We saw and did a lot with Nana and Grandpa during their visit. After returning to Whitstable from our trip to Cornwall and Devon, we had a quiet day at home. We all needed a day to recover, I think (and I needed a yoga class!). Then we took them into Canterbury to see St. Augustine’s Abbey. As we’ve mentioned before, this has become one of our most beloved places. It is so beautiful and serene, right in the midst of the bustling city. And it is such a historically significant place. Every time I go, the history of the site just boggles my mind.
The kids got caught up in a pick-up game of football (soccer) in the paying field along side the historic site. Flora informed us that someday she and Charlie should play this game. Can’t wait to get them signed up for the Vashon youth soccer!
After our visit to the abbey, we took Nana and Grandpa to the cathedral. There were no visiting hours that afternoon, but an evensong service was about to begin, so we sent them to the service and we went down the street to our favorite Belgian bistro for a snack and a rest.
As it happened, the cathedral choir sang my mother’s favorite choral piece: Lauridson’s O magnum mysterium. So the evensong service was a highlight for my folks. I can’t wait to have an opportunity to go to one of the evensong services ourselves, with the kids. Perhaps next week…
On our last night together, we had a big dinner, used up our leftover Christmas crackers, and tried my biggest Christmas pudding, which had been maturing for about 3 months. It needed another 2-hour steaming, so we started it shortly before dinner. We tried this one with both brandy sauce and brandy butter. The brandy butter was the clear winner for me. It is so insanely good – like boozey creamy heaven. Like Bailey’s Irish Cream, distilled down to its concentrated essence. I need to stop thinking about it or I’ll have to go and eat some!
Helpers in the kitchen:
Roast chicken, baby chantenay carrots, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and parsnip, and my first attempt at roasties.
And of course, the pud.
This one was Delia Smith’s recipe, and it was really delicious. The texture was divine — so soft, moist, and tender. Surprisingly, though, I think I preferred the taste of the Mrs. Beeton recipe that we tried at Christmas. I still have one of those in my closet!
With brandy butter:
With brandy sauce:
We headed over to Windy Corner Stores the next morning for a good cup of coffee before Nana and Grandpa had to head back to Illinois. Notice the very jaunty cap that my dad picked up in one of the Whitstable high street shops!
It was a great visit (despite a little illness and a bit of a dental issue…). We hope we get to see them again before we move back stateside. Cheerio for now…