Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bright Lights and Beacons

The view from our roof
Another beautiful weekend is winding down. Friday evening was rather wet, but that didn't stop me from showing a friend, in town for just the day, my favourite pub and chippy. The weather really picked up on Saturday, setting the stage for gunpowder and treason -- or at least much fire in their remembrance. After a bit of hemming and hawing, we settled on taking in the spectacle from Cleeve Hill. A quick stop at B & Q for torches -- i.e., flashlights; should've put that one on our list -- and then we were in it.

It's difficult to describe how surreal it was, standing up on Cleeve Common, lit by moonlight alone, watching fireworks go off randomly all over the town, as far as the eye could see. In some cases we'd wait six or seven seconds before the bangs, pops and crackles (h'm, I'm hungry) would reach us, and then others would fly over our heads in an instant cacophony, as fellow Common squatters joined the party.

Aside: for the movie fans, I kept alternating between that opening shot of the city in Blade Runner, with those flames shooting up, and something out of The Crow, like Devil's Night, almost a week late. Surreal, in any event.

We stopped at a grocery store on the way home and picked up some mulled wine and appetizers for board game night -- a favourite way to spend an evening, now British style, with sausage rolls, egg bites and falafel augmenting the usual Italian meats, cheeses, bread, hummus, chicken wings, etc. We decided to try The Rivals For Catan this time, a two-player take on the better known Settlers... We were both impressed: lots of paths to victory, and for screwing over your rival in the pursuit of it. Plus, once you've mastered the basic game, there are three 'era' expansion packs included.

* * *

We struck out around noon today for Great Malvern, set on conquering the Worcestershire Beacon well before sundown. Tea was brimming with confidence, and would hear none of my burning quads after those first '99 steps' of the Rose Bank Gardens that open the walk. The temperature was perfect: we were just right in our long sleeves, even in the brisk wind on the crests of the lower hills (so long as we stayed in the sun). And the view from the top was fantastic: parts of thirteen counties can be seen on a clear day, apparently, and we certainly had that.

"Yay! We made it!"

The bar in the Great Malvern Hotel
Having worked up an appetite, we made our way to the Unicorn in Great Malvern. An old haunt of C. S. Lewis, it's probably seen better days; still, the staff were really friendly, the roast pork was excellent, and they did have Ringwood Best Bitter on tap. I then convinced Tea that we couldn't leave town without trying a pub from the GBG. The bar in the Great Malvern Hotel was what we settled on; such a homey place, with some interesting ales on when we visited: I tried Sharp's Red Ale, and enjoyed it.

P.S.: I've uploaded a few other pictures from the day, as well.

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