Somerset Sushi – I’m on a Roll!

It’s happened! I can’t believe it, I finally have a decent sushi restaurant closer than 45 minutes from my house. I still have to drive there, but lets face it there’s not much I don’t have to drive to anymore.

It might not sound exciting to many country folk but for me it’s music to my ears because sushi was my go to food in LA and the grub I’ve missed most.

But when I was first informed about this so-called ‘Sushi’ restaurant opening up in the summer, I was dubious. The news came via my mum and while she’s a well travelled and intelligent lady with a love of foreign foods, raw fish has never really been her thing – unless they are Danish herrings.

sushi in the british countryside
‘Crazy’ excited for some sushi

Dad has always insisted on calling it ’Shh-shi’ and on the numerous times we took him to a Japanese restaurant when he was visiting he never once latched on to why we insisted on telling him to keep his voice down when he was ordering.

It was only when I saw with my own eyes that ‘Daniel Sushi’ was in fact a real place intending on serving up actual sushi that I began to get excited.

This wasn’t just some local fisherman dragging in a bottom feeding carp for us to dine on, the menu looked good and the chef was a professional.

The reviews were complimentary but I have to say the one that really stood out to me was this:

“I’m so happy there’s more than just supermarket sushi now, and even more glad that it’s really really good. I tried some of the beef that my dad ordered and it was out of this world.”

sushi in somerset
No, this isn’t a google image, this is the real deal

Once the laughing subsided off we trotted to ‘Bond Street’ – sadly not the posh one in London.

I nervously sipped on my chilled red wine – yep, they should probably do something about that – and wondered if in 24 hours I’d be doing an impression of the Exorcism of Emily Rose from both ends.

It’s true my Eastern European waitress wasn’t exactly up on her sushi lingo, but the meal was actually delicious and the only reason my tummy was rumbling was because I wanted more.

I went to bed on a salmon tartar and maki roll high. All I need now is for them to start delivering!

At the Car Wash

I thought I had stayed relatively British during my 15 year stint in Los Angeles. I Iost count of the number of times people commented that I hadn’t lost my English accent, I insisted on packing my bags at the supermarket and I still had a roast dinner, complete with Yorkshire puds on a Sunday. But on my return to the UK it became apparent that I had become a little ‘LA’ when living there.

I’m pretty sure the smartly dressed man outside the National Trust property didn’t appreciate me tossing my car keys at him when I mistook him for a valet and I’m convinced the owners of the local petrol station think I’m a complete idiot.

So much so I’m too embarrassed to go back there.

I’m used to driving a big car…but on big roads. I had a couple of prangs in Los Angeles but I still blame the fact I honestly couldn’t see over the steering wheel.

But for the majority of the time I could navigate the five lanes of heavy traffic on the 101 freeway – it just turns out I can’t navigate my way around a village petrol station – specifically I can’t drive my way through a car wash.

I was so excited about taking the kids through one – yeah, I know I said I was going to find fun and trendy things to do in the countryside, but I was having one of those days. Automatic car washes are far and few between in LA – mainly because when you valet your car you get the option for it to be washed too – so I figured it would be fun.

The problem was it had been a LONG time since I’d used one. I sat in the car and actually googled “how to go through a car wash”. Then to make doubly sure I did it right I went into the petrol station shop and spoke to the lady behind the counter.

I carefully explained – much to her amusement – that I was basically a foreigner and because I’d lived outside of the country for 15-years I wasn’t 100% sure on how to use a car wash.  It was my kid’s first time and I didn’t want to mess it up.

She kindly gave me instructions that basically amounted to “line your car up, turn off the engine and the machine will do the rest”.

I still managed to mess it up.

Five minutes later I was stuck inside a dark car wash, with a pair of petrified children. I couldn’t get out because my door was wedged up against the oversized brush I’d somehow managed to get way too close to and I had to make my exit via the passenger door. Sheepishly and covered in soap suds –  with the kids still screaming blue murder inside the car I might add – I had to go and explain myself to the woman.

