In the 5.5 years that me and Craigy have been together (minus a couple of Ross and Rachel like "breaks" along the way...) we've never been ones to make a point of celebrating Valentine's. If you love someone you love them each and every day, right? And I totally agree. But this year, for some reason, Cupid was tugging on my heart strings and urging me to do something a bit special to let Craigy know I appreciate everything he does for me. And he does a lot for me. Far more than I do for him. Case in point: as I write this he's in the kitchen making us turkey meatball soup for dinner.
And so I decided to book us a nice room in a boutique hotel somewhere and that somewhere ended up being the beautiful town of Cirencester in the Cotswolds which was also, for your history buffs out there, the second largest town in Britain during Roman times.
With several hotels to chose from in the general area I opted for The Kings Head since it promised to be "a modern and elegant hotel" and to provide "a place to escape to and clear your mind". I also rather liked the look of the rooms from online pictures.
And our room did not disappoint: it was bright, airy and delivered the modern elegance that was promised.
I did, however, take the liberty of customising the room in accordance with the occasion:
Craigy got into.. erm.. the romantic spirit of things.
The bathroom was everything a bathroom should be and had everything a bathroom should have but I was particularly fond of the wet room style shower and would have one at home if it wasn't for the fact that our bathroom isn't actually much bigger that the wet room style shower. Bummer.
This very bathroom also set the scene for a potential lover's tiff. As I leaned over the toilet to to grab something on the shelf my earring fell into the watery depths below. Now this would not normally cause me any consternation and I would simply dip my hand in and fish it out but to my horror it fell into a bowl of Craigy's unflushed wee! The following is the slightly heated and grossed out exchange that took place:
Me: AAAAAGH!! My earring just fell into your pee!! Come and get it out!
Craig: It's your earring!
Ceri: But it's your pee!
Craig: I'm not putting my hand down there!
Ceri: What if you had dropped something in my pee??
Craig: Then I'd go in and get it!
Ceri: No you bloody wouldn't!!
Craigy: I totally would!!
We found ourselves in a fully-fledged stalemate. Neither of us had any intention of swishing our hands in a bowlful of bodily by-product so I did the only thing I could do - I flushed and hoped my earring would stay put. And much to my relief it did. I have decided, however, that at some point this week I'm going to pee and "accidentally" drop Craigy's glasses in the loo. We'll see how quickly his hand goes down there...
With the bathroom mishap behind us we made our way to Fratello's Italian restaurant, a few minutes walk from our hotel. I had booked our table in advance after having been seduced by the mouth-watering dishes on their website's menu.
We began our Valentine's feasting with a trio di bruschette, three pieces of toasted homemade bread, topped with chicken and sautéed mushrooms, white wine and melted mozzarella and mixed mediterranean vegetables with melted goat’s cheese, rocket and walnut pesto. A delight to behold and an even greater delight to devour!
For the main course Craigy selected the risotto with porcini mushrooms, italian sausages, shavings of parmesan and fresh black italian truffle. I opted for something more in keeping with the evening's theme: homemade heart-shaped ravioli filled with spinach, ricotta and goat's cheese cooked in a rich butter sage and pine nut sauce.
An unusual looking colour of ravioli, granted, but I can vouch for the absolute deliciousness of the the heart shaped parcels and their creamy contents.
I can also attest to the most excellent service and attentiveness of the staff. This kind sir, for example:
Italo is his name (it really is) and serving exquisite food with a smile is his game! He may even have given me extra after dinner chocolates which is a sure way to win over a sweet toothed Ginger Warrior.
Speaking of sweet teeth, we decided to try another locale for dessert - not that Fratello's didn't offer some very tempting puddings of their own, it's just that my feeling is why go to one restaurant of an evening when you can discover two?
And that is how we found ourselves in the fabulous Jesse's Bistro indulging in this:
To. Die. For.
And I almost did die! Ok, so I exaggerate somewhat, however, I did end up lying on the bathroom floor in a toilet cubicle in Jesse's for a good 15 minutes until the waves of nausea subsided. Too much delicious and rich food, too quickly. Will I ever learn?? Obviously not because on the walk back to the hotel I was already planning where we would be eating breakfast. I was really in the mood for eggs Benedict, smoked salmon and Hollandaise sauce.
And that's exactly what I got:
Craigy went for the full English. He always does. I wonder if that's because he's English? In any case, we received a very hearty (and not so healthy) start to the day courtesy of Graze:
Directly opposite Graze is the simply stunning and rather imposing Parish Church of St John the Baptist.
We spent some time marvelling at the depth of history contained inside the elegant mediaeval church and were particularly enamoured with the Boleyn cup, a silver goblet given by Anne Boleyn to Dr Richard Masters as a token of her gratitude for his care of her daughter, the future Elizabeth I.
During our visit we sat and listened in reverence as a beautiful and heart-felt prayer was offered up on behalf of those affected by the road accidents on the M1 and M40 that very morning.
Being a tourist is both hungry and thirsty work and although we'd only had breakfast less than three hours before we felt compelled to follow the recommendation given us by a lovely couple in the church to check out an eatery known quite simply as Made By Bob. Who are we to argue with locals who obviously know what they are talking about?
It's a rather trendy little locale, is Made By Bob and evidently a popular place to chow down given that the queue we encountered was out of the door and we were informed that we may have to wait for half an hour before being seated. I was tempted to go elsewhere. And then I spotted the selection of cakes and bakes on the counter and told Craigy in no uncertain terms that we would be waiting. End of.
Which one would you have gone for??
I went for the triple layered carrot cake (sugar free journey obviously on hold for the weekend) and Craigy, not possessing the same addiction to all that is sickly sweet, went for the fish soup.
In order to allow soup and cake to settle we took a leisurely walk through town and meandered through the market stalls.
We made one small but vitally important purchase in the market, a special Valentine's treat for our beloved Sapphie Whippet awaiting us at home. And not just any Valentine's treat, a Valentine's PUPcake:
Which was very much appreciated by the little lady in question:
All too soon it was time to bid The Kings Head and Cirencester farewell. A delightful 24 hours, spent in a delightful hotel, in a delightful town. And the company wasn't too shabby either.
GW and Craigy Boy, over and out.