Alas my blog has been neglected again but I have an excuse because I have been away. I escaped for a weekend! Back in February, Fiona, the sister of my friend Alison, hatched a plan for Alison's 50th birthday... for sixteen of Alison's friends to go away together for a weekend. For four months (until the actual birthday) we plotted and planned and kept it a secret from Alison. And then since June we have plotted and planned with Alison. Sixteen women all in planning mode... I'll say no more! But it all worked brilliantly and on Friday afternoon/evening we all rocked up to this fabulous farmhouse half way between Stratford upon Avon and Henley in Arden.
The views across rolling countryside were beautiful.
The planning mostly focused on food and drink and for our first evening together we had an amazing spread to which everyone contributed. Somehow it all came together and we feasted and drank, chatted and laughed as we all got to know each other. And as if by magic it all got cleared up and put away... never underestimate the organisational capability of a group of women!
There was of course a belated birthday cake made by Fiona... although there was so much food we didn't actually get to eat it until after we got home, but it was worth the wait.
On Saturday we ventured into Stratford where we split into teams and took part in a Trivia Trail. It was great fun and took us on a whirlwind tourist tour of Shakespeare's Stratford where we learned lots of interesting facts about Shakespeare and his family. This is my team all set to go. We ended up coming second but as there were only three teams that wasn't quite so impressive as it sounds.
There was also time to browse the shops where spotting tastless tourist tat seemed to be a thing... the Shakespeare rubber duck probably got the prize for that.
Saturday evening meant more food and drink together and we had caterers bring in a fabulous three course meal, which included all the setting up and clearing away. Such a treat!
After that you would think we couldn't eat another thing but here we all are queuing patiently for our cooked breakfast on Sunday morning. All that fresh air