Another grey day which stayed dry with the sun making a valiant effort to break through the cloud cover in the afternoon.
We started the day with some oat cakes, a Stoke speciality. They're a savoury type of pancake made with yeast that is rolled and filled with a savoury filling, traditionally breakfast items - sausage, bacon, eggs, cheese etc. Laura and Romas made a different filling each morning for breakfast and they gave us some to take home. They also drove us around Stoke in a search to buy more (they freeze well) but the shops that make the proper ones were all closed for the holiday.
I've been working outside today digging up lots of grass roots and then I tackled a job that's been bugging me for a while - clearing the long grass that had grown under one of the bushy climbing roses and pulling up a rampant bramble that had taken hold in the wall behind the rose. This entailed crawling under the rose bush trying to avoid the thorns. But even wearing my thick old gardening coat and work gloves didn't prevent a certain amount of damage.
Back to Stoke. On the Wednesday we were treated to a whole evening at Moddershall Oaks spa including massages. (Laura had originally booked me in for a facial but I thought a massage would help ease the gardening aches and pains.) We got there at 5.00 so it was dark and we weren't able to appreciate the beautiful surroundings but the place itself was very swish and we had a most relaxing time. I say relaxing but we started off in the gym where I cycled 9km and had fun trying to balance on the gym ball while Peter rowed and did sit ups with weights. Then it was time for our massages after which we swam in the warm indoor pool. We were the only people in the pool so although it wasn't big we were able to swim properly.
After our swim we relaxed in the hot Jacuzzi which had all sorts of water jets. I found one that gave my shoulders a really good pummelling so that's where I stayed. Eventually we dragged ourselves out of the Jacuzzi and sat in the steam room for a while.
After a shower with all their fancy products we went up for a Deli Board which was literally a board with ham, cheese, humus, salad and pitta bread, very tasty. By this time Peter had changed back into his clothes but I stayed in my swimming costume and robe so that I could spend some time in the outdoor pool. That was a great experience as the air was freezing and the water nice and hot. This was our first time in such a place, hence all the details but we definitely enjoyed the experience.