When I last penned an update, I wasn’t sure how the past few months would pan out. As it turns out, they’ve been chock-full with local goings-on and adventures further afield. We spent Easter exploring Dartmoor National Park, and getting somewhat scorched in the process (slight understatement – I returned to work looking like a tomato). Six weeks later, we were up in the Yorkshire Dales, soaked to the skin in a downpour. (Needless to say, a treacle tart from Booths lifted our spirits immeasurably!) We’ve ticked a few more things off our East Anglia to-visit list over the past few months, with a day trip to Saffron Walden (a quaint little town full of colourful half-timbered buildings), an afternoon picking strawberries at Bury Lane Farm Shop, and a cycle ride to Hot Numbers’ new(ish) roastery, near Shepreth.
Completing the Tour du Mont Blanc
170km. 9 days. 3 countries. In a nutshell, that’s the Tour du Mont Blanc. But it’s so much more than that: it’s lingering snowfields on mountain passes, towering granite peaks and alpine meadows; it’s traditional refuges filled with walkers from across the world and days spent marmot-spotting; it’s food for the soul. We had an absolute blast, and I’m thoroughly enjoying reminiscing over our time on the trail while penning day-by-day accounts of our trip.
Zipping across Penrhyn Quarry
Despite a rather ominous start (train chaos almost derailed – pun intended – our plans), we had a terrific long weekend with my family in North Wales. Dad had been eyeing up Velocity 2 – the world’s fastest zip line – for yonks and, at long last, we’d found a date that everyone was free. Mum sat it out (with a bacon butty in the café) while Dad, Vicki, Laurence and I were kitted out in red jumpsuits, harnesses and goggles and led up to the ‘Little Zip’ (below; not us in the photo, though). Being horizontal was a little unnerving at first, but the whoosh factor is much better for it! ‘Little Zip’ warm-up complete, we boarded the red truck which would take us up to the ‘Big Zip’. After a short and sweet safety talk, test weights were sent down the lines. Our group was the closest match to the test weights, so we were up first. Three, two, one. Whoosh. Snowdonia behind us, with clouds rolling in; Penrhyn Quarry beneath us, a blur of turquoise; the Menai Strait and Anglesey ahead. Before we knew it, we were coming in to land. If you’re ever in this corner of the world, I’d highly recommend a trip. (Thanks, Dad!)
Cycling in Suffolk
Cambridge may be pretty as a picture, but I’d take a slice of the Suffolk coast over the city’s crowds any day. When the bank holiday rolled round, we hopped over to Norwich for the weekend and spent a day cycling from Lowestoft to Dunwich (via Southwold) and back again. We had lunch (delicious sausage rolls and cake from Two Magpies Bakery), followed by gelato from Harris & James, in Southwold, before speeding on towards Dunwich for an ice-cold drink on the shingle. Along the way, we saw characterful churches, fields of piglets and tables piled with freshly-laid eggs, jams and other goodies by enterprising families.
Sports Day is an annual fixture at Laurence’s work which sees offices from across the country (plus a couple from the Netherlands) come together for a fun-filled day of old-school games and more conventional track, field and team sports. I spent the morning doing egg-and-spoon, space hopper and sack races, and the afternoon welly wanging and playing dodgeball. Team Yorkshire claimed top spot, but Team Arnbridge (Cambridge plus Arnhem) came a respectable third. We even managed to squeeze in a trip to Ecco Pizzeria on the Friday night, for a foot-long pizza (between us) and a scoop of gelato.
True to form, I’m eagerly devouring the latest series of The Great British Bake Off, and am continuing last year’s effort to bake along with each episode. Or at least I was, until our oven went kaput, effectively stalling proceedings. Assuming British Gas can fix it, it should be up and running again later this week. Until then, we’re making do with the hob.
Six Months in Six Photos
I’m hopping over to Oxford in a few weeks’ time to catch up with a couple of friends and rediscover the City of Dreaming Spires. There’s also a trip to Italy for a taste of la dolce vita (and heaps of gelato) on the cards. If you’ve got any recommendations for Rome, Florence or Bologna, I’m all ears!