Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Melton Mowbray, England

     My friend Jack, with whom I worked and played concerts last year, invited Katie and me to his family's house for Christmas in Melton Mowbray, England. We accepted. It proved to be a wonderful time. Katie and I were in Britain for two weeks and visited London, Melton Mowbray, Edinburgh and Brighton. This post is just about staying with Jack's family—more posts will come soon.
     We arrived at Jack's family's house on December 23rd and stayed for five days. Melton Mowbray is less than two hours north of London, located in the region known as the East Midlands. Melton is famous for being the origin of pork pies, and I was also told it was where the phrase "paint the town red" originated. Melton used to be a big hunting town, and the packs of fox hunters would arrive in their red coats and eventually get a bit out of control at night around the town.
     Jack's family couldn't have been nicer and his dad is a wonderful cook. We had typical British food like steak & kidney pie on Christmas Eve and turkey for Christmas dinner, as well as non-conventional English foods like lamb with rosemary and pasta carbonara. The desserts were incredible. If I hadn't been so busy stuffing my face, I would've taken more pictures.

     On Christmas Day Jack and his family gave Katie and me generous gifts, including books, notebooks, socks for Katie, chocolate for me, and more. Katie gave the family a traditional painted wooden Ukranian jar and I gave them typical Spanish foods. We were overwhelmed by their munificence.

Borrough Hill
     After lunch we drove a few minutes down the road and took a walk at Burrough Hill, the site of an Iron Age fort. It was a clear day, though the wind was cold. Overall it was an excellent Christmas day walk. 
     For Christmas dinner we feasted on a 20 pound turkey, tons of other sides and delicious desserts, including chocolate cake and treacle pudding. We also opened a traditional Christmas item called a cracker, which contains a small drink and a crown. The name comes from the popping sound made as you open it by holding the wrapper at either end and pulling hard. 

Jack, Katie and I after Christmas dinner
     Another day we went to a quaint town with thatched houses for an afternoon walk. The weather turned from sunny to rainy as we were walking, but the countryside was beautiful and the air was clean.

On our walk

Same walk, 15 minutes later—it was pouring rain.
     The time we spent at Jack's was relaxing, joyful, and full of fantastic food. Katie and I loved every minute of the English hospitality. After five days we decided to go to Edinburgh for three days before spending New Year's in London with Jack. Next post coming soon!