She took one look outside the window, looked back at me and called her daughter in to take a look at what I’d done. “Look, look” she said pointing her finger at the disaster zone outside. “We haven’t had anyone mess up this badly in years!”

Oh how they laughed!

She then picked up the phone to call her husband!

“Why not call your mum too while you’re at it,” I said, because by this point I was not only red-faced but also painfully aware my children were still stuck out there.

Turns out she was only calling her mechanic hubby to come and help. I then had to stand there as they marvelled, along with a few rubberneckers, at “how the hell I’d managed that.”

After a lot of manoeuvring, tutting and shocked shaking of his head he broke my vehicle free of the brush that had got caught underneath the wheel arch of the front wheel.

I thanked him very, very, very much and went to jump into the car to make a speedy and shameful getaway, when they asked; “Don’t you want another go? Your car is only half clean.”

At first I was convinced they were only asking so they could catch another failed attempt on camera and flog it to ‘You’ve Been Framed’ for £250.  But then the husband thwarted his wife’s plans by leaping into the driver’s seat of my car and positively INSISTING he drive my car and crying kids through the car wash.

Had this been in LA they would have probably forced me to pay for someone to come and fix the car wash and then sued me for damages. In the countryside however, they not only gave me my second £3.50 wash for free, but they also threw in two chocolate bars for the kids.

Lucky for me the English rain has kept me from having to go back and show my face, and terrible driving skills, any time soon! I knew there was a reason to love this weather.

Curry in the Countryside

Unlike other places in America, Los Angeles was the hub of healthy. Friends and family would visit and feel compelled to tell me how shocked they were at how few overweight people there were there. “I thought Americans were supposed to be fat?” guest after guest would ask as another perfectly pert posterior strutted past.

With the statistics showing that a third of U.S adults are obese, I can understand their confusion.

I do remember once waiting at Minneapolis airport and being left completely gobsmacked when I saw a VERY large lady in a wheelchair with a block of cheese in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. She wasn’t just carrying her shopping, it was in fact, her snack! Her head bobbed back and forth like she was watching center court at Wimbledon as she took a bite out of the oversized lump of American cheddar in her left hand followed by a bite of her uncut loaf in her right. It was, for lack of a better word, incredible!

But in LA people were forever ordering their food “without cheese,” with the dressing “on the side” or requesting it sans bun aka “skinny style”.  My husband, friends and I used to joke about how far it could be pushed. “Hi. Can I get (because you don’t say “please may I have” in America) the bacon, avocado beef burger. But without the bun, bacon and avocado. Also is it possible to get a veggie patty instead of a beef one? I’d also like that without the mayonnaise and tomato, and actually scrap the patty all together”. 

I honestly don’t think the waiters would bat an eyelid if I’d done it.

In England and specifically in the countryside I’ve discovered it’s probably best to just eat it as it comes.

When I asked for ‘white meat’ – a very common request in America, simply meaning breast or tikka meat – from the local curry house, I’m convinced they thought I was being racist. 

Me: “I’d like to order a Chicken Madras but with only the white meat please.”

Them: “You asked for chicken, right?”

Me: “Yes, but can I just have the white meat, please.”

Them: “Chicken is white meat”

Me: “I know that but can I have the light coloured meat, not the dark meat.”

Them: “You didn’t order lamb.”

Me: “ I realise that, I ordered chicken. But could it be the chicken like the stuff that comes in the Tikka Masala.”

Them: “The best meat is the darker meat, why don’ you like it?.”

Me: “I do, I just prefer breast meat.”

Them: “I suppose you want white rice and not brown either!”

Kudos to the man on the end of the phone, I thought his closing comment was quite witty. 

But by that point I didn’t dare ask for the bottle of white wine they were offering for free for orders over £30.

“I’ll just take an onion bhaji thanks.”

The Dangers of Rural Living

The other day a friend asked me if I felt safer living in the British countryside rather than in LA and I didn’t know what to say.

I lived in a few different neighbourhoods, as they are called there, during my life in California but the majority of it was in a historic (1938) – which by Los Angeles standards is ancient –  block of lofts in the heart of Hollywood.

