Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Visiting Mel & Jen, Brenda & Mike in Chelmsford, Essex

Carly's cousin's Melanie and Jennifer, never ones to say no to a quiet night, organised to meet us while they were visiting London. So we picked a pub in Southwark off of our favourite pub-selecting website fancyapint, and met them after work on a Thursday night for what turned out to be a fantastic catch-up, telling all of our London stories, and hearing all of theirs from when they lived here themselves - they had planned to take a spin on the London Eye, so we stayed at the pub while they hopped over to Waterloo, and simply continued on when they returned to the pub an hour later.

We left the fantastic pub we'd been in with more than a few drinks under our belts, and headed to another bar in Waterloo for some food and more wine until closing time. Towards the end of the night we made plans to catch up on the weekend, out at Chelmsford in Essex, where their mother Brenda and partner Mike were staying while here for their annual 3-month UK summer holiday to visit friends and family still here.

So on Saturday morning we headed out from Liverpool Station, and met Brenda at the station in Chelmsford a short while later. We spent the day catching up with them, and looking around Chelmsford which is where they had all lived while in the UK when the girls were in school.

One highlight was a visit to Brenda's nephew's Manor House just outside town - as you can see from the photos this place was truly amazing! Not sure how many bedrooms or how many houses you could have fitted into the kitchen, but to put some scale to it, there were three 2 & 3 bedroom houses sitting on the estate, probably provided for servants etc. The scale and granduer was something i've never experienced in the owership of a private person - this was no museum of royal building!

The rear of the house, just outside of Chelmsford

And just to top if off, there was a local cricket game happenning on a field at the back of the estate - so very English!

We were staying with Brenda at her sisters beautiful home in suburban Chelmsford, which had an amazing well-kept rose garden. I couldn't help myself so I got stuck into taking plenty of shots of the hundreds of roses opened for the summer weather.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in the back garden, enjoying a barbie and drinks with everyone as the sun set on another amazing English summers day.

That night we headed out into the craziness of Chelmsford's bars and clubs, which we were warned would give us a good insight into Essex nightlife - it certainly did, and while it isn't worth going into detail here, it was an experience that will live with us for a while yet. On the way home at 4am, my impromptue performance to the girls of a certain MBF advertisement jingle 'accentuating the positive' from the roof of a phone box probably gives an indication of the nature of the night!

It was a long train trip back to London that afternoon...



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