It is behaving like a typical English summer here at the moment - one minute I'm lounging in the back garden sunbathing the next I'm running inside as flecks of rain appear as if by magic. I've been told by more than one person and on more than one occasion that this is the way summers in England behave. Trust me, I get it... message received now can we please go back to having the continually hot weather we had during June? ....Please.
Saturday was just such a day except when it wasn't sunny outside it was absolutely pissing it down. This of course terrified Sasha, the dog, who apparently has a phobia of thunder and is none to keen on rain either. This is a dog that will chase cats and sheep and loves trying to attack the postman, but when it comes to a storm she behaves like a Grade-A chicken shit. Besides being a rainy Saturday it was also Lindsay's birthday. In the morning Bob, Lindsay's dad, and Pam and Mick, Ian's parents, came over with presents which she opened while we all drank tea. Luke and I got her a slow cooker, which is what we Yanks refer more commonly as a crock pot. I personally think it was the best gift, but that's just me being modest.
After the floor littered with wrapping paper had been cleared and the guests were gone, Lindsay, Ian, Luke, and myself drove to Leamington Spa for a little bit of shopping. Luke and I had a small list of things we wanted to pick up, most of which I can't remember and none of which we were able to find. Although we were able to pick up a slowcooker cookbook on sale for £2 as an additional gift for Lindsay, with a very selfish purpose, in the hopes that she would make us lots of tasty treats. We returned home in time for Luke and I to walk Sasha and get showered and made up for a birthday dinner at Piccolinos Italian Restaurant in Warwick.
Piccolinos was lovely, certainly not a fancy place but the atmos was terrific. It looked exactly as an authentic Italian taverna should look like. Were it not for the fact that we could see the rain washed streets of Warwick outside and everyone was speaking English I might have believed us actually in Italy. I found the food to be good, hearty Italian, the menu was authentic the owners, an Italian couple, didn't see the need to put anything fancy or nontraditional on it and for that I was grateful. For starters I had an Antipasto di Mare which comprised of pickled squid and octopus and a main of swordfish covered in breadcrumbs, garlic and lemon. Both were very yummy, although I think I might have preferred Luke's main dish of seafood risotto topped with skewers of swordfish, monkfish, and tuna. For dessert I had Amaretti Ice Cream which was just vanilla ice cream topped with a couple shots of Amaretto and crunched up Amaretti biscuits and toasted almonds it is also known as heaven!
Luke and I ended the night by meeting Pete and Sam at a bar in Leamington called The Duke. It is not a favourite place for either of us but it's cheap drinks are beginning to warm me to it. We had a few drinks in there and some delightful banter before changing locations where we met up with one of the boys' acquaintances who was having a birthday. This is something I'm struggling to get my head around, and that is the English's delight at going out in fancy dress for birthdays, stag dos, and hen dos. I state this because this particular group we met up with comprised of 20 toga-clad individuals. It just makes no sense to me that a nation that pretty much ignores Halloween would therefore make excuses to dress up during the rest of the year and then go out amongst normally dressed members of the public. At least at Halloween everyone is dressed up and you understand why, but I constantly find myself at English bars looking around and thinking 'why the hell is that person dressed like a [insert random outfit here]'. It just makes no sense. Every party here is always fancy dress, hell even Issac's 4th birthday party next month is going to be fancy dress... he's turning 4, I doubt he'll be thanking his parents for letting him dress up as Fireman Sam (a children's cartoon character here) when he's in his adolescence. Nevertheless the night was reasonably enjoyable and ended with Luke and I in a £20 *ouch* taxi ride back to Southam with a very friendly cabbie.
Sunday night for a change of pace the White Lion quiz group went to the Sunday night pub quiz at The Bowling Green in Southam. The question style was completely different to The White Lion and I must admit we placed at a humiliating low level which made us walk out with low hung heads. It didn't help matters that Zoe had put our quiz team name as "Got Bored of Winning at The White Lion" which suffered us a number of jeers and catcalls. Just to rub salt in the fresh wound, on Tuesday we placed 5th place, our lowest ever placement at The White Lion. 1st place was only 4 points ahead of us, which helps considering we're usually at least 3 or 4 points higher than second place not 5th. What made things worse is those 4 points were lost to us based on incredibly stupid mistakes we made. Oh piss it... it was the blasted quiz's fault! Humph. Oh well, we'll go back next week and "smash it" as Luke says.
In other news.. since Friday I have completed not one but two books. The first being Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, who of course wrote the previous book I read Sepulchre. Labyrinth is another book to add to my favourites' list, loved it just as much as Sepulchre, perhaps a little more or a little less, it depends on my mood. The second book I finished was Hunting Unicorns by Bella Pollen, it only took a day it was an incredibly easy read and one of my first dips into 'chick lit'. It told the story on an American journalist trying to capture the decline of the English aristocracy while she unknowingly falls in love with an English blue-blood. A cute romantic comedy that had me laughing out loud at a few of the witticisms. I do however have some major issues with the narration as I found the method she choose to be a major cop-out but never mind I enjoyed it and that's what matters. Next up on my reading list Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, a book that has been on there for quite some time I've just never seemed to manage to get around to it... well no more I begin today!