The first thing was free-cycling a cheap bed-settee. bellinghwoman had bought it from IKEA lo these many years ago. I'd actually slept on it when staying with her. But when we moved up to Royston, it had never got taken upstairs (though in retrospect, dismantling it would have solved that problem). It has sat in the conservatory, slowly fading in the sun and getting covered in cat hair, ever since. Its chances of ever being moved upstairs were sunk for good when we bought a new bed-settee some while back, which is now installed in the blue room.
So, time for the red thing to go.
The recipient was eager for it, but unable to collect it immediately. So we offered to deliver it. Which was interesting: it did all fit in the back of the Nissan, but only with the front seats all the way forward. So far forward, indeed, that although I could just get in the passenger seat, I couldn't get the seat belt on.
And then it was round to Burns Road (the 'rough' part of town). In past Betjeman and Elliot, and down Shakespeare ... hmm, so Burns Road is presumably named after that bloke from Dumfries ... and met a very friendly Maltese woman (38 years in Royston) into whose living room we carted the parts and there reassemble the settee. Happily, we'd not lost any bits.
And then back home, where I passed some of the time replacing the rear number plate on the MG. Not that there was anything faulty with the old one, but the rear of the MG-ZT/Rover 75 has a non-rectangular area for the number plate, in which a standard one just looks wrong. And given we are soon driving over to Freiburg (not Fribourg, I made that mistake once when buying train tickets), I also wanted the proper GB country stripe.
Then my sister arrived with her friend Cheryl (also a Floridian). We first took them our to the Royston Cave, where the four of us listed to the audio commentary and then asked questions of the guide. A guide who I'd thought greeted me by name. In fact, yes, he had recognised me even though I hadn't recognised him: he's the husband of a colleague of mine.
Then we wandered off up the High Street. It's not a very big high street, and distressingly empty on a Saturday afternoon, but it's quite fun to wander along and point at the old coaching inn (15th Century) for example. We bumped into silly_swordsman's wife and son on the way. Oh, and I bought a watch. *cough*
Then off to Cambridge to do a tour. We parked up at the Grafton Centre and, coming down the escalators, noticed that the Moroccan stall was in residence, so went to marvel at the heaped sand-castles of spices. (Cumin £17.00 per kilo?!). Off around town, dipping into King's and Catz, flashing our Cambridge cards to prove we weren't just tourists. A minor accident when we dropped into the Hotel Chocolat shop involved the purchase of some dark chocolate batons.
And then off to the Peking. We had an early sitting, and initially the young waitress was the only person apparently in there (apart from the sound of the chef from the kitchen). We'd had our main course, when I saw a familiar face: Sam. He'd just got back from Japan. And his Mum and Aunt were both there (we hadn't expected to see Pik (sp?) again, since the last time we'd seen her, she'd been about to leave to visit her daughter in New York and then go home to Australia. So suddenly we were being mobbed, and our guests were really getting the 'this is a restaurant that knows us' vibe. Not to mention the fact that food there is excellent.
So, a day in which we keep bumping into people we knew.
On Sunday morning, we headed off to Wimpole Hall to give our American the National Trust experience. We hit the gardens first, and then we did the interior. It's a fine building, and it's quite fun to see the whole 'this room was decorated before your country was founded' thing. (Not that that was ever pointed out, and anyway, Floridian history goes back somewhat further back than 1776 anyway.) She also got to have a cream tea (hey, she was perfectly up for the stereotypical tourist things - she enjoyed the fact that we as locals were taking her places she'd not have seen on a coach tour, but wasn't exclusivist about it).
And home for dinner, and Doctor Who (the repeat) which bemused her and my sister (who moved to Florida sometime before Rusty got his way - she's been in the US since 1990), but also impressed them. My cooking was appreciated, though I felt the pan haggerty was a bit overly greasy. Too much butter and cheese and stuff in it. Ah well, next time. We also watched all of the Wallace and Gromit films, and then found an episode of Top Gear on iPlayer to show my sister, who only remembered the old TG and wondered why on earth the program was still being broadcast.
And finally this morning, packing them off to the train station for the trip back down to Gatwick.