cute dress.
What I didn’t get photos of unfortunately was the Thermae Bath Spa – not that I had my camera since you are just not allowed to get all snap happy in there. Suffice to say, we marinated in hot mineral waters with pool noodles and made all sorts of noodle jokes til we could no longer recognise our fingertips.
Also fond of an afternoon tea (‘high tea’ in Aussie-speak) Melba and I indulged in a champagne tea at the Royal Pump Rooms. I did get a photo of that but it didn’t convey a tenth of how lovely the place was or delicious the food, so you’ll have to take my word. Or go visit it yourself.
Enough of Bath though, we had some Cotswolds to see, and the best place to lay our heads was The Rectory Hotel, which you will remember I dragged The Husband and The Dog to in August. Melba strolled around the grounds like a lady of leisure.
We also went to Bourton on the Water which Melba liked as well – who doesn’t love a town that seems to exist on the doily and crochet industry, but I had an ace card up my sleeve.
Anyway, we stuffed our faces with scones as big as our heads and pushed north. I mean, sure, it’s nice to spend a Saturday afternoon hanging about The Cotswolds, but The Husband had put a couple of bottles of champagne in the fridge. Plus, I had to immerse her in the WAG’s paradise that is Alderley Edge.
Thanks Melba for the noodle-jokes, the Barnsey/Farnsey choons in the car and the drinks. See you in the mother country.