Saturday, October 26, 2019

"Celebrity Hotel" by Neil Kirby/ Langham Hotel, Eastbourne

Imagine having a sugar cookie (biscuit in England) served to you on a lovely black napkin and then...

along with your cup of tea, the waitress brings you a crumpet with the largest container of butter in the world! Bliss!
(What is a crumpet? For me, it is what an English muffin dreams to be!)

This was graciously served to us at The Langham Hotel in Eastbourne!

(If you click on that link above, it should take you to the hotel's website and you will see nice views of the rooms.)

 Upon arrival in England, my father-in-law had a book waiting for me. (Normally, I might not have time to read very much but because I was under the weather while there, I read the book from cover to cover!)  The book was "Celebrity Hotel" by Neil Kirby.
I loved this book!  Neil Kirby started out washing the pots and pans as a 15 year old at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.  His charm and very hard work meant that he worked his way up and became the general manager of this famous hotel in London!  Since 2005, he is a hotel owner and it is the Langham Hotel! 

 "Celebrity Hotel" mentions a great many of the celebrities that stayed at the Grosvenor House Hotel while he worked there but for me, it was the life story of Neil Kirby that I found fascinating. For one thing, he is a runner, he has participated in several marathons and a great many of them for charities. (Not sure why runners are so interesting to me...but remember my admiration for Louis Zamperini?  And Eric Liddell from "Chariots of Fire"?) Of course, there is also a great deal that Mr. Kirby has shared with us about the running of a hotel and also the design of the hotels.  And by design, I mean right down to the furnishings.  Look at the color of the cushion above!  And then...I also had to take a photo of the wood and the red fabric in the bar. (Read the book and you will know who gave him this advice, the color red with the polished wood!)

(If you have never seen "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid" it!)

Lovely framed photos of celebrities were on the walls of the bar and there were stained glass windows in the restaurants and even in the restrooms (toilets in England!) The framed artwork on the walls made it more like an art gallery than a hotel lobby, truly lovely pieces.

 Can you see that this is a stained glass window of a lifeboat?  And just beneath that window, a box where you can put money to donate to the RNLI. (Royal National Lifeboat Institution, you may read more about it here.)
This would be typical of Neil Kirby and a very nice touch, I think.

Now, if you happen to be in Eastbourne and want to find the Langham Hotel, it is the one with the Victorian bathing house right in front.  When Neil Kirby bought this hotel, he told me that he bought the bathing house with the hotel! Yes, my friends, I actually met Neil Kirby and spoke with him, yes indeed! In fact, I got one of his books myself and he autographed it with the sweet inscription,  "To Richard & Kay"! (I have a great fondness for autographed books, did you know?) Did I get a photo? You know I did!

There! It is my dear husband and father-in-law beside Neil Kirby on a very sunny day in the lobby of the Langham Hotel.  I snapped this photo myself and just before I took it, I said," here are the three lads from Croydon!"  (Neil Kirby is from Sanderstead, which is very close by, I think.  Hey, I am a Yank, what do I know?!) 

(Eastbourne is amazing...all the hotels are across the street from the beach. ALL of them!  Therefore, there is nothing to spoil your view of the sea.)
Can't you just picture Hercule Poirot having a drink here? Mais, oui!   
You know I did! Make mine a Pimm's with full fruit!

Thank you, Neil Kirby for your lovely book and taking the time to speak with us. My father-in-law was most impressed that I had the nerve to go up and talk with you but after all, I am an American and we can get away with things like that!

Look! I was pleased to see that this bowling club is sponsored by the Langham Hotel. In fact, I have read that Neil Kirby has donated a great amount to charities!  For me, he may have met a great many stars and millionaires but what impresses me is how much he has given back!  Hey! I found something in a magazine about is called "Pearls of Wisdom" and you may read it just here.

Friends, once again I am sorry that I have haven't been able to blog very much lately! I hope I am getting better now. Finally!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Current War (New Film) and The Imitation Game

What better actor to portray the famous American inventor than the wonderful American actor, Benedict Cumberbatch!  I am kidding! Of course, Benedict Cumberbatch is British.  And anybody else remember that we learned from one of the geneology shows that he is related to King Richard III? Anybody?  Not to worry if you don't know that, you do now! On our flight to England, I watched a film with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly, "The Imitation Game", based on the true story of Alan Turing and his team during World War II to break the radio code of the Nazis. If you have never seen that film, I highly recommend it! (I had seen it before, but it was well worth watching again.)

