Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A picnic at Thames Barrier Park, and the great hobnobs vs. digestives experiment

Despite being in the midst of several cold and intermittently rainy days, husband and I didn't let the wet stop us, and were lucky enough to discover that the rain had let up over lunchtime yesterday. So we packed a lunch (and our umbrellas) and set off for a picnic at Thames Barrier Park. We'd seen its interesting-looking hedges from the tube, and husband is a sucker for civil infrastructure.

These sail-like structures are the above-water part of the movable barrier that keeps London from being flooded by the Thames. They have a gate that when open lies level with the bottom of the river, and then rotates up to block the flow of water. Husband thinks this is super cool and even as I write this, has been looking up facts and photos about how this design works.

We had our first real date night last night - admittedly yes, we've been spending pretty much all of our time together since we've been here, but an actual date night is a little bit different. We took down careful directions (and still wandered off in the wrong direction a bit) and finally found the Greenwich Union, a pub renowned for its burgers. Yet neither of us actually tried the burgers! Husband enjoyed bangers and mash with lamb sausages, and I finally had my long-awaited fish and chips in a British pub. I forgot just how much I missed cod - and this was AMAZING cod, bought fresh from the nearby fish market. Both of our beers were excellent too (and we wound up switching almost immediately). This pub is near the Greenwich Observatory, which is where the zero mark for longitude is calculated. I wonder if the observatory allows visitors?

Finally, today we wanted some tea and cookies after we got home from the library. Our commute is mostly underground, but we still ended up fairly cold and wet. Unfortunately, though, we were out of chocolate hobnobs! So we stopped at the grocery store up the street and bought both hobnobs and digestives - apparently there's a big debate about which is better. One delicious experiment later, and we've both decided we like the "nobbly" hobnobs better (we both really like oats)...but I'm still going to enjoy the rest of the digestives with my tea for the next few days!


  1. It is great fun vicariously enjoying your adventures! There's a store in our city that stocks Hobnobs and I too am a fan of their nobbliness. Did you ever watch the extremely melodramatic but also addictive British series MI-5? There's at least one episode about a terrorist threat to the Thames barrier -- that was the first I ever learned about it. You'll be relieved to know that the brave MI-5 agents save the day in the end and London is not flooded! :-)

    1. I've never heard of it, but that show sounds like fun (and something my husband would love)! He says there's a Doctor Who episode that similarly involves the Thames Barrier (something about flooding giant spiders under the city?) I'm not surprised that something both so useful and so iconic has made it into popular media. And now we've seen it ourselves!

      Regarding Hobnobs, we've become a little obsessed and have already looked up a recipe so we can make them ourselves when we get back to our own kitchen and pantry...