Lofts at Hollywood and Vine

Friends used to visit and be bitterly disappointed because they’d assumed I lived in a mansion in Beverly Hills and that my local supermarket was on Rodeo Drive.

While there was an abundance of celebrity filled restaurants and trendy hotels,  sex shops, smoke shops and tattoo parlours were dotted between them too.

My dad used to make me laugh when he’d try to look at the positives, and point out that “it’s nice that they’ve got so many individual and non-chain shops here”. I’m not sure the ‘Adult Warehouse Outlet’ or ‘The Pleasure Chest’ were really franchise material!

Perhaps it’s pretty apt that my apartment block featured on the start of the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ and is regularly zoomed in on for the crime show ‘Bosch’.

Hollywood on Bosch

There’s a reason Hollywood was often referred to as Hollyweird, I mean among other things I did witness two grown men dressed as Spiderman being arrested for having a turf war, like a couple of prostitutes.

But I grew to love the city and all it’s quirks.

My daughter has always been able to sleep through pretty much anything, and I believe thats thanks to the police helicopters and ambulances that used to fly over and race past every hour of the day.

Sounds horrific to many I’m sure. BUT I did feel strangely safe.

Now, when I moved to the countryside, I was still excited not have to worry about earthquakes, roaring traffic and the other obviously perils of city living.

But it turns out I can’t get away from it all and when it comes to driving here, I’d take a major 5 lane freeway any day!

I’m not good behind the wheel anyway and it’s been pointed out that the majority of the time I actually breath in when I pass a car and practically crap myself when I see a tractor headed my way.

small roads countryside
This photo did the road justice!

Case in point, I’ve just returned from a little holiday to Cornwall with my FLF (food loving friend), you may remember him from a former blog post.

I was in charge of driving and much to his dismay we had to abort a mission to get into a local village when the roads became so small I feared I’d meet my death wedged between, what was admittedly a beautiful Rhododendron and the way-too-late sign post that indicated ‘narrow road ahead’.

I had to do an ‘Austin Powers’ style 25 point turn to get out of the corridor – because I swear to God the route between my kitchen and bathroom is bigger –  and drive out of the village with sweat pouring down my face as my daughter pointed out repeatedly “daddy’s right, you can’t drive”.

Then there are the insects. Going for a hike in Los Angeles meant avoiding rattle snakes or the occasional cougar – both the animal and the older lady seeking a younger man variety.

Here it’s become apparent that it’s the smaller things I should be concerned about. My anally retentive and arachnophobic  – slight exaggeration – husband informed me he’d purchased a ’spider catcher’ after he claims he saw “one with teeth, hiding and ready to pounce” underneath his towel.

I had visions of this Spiderman inspired device that shoots a net out to gather up the critters faster than lightening. Turns out the ‘spider catcher’ is just a ridiculously expensive Black and Decker hand held vacuum cleaner.

My dad leaving the hedge cutter in the kid’s sandpit drew way less concern than when I thought my son had a tick! I flipped out even more than when I believed I saw a flea in his bed – hedgehogs carry them you know – and I may now have scarred him for life.

hedge cutter in sandpit
“It would have been very difficult for the kids to turn on” said my mum

I had him pinned down in the garden as I argued with my husband over the best way to remove it. I knew from having a dog decades ago that you shouldn’t just pull it out and you needed a special device, but the wireless didn’t stretch from the house and there was, as usual, no signal in the garden, so Googling was out of the question.

Lyme Disease raced through my mind as I stood there arguing with my spider fearing husband about who and how we were going to pull this disgusting thing from my, by now, terrified child’s leg.

It was perhaps a tad overkill, because when I gritted my teeth and took the plunge I discovered it wasn’t a tick after all, it was just a leaf.

There’s also a sheepdog, who has a reputation for being a biter up the road and there’s a pack of cows who saw me dive head first into some brambles to escape, what I believed was, an inevitable stampede the other day.

But wilderbeests, creepy crawlies and ridiculously small roads aside, I’m happy to say we do feel safe here!

If I could just get this mosquito out of the bedroom to ease my fears of catching West Nile virus, I’d be able to sleep just that little bit better.

