Off to Lapworth
for the traditional Christmas canal walk and lunch at the Boot. Rather daringly, we reversed the usual direction and did the whole thing anticlockwise. Despite some doubts about the various turnings, this was a great success, not least because it actually gave us a decent view of Packwood House.
Packwood House looking brooding and gothic on an overcast day. It's not hard to imagine it as a backdrop for a Sheridan Le Fanu novel...
Packwood's stable block, which normally goes unnoticed because we traditionally turn east at the main drive to leave the house behind and walk along the avenue to cut through to Chessetts Wood Road.
Lunch was nice — I had courgette pancakes as a starter with a Mexican bean chilli as my main course — and our waitress was particularly good, picking up on our desire not to be placed close to a rather rowdy group of people out for their works Christmas lunch and offered to move us to a quieter table. I suppose it serves us right for going out before Xmas, but this year's date was determined by T&J's flights and Christmas falling on Thursday.
Rather than crackers, The Boot provided red and white Christmas hats for everyone. Pater wore his like some sort of Victorian nightcap — something his carried off in fine style!
Our table at the far end, away from the rowdier elements. Although the photo hasn't done J any justice and D has been completely hidden by T, I like it for the reflection, which captures pater and gives a good view of the rest of the dining room. Regular readers may notice that we're actually sat at the same table as last year...
Lunch was only slightly marred by an argument about who was going to drive home. After reluctantly agreeing, pater promptly ordered a giant glass of wine, ensuring he'd be over the over the limit. Fortunately mater had time to switch her order to tomato juice to allow her to do the driving — I'm no longer on insurance, so I couldn't offer even if I'd wanted to. But because mater doesn't like driving in poor light, we had to cut and run partway through coffee leaving the others, somewhat bewildered, to finish their lunch alone.