Hello, Lola II here.
Each year, on a weekend near my birthday, the three of us choose somewhere to explore in the UK. Every year comments are made by Lola and D, saying that February is a poor choice and why do we do it in February and isn't February awful and it’s so cold in February and the botanical gardens are not at their best in February, etc. Twelve years later, once again, we went away for a weekend in February…
Let's start with years gone by.
Stratford-upon-Avon: This first weekend was actually a recce before overseas family came to visit. For fun we planned it near my birthday, and that's when it's been ever since.
Birmingham: Lola prepared a fantastic platter of sushi in our hotel room as a surprise, for my arrival on the Friday night. I can remember entering our room, wondering what on earth the strange smell was, followed by the amazing spectacle of raw fish near my bed.
Brighton: our Grandfather and Great Aunt lived in Brighton. My sisters used to go and visit them when they were teeny-tiny. Our weekend was full of comments from them about how much smaller everything seemed.
A highlight was the amazing cake shop we stumbled upon called Choccywoccydoodah (Look at the cakes! Look at the cakes!). It was also that weekend that saw Lola promoted to Beer Monitor. D has great respect for Lola's beer recommendations.
Lincoln: That weekend was fun and included a road system that meant we were continuously turning left...
Isle of Wight: Ah now, one of my favourites. I understand that the ferry crossing from the mainland to the Isle of Wight is the most expensive £/mile sea crossing in the world. Apart from that, it was a great weekend wandering around, lovely pub lunches packed full of fresh seafood and a great evening in a pub with live music.
The main highlight was the rather splendid heated discussion between Lola and D. One thought the bush was lavender, the other rosemary. I displayed a surprising amount of common sense by not getting involved at all. I just stood quietly on the sidelines, wondering who was going to get custody of me in the event of a permanent split.
It just so happened that we were on the way to the Botanical Gardens, so I was promptly ignored whilst the two warring siblings fought out the discussion over reference books. Sadly, neither could find a definitive answer. Naughtily, whilst this was going on, I happened to chance upon a plant stick with the word 'lavender' on it. What are the chances! Quietly I tucked it away in my pocket until we were on our way back past the BUSH OF DISPUTE. Slyly I managed to slip the label onto the bush and seconds later, D declared excitedly “LOOK, IT IS LAVENDER!!!!!!”.
Unfortunately, Lola knows me too well and immediately guessed that it was me who put it there. I would have got away with it if it wasn't for that pesky Lola.
St Albans: This was one of my two least favourite weekends. It is the only one of our weekends I can remember when it has rained. We ended up inside, painting pottery and making three lovely wall tiles for our parents that are on proud display in their kitchen as I type. Otherwise I have absolutely no recollection of what we did.
Bath: Here we enjoyed a near-naked busker standing on his hands with a sparkler cleverly clenched between the cheeks of his bootocks. Also the amaaaazing Roman Baths – the lead lining the main pool is the original from Roman times!
Bristol: This is my other least favourite. It really did feel to me that there was NOTHING TO DO in Bristol, although I'm sure anyone from Bristol will be able to easily prove me wrong. We had a nice walk one of the days. Other than that, it was just the 3D glasses that live on in my memory.
Ealing: My home town. There was lots of Life happening that February, and so we decided to take it easy and do something local. I think we went to the cinema together but, other than that, my only recollection is of D putting together a DIY wine rack kit that seemed to be manufactured so that no human would be able to DIY it. She struggled with it for quite some time, finally getting all the little rods to sit in the little holes. Sadly the whole thing collapsed soon after she left and so, some time later, our Dad tackled the project with glue. It has been happily whole ever since.
No weekend: We had planned to go to Winchester but naughty Lola broke her foot not skiing, so that was the end of that.
Winchester: Another of my favourites. It's a beautiful place with lots and lots to see, lovely pubs and tours and history and and and. Best of all, not only had Lola wrapped my presents (very out of character) but she had done so such a long time ago that she couldn’t remember what she’d got me. Both of us had a lovely surprise.
Lastly, Oxford! For that description you'll have to tune in later.