Friday evening we rented a car and drove down to Southampton to visit Max's parents, Philip and Jackie. The drive is about 2 hours and there's plenty of countryside along the way. As we were pulling onto the highway a car cut in front of us dangerously and as we passed it Max looked over at the driver and burst out laughing as it was Sir Tim Rice (writer, co-writer of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Chess, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, etc.)
I've always liked Southampton, It is a university town with a lot of trees and parks. It was a welcome break from the stone, cement, and pollution of London. I love spending time with Philip and Jackie as well, they're both two of the most cultured, travelled, and down to earth people I know. As soon as we arrived and exchanged greetings we all had a glass of creme de cassis in white wine (mmm) and caught up on recent events and news. Jackie gave me a book, The Wicked Wit of Oscar Wilde and Max a book that I've forgotten the title of completely. :) We met their upstairs neighbor, Alice, who is a very friendly woman, but extremely ill. About seven years ago she had been deliberately poisoned by her dentist with mercury. She is very emaciated and weak now, but she always manages to get out of the house every day because she is determined to not spend the rest of her life in bed.
The food at Philip & Jackie's is always wonderful. Jackie is French and learned how to cook from her parents and she has been teaching me a few tricks and recipes. That evening we had a crab tart for a starter and tuna with pasta for the main course. All with plenty of wine, as usual. We all tried one wine for the first time that none of us knew existed, it was Merlot Rosé and tasted exactly as one would expect (light merlot, heh.) We didn't leave the dinner table until late that night (typical as well.)
Saturday was also mostly consisted of of eating, coversation, and sitting around (life is difficult.) We spent a few hours on Southampton high street which they've really changed since I was there last. We spent a lot of time in a bookstore where Jackie bought the collector's box set of "The Chronicles of Narnia" and we picked up some groceries for dinner. That night we had baby mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, olives, and asparagus for a starter and monkfish with a cream and saffron sauce with rice. I had never tried monkfish before (that's why Jackie cooked it), and it was incredible. I could definitely get used to having a French mother-in-law. ;) After dinner Max, Philip, and I walked down the road to a pub called The Pig N' Whistle for a couple pints. It's one of those local pubs that everyone turns around and stares at you when you walk in. There was also the typical creepy old men teetering about and leering at all the women. Still, they played good music and we enjoyed ourselves.
The names of English pubs always amuse me: Pig N' Whistle, Goat and Scooter, Slug and Lettuce, Pickled Newt, The Honest Lawyer, etc. Many of them have painted signs that illustrate their titles too, like a pig blowing a whistle, a goat on a scooter, a lawyer behind bars, and so on.
Sunday we slept in a bit then drove downtown to do some more shopping and browsing. Max bought me Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser at the bookstore, so I can remove it from my amazon.com wish list now. :) Before we left to drive home to London we had an early dinner with Philip and Jackie and tea (we always drink tons of tea at their place.) The drive home was uneventful, no being cut off by famous songwriters.
I'm sure I'm not the only person who felt a shiver down their spine reading about the Mercury and the dentist, what a terrible thing to happen. I hope the dentist got a long jail sentence. Will she eventually die from the poisoning? Thats really sad :(
I've never been to Southampton.
The dentist disappeared, they haven't been able to find him. I believe her health has actually improved a little over the years, though I don't know how long the drs have given her to live.
Southampton is pretty, I did enjoy living there last year. Much less polluted than London. :)
There's a pub just down the road from the Honest Lawyer called the Bent Brief. Not sure which came first but the Honest Lawyer is by far the better of the two. Even as a student I didn't like the Bent Brief... and that's saying something.