Well this weekend was amazing and full of interesting things.
We had arranged to go and see a lovely couple we met (through one of the partner support groups I belong to and who we met face to face at Sparkle last year), Jenny and Ethan. They live in Cheshire which is about 200 miles away from us and as we would have to drive up past Pinks we thought that we would take advantage and go to Pinks on Friday evening and then continue the journey to theirs on the Saturday as arranged.
It wasn’t a BNO night and the cheapest hotel we could get was the Campanile opposite which we have not stayed in for some time after we discovered the Hilton Double Tree and 2 nice Premier Inn hotels nearby. We had forgotten how skanky and small this hotel was. It does take advantage of the fact it is dead opposite Pinks and they do increase the room price when BNO is on. The pillows were flat and the duvet was like a sheet as it had no stuffing and the cleanliness of the bathroom could definitely be questioned but I suppose it was only a place to get ready and sleep. We didn’t rush getting over to Pinks as knew we shouldn’t drink too much and also we did need to leave earlier than normal as we didn’t want to be too tired for Saturday night at Jenny and Ethan’s and the murder mystery party they had planned (our first time).
We got to Pinks at about 12am and it wasn’t very busy. An hour or so later that all changed. We had a great night dancing away and as usual ended up making new friends as we always do. Later when Lucy went to leave I was busy chatting to a lovely couple so she went without me and I came back 5 mins later. I suppose that is the benefit of the hotel being over the road and not having to get a taxi.
Saturday we made the drive to Cheshire which was a smooth run and not much traffic. Marred slightly by the fact that we couldn’t get hold of our daughter Megan who was at home alone to check she was ok and after 3 hours of ringing her and getting our neighbour to knock 4 times we ended up having to get one of my sons to drive 20 mins round to our house to check she was ok. Of course she was fine and had been sleeping in taking advantage of a later night and a longer lay in with us both away. Once we had spoken to her we could relax and enjoy the rest of the weekend and set some additional rules about her phone not being on silent.
When we arrived we popped in to see Jenny and Ethan and stayed for a cuppa before we headed off to the local B&B we were booked into. After the previous night we were a little nervous but we didn’t need to be. The room was lovely and quirky as was the fab pub it was part of. The pillows were bouncy and so huge we had to take one set off the bed and the duvet was thick and snuggly. This was a great choice. The bathroom was lovely too, no bath only a shower which was fine. Jenny was relieved as she had told us about it but didn’t actually know what it was like. It was very cosy.
While we were getting ready I was looking at Lucy and thought that it looked like there had been a growth spurt in a certain area and funnily enough about 10 mins later Lucy mentioned it too. Now that was a bit of good news. Unfortunately though, she is still putting on weight as she is snacking because of the hormones and is not being very disciplined.... if I say anything she gets all stressy but it is hard as I do want her to lose the weight she is putting on and she is not helping herself :(
We got changed into our characters, I was Claire Voyant (a psychic) and Lucy was lady Shippe (the bereaved widow) and then made our way back to Jenny and Ethan's house. We didn’t know what to expect and there was another couple coming over too that we had not met before. They turned out to be totally lovely and were the cook and the gamekeeper and Jenny and Ethan were the major and the vicar (rather appropriate for Ethan who is studying to be a vicar). The evening was great with acting and speaking as our characters in between the meal courses (a very delicious moussaka and fab cheese and biscuits my favourite) and listening to extra information on a CD. As it turns out lady Shippe and the gamekeeper were the killers…. It was a fantastic evening and we are now making plans to host our own murder mystery party but of course go back for another at Jenny and Ethan’s.
They mentioned that they had just come back from a regular adult only 5 days at Butlins that they do together. They make this trip every February and have already booked next year at Minehead and invited us to come with them. Lucy looked it up and we are now all booked in. How exciting. I have never been to Butlins and I’m sure it will be great fun. Lucy will also be full time by then.
In the morning as we were getting ready and I was putting my earring in over the wash basin. The plug hole had very big holes in it and usually I would have put the plug in but didn’t this time. Shock horror, I dropped one (and these are my favourite and expensive earrings from Turkey) and I heard a ‘plop’ as it went down the hole….. I was gutted and was thinking that there would be no way of retrieving it back. However I looked at the back of the basin and could just about access the U bend pipe as that is where I knew the earring would be. Luckily the pipes were relatively new and unscrewed easily by hand (which made me think someone else had done the same thing) and I was able to dismantle the piping to get my earring back which indeed was sat at the bottom of the U bend. It all screwed back together easily and I was extremely relieved I had my earring back! Always some sort of drama!!
We met up with Jenny and Ethan for a cuppa and then went down the local antique and collectables barn and were amazed at some of the stuff that was there. There was a nice little restaurant there so we had a cream tea which turned out to be warm home made scones and was very delicious. Lucy went to the ladies and was gone so long I though she had fallen in!! A queue had formed outside waiting for her made up of some little old ladies. Turns out she was oblivious and touching up her make up. Not a good idea when there is only one toilet! After we went for another wander around and then went back to theirs to chill for a bit. I hadn’t seen anyone give Lucy any dodgy looks however she said she had seen a couple but nothing outright obvious or rude. This was a big confidence boost for her as she had never done this before.
When we had seen how nice the pub that was attached to the B&B was we offered to take Jenny and Ethan there for an evening dinner which we did. The place is very unusual and quaint and had a great atmosphere. Even the ladies toilet was amazing as it had an anti-room with a large bay window and a piano in! The food was amazing and the staff were really friendly. I commented to Lucy how all the different staff we had seen had been friendly and nice and she said that we had seen so many different staff as they were probably all coming to take a peek at her…… I hadn’t thought of that and wasn’t sure whether this was the case or not but one person did the drinks, another took our order, another checked we had ordered and another served the meals. I suppose that is a lot of staff however at this time the pub was not busy. In any case none pulled any funny faces or was anything other than polite and friendly.
We dropped Jenny and Ethan off and made the journey home. Luckily it was a clear run and we made good time and the journey always allows us to chat. Lucy went through a bit of a wobble about the impact of being full time on those around us despite how great everything had been with strangers over the weekend but yet again I told her the impact on her not doing this would be greater for us both. Todays gossip is tomorrows chip paper and it really does not impact directly the lives of anyone other than hers, mine and Megan's and we are all fine with it. I have absolutely no doubt that going full time is the right thing to do. I have a lovely friend in the US (yes you Beth!) who was worried about telling friends and colleague and she has found to her surprise that people have been very accepting. I’m pretty sure that it will be the same for Lucy.
It had been a great weekend and we cannot wait to spend time with them again. We are planning on going to the Richmond Tea Rooms in Manchester with them for afternoon tea when we go to Sparkle but are also planning going to one of the Mad Hatter Tea Parties later in the year on a Friday, followed by another murder mystery evening on the Saturday at Jenny and Ethan’s. We are also planning our own murder mystery dinner party and Lucy is researching which one to get with the best characters. What with Butlins planned for next February it is nice to have things to look forward to.