Summer in England means one thing.
Made with lemonade, mint and a medley of fruit (and a splash of limoncello for a cheeky extra kick if you're like me!)
Life translates to the outdoors with the warmer weather. What I love about the UK is the way we all rush outside as soon as the sun peeks out from behind the clouds. Living in Italy, I noticed a completely different attitude to the seasons. An early spring heatwave was not met with shorts, flip flops and neon colours, it was business as usual in jeans, scarves and light jackets. I guess in England we can never be sure that the good weather is going to last whereas in Italy they have more hope that the heat will continue through the summer!
Seeing as we were in England, we spent the whole weekend outdoors.
After our paddle in the sea at Botany Bay and picnic in Sandwich from my last post, we headed to Canterbury to see the sights of this beautiful, historic city.
The first thing on my to do list in Canterbury often revolves around food and drink.
I had such a great day here with one of my friends here once. He got an unexpected email with his final university results whilst we were travelling up on the train - a 2:1 from Oxford, no less.
As such, we spent the entire day doing a bar crawl, slurping our way through champagne, beer, cider, tequila and wine (I was so happy to continue the crawl later that evening, back home onto the sofa).
On more sober days, it's a trip to Tiny Tim's tearooms, every single time.
Where you can always expect to see good cake (and good friends) behind the counter!
We sat out in the garden to enjoy our lunch al fresco. Seeing as Tiny Tim's is just down the road from Waterstones, I'd already been in for my usual binge buy (three books might not seem that much but seeing as I have 80 unread novels at my last count, every extra one is a bit naughty!) I bought Summer at the Lake and The Lemon Grove for a bit of summer reading and The Yips because I read a novel by Nicola Barker years ago, didn't understand it yet still think about it.
Now if fish and chips on the seafront the night before hadn't done it, a lunch at Tiny Tim's was certainly the best way to introduce Martina to British food. Tamsyn's ploughman's lunch came with an impressive hunk of cheese but it was nothing compared to the doorstop slabs of bread under our scrambled eggs (tomato stolen from Tamsyn who hates them, the weirdo).
Every time I go to Tim's, I have the scrambled eggs. They are just so damn good! They're so creamy and buttery and perfectly salty and the size of the toast slices means you'll be full all day.
Unfortunately I forgot that Italy doesn't really use butter as a cooking ingredient so poor Martina found them a little overwhelming!
Another thing I can't resist at Tim's is a good scone with a cup of tea.
Their scones are absolutely huge and can easily be cut into three slices for extra cream and jam goodness!
But again Martina found it a little overwhelming. She thought the clotted cream was butter and wouldn't accept it when I told her that it was cream. She could also taste the butter that had been used in baking the scone and was incredulous, asking why we would put butter on such a buttery thing!
Honestly, these Italians don't know anything about good food!
Nevertheless, lunch was a success (we could hardly breathe afterwards, let alone walk) so we went for a waddle to try and help our poor tummies digest it all.
I love the river in Canterbury and the weeds that flow along with the clear water. It always makes me think of hair, perhaps the locks of some long-drowned soul whose ghost still haunts the river...
I always forget how beautiful the parks are in Canterbury. I normally stick to the high street for shopping trips but on warmer days it's really worth a trip just to explore all the green spaces.
On our way home, we stopped off at Wickhambreaux, one of the picturesque little villages in the surrounding countryside.
And of course, we gravitated straight back to the pub garden.
No Pimms this time though! We went back to Martina's roots.
I love exploring my home region like a tourist - it's so much fun! And showing new visitors around really makes me feel proud of where I live.
Home sweet home!