After spending the night in Reading visiting all the fam-er-ly, I took the train home via Guildford, where I met Esther and Bill, their toddling boy Archie, and Mira and Matt at the Weyside Inn for a pub lunch.
The place looked OK at first, we sat out on the [veranda? patio? deck?] and watched the narrowboats chuffing by, traditional clouds of blue diesel smoke belching from their behinds. I always want to call them longboats, but those are different. Guildford does have an Mare of Steel in the town square though, this being true-blue Surrey.
But when we ordered food from the halfwits (Toby, Dan and Bathsheba) behind the bar, the BITE review some of us had read turned out to be well deserved. The service was a bit shambolic, and despite it being a quiet Sunday lunchtime, the meals all came seperately. Very expensive if you got a simple veggie dish as well – it’s like charging the same for a soft drink as for a pint. Anyway, great view of groups of teenage girls rowing and struggling not to get mown down by the Long Ships. They weren’t rowing down the river so much as caroming off the banks.
After eating, we walked up to the castle, and took in the view. Lovely fresh breezy day. Walking up one hill was obviously not enough though, because then we walked up Pewley Hill to the big open ground, donated by the Friary Brewery to Guildford to celebrate the end of the Great War. Nice typeface on the monument, which was good to lean on while my calves stopped audibly screaming. Great view of the rolling downs, stables, and some conifer logging. Matt and Mira took the opportunity to pick a good bagful each of the silvery-black ripe sloes that were covering the hedgerow. They’re going to make sloe gin, which is all you can do with sloes in my opinion, which is echoed here. It’s the alcohol and sugar that do it.
After taking the air, we strolled down the hill, making sure not to let go of Archies pram, and went for coffee and cake, before we went our seperate ways. Esther and Billy look very happy with Archie – he is a lovely kid, even if I was jealous of him being pushed up the hill in a trolley. M&M were looking good too. Everyone wished me luck in LA next week.
When I eventually got home (via Clapham Junction, Balham, Tooting Broadway) I was knackered, so laundry, sandwiches and TV were in order. Lovely weekend.