worcestershire and gloucestershire

worcestershire - home of worcestershire sauce, morgan cars, malvern water and where i grew up and my family still lives. it's about 140 miles northwest of london. we took the train (2hrs) to great malvern, passing lots of cows and sheep in the fields enroute. we stayed at the cottage in the wood hotel - this is an old, established hotel in malvern wells - at the top of a steep hill, and with breathtaking views, where on a clear day one can see 5 counties. dinner at my parents' house where i grew up - delicious cantonese food, my favourite dishes including pork with bats ears (wooden ear mushrooms!), soy sauce, garlic and dried beancurd, to name but one. the following day we drove to gloucestershire to stay at a friend's hotel in northleach. a picturesque village in the cotswolds with one post office, a church and some local shops. very very pretty. georgie and sam own the Wheatsheaf - a gorgeous country pub with delicious food - see the website to give you a hint of how good it is. we had a great stay with them. if you're planning on visiting the UK, you must visit the Cotswolds - an area of outstanding natural beauty - think chocolate box cottages, wildflowers, farms...beautiful and a must-do. stay at the Wheatsheaf for sure! bread. i miss the bread in england. i stuffed myself with granary bread on any occasion i could find. photos to follow... after dinner and a walk around the village, we were back to packing - for scotland...

first stop london

we landed in london tuesday morning - to sunshine and clear skies. i highly recommend Number Sixteen, Sumner Place in South Kensington - boutique hotel, great service, lovely courtyard garden...relaxed atmosphere and in the best location. Close to South Kensington and Gloucester Road tube stations and walking distance to the Kings Road, Fulham Road, Brompton Cross etc...and for Harrods fans, only 15 mins by foot. dinner with D at Amaya in the Halkin Arcade on Motcomb Street. high end indian food but after having eaten the real stuff the weekend before, i was a bit disappointed they didn't have any chapatis :-( followed by good late night ice cream from Oddono's on bute street right by our hotel.

indian wedding

after several weeks away i am back in town. it was hectic and fun. first stop was houston for a friend's indian wedding. so much colour and so much dancing! the morning (8am!) started with a bharat where the groom rides in a procession on a white horse...surrounded by members of family and friends dancing and singing. fun! this was followed by the wedding ceremony which was informal and very family-orientated. it lasted 3 hours but guests weren't sitting to attention getting bored; they were walking around, having breakfast, chatting, children were playing - all the while the bride and groom were being married on the stage. it was a lovely, relaxed and at the same time, very special occasion. lunch followed - a selection of ghujarati dishes - all delicious. after a few hours break, we got dressed for the evening event. the bride looked resplendent in a beautiful blue sari with matching diamond accessories - stunning. after speeches and dinner (with cuisine from yet another part of india), the dancing began. compared to the weddings i grew up with where it takes a few glasses of vino to get people up on the dancefloor, the guests at this wedding had rythmn in their blood...everyone was up on the dancefloor dancing away, from 2yrs to 80yrs old - fantastic! the following day we had brunch at the groom's family home. more delicious indian food, this time from the groom's family's region of india...i am afraid i have forgotten the different areas.. i will post the very colourful photos later. we flew back home sunday evening and i packed for my trip to the UK which was the next day... ps my sari didn't arrive in time!