We started the day with a fabulous breakfast at Thornbury castle. I hadn't had the best nights sleep, because although the four poster bed looks stunning, it is on a sprung base which doesn't do my back any favours (it is perfect for people who like softer beds but just not for me).
The day was drizzly so we didn't stay around Thornbury for long. We needed to make sure we could get to Bray in time for our evening meal which had been booked at The Hinds Head in Bray as a belated Father's Day meal.
We made good journey time and soon realised we would be in Bray far too early if we kept going, so we took a detour to visit the Didcot railway centre. The boys Blue Peter badges came in handy once again. They got free entry, Miss T was free anyway for being so young, so it was only two adults to pay for there.
We'd all skipped lunch too to make sure that we'd have a good appetite for The Hinds Head, so that didn't help with how everyone was feeling (including me - when I get upset I tend to say things I regret).
Amazingly he made it through the visit stain free with his clothes remaining presentable for the evening.
We hopped back in the car and onwards to Bray. We were still early once we got to the teeny tiny village of Bray. It has been dubbed the foodie capital of the UK and it certainly is. Driving through the village you can't miss The Hinds Head, then just a few doors down is The Fat Duck. Other than amazing places to eat, there really is nothing else to do there so don't arrive too early like we did.
There was something special that did happen as a result of us being there early. We parked the car in The Hinds Head car park and a few moments later a lady walks past wearing a UK Space Agency T-shirt.
A couple of months ago our own Brilliant Chef, 8 year old D, had created a recipe suitable for space and entered it into the UK Space Agency's competition to create a meal for British astronaut Tim Peake. Heston and Tim themselves were judging the competition and although D wasn't a winner, his entry of Toad in the hole and Space peas and a dessert of space ready Eton mess using freeze dried berries did receive a highly commended award.
The full entry was a massive 7 page document with all the details of the recipes and why they would be suitable for space, but D was also permitted to submit a short 2 minute video summary of his entry and you can see that here.
Anyway back to the car park, it turned out this lady in the UK Space Agency T-shirt was indeed the lady involved in organising the competition who we had been in email contact with recently. It must have been the day that the winners had visited Bray to work on bringing their recipes to life.
It was too much of a coincidence to miss, as we had booked our meal at The Hinds Head ages ago, and here they were doing the space stuff on the same day. So D made sure he got to say hello to Libby from the space agency and her colleague Jeremy.
So that was another bizarre but really great twist to what has been an amazing weird and wonderful road trip.
The afternoon was not incident free. As I explained, we were all tired, tempers were frayed, kids were getting really hungry and the arguments started.
It was one of those days where I just wondered what I had done to deserve children who answer back, are rude and seem to have no respect for us or for each other.
And just when we thought things couldn't get worse, D kicks a puddle and J ends up with oily muddy splashes across his face and all down his shirt and trousers. If you remember, this was the one and only clean shirt he had and he'd worked so hard to keep it clean all day.
Baby wipes cleaned up his face but just smudged the dirt on the shirt making it worse! Thankfully we had a spare shirt for D. Despite D being nearly two years younger, because of his slim build, J was able to fit into D's spare shirt.
I was so cross that I told D what my mum used to say to me when she was mad at me which was about how when I was born it was like she planted a seed and nurtured it and looked after it and she had hoped I would grow to be a flower but when my behaviour was horrible, it was like I had grown into a weed rather than a flower.
I immediately regretted saying that, and I only write about it here because something really special happened today which I will write about separately. (update: I wrote this post about it here).
Somehow the kids did begin to calm down and we headed across to The Hinds Head. We had enough time to get some mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) from the bar first.
D had a hocus pocus (which included bubblegum and toffee apple flavours in it) and J had a tutti fruitti. Miss T drank most of daddy's mocktail so we know she loved them too.
D has written his own blogpost about our meal on his own blog, but here are our highlights.
The boys each had a famous Heston-style scotch egg with a runny yolk as a starter. I've tried making these before and I really wanted to have a taste to see how the real thing compares, but neither J nor D would let me have a taste. It came with a gorgeous mustardy mayonnaise which I did get to taste.
They do have a kids menu which I'm sure would have been great but I was really pleased to see that both boys wanted to try something from the main menu. They chose the same as me, chicken breast on a bed of braised lettuce, peas and bacon and with pickled onion pieces really making the dish special.
Richard got to have the famous triple cooked chips. We heard they were off the menu for a while as the best type of potato for them was out of season. We were so pleased to see they had made it back onto the menu. And yes they were fabulous, as were the earl grey carrots.
Things just got better and better as dessert was awesome. Richard had millionaires shortbread with chocolate wine 'slush'. J really enjoyed his cherry bakewell with yogurt ice cream. And I was very excited to see my sandwich shaped Victoria sandwich with strawberry 'salad'.
We had the most wonderful waitress who took the boys to see the kitchen at the end of our meal. You'll remember from our Noma visit last year that sneak peeks behind the scenes are really special for D who has dreamt of being a chef from the age of 3 and one day wants to own his own restaurant.
We finished off with more mocktails - hocus pocus all round this time, before heading home with three weary children who fell asleep in the car.
What an amazing final day to our epic road trip!
|A spot of 'foodie tourism' outside Heston's famous 'The Fat Duck' in Bray|