Run For the Hills – If You Dare

Gyms can be terrifying places in Los Angeles. Time after time you’re subjected to visions of perfection who can be overheard complaining about the scrap of imaginary fat that is hindering them from squeezing their backsides into their size 000 jeans.

The men jostle for space at the mirror to grunt their way through their insane workouts and earn themselves their mid morning treat of one palm-sized, plain chicken breast.

But it turns out the gym can be a daunting place in the countryside too. So much so that my husband attempts to avoid the locker room at all costs. It’s not because he feels intimated by the village vicar’s impressive physique but because of the immense number of unnecessary, naked downward dogs in the changing rooms.

Let me explain. On his return from the local gym recently our conversation went like this:

Husband: “Hannah can I ask you. When you get changed in the morning, what is the first item of clothing you put on?”

Me: “My knickers, why?

Husband: “I’m just trying to fathom why every man in the gym feels the need to leave them until last.They are all bent over talcing their toes or pulling their socks on, some even their shoes, either completely naked or with just a t-shirt on.”

And so to give him a break from the nudist colony that he calls his gym, we decided to do some cross country running, where the only dangly bits we would likely come across were cow udders and the odd weeping willow.

It was a gorgeous day and while I was ready to just wing it and run where the wind took us, my dad insisted on giving us a map that looked like it had been hand drawn in the early 1800’s to give us some idea of the lay of the land.

“Go along Hollow Lane, turn left, past a gate, down the hill to the stream and run along there to come back to where you started,” he said.

map of somerset england
Not exactly the GPS run tracker I’ve been used to

Nothing after Hollow Lane was on the map however, but apparently it would be “obvious” once we got there.

It wasn’t! I saw no stream and after a few miles off the beaten track, we found ourselves sprinting past “Killer Cottage” and the “Kidnapping Cowsheds,” – properties quickly nicknamed by my own over exaggerating mind because why else would anyone build such a remote building other than to use it as a torture tavern?

As the cowpat laden track became so narrow you couldn’t escape the flies feasting on the excrement, and my husband getting quite sick of me asking “what do you think is up here?” I slowed my pace and I told him “save yourself, I can’t go on”.

The grandparents were looking after the kids and I proceeded to text them, what I later realised was, a bit of a dramatic text message.

text message to dad
The message did reach dad… once we were safely back home

My husband refused to leave a man behind and rallied me onward. An hour and a half (it felt like longer) after we set off for our jog I saw our car, the ‘C U Next Tuesday Mobile’ glimmering in the sunlight. I ran towards it desperately hoping it wasn’t a mirage and 20 minutes later, I was safe and sound at home.

Of  course I didn’t die from being stranded in a corn field. I wasn’t murdered by the local farmer or found tied up by a crazy shepherd. In fact the only person wanting to kill me was probably my better half, who once again had to endure my horrendous map reading – I still blame my dad for his crap map though – and put up with the fact I made a beautiful jog in the countryside into the first chapter of a bad horror novel.

jog in the British countryside
Worse places I could have been stuck

Perhaps I would have been safer going to an indoor spin class. The only problem was that when I Googled “spinning, South Somerset” I was directed to “The Somerset Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers”. I think I’d rather be lost….or worse.

 

50 Shades of Poo

I’ve witnessed my fair share of brown nosing and bull**** living in LA, but I have never been so bogged down with crap since I moved to the countryside.

When I was discussing this blog post with my my mum she warned me that I should air on the side of caution; not use the word “sh*t” or “shite” and maybe even reconsider “poo”. She told me her generation often sees it as crass and unnecessary. Well then I ask, if plop is so offensive to them why do the ‘Cocoon’ crew all flock here, to the epicenter of poop?

animal poo in the Somerset countryrside
The kids find it all rather fascinating

A walk around our ‘neighborhood’ involves crossing a field, dodging cowpats and Henley asking “what sort of poo is that?” way more times that we were used to in Los Angeles – although to be fair it was always dog sh** there.

