Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My baby is 30....

Can't quite believe my baby, my firstborn is 30!!  30 years ago I thought I had 4 more weeks to go before he would be born.  How wrong I was. it was snowing, really heavily, and we only just got to Nether Edge Hospital. When he finally decided to come out, nearly 20 hours after I'd gone into labour, he was heavily affected by the pethidine the midwife had given me less an hour before he was born, was blue, not breathing and only just 5 pounds.  And look at him now :-)

As a birthday treat, we went to London for the day last Saturday. First class travel of course - dead cheap on a Saturday, and coffee and bacon butties on the train.

When we got there we made straight for Baker Street - which has a
very atmospheric tube station. 
Outside the station is a statue of Sherlock Holmes, which is why we were there of course.  Then it was off to find 221B, where the Sherlock Holmes museum is located.

Complete with period policemen outside. I was surprised how busy it was - we had to queue for 30 minutes to get in, and how popular it was with Japanese tourists.

It was a great little museum. All done out to represent the period, and illustrating many of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Dan certainly looked the part, and in fact got mistaken for a guide by tourists asking him questions about the exhibits. Not surprisingly, he knew more about them than the real guides...

And of course, we found the Hound of the Baskervilles, the story of which Dan has adapted into a play due to be performed this October.

After the museum we went to Picadilly Circus, and walked down through Leicester Square to Covent Garden for lunch - a fish finger sandwich! Then walked round the market, and down to the Duchess Theatre to see the matinee of The Play That Goes Wrong.  I've seen it before, and it's one of the funniest plays I've ever seen. An amateur dramatic company putting on a murder mystery, and if anything can go wrong, it does. Sort of a cross between Noises Off and a Farndale play - and if you're involved with AmDram, as we are, it's even funnier.

Then we had to pay a visit to the big Forbidden Planet shop round the corner

and off to a Brazilian BBQ for tea - Cabana. Great food and atmosphere. Then it was back up to St Pancras and the train home. Great day out - really enjoyed it, and I think Dan did too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What a reunion weekend!

In 1967 I left my junior school, Carr Hill, in Retford, and having passed my 11-plus, went to Retford County High School for Girls. In 1974, I left, along with a great many friends made during the 7 years there. Over the past years we've had a few reunions, and last November had another to celebrate 40 years since leaving school. I know. 40 years. That can't be right. But it is! Facebook has been instrumental in us getting back together, and we have our own private group where we share pictures and memories and chat to each other.

Our last reunion was such a success, we decided to go for a weekend away, and last weekend some of us we descended on a lovely cottage in Staffordshire. I arrived late Friday afternoon, with a car full of food and booze, to discover 4 of them already there and a cottage already overflowing with food and booze. As we said several times over the weekend. I think we overcatered.

Mulled wine flowed. Rosemary arrived with another car load of food and drink. Selfie sticks were practiced with.

Balloons were blown up and danced with (don't ask).

Then we had a fantastic goulash courtesy of Siobhan. Plus puddings, more booze, more laughter...

Then there was Valentine's cards and presents.

Finally bed. Despite the fact that there were 3 bedrooms, someone decided that the five of us should all sleep in one room - which a nice girly thing to do. Except for the fact that someone snored. And ground their teeth. People seemed to think it was me but I don't believe them.

Next morning some were up bright and early (not me),  and there was coffee and kedgeree which was delicious.

Sally arrived, and we started being artistic. Wendy had brought paints, pens, canvases, paper, and a lot of patience and coaching skills. 

After the painting came sewing. Sewing machines were produced and Siobhan and Susan helped us start quilting cushion covers.

Then we had lunch, and decided maybe fresh air was in order. By then Carol had arrived, and we went for a walk.

More sewing when we got back - and we all finished our cushion covers - ably helped along by Prosecco, Baileys and wine ;-)

 Goulash for tea. More drinking, more laughing, some quizes - were there were winners, and losers...

and bed.

Next morning we had smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and Bucks Fizz for breakfast. Cooked by Sally and it was delish!!

Then more painting. I really got the bug and couldn't stop!  Janice arrived, and she and Sue worked on their sock monkeys.

