Day 13! The Grand Tetons

So, today was our last day here at the Grand Tetons. We’ve seen so many wonderful things and most of this is thanks to Shaun who works here at our hotel. When we first arrived he took the time to mark out a map for us showing all the best places to visit and photograph.

It was our intention to visit Phelps Lake on Death Canyon Road today (Shaun told us not worry about the name!) but when we arrived we saw a sign that said 4×4 vehicles recommended and sure enough when we set off down the road it was full of pot holes and was in the most dreadful state. It was a totally wooded area and we noted that there was no one else were around it was just us. This made us a little uneasy given the prevalence of bears in the area so eventually decided to give it a miss!

After our hike yesterday, today we were fully prepared for anything! We had our hiking shoes on, had purchased ‘bear bells’ and walking sticks and boy were we pleased we bought those sticks.

Sand with 'bear bells' and walking stick!

Sand with ‘bear bells’ and walking stick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, fully equipped we set out to see String and Leigh Lakes instead. It’s been a bright beautiful sunny day but up in the Lakes there’s still tons of snow. We were told that this was due to the snows coming late this year.

As soon as we set out it was obvious this hike was going to be more challenging than yesterday’s. Beside the very deep snow a lot of the trail was flooded. We were glad of our walking sticks to get us over the snow. Our ‘bear bells’ were jingling nicely but we still yelled out now and again just to make sure that any critters present would be aware of us.

String Lake

String Lake

Simon at String Lake

Simon at String Lake

On the String Lake Trail

On the String Lake Trail

String Lake

String Lake

Poor Si managed to scrape his leg on a tree branch and it was at this point that my handy medical kit that I always carry on holiday and especially when we are out hiking, came into it’s own. Nurse Sandra to the rescue, moping up blood, cleaning the wound and dressing it. I think I’ve found a new profession!!! The patient will live!

We saw this family out in a canoe on the lake. There were two babies on board as well as a young boy!

Pioneers on String Lake

Pioneers on String Lake

Sadly, after a while, due to the large amounts of snow the trail became hidden and it wasn’t clear which way to go so we decided to abandon the hike and go and have lunch instead, but what we did manage to see of the lake was beautiful and hopefully one day we will return and complete the hike.

On the way back to the car we were fortunate to see two yellow-bellied Marmots.

Yellow Bellied Marmot

Yellow Bellied Marmot

After a great lunch, again at the Trapper Grill and served again by Kevin, of soup,  sandwiches and apple pie, we drove to the summit of Signal Mountain. The road to the summit is a very narrow one so a bit hairy at times when traffic was coming the other way but we eventually made it to the top okay.

Signal Mountain is an isolated summit standing 7,720 feet (2,350 m) above sea level. The next closest higher summit is more than 10 miles (16 km) distant, and this isolation provides sweeping views of the Teton Range, much of the northern Jackson Hole area as well as the Snake River. Though located adjacent to the Tetons, Signal Mountain was not formed in the same manner or period. The mountain originally was formed by volcanic ashfall from one of the eruptions of the Yellowstone hotspot. The peak is also partially a glacial moraine formed by a receding glacier that came south out of the Yellowstone icecap. This same glacier also created neighbouring Jackson Lake.

The views as you will see from the photos, were magnificent.

View from Signal Mountain

View from Signal Mountain

View from Signal Mountain

View from Signal Mountain

View from Signal Mountain

View from Signal Mountain

On the way back to our hotel we stopped off at Jenny Lake where a lady was meditating in the sun overlooking the lake. Whatever rocks your boat!!

Meditating by Jenny Lake

Meditating by Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow we move on to the Rocky Mountain National Park. It will be a long drive of eight hours so an early start will be in order!

See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 12! The Grand Tetons

When we awoke this morning we were already concerned on how the day would turn out because it was cloudy and thunderstorms had been predicted. Then, when we went to breakfast we were told that today was the first day of buffet breakfast and we could not order off the menu. We were not impressed because we both wanted the banana bread french toast with strawberries. Anyway,  I’m pleased to report that the clouds cleared, the sun appeared and we have had a glorious day hiking, taking lots of beautiful photos and meeting some very lovely people.