By now you all know and are bored of the story of me carrying my son’s poo sample in a mayonnaise jar to hospital, but I haven’t told you about the fox that took a turd in my boxing glove and then stole the other one.

The same fox I told the kids to take a peak at through the  fence, “because you can get so close to them here” I said, only to realise it was ripping the head of a bird.

My Google history also contains a lot of questions I was never used to asking. My husband came back from a stroll down to the end of the orchard a few months ago and asked: “Have you ever seen a poo trifle? Well there’s one in the garden. It looks like several animals have been competing for the best poo, one on top of the other.”

My search engine informed me that it’s a badger’s toilet. They apparently dig their own latrine and use it for weeks on end, only there is no flush.

Henley’s fascination with this was so intense, we had to set up a night camera to capture the black and white beasts at work.

Running in the countryside is messy
Running gets a little messy!

We can’t even park the car in the garage because of the swallows that are currently living in there, using our aging Volvo as a bog.

It’s not bad enough I still have one child in nappies – whose bowel movement I had to scrub off the inside of the bath the other day –  but the chickens regularly crimp one off in their water bowl and who knows who the tiny ‘code brown’ on top of the pushchair belonged to.

Right, on that note I’m going to clean off the sheep crap that’s caught in the grooves of my trainers from my cross country run yesterday!

A Guide to Getting Your Hair Cut in the Countryside

I’ve never considered myself extravagant when it comes to pampering myself, but in Los Angeles a bi-monthly mani pedi was considered reserved, and no one batted an eyelid if the man sat next to you getting his cuticles trimmed was talking about spending the afternoon having his crack, back and sack waxed.

Sadly though when it comes to the hair on my head, I’m having what my brother calls “a bad hair lifetime”. I could hide it pretty well in America, under hats or by saying it was a beachy look but the British weather leaves me baring a striking resemblance to Albert Einstein or as my daughter says “a crazy lion”.

hair, countryside, albert einstein
My locks looked like a longer version of this pre haircut

In LA I had the luxury of incredible hair salons on almost every corner, and I was safe in the knowledge there was someone out there who could tame my mane.

But searching for a hairdresser in the countryside, when you’ve only got the recommendation from your 65-year-old mum, is a truly terrifying endeavour.

I trust my mum, she’s cute and trendy and has nice hair, but it’s white-blonde and short and I’m not ready to go down that route just yet. So when I asked her if the lady she uses does Balayage she looked at me blankly. “I can call her and ask,” she kindly offered. “What exactly is it again?”

For the record Balayage is just a painting technique for highlighting hair to give it a sun-kissed look, but I guess in the countryside blue rinses and a set are the most popular requests.

It turns out mum’s mobile hairdresser didn’t do Balayage but she’d “heard” about a salon that did. I got the number and gave them a call only for them to put the phone down on me.

robin james, hair, somerset
Robin James salon in Sherborne.

“I beg your pardon?” said the voice on the other end of the phone after I’d asked if their establishment did Balayage. Confused, I called back and the enraged receptionist warned me: “Don’t ever call back here again.”

I still don’t understand what she thought I was asking for, “can you give my balls a massage” is all I can come up with. Other suggestions are welcome.

My hair needed attention though and I was getting dangerously close to asking my mother-in-law, who once had a job washing hair in a salon 45 years ago, to give it a trim.

Many phone calls later, I finally found somewhere that did Balayage. I’ll admit it wasn’t that comforting when the lady put her hand over the mouthpiece to ask the stylists if they did it and then had to come back to me to ask me to spell the word, but I decided to go for it.

That was until, the talented guy snipping my husband’s hair in an actually quite trendy barbour shop, the next day, pulled a face and whistled: “You’re brave,” when I told him where I was going.

NOOOOO!!!!!! I almost asked him to just shave my head there and then. Fortunately with the bad news came some good. He gave me the name of a great salon 20 minutes away and when I googled ‘Robin James’ I was over-the-moon.

Hair, Robin James, Somerset, Sherborne
Yay for Robin James!

I did have to wade through the sea of ambling white haired wanderers in picturesque Sherborne to get to the salon’s front door, but once inside I felt like I’d been transported back to LA – so long as I didn’t look out the window that was.