I had a hat to knit, and everyone helped with it!  The day seemed to pass in a blur of painting, eating, drinking and sewing. Great fun. This is my output at the end of it - the hat wasn't quite finished at this point but was a bit later

In the evening, when there was just 5 of us again as Carol, Janice and Sally had left we watched films. The kareoke version of Mamma Mia which we sang along to enthusiastically. Priscilla Queen of the Desert for more Abba songs. And finally, of course, The Rocky Horror Show where we all did the time warp...

And next day it was time to go home. A great weekend, great fun, and great company. Can't wait to do it again!

Wendy has written a much better post than this with lots more pictures, which is here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Center Parcs

Yay, Center Parcs time again!! I've been going to Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest since just after it opened in 1987. I think we first went in October 1987, when Dan was a toddler and I was pregnant with Luke. Then we started going in January as me, Dan and Luke have our birthdays within 5 days of each other and it seemed a good way to celebrate. Now we go with grown ups - 4 couples in a luxury villa with a steam room, sauna, games room and a wonderful hot tub. And I try and make sure we're there for my birthday. We slightly over-cater on the booze (and there was a wine fridge full of wine and fizz as well as this shelf...)

Monday - met for lunch on the way there at the Rose Cottage Pub, got to the villa, unpacked, a nice walk round the lake and the forest, and back for some singing and playing of pool, after a great meal of venison casserole!

There might have been quite a lot of time spent in the hot tub as well....

Tuesday - hungry squirrel waiting on our patio at breakfast time for us to feed him,

And lots more wildlife it he garden. Any food we put out went very quickly!

Walked to the bird hide just by our villa, and the pond was frozen, but still saw a lot of birds

And then went for a walk....

To Rufford Park. Lovely place - nice old hall, coffee shop

Interesting gardens with lots of sculptures

And a lovely lake to walk round, which was frozen.

Back to the villa for lunch, and of course, straight into the hot tub. Liked this photo of my flowery back tattoo.

The hot tub is a very popular place - at all times of the day or night...

In the evening Stuart was on Strawberry Daquiri duty, his specialty cocktail

And we walked round to the country Club for dinner.

Wednesday. Segway day!  It was snowing but that didn't put anyone off. These were off offroad Segways, very different to the ones you have in cities. Big wheels, and after a quick practice we were off through the forest.

It was very, very cold and wet, and miraculously Stuart didn't fall off!  One of our number did though,
twice ;-) Lunch in the village square, then we went to the Spa, whilst the others went back to the villa.

The Spa is very relaxing - an outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, and 16 different spa areas, different saunas, steam rooms, different temperatures, and lots of relaxing places - including water beds, and an outdoor area where you can wrap yourself up n a blanket. My favourite is the Laconium, which is the picture at the side.  Very gently heat, very comfy, very quiet. I fell asleep! We even had a free facial in there.

Back to the villa for another evening in, with an antipasti starter...

More pool more cocktails, more hot tub, more music.

Thursday. Gentle walk to the bird hides, all three of them. Saw lots of birds,

And I loved this cheeky Lesser Redpoll - so cute.

In the afternoon we went bowling - some of us are better than others :-)

And in the evening, in honor of my birthday the next day - a meal in Cafe Rough

Back for more hot tub, and even I played pool...

Early morning. Yuck! Packed, got out. Walked round lake, which was lovely

sat in the bird hide again

and then we all had brunch - eggs benedict and Prosecco. Made even better because they gave me the Prosecco free as it was my birthday, and that morning the manager had given us some free food vouchers because our hot tub alarm had gone off late at night. Admittedly while we were still in it...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chatsworth Stags

As it's being snowing, we decided to drive out into the Peak District today to see what it looked like. The view from the top of Hathersage was amazing:

And we even saw a very ugly pig, snuffling around in the snow. I thought it was ugly, Stuart had a conversation with it.

The snow was very localised, not much at all as we went out towards Castleton, so we went over to Chatsworth where there was a lot more. Loads of sledging just as you get into the park opposite Ednesor, and as we drove through the park, we saw the deer. Very close to the road - they looked magnificent.

And on the way back we stopped at the Devonshire Arms in Baslow for lunch.  You can't beat a good beef sandwich and chips!