We started with a 3.2 mile round trip to see Taggart Lake. We didn’t do our research very well and were rather taken by surprise when, first of all, it was all up-hill but not too steep and then we were confronted by snow and muddy patches! Needless to say, both of us did not have our wet boots on. On the way back down Simon stood on snow that gave way and he ended up with rather wet shoes and socks and I fell over and got my trousers wet!!

Start of the Taggart Lake hike

Start of the Taggart Lake hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand on the Taggart Trail

Sand on the Taggart Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand on the muddy trail to Taggart Lake

Sand on the muddy trail to Taggart Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand on the way to Taggart Lake

Sand on the way to Taggart Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Taggart Trail

The Taggart Trail

Simon at Taggart Lake

Simon at Taggart Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After being constantly advised to be ‘Bear Aware’ the whole way up we were, as advised, making lots of human noises and clapping our hands. Simon had seen some programme on television where a guy said to keep calling out ‘Hey Bear’ so the critter would not be surprised to see humans, so the whole way up he was repeating it over and over! We took the rather expensive bear spray but thankfully did not need to use it.

Si with that bear spray

Si with that bear spray

En-route to the top we passed the most amazing rapid water, at one point being the closest we’ve ever been, apart from when we did white water rafting. Si took a video.

Taggart Lake is a natural lake standing at 6902 feet above sea level and a 2005 study of the water quality of the lakes in Grand Teton National Park indicated that the lakes in the park were still considered pristine and that they had not been impacted by air or water pollution. This was very obvious to us when we arrived and saw how crystal clear the water was.

We meet a few people on our way to the top and must give a special mention to Terry from Oregon and her niece Traci, from Irvine, California. They were visiting the Tetons and then travelling on to Yellowstone before Traci had to fly home. Traci’s husband had arranged the trip for her as a Mother’s Day present. He’s obviously one very thoughtful husband. It was great meeting and talking with you both. Enjoy Yellowstone!

Tracy and Terry

Traci and Terry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our ‘work out’ we decided it was time for some lunch so went to the Trapper Grill at the Lodge at Signal Mountain where we were served by Kevin. He had spent some time studying in London so when we ordered sandwiches with chips he asked us if we knew that chips in the US were crisps and not fries. Bless! We told him we did indeed know that and he went on to tell us a story of how, when in London, he ordered fish and chips expecting fish and crisps and got …… fries. He laughed and said he then realised how so culturally unaware he was.

In the car park of the Lodge we saw some rather lovely vintage cars and after speaking to some of the owners we were told that they were part of a vintage car rally of 25 cars.

Historic Mercedes Gull Wing

Historic Mercedes Gull Wing

Historic 50's Jaguar

Historic 50’s Jaguar

Historic Corvette

Historic Corvette

On our way to see Oxbow Bend, a haven for wildlife apparently, we stopped off at the Jackson Lake Dam and had the added bonus of seeing a moose in the trees. He was enormous and didn’t seem at all bothered by all the people taking photos of him. He just sat there munching away.

Moose

Moose

Moose

Moose

The Jackson Lake Dam is a concrete and earth-filled dam at the outlet of Jackson Lake. The Snake River emerges from the dam and flows about 800 miles (1,287 km) through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State to its mouth on the Columbia River in eastern Washington. The chief purpose of the dam is to provide water storage for irrigation in the Snake River basin in the state of Idaho as part of the Minidoka Project. Jackson Lake is a natural lake but its depth was increased by the dam to provide water storage.

The first Jackson Lake Dam was a log-crib dam constructed in 1906–7 across the outlet of Jackson Lake, a natural lake. That dam raised the lake level by 22 feet (6.7 m), but the dam failed in 1910. A new concrete and earthen dam was constructed in stages between 1911 and 1916, raising the maximum lake level to 30 feet (9.1 m) above the lake’s natural elevation, providing a storage capacity of 847,000 acre feet).

It was lucky that we saw the Moose at the dam because when we got to Oxbow Bend, there was no wildlife at all! In fact, we haven’t seen a whole lot of wildlife here, even though we’ve been told there is lots about. Hey ho, we can’t be lucky every time.

Sand at Oxbow Bend

Sand at Oxbow Bend

This is a photo of the complete Teton range. It’s 17 photos stitched together.