Bean Shot Coffee, somerset, countryside
The best Bloody coffee I’ve ever had!

Ironically my young, tattooed and uber hip stylist talked me out of a ball massage, sorry Balayage, even though she could have made a lot more money from it! Unheard of.

To top it all off as I walked back to my car and dived into a doorway to make room for the approaching train of mobility scooters, I stumbled across the most amazing coffee shop. The sign in the window read ‘Bloody Good Coffee’ and it bloody well was. Thanks Robin James and Bean Shot Coffee for making what could have been a truly hair-raising day, amazing!

You Got Mail

I am well aware that this blog is supposed to be about finding cool and trendy things to do in the countryside so a post about post offices may just make anyone who is reading this switch off.

Village Post Office in England
The next village’s post office is positively buzzing!

But I can’t help it. I’m taking a rain check on my post about a fantastic holiday in Devon for one about mail or post or whatever you want to call it.

A country road in Somerset, England
Traffic getting there was a nightmare

When we moved back to England a very good friend suggested my daughter and hers, who had known each other since they were babies, became pen friends.

Obviously being three and four years old they weren’t going to conjure up handwritten masterpieces, but we figured scribbles and stickers would be greatly appreciated.

However, the contents of the packages was less problematic than the physical action of posting them.

I kid you not that my email (yes, I’m aware of the electronic irony) to said pen pal friend’s mum read:

“I’m glad she liked the card. H has written T another one, but the pace of village life means the post office comes to visit us just once a week in the Working Man’s Club,” I wrote.  “I wish I was joking! I haven’t plucked up the courage to go in there yet. I don’t know what I’m expecting to find, but I I keep getting visions of the last man standing from the night before, being left in charge of the first class stamps and the stamp sticker pad has gone missing. This means he takes it upon himself to lick the stamps and even worse my envelopes with his stale cider breath,” I continued.

“So instead I drive to the next village where there’s an actual PO that stays open all day – except for lunchtime of course, because with all that foot traffic they need a rest. It also sells pet food, imports the local old lady’s knitted goods and if you’re really lucky you’ll find a second hand hamster cage for sale.”

Crafts at the village post office
‘Craft services’ brought on a whole new meaning at the village post office

She responded by writing that she’d “audibly gasped”.

But my fascination with the place meant I insisted on my husband paying it a visit too, only he had to leave because he said it made him want to cry!

I, on the other hand, love it. I’ve even braved the Working Man’s Club post office too. I won’t lie, it was weird. There was a raffle and they were setting up tea and biscuits, but it beats standing in a half hour queue at the Hollywood Post Office where I was generally greeted with gritted teeth, a frown and a $45 price tag to send a letter home.

hollywood california post office
My old local post office in Hollywood, California

My only issue with going again is that I’ve just been told the Natwest Banking Van visits Martock on a Wednesday and I’m not sure I’ve got enough time to post a letter, have a free cuppa and get to the next village in time to pile into the back of a van to deposit my pennies!

The Ex-Files

From time to time, I get my city fix. I jump on the train (see the picture of my rural station below where if you look carefully you can see “the path to town” on the right!!!) and spend two wonderfully quiet hours headed to the big smoke for work or to meet friends. I enjoy the fact it doesn’t matter if I get on the tube going in the wrong direction because I don’t have to lug two kiddies off and on the train, with the awful fear of leaving one stood on the platform!! It’s a nightmare of mine, and a reality to a family member who did just that in Singapore!  But that’s another story. Knowing I don’t know many people in this vast city and I bump past no familiar faces is kind of refreshing. But all of that went out the window last week when I bumped into possibly one of the worst people I could have…my ex-boyfriend.

‘The path to town’ apparently!!!

I’m not talking about a recent ex, I’ve been married 9 years and with my husband for 11. 

I’m talking about the ex boyfriend I had in Los Angeles before getting together with my husband.

I’m talking about the ex boyfriend who, the last I heard was living in New York.

