Friday, 29 April 2016


Tree-lined pedestrian pathway

This was a Lola II birthday weekend, postponed from when her birthday actually took place because we have both been a bit busy most weekends. By all rights it should therefore have been warmer than late February, but it wasn't really. Apart from the chilly days it was a brilliant weekend.

We started with the accommodation on Friday, which was not our usual guesthouse or B&B, but a private residence booked through AirBnB, belonging to Muriel. Muriel was Not Very Well so our contact with her was quite limited, but we were out most of the time so it didn't matter. She has some very interesting wallpaper but the room was comfortable and there was Redbush tea.

We decided that Leicester is quite good. Many of its inhabitants have got over the discovery of the skeleton of King Richard III in favour of their football team (although the city still displays an RIII logo on lamp posts, posters and anything else it can think of). Leicester City Football Club has unexpectedly emerged from obscurity and is almost in a position to win the League, and everyone seems to be rather excited and nervous about it.

On Friday we ate at a rather meat-focused restaurant, but on the way home we passed a small Japanese restaurant that looked very promising, so that was Saturday's dinner venue sorted.

Lola I in pretend shop with trolley and list
On Saturday we decided to head for the Tourist Information Office, but were waylaid by some loitering market researchers. I persuaded Lola II that it might be interesting, and so it was - rather than answering a few questions off a clipboard in the street we were taken into an office and answered rather a lot of questions about shampoo, toothpaste and cereal. Then we had to pretend to shop for shampoo in a pretend shop with a real trolley while being filmed, and lastly answer a trillion questions about three types of shampoo, many of which were stupid. Did the pictures of shampoo make me think that it was 'efficient'? or 'natural'? or 'smell good'? Stupidest of all given that there was no information about price, did it look like 'value for money'? Good luck to them analysing my answers. They gave us each a £5 Boots voucher so I suppose it wasn't three quarters of an hour completely wasted (they'd said it would be 15 minutes).

Lola I trying to eat an eclair

Leicester Market is good and there was a 'Continental' market going on too with some wonderful-looking cheeses. We found a deli for lunch and I had an eclair from the Boulangerie stall which showered me with icing sugar and anointed me with cream. Then we made our way to the Jewry Wall Museum and a guided tour of the Roman baths. This was less interesting than I'd hoped because once you've seen a few Roman baths what more is there to say? And there wasn't actually much to see except the foundations, not even a trace of hypocaust, but there was a very large Roman wall. It was pretty cold and the guide clearly knew a lot but spent many words conveying minimal information. Kathleen Kenyon was the original archaeologist who worked on the site in one of her very earliest jobs, so that was a bit interesting. Being told how the original residents would have welcomed the warmth of a Roman bath house made us reflect that we would too.

Tomb of Richard III with Lola II
After that we sat in a cafe drinking tea until we'd warmed up, then had a look around the cathedral, where Richard III was re-interred about a year ago. His tomb is rather impressive and there was a guide hanging around whom we quizzed for some time. She doesn't think the king was all that bad, and her view is that he was slandered by poets and playwrights; times were different and politics was pretty ruthless back then. She had attended the re-interment and was responsible for the bit of the church where Benedict Cumberbatch, Julian Fellowes and Robert Lindsay were seated.

Leaving the cathedral we made our way to where we remembered the Japanese restaurant was, but there it wasn't. Eventually with the help of Google we found it elsewhere in quite a different spot from where we remembered. It was also a little disappointing, as the rice was formed into nigiri by a machine and rather small pieces of pre-sliced fish out of the fridge simply placed on top. Several of the dishes were better than the sushi, but there was quite a lot of confusion with the order and Lola II's chicken was undercooked (they took that off the bill).

Sushi, agedashi tofu, edamame, gyoza
The evening's entertainment was provided by a performance of 'Legally Blonde' the musical, which went very well. There was a small incident with a bar of chocolate - when I went to get some water I though how hilarious Lola II would find it to hide some chocolate that was in my bag, so I moved it to a less obvious place and then completely forgot that I'd done it. When I came back and looked for the chocolate I was halfway through accusing Lola II of hilariously hiding it when I remembered what I'd done. We both thought that was very funny indeed.

Last notable event of Saturday - we ordered a minicab by phone to take us back after the performance, and the driver phoned to say he was waiting in a silver Zafira car. What are the chance of two identical silver Zafira cars waiting in front of the theatre? The man waiting for his wife was very nice about it, and we didn't actually get into his car...

Half timbered house
Sunday started with another visit to the market Boulangerie (chocolate twist and pain au raisin this time). We had a bit of time to spare before our next booked event, so we walked along a pretty road converted for pedestrian use and found the Art Gallery, but it wasn't yet open. The tours we'd booked were of the Magazine Gateway (gateway to a monastical complex not the city, and which in more recent times housed arms) and Wygston's House (15th century half-timbered with Georgian and Victorian extensions about to be sold off and converted into a restaurant due to lack of public funds for restoration). The guide for these two tours was much better, even though it was still very cold to be standing around in unheated buildings.

Several curries, rice, naan, chapattiLeicester is famed for its Golden Mile - a bit like Rusholme in Manchester, it holds a concentration of Indian restaurants, and we chose one that was busy on the basis that it was likely to be good. It was delicious and very good value. There was just enough time for a quick look in one of the rooms of the Art Gallery that was now open before Lola II had to catch her train.

Leicester - I'd go back for the curries, but not for the sushi. And good luck with the football.

Lola II and the chaat


  1. Is this the first time Benedict Cumberbatch has explicitly featured in your blog. It might be enough to make BC besotted daughter take an interest.

    1. It is the first time, and probably the last time too.

  2. (missing question mark ... d'oh)

  3. (wow... it gets gradually harder to prove am not a robot... what's the next level?)


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