The Grand Teton Range

The Grand Teton Range

It’s been a rather long exhausting day so you will excuse me if I sign off now and go and enjoy a lovely meal and a couple of glasses of vino!!

PS: We went to dinner and ordered Kobe steaks. Well, once again we had to complain. Si’s steak was too salty (the chief agreed) and my ‘well done’ one was ‘medium rare” so once again we got a free dinner!

 

Day 11! The Grand Tetons

Well, here we are at the Teton Village staying in a ski-lodge which I have to say is wonderful. We once again have all the comforts of home.

Our day started with a lovely breakfast and for the benefit of and as requested Steve, here’s a photo of Simon eating his banana bread french toast with strawberries and another one of him at dinner tonight with his short rib. He said both meals were delicious!

Si at breakfast

Simon at dinner

Simon at dinner

Our first full day here has confirmed what we already knew, the Tetons are magnificent. No matter where you are you can see the mountains.

Grand Teton, at 13,775 feet (4,199 m), is the highest point of the Teton Range and the send highest peak in the state of Wyoming. The Teton Range is a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains, which extend from southern Alaska to northern New Mexico.

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

We visited the site of the ‘John Moulton Barn’. This is very famous and anyone who comes to the Tetons stops to take a photograph hoping to replicate the classic view of the barn. It sits in Mormon Row where 33 homesteaders from Salt Lake City first started a community at the turn of the 19th Century and clustered their farms to share labour and community. Some of the homes and barns still remain today as do some of the ditches they dug by hand to water their crops.

The John Moulton Barn

The John Moulton Barn

One of the original homesteaders was John Moulton and his grandson and family still own the homestead he built and it really is a beautiful place. We were lucky enough to meet Iola Moulton who showed us around and was obviously very proud of how the property has remained in the family all these years. The surrounding area is owned by the National Park Service.

Simon at the John Moulton Barn

Simon at the John Moulton Barn

Mormon Row Outhouse

Mormon Row Outhouse

Mormon Row Barn

Mormon Row Barn

Mormon Row

Mormon Row

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ground squirrels live underground near the barns and they may be small but the noise they make when warning others of impending danger is amazing. They are like very small meerkats, they even sit bolt upright on top of their burrows to warn others of danger.

Ground Squirrel

Ground Squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are hoping to see lots of moose here but just in case we don’t Simon took a picture of me with this one at the Visitors Centre!

Sand and Moose!

Sand and Moose!

We then visited Jenny Lake. It was formed approximately 12,000 years ago by glacier activity. It is estimated to be 423 feet (129 m) deep and encompasses 1,191 acres. Jenny Lake is considered to be a major focal point in Grand Teton National Park, with many hiking trails, scenic boat rides, and quick access to the major climbing routes onto the tallest peaks of the Teton Range.

Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake

By the way …………… does anyone now the cost of bear spray? We paid nearly $50 dollars for a can that they say will last for about seven seconds!!!!! Still, one can’t put a price on safety! Let’s just hope we won’t need to use it.

 

 

Day 10! Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons

Today was a driving day. We left Yellowstone for the Grand Tetons. It was a very pleasant drive, mostly through forests still with winter snow. We had a lovely lunch near Colter Bay eating Teton cheesesteak. We first had cheesesteak in the form of a pizza when we visited with our dear friend Nat in Pennsylvania many moons ago and have loved it ever since.

Lone Tree on Lake Yellowstone

Lone Tree on Lake Yellowstone

Leaving Yellowstone

Leaving Yellowstone

At one point, Simon looked in his rear-view mirror and there crossing the road was a bear! We quickly turned the car around but we couldn’t see where he’d gone to in the forest. If we had been just a few seconds later we would have come face to face!

Entering Grand Tetons

Entering Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

Tetons from Signal Mountain

Tetons from Signal Mountain

From what we have seen on our drive into the Tetons, it’s going to be a wonderful stay.

 

Days 9! Yellowstone

Today we are going to finish off our tour of Yellowstone. I think it’s fair to say that after today we will have seen just about all we can see on a driving tour. We have some great photos for you to see.

