Cows, Boys, and Indians

Okay, that’s not entirely accurate, but you know how I love a good title.

Saturday, August 25th started with my second cousin’s baby, Sam’s 1st birthday party (with kappa and mean curry, rice and chili chicken, payasam, and homemade wine (the best kind. seriously.)),

Happy birthday, Sam!

continued to Diwana bhel puri house to spend some time with my godfamily and do a little Indian grocery shopping (was supposed to eat with them, but I was too full!!) and then go to Newick’s best (only?) Indian restaurant with James and his twin sister, Sarah, where I ordered their ‘special lamb dish’ and got an entire leg of lamb.

Nali gosht: “lamb shanks in a specially formulated thick rich sauce”

After London Bridge station thoroughly confused me with platform updates and I missed the first train we were supposed to take (thankfully, James got off in time), I met James on the platform and we got ready to head to Haywards Heath. I decided I wanted to avoid meeting up with someone on the train again, if I could help it – getting on together is much much easier. We don’t live in a movie where timings are perfect and platforms don’t change! SarahL (not SarahG! Wipe the shock off your face.) picked us up from the station and took us to Yew Tree Cottage, James’ parents’ beautiful home in Sussex, a bit south of London.

Yew Tree Cottage

Although Sunday was sandwiched between two rainish days, Sunday itself was a beautiful day for the barbecue. James’ parents, Dilys and David, made an amazing feast and since the weather was so kind, we got to eat it outside in their beautiful gazebo in the garden!

Shrimp and monkfish appetizers with mango and pineapple salsa!

Amazing lamb and pepper skewers, sausage, salad and roasted tomatoes and potatoes
Obviously completely guilt free scrumptious chocolate cake, with totally fat-free creme fraiche. And fruit! So it’s healthy!!!!! So I can tell you then that I was JK about the guilt and fat free cake and fraiche. Because you didn’t already know.
Where we ate the feast!

And then we did some archery. As you do. Though honestly, most of the time was spent looking for the arrows! We even had to use a metal detector because they go so deep under the grass that you can’t see them easily!! I only got to shoot one arrow (which made it about halfway to the target and was easy to find above the ground because I have no arm strength), because it was the last of the 7 and then we had to go find all the rest! And then it was nightfall, (nightfall in the countryside, night[time?] in the city, that makes sense, right?) so no more arrow shooting. And don’t worry, none of the sheep owned by the farmer next door were hurt. Though they had blue marks on them, so they would have made great targets.

Legolas &
Katniss (Yes, I braided my hair especially for this picture)

On Monday morning, we didn’t wake up in time to join Sarah on her 44km bike ride (darn.), but James, his mom, his dad and I went on our own 17km ride around Newick. It was really pretty, really nice, oh, and also, my legs were really jelly the next day. After that, we had a nice barbecue lunch again and then it was time for a walk! Only 4km this time. I am an embarrassing piece of human and need to get it together. But on our walk, we saw:

Huge pigs,
a two-humped camel??????????
alpacas that loved James,
mid-flight chickens,

and of course, some sheep and dogs. Not bad, right?

James and I also went off the track a little before getting back to the cottage to see a train tunnel that isn’t used anymore. I know that sounds random and boring but it was pretty cool!!

I’m just gonna show you this one so you don’t have to see the 50,000 selfies that are trying to get both of us, with normal faces, not blocking the tunnel. HARD TASK.

Later, James brought out his old juggling kit and threw around some knives…

Juggling James

I think a few might agree that I’m not much of a country girl (yes yes yes, despite being from Texas and having ridden my horse to school all those years), partly because animals give me a scare sometimes (but come on! When their mouths are poised to possibly attack you because either they have giant mouths (Grecian pelican incident, 2009) or their heads are almost at your face level (Newick alpaca chase, 2012), you’re bound to be a little skittish!) My family will not stop laughing at this one:

But Newick was beautiful and it was so nice to be out of the city for a bit and stay with the Langridges, to see so many animals on a casual walk and to see some stars at night. So yeah. You can just call me Little House on the Prairie from now on.

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