24 December 2013

Merry M40 Christmas

For the first time in several years — and for the first time intentionally for almost a decade — I'm spending this Christmas in the UK, but there has still been plenty of travelling, from London to Oxford and then up to the Black Country and back to see my extended family. Sunday night was spent in the Walsall Premier Inn — where you get a discount for a room with a 'view' — before spending yesterday, which would have been my grandfather's birthday, with my grandma.

We did manage a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant called Portobello in Aldridge. My rocket, mozzarella and prosciutto salad was great and the pizza was pretty decent too.

On the way home, we fought through the gales and made a stop at Bicester Village, where the heavens opened while I was in the process of buying a cheap Samsonite suitcase. I stand by my previous advice that pre-Christmas is the best time to go to Bicester, although the severely inclement weather may have helped to ward off the crowds yesterday.

This morning, though, it was gloriously sunny if still chilly and somewhat windy. Some of us made it out to Christchurch Meadow for a run, roping some Harry Potter fans who had hoped to see the Hogwarts Great Hall into taking endless leaping photos of us.

Later, we went to Blenheim Palace to work up an appetite for lunch. It was the perfect day for a brisk walk around the lake, before heading into Woodstock for a 'light bite' at the Star. My 'skinny' burger with avo, salad and sweet potato fries but no bun, was tasty, although probably not that skinny.

This evening, we will have our big family Christmas dinner at home in the Shire, before heading back up the M40 tomorrow for more Black Country festive celebrations. Bon Noël, tout le monde!

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