First of all however, it’s breakfast! I must say that the Dining Room does a fabulous granola strawberry parfait which I’ve had a few times. Simon was into omelettes and a bowl of fruit. Steve B. this is for you. Sorry I don’t have photos!!!

Our start was somewhat delayed because two bison thought it would be good fun to stroll and then run along the roadway to find a suitable place for breakfast and in so doing did a grand job of holding up the traffic for quite some time. Great patience is need when visiting Yellowstone.

We eventually arrived at our first port of call, the geothermal features known as Artist’s Paint Pots. There are colourful hot springs, two large mud pots, a fumarole (an opening in the planet’s crust, often in the neighbourhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen sulphide ………… this is the lesson for today folks!!) and a couple of geysers. The mud pots were fascinating so Simon took a video which I hope captures the wonder of it all.

Artist's Paint Pots

Artist’s Paint Pots

Artist's Paint Pots

Artist’s Paint Pots

Mud Pool at Artist's Paint Pot

Mud Pool at Artist’s Paint Pot

Sand at Artist's Paint Pots

Sand at Artist’s Paint Pots

At Fountain Paint Pots in Lower Geyser Basin we and about 500 Japanese tourists were lucky to see Clepsydra Geyser erupting.

Simon at Clepsydra Geyser

Simon at Clepsydra Geyser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand at Clepsydra Geyser

Sand at Clepsydra Geyser

 

 

Next we visited Biscuit Basin Loop to see more hot springs but we first of all saw two pretty blue birds (haven’t been able to find out their real names) who had made a nest inside a tree. For small birds they were making rather a lot of noise.

Black Opal Spring at Biscuit Basin Loop

Black Opal Spring at Biscuit Basin Loop

Blue Birds

Blue Birds

One of the most magnificent and famous sights in Yellowstone is Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway Geyser Basin. Simon took photos last year but was disappointed with how they turned out. Photos of Grand Prismatic are best taken from above in a helicopter but alas our’s wasn’t available today!! The colours are out of this world.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring

Onward to West Thumb Geyser Basin one of the smallest geyser basins in Yellowstone yet its location along the shore of Yellowstone Lake ranks it as the most scenic. It derived its name from the thumb-like projection of Yellowstone Lake and the name was given by the 1870 Washburn Expedition. It has less geyser activity than other basins but for its size, has it all, hot springs, pools, mud pots, fumaroles and lake shore geysers.

West Thumb Lake

Fishing Cone at West Thumb

Fishing Cone at West Thumb

Bluebell Pool at West Thumb

Bluebell Pool at West Thumb

We also saw two Japanese tourists who had gotten married and then were visiting the Basin. How wonderful.

Wedding Couple at West Thumb

Wedding Couple at West Thumb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We called into Grant Village for refreshments and ended up having pizzas!! They were delicious but again Steve sorry, I don’t have any photos! This will be rectified very soon! I did however, take a photo of Simon enjoying a few moments in a rocking chair while he waited for me to complete my shopping. He’s still not wearing a hat and I’m afraid you can still see his little ‘lilly whites!!’

Si enjoying his rocker!

Si enjoying his rocker!

On the way back to our hotel I was looking at the map when something caught my eye and I knew immediately we would have to stop off to visit and take photos of …………… Mystic Falls!!!! To all the Vampire Diary fans reading this, and you know who you are, you will appreciate my excitement. We had to do a two-mile round trek to get there and back but when we arrived a most magnificent sight greeted us. No, it wasn’t Damon or Stefan and in fact the Mystic Grill was missing too but we did have a magnificent waterfall to look at!!!!!!

Mystic Falls

Mystic Falls

Sand holding up a tree trunk on the way back from Mystic Falls!

Sand holding up a tree trunk on the way back from Mystic Falls!

Last but not least on our travels today we came across signs for the Continental Divide. The Continental Divide of the Americas is the principal and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas. The Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellen and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from (1) those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean (including those that drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea and (2) along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean.

Though there are many other hydrological divides in the Americas, the Great Divide is by far the most prominent of these because it tends to follow a line of high peaks along the main ranges of the Rocky Mountains and Andes, at a generally much higher elevation than the other hydrological divisions.

Do I sound as though I’ve swallowed Wikipedia? It’s such a good source of information! Anyway, taking all that into account we of course had to stop off for a photo opportunity.

