Thursday, May 6, 2010

England - Day 3

Yesterday morning I woke up in a fairy tale…yes in a castle with the sun streaming through the windows and a blaring headache from the wine I drank the night before. We stayed at Swinton Park in North Yorkshire, it was a lovely... but HUGE. We know how big it is because our Sat Nav (GPS) took us all the way around the estate's giant stone wall that I am sure it took someone their entire life to create and we saw the fattest phesants that I have ever seen in my life...I mean like small dogs. Anyway back to the estate...the dining room was very 'chefy' (which was a comment from one of our hosts, Anne, not me but fit the entire place to a tea - ha! tea...tee) and very quiet. I think this is the type of place you go to with people you don't like because you don't talk to them the entire time you are there, so you can imagine, was difficult for me! There were some courses that took all three of us to decide what some of the items on the plate were and I'm not certain how Halibut goes with oxtail, but they paired it together and Jake said that it was lovely...but I think he was full of it. I also don't know how you combine a goat cheese mouse with a bitter herb gel (really, does an herb need to be a gel?) and then a tomato foam (foaming tomatoes, maybe they were rabid?), but again they did...first bite not bad and then it went down hill from there. Honestly I thought I was part of a Top Chef Masters quick fire challenge and no one told me...the overall theme of the night was 'in the dining room, with a candlestick.' As we were leaving this lovely estate, which I must say had a pretty remarkable Egg's Benedict, I realize for the second night I had been sleeping in a room where fake deer were outside the front door of the hotel or uh castle. So now I am obsessed with taking pictures, but alas last night no deer out front, not sure how I'll make it through the day.
Today is our last full day in the UK, I've enjoyed my stay but pretty excited to get to a menu where I am excited to order something off of it and can eat a giant salad.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Scotland/England - Day 2

We have crossed from Scotland to England for Day 2 of our 5 day trip to the UK...I am much more refreshed today and hope to continue that trend throughout the week. I wanted to leave Scotland with some learnings that I have picked up along the is my top 5 tribute to Scotland. Scotland Top 5:
  1. When the Dutch give you a gift of a bridge, decline the offer it was made from Lego's.
  2. When you are dining at a pub in a town by the sea eat something from it, the sea that is not the town.
  3. May 4, 2010 is known as Star Wars Day…MAY the FOURce be with you, they really like their movies and movie stars (Ewan McGreggor is a god here)...this is the castle that was where the 'real' Braveheart happened just south of Dublane.
  4. There are a lot of Scottish Sheep Farmer jokes, most would make my rodeo friends (who are just half a step down from sailors) blush
  5. The Scots are finally figuring it out…a way to grow maize (corn) under plastic so they can finish their beef the right way, on corn not on grass. There is a constant debate between my Scotish counterparts and myself on which is better...I'm the winner of the debate but they say they are right. But honestly, due to the cold soil temperatures growing maize is difficult for them, so they plant the maize under plastic to create a terrarium effect and increase overall maize lay plastic is about 100 pounds per acre!

We are staying at a wonderful old 'castle' tonight...I'm in the sitting room sure that these old people in the painting surrounding me are rolling over in their graves at the fact that I am blogging on WIFI from their home. Cheers!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Scotland - Day 1

Well the trip over to Scotland was relatively uneventful...thankfully we made it in this morning since as of a few hours ago they have shut down the airspace over Ireland because a change in the wind and the volcanic ash is drifting over Dublin.
After we flew into Edinburg we were graciously picked up by one of our hosts and on our way to the Scotish countryside which is pretty breathtaking.
Our host and guide also shared a Scotish joke that I thought was too good not to pass along:
A Scotish sheep farmer's wife disliked him so and thought he was the worst farmer in the world, one night he brought a sheep into the bedroom and said look here...the wife removed her book from her face and he said this is the cow that I have sex with when you say you have a headache, the wife in total disgust says, "that shows how much you know about farming, that's a sheep", the husband says "that shows how well you know me I was talking to the sheep."
Here are a few photos from the day:
A couple of deer playing in a carrot field. The field has been covered with straw since December to preserve the carrots until they were needed at market.
St. Andrews Cathedral Ruins

The second oldest churct in the Scotish church system, behind a malt barley field.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Heading to the UK

I'm headed to the UK (United Kingdom, not University of Kentucky) this week for some work meetings. This is my second trip to the UK and I learned some things last time I was over there that I have applied to this trip. First and foremost, you don't need as many clothes as you think you do and the heavier your suitcase is the worse it is going to be on in point, on my last trip I was put in a 'corner' room in a hotel in London. This corner room was up the elevator, down a hall way, down three stairs, up two stairs and around the corner. My suitcase was too large to roll down the hallway off the hallway to my room and when I got to my room, I could barely open it up on the floor in front of my bed, needless to say I learned my lesson.
I only brought the necessities with me this time and hope to post some pictures and information about my trip along the way.
1. I purchased a hard-sided, feather weight suitcase from Steinmart for $79 dollars. Even with all my stuff for 5 days overseas, the thing weighs 44 pounds. Pretty excited...hope it holds up!
2. Flip Video Camera - if you don't have one, get one...they are AWESOME. Thanks mom and dad for getting me mine for Christmas!
3. Cannon Point and Shoot - It is just a camera, nothing special but takes great pictures and has fantastic optical zoom which I understand means I can zoom far and so far so good.
4. Backpack - Yes I am back in school, but I have my computer, some necessary files, two changes of clothes, make-up and my new People magazine inside.
5. I heart Beef Pin - I always argue with my Scottish and English counterparts about grassfed vs. corn fed beef so I thought I would leave it on for the trip, it will be a good conversation piece.
6. Neck Pillow - I tried and tried to use the inflatable ones, but I kept getting a hole in them so I found one that will attach to my backpack with a strap and like it a lot better.
Hope I can post pictures and stories along the way...