Sunday, September 09, 2012

Lots of good food and board games: still out of Cyprus

Another week has flown by. Tomorrow we return to the UK - so this post is a summary of the past week, although it feels like at least three weeks since I last wrote. When I look at the photos I've taken of various family members, the overriding impression is that we have eaten a great deal of food and played a large number of games. All very pleasant. 

On Saturday last week, we went out to eat at a local carvery at the end of Kings Heath. It's very inexpensive, and the food is plentiful. Tim managed to get through quite a quantity of roast potatoes (plus meat and veggies):

After church on Sunday, my sister and most of her family (including two dogs) arrived and stayed for the afternoon. Tim cooked braised steak in the slow cooker for lunch (plus potatoes and veggies, with apple and blackberry crumble and fruit salad to follow).  Since the dogs had been in the car in the morning, we went for a walk to a local park. 

On Monday, Tim produced lamb shanks in mint sauce (plus potatoes and veggies, followed by chocolate cake, fruit salad and ice cream), for the delectation of one of my brothers and his wife, who came to lunch. Afterwards we played a six-person Settlers game. This shows Richard pondering one of his initial placements:

My brother won, just pipping me at the post. 

On Tuesday morning we - including Tim - set out for Carlisle, with a detour to some friends and then some cousins in Derbyshire. Great to catch up with people we hadn't seen for a long time. We arrived in Carlisle in the evening, and Tim generously treated us all to an Indian takeaway. Here's Daniel with his veggie dish: 


It was so wonderful to have my family all together again, even though just for a short time. After eating, naturally, we got out Dan and Becky's Settlers game (the German version) and had a game:

Daniel won that one, though in the end almost anyone could have won. It was a good game. 

On Wednesday Dan and Becky were able to have the day off, so we hung out, and chatted, and played a few short games - Monopoly Deal and Apples to Apples, which were new to me - and had a cold lunch with leftover Indian takeaway food. Then we played Ticket to Ride. 

We had just finished when Dan and Becky's closest friends in Carlisle arrived for a meal. They had planned Mexican-style fajitas, and while I did start chopping some vegetables, Tim quickly took over: 

After that, and a delicious chocolate mousse which Becky had made, we sat down to learn a new game: Squatter, which is an Australian sheep-farming game: 

Tim had made a pecan pie, but most of us didn't have room for it after the meal and mousse earlier. A few of them did, however...

On Thursday, sadly, Tim had to return to Birmingham (via train) so we saw him off in the morning. Becky made some wonderful bread, which we took to their office for lunch, and stayed there to help out in the afternoon. I got involved in stocktaking at the bookshop... interesting at first, and nice to see some of what Becky does, but not exactly the most exciting of occupations. 

 In the evening, Dan and Becky cooked a stir-fry veggie meal, then we finished the pecan pie - and since they had decided to buy a bottle of wine too, glasses were raised to toast Tim, in his absence, for the wonderful pie: 

After that, Cities and Knights was the order of the day: 

Although we're very familiar with it, it's a bit more complicated when all the progress cards are in German, requiring extensive studying of a photocopied crib sheet to determine what we could do with them. And Richard, rather to his surprise, won.

On Friday, they took another day off (since they had to work today on an event). We decided to go out to eat... a second time in one week is very unusual for us, but then we only have a short time with our children.  We went to a Toby, and  in addition to the carvery (which was excellent - Daniel and I had a veggie version) we decided to splash out on desserts as they were offering a discount. Very yummy they were, too... and rather large!

This was my one, and I didn't quite manage it all: 

Then... back home for coffee, and Ticket to Ride: 

After that, Daniel and Richard wanted to talk about something technical, so Becky and I played a couple of rounds of Rummikub: 

She won them both. 

In the evening, they all went out to set up for an event that was happening today, arriving back about 9.30pm. We decided that there wasn't time for anything that would take a long time, or which would demand mental energy, as they were all tired and had to be up early this morning. So we played a quick round of Carcassonne: 

Becky must have been on a winning streak yesterday as she won that too. 

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