Sand and Simon at the continental Divide

Sand and Simon at the Continental Divide

One interesting thing we’ve seen whilst travelling around the Park are snow sticks. These are poles that measure the snowfall during the winter. They are all along the side of the road and some we saw in the southern part of Yellowstone were about 12-15 feet tall! They sure do have some magnificent snow during the winter months.

One thing I keep forgetting to mention is that we are again doing the Licence Plate Game. Some of you will remember we did this on our trip last year and for those who don’t know it involves a board with every state of the US on it and we have to try and see all the licence plates of the 50 States and mark this off on the board. Last year we got down to needing just two, Hawaii and Delaware, but were told the chances of seeing those States was very unlikely.

Licence Plate Game

Licence Plate Game from 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I’m pleased to report that as of today, only eleven days into our holiday, we already have 44 of the States!! All we need now is the board to mark them off on as we are writing them down on a piece of paper!

 

 

Day 8! Yellowstone

We’ve had a long day today driving back to the Canyon area to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from various viewpoints along the way including Lower and Upper Falls and the view from Artist’s Point.

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River

Sand at Artists' Point

Sand at Artists’ Point

 

Yellowstone River at Lower Falls

Yellowstone River at Lower Falls

Here’s a very shaky video that Simon took of the roaring Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.

Some of you will recall that last year Simon did the 300 steps of Uncle Tom’s Trail and then had to climb back up the 300 again and that I couldn’t do it as I was rather ‘under the weather’. Well, it was our intention to do it again this year so that I could also experience the pleasures of the 600 step round trip. Alas, when we arrived and as advised, carrying water and snacks, we found that the trail was closed due to dangerous conditions. Oh well, at least that gives us an excuse to come back again to tick it off our list.

On the way we stopped off to take photos at Sheepeater Cliff. During our trail ride yesterday, our wrangler, Chelsea, was telling us the story of how the cliff was named for the Shoshone Indians who lived throughout the mountainous region. Their use of bighorn sheep earned them the name of ‘Tukadika’ or ‘Sheepeaters’. They would herd sheep to the top of the cliffs, drive them over to their deaths and would then go down and collect the bodies for dinner!!! Charming, but I guess that’s how it was back then!! Lucky we don’t have to do that for our meals these days.

The cliff is basalt lava that formed ‘columnar joints’ when it cooled nearly 500,000 years ago.

We also visited Yellowstone Lake in the southern park of the Park and imagine our surprise when we arrived to find that the Lake is still frozen over!! After the luck I’ve been having with mishaps lately, we didn’t think it a good idea to walk out on the ice to see how thick it was!!

The frozen Yellowstone Lake

The frozen Yellowstone Lake

 

Travelling from Mammoth to Norris we saw what is known as Roaring Mountain and today it was particularly active so we stopped to take a couple of photos. The roar of the mountain used to be heard some four miles away but today it is still very active but it is much quieter.

Roaring Mountain on the Mammoth to Norris road

Roaring Mountain on the Mammoth to Norris road

Roaring Mountain on the Mammoth to Norris road

Roaring Mountain on the Mammoth to Norris road

On the way back to our hotel we got stuck in a ‘bear jam’ and as this was the first bear we’d seen on this trip did try to get some photos but it was utter chaos with cars and people everywhere so we are hoping to see one before we leave the Park on Tuesday. People tend to go crazy when they see bears!!!!!!

We ate in the dining room again tonight and this time was served by Sam from Wisconsin. We had a real laugh, he was a great personality and was telling us how he had backpacked around Guatemala. He told us that we should visit Wisconsin, particularly around Lake Geneva which he said is really beautiful, so that’s now on the bucket list. We told him about our problem with the bread plates and when he saw us after that he tried to snatch our plates away.  All in all, a great guy. If you read this Sam, we will be looking for you at Lake Geneva when we visit!

Day 7! Yellowstone

We started the day by taking the opportunity to do a horse ride in the back country of the Park. Three million people visit the Park every year but less than 1% actually get to see ‘behind the scenes’ and we can now say we are two of the 1%.

