As I glance out my window at the slither of English Bay beach I can see, I’m also looking around my room thinking this is going to become a whole lot more familiar over the next few weeks (I hope not months). I didn’t expect to be spending my first few months in Canada self isolating and social distancing. I’m remaining positive and staying at home as much as possible. As a way to deal with what is happening around me, I’m going to delve into some of the exciting things I got up in the past year.
My Nanna and I took a little road trip, or should I say coach trip in September last year. Not just any coach trip though, this was a mystery weekend with National Holidays. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, it is a 2 day trip on a coach to an unknown destination. Depending on your driver, you don’t find out where you are going until you arrive. They are great value for money, around £60 per person and it includes travel via coach, one night accommodation, evening meal and breakfast. If you aren’t fussy on your destination, I’d highly recommend booking (post covid-19).
Our driver kept our first stop a complete secret until we drove into Melton Mowbray, a town in Leicestershire and the home of the pork pie.
Pork Pie – A traditional British meat pie coated in shortcrust pastry, stuffed with pork and a layer of jelly.
We spent our time browsing the local shops, exploring the stalls of a market and eating jacket potatoes in a pub. It’s a small town and has been referred to as the “Rural Capital of Food”. This is due to the Melton Mowbray pork pie and the production of Stilton cheese. I didn’t really get a “capital of food” vibe but it was an interesting place to stumble upon. I bought a few pork pies to bring home with me; which our coach driver kindly stored in his mini onboard fridge. Next stop – our hotel for the evening.
We stayed in a newly renovated room at the Mercure Birmingham West hotel. It has just what you need for one night away. We went to the hotel restaurant for our evening meal. It was what you would expect from hotel food; buffet style with starter and dessert. The breakfast was similar, I actually love a hotel breakfast. It set us up for the day ahead, although we still had no clue what was in store.
Our first (extremely short) stop was Lichfield. We got just enough time to explore the cathedral, the only medieval English cathedral with three spires and have a coffee. It is small city north of Birmingham, very pretty and lots of shops. It would have been nice to spend more time here as it all felt a bit rushed.
Our next and final destination was a small market town in the Derbyshire Dales, Bakewell. It is heavily populated with tourists; all wanting a slice of the local confectionery. The Bakewell pudding consists of a pastry base, topped with jam and a filling made of egg and almond paste. Bakewell tarts are more my thing and I can certainly vouch for their deliciousness. We explored the shops and then made our way back to Hull.
And just like that the weekend was over. We arrived back in Hull at a reasonable hour and made our way home. I can’t rave enough about these mystery weekends. I think they are great value for money and you become part of the coach family. We had a group of ladies who had brought bingo for the whole bus to play. It was like being on an episode of Coach Trip with Brendan Sheerin.
So whenever we get through the COVID-19 craziness, get booking your first mystery weekend. You won’t be disappointed.