I’m also talking about the ex boyfriend who apparently still calls me ‘The Poison Dwarf’ – I barely break the 5ft barrier, so he’s not completely wrong.

So when I was tucking into my Bakewell Tart in a cafe in Green Park, London, a place I’d NEVER been before I practically spat my Americano across the packed place in horror when I saw him walk in. 

At first I thought “it can’t be” then I thought “it could be” and when he turned round I saw  “it f***** was”. I could have done the adult thing and said hello, even just put my head down and hoped he didn’t see me. But I took the very childish route instead. I threw the remains of my cake into my oversized handbag – and yes for those who follow me on Facebook, it was the one I carried a jar of mayonnaise containing my son’s poop to hospital in – and tried to flee. 

My newly nicknamed ‘poo purse’

I could feel I wasn’t being subtle. I was making more of a scene as I tried to squeeze through the birthing canal that this too small exit route had become. My bag was whacking angry city workers and because I had my head down, I’m sure I bore a strikingly resemblance to a rugby prop (or perhaps an angry dwarf?). It all began to happen in slow motion, he was getting closer to the front of the line and I had to pass that point to make my escape. I couldn’t physically turn around and if I got any lower I’d have been crawling on the floor. So why, in that moment, I decided the only thing to do was to fake taking a phone call, I have no idea. As I burst into the fresh – if not slightly smoggy – air I realised that if he hadn’t seen me already,  he’d certainly heard me now!!  

I continued that fake phone call for the next few minutes as I power walked out of the joint at such speed I probably looked like a shoplifter. The thing is I think I’d have preferred to explain myself to an officer of the law, than make small talk with my ex, who the last time I saw actually growled at me and said: “urghh. What’s she doing here?”.

It put me on edge for the rest of the afternoon and very almost put me off my lunchtime ‘Langan’s‘ fishcakes as I kept looking over my shoulder for fear of who else I might come across.

Serves me right for escaping the countryside for the day! 

 – Oh and Mr. Ex-boyfriend, if you ever read this I’m really sorry I didn’t stop and say hi – but then again, you’re probably not.

Bottomless Bucks Fizz to Bottomless Chips

Gone are the days of popping out for brunch, ordering a bottomless Bucks Fizz (Mimosas in America) and ending up, in the words of Micky Flanagan, “out out”. But that’s more to do with having kids than relocating. Although our local pub still closes after lunch and doesn’t reopen for dinner until 6pm, so I can’t imagine them pushing bottomless pints of Somerset cider!

So imagine my delight when during a trip to beautiful Dartmouth, I saw the words “bottomless” shining like a beacon on a blackboard outside a restaurant. I practically broke into a sprint, abandoning my kids, hubby and food loving friend (lets call him FLF) on the other side of the road. My disappointment when I noticed the words “Bucks Fizz” had been replaced with “chips” was glaringly obvious. 

Upstairs at Rockfish, downstairs was packed!

I stopped in my tracks, hands on hips and yelled rather inappropriately, I now realise; “Bloody chips! Bloody bottomless chips! We may as well be at McDonalds. What sort of a place sells itself on bottomless chips?”

“A bloody good one” a voice from behind me muttered as he walked out of the restaurant. 

Now it was my FLF’s turn to sprint, actually he’ll be the first to admit he doesn’t do that, but regardless I’ve never seen him move as fast.

I still wasn’t convinced – the initial disappointment still stingingly fresh – but since FLF had already bowled me over to get inside, and was busy tucking a napkin into his collar despite not having anywhere to sit, I figured I had little choice.

Anyway, turns out we had stumbled upon an AMAZING fish and chips restaurant Rockfish.

The spicy salt was amazing

Fantastic food, brilliant service and they didn’t discriminate against families like ours rocking up at their cool establishment with a pair of kids (and one FLF adult) chanting “fish and chips, fish and chips”.

They even had a designated area for the folk who dine around toy cars and crayons. 

My FLF didn’t manage to beat the restaurant’s record of 7 re-orders of their bottomless chips, although he insisted he could easily have done it if we hadn’t all be watching him, but we still left buzzing – it was just from fine food rather than endless glasses of bubbles!