Simon rode Logan and I had Crockett, two very lovely animals. They were very gentle and we were lucky enough to see bison and elk on our ride plus quite a few elk bones! You will see from the photos that we decided to wear safety helmets. After listening to the safety talk where we were told that ‘death’ was a real possibility due to the wild life and terrain so we thought the insurance company would take more kindly to paying any bills that may have occurred from the ride if we wore helmets. Here we are looking every ounce the riding professionals that we are!!!!! Don’t you just love those helmets!!

One suggestion for the wranglers would be to provide mounting blocks for the ‘vertically challenged’ among us!! It’s a shame someone didn’t get a video of me trying to mount Crockett, it would have made a very good YouTube video!!!!!

Sand on Crockett

Sand on Crockett

Simon on Logan

Simon on Logan

On the way to our next destination we passed one of the hot springs and lovely waterfall near Mammoth where we are staying.

One of the hot springs at Mammoth

One of the hot springs at Mammoth

Waterfall near Mammoth

Waterfall near Mammoth

After our very enjoyable ride we made our way to Norris Geyser Basin where probably the biggest collection of geysers in the Park can be found. We spent a couple of hours doing the complete 2.2 miles circuit. This place is really something to see and smell!!!! The smell of rotten eggs makes me gag every time (I know, too much information). We were lucky enough to see one of the geysers, Vixen Geyser, erupting, showering three children with water. They were very excited indeed and were running around telling everyone what had happened, giggling all the time.

Vixen Geyser

Vixen Geyser

Geyser at Norris Geyser Basin

Geyser at Norris Geyser Basin

Echinus Geyser at Norris Geyser Basin

Echinus Geyser at Norris Geyser Basin

We then drove up to Canyon Village, which sits more or less in the centre of the Park, through the Dunraven Pass which only re-opened yesterday after the winter snows and en-route saw snow drifts of between 8-10 feet. Simon decided he would find out how deep the snow really was ………….. it was deep. We were rather taken by surprise when we looked up at the mountain and there was a skier coming down towards us complete with his back pack …. I think he must have been going to do his shopping and taking the quick route!

Simon enjoying the snow at Dunraven Pass

Simon enjoying the snow at Dunraven Pass

Skier at Dunraven Pass

Skier at Dunraven Pass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a beautiful drive but when we arrived at the Village it rained and got really quite cold but after refreshing ourselves at the Yellowstone Grill where we partook of a burger (nicely cooked) for Si and a grilled cheese sandwich for me, (I have to post what we ate because there are those among you who like to know the tiniest little detail) we really didn’t care!

In one of my earlier posts I told you about the hotel we are staying at, but didn’t mention that it has just one dining room which means there is usually a wait for a table. All the staff are very friendly and always willing to have a chat about your day.

Today, we had just arrived for dinner when a rather large coach party arrived and it seems that there was immediately a shortage of bread plates for the incoming diners. We were just enjoying our pre-dinner bread (always a favourite with me, I would rather have the bread than the meal!) when a waiter came and asked us if we had finished with our plates, we said we hadn’t which was pretty obvious as there was still bread on them. He went away and five minutes later was back again asking if he could take them away. We again told him ‘no’ and from then on every time we saw approaching we took hold of the plates with both hands just in case he was coming to steal them from us. Needless to say, I had hysterics and just couldn’t stop laughing.

The food has been excellent, but tonight it was necessary to complain about Simon’s bison steak (I do hope it wasn’t one of those we saw earlier in the day), sorry to all vegetarians reading this!! He ordered it as ‘medium’ but when it arrived was swimming in blood, even the mashed potato couldn’t soak it up! Now anyone who has watched MasterChef will know that red meat has to be left to rest before serving it or the end result is a plate swimming in blood.

Nevertheless, he ate it and then complained, well he did say that regardless it was actually rather delicious. I did advise the manager, Lauren, of what MasterChef had taught me and she was obviously very impressed with my knowledge as she kindly took the cost of the steak off the bill and even treated us to two free desserts!! The poor waiter who served us had only been working there a week and the next morning he had the pleasure of serving us again for breakfast and this time we had to complain about the fact that we had to wait 25 minutes before we were even served coffee and tea, let alone our breakfast. I think he was rather pleased to see the back of us!