Friday, 23 April 2010

Fun in the Sun

What more could you want?

Sun, sea and archaeology. A perfect mix.

The IfA conference was held in Southport this year. A place I had never visited before, but was curious to see.

It did not disappoint. A melange of tacky seaside carnival, a high street to rival any other, majestic Victorian architecture, and excellent restaurants. With an enormous statue of good old Vicky presiding over all.

She is always portrayed as old and grumpy, but her young married life was full of sex, lust and joie de vivre. Never fails to amuse me that this most prudish era was named after a girl who was "hot to trot" - although it must be added that this was only within the confines of marriage and she was totally faithful to her Albert.

Enough of that.

I will write a separate post on the food and restaurants, but let me say now that it was a good food trip. A brief teaser..... I did eat fish and chips and mushy peas. Obligatory really, but that will not be the highlight.

The weather was glorious and it was a joy to walk around exploring in brilliant sunshine.

Of course I shopped a little..... ok, a lot.

I went over with an A4 list of things I needed to buy for both of us. Managed to get all of the list barr one item. Pretty good going I thought. I was especially pleased with my cashmere cardigan reduced from 175pounds to 20 pounds. My Mum taught me well.

To business.

The speakers at the conference were great. The problem was deciding which ones to attend! I was disappointed that one of my favourite speakers was only given 20 minutes to talk. She is so entertaining and interesting that you go away wanting more. I did make a point of requesting a longer session next time though.

We attended a formal dinner on the first night. Met some really interesting people and had a delicious meal (warmed goat cheese with salad for entree, herb crusted rack of lamb with veg for plat and pavlova with strawberries for dessert). One of the best formal dinners I have attended.

The informal dinner and party the next night was not so good unfortunately. The meal was a bit disappointing and everyone seemed to disappear to the pub immediately after eating. So no dancing or mingling. Luckily I was at a table with good company and we sat and chatted for a while till the (really!) bad disco music drove us away.

Friday we had an excursion to the beach...... but you will have to watch this space for more on that!

Lastly, you would not believe the fabulous little shop I discovered just off Lord Street. It was a magical place of rocks, fossils and books. More and varied collections you have never seen before. I could quite happily have moved in and never left.

I spent probably about the better part of an hour chatting with the owner and admiring the wonderful selection on his shelves.

No, I did not buy any books. By this stage my suitcase was nearing dangerously overloaded.... sigh. Of course this just means that I have to visit another time to explore the titles on the 3 floors (yes 3 whole floors!!!!) of books.

Simply heaven.

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