Thomas Edison! In the days when we used to play the game "Trivial Pursuit", whenever there was a question about inventors, I would always say, "Thomas Edison" and nine times out of ten, I would be right!  I think I have read that he had 1093 patents, the most famous ones, being the light bulb, phonograph and movie camera.  I have written of my fascination of inventors before, so you can be sure that I would like to see this film about him. To have Benedict Cumberbatch as Edison...well, that is perfectly fine with me! The film title is "Current War" and is about Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.  (I do hope that the film is not one of those that have know, "made to be edgy for modern times",  in Hollywood fashion. We will see.)

Of these two films, I will be honest with you...I know for sure that "The Imitation Game" is worth seeing.  Y'all let me know if you see this new film and what you think of it!

This was at the British Library in London which I also highly recommend! If you would like to read more about it and the exhibition that it is connected to, you may do so just here.

Still have lots to tell you about our trip to England! I am doing much better now.  Thanks for all your well wishes.  Here, I am walking by the sea in looks cold but it wasn't, just windy and cloudy. It was over 90 degrees in Georgia on this day in late September, so I was very happy to be beside the sea and to feel that nice sea breeze...

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Lemon Honey Drink (Just Don't Burn Your Goozle!)

Feeling under the weather and need a soothing hot drink? This is what I do... squeeze the juice of half an organic lemon into a cup. Add 2 big tablespoons of local honey. Be sure to angle the cup so that if you have any drips of honey, it will be on the side where your lip will go. (Yes, I do think of everything!) Leave the spoon of honey in the cup...pour boiling hot water into the cup. Stir. (See, all that honey on the spoon? It is now in your drink!)  Leave just long enough to cool so you don't burn your goozle out!  (Wow, that is memory from my childhood...that is what my Dad used to say to me! Anybody else remember that word?)

Now, my Dad would tell me to put some WHISKY into that drink, I am sure! That leads me into a song...and it is perfect for this post because besides having this cold/bronchitus  problem, I also had a little fall this week! I am okay, just scratched and scraped up a bit.  I fall down but I get up again! 

Hope to be back with my blogging soon. If I have left comments on anyone's blog and they don't make a bit of sense, just blame the drugs!  

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Windfalls (Free Pears in England)

Hello everyone! I have not been able to blog recently because Richard and I have been in England! It was almost impossible to get to a computer but I was able to write that last post "Here Comes the Sun" while I was there. I have so much I want to tell you! For now, I have to ask you...have you ever thought to look up the meaning of the word "windfall"?

Windfall:  (noun)
1. An apple or other fruit blown down from a tree or a bush by the wind.

2. A piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money. "windfall profits"

Are you like me and the only thing that you think of is the second meaning here...the one that involves "windfall" in terms of money?
While we were in Eastbourne, there were some rather windy days. One day when we were walking to town, we came across this....

Can you see the handwritten sign? It says, "Conference Pears".   Why are they called that?  It is because they are a cultivated variety of the European pear and it was developed in Britain by Thomas Francis Rivers. It won first prize at the National British Pear Conference in London in 1885!  So, Conference pears!

Now, you can see the rest of the sign....

    Windfalls.  FREE.

The wind had knocked the fruit off the tree (windfall) but it was also a piece of unexpected good fortune for us! I wasn't greedy, I only took one!  Would you like to know what I did with it?  I chopped it up along with a Gala apple. (If you are in England, make sure you eat apples while you are there, they are wonderful!). Okay, that is one Conference pear and one Gala apple chopped up...I put that into a pan with a spoonful of sugar and cooked them until they were soft, just before they were cooked, I mixed in one tablespoon of strawberry conserve. (Conserve is what we Americans would call preserve.)  Now...that delicious mixture was spooned over Cornish vanilla ice cream for a fantastic dessert! The next time we walked by this house, you know I left a note thanking them and ...well, after all, I am American and I wrote this recipe for them! I wonder what they must have thought when they saw my note? 
It was delightful to come across those free pears and I enjoyed the sign just as much as I did that one pear!

 Richard and I enjoyed our time in Eastbourne and then we spent a few days in London at the end of our stay. As I told you at the beginning of this post, I have so much to tell you! It is just typical of me that of all photos that we took...beautiful scenic views of the sea in Eastbourne and the famous monuments and churches in is the photo of the free pears that I have shared with you first! 
There are women who can walk in the wind and their hair looks gorgeous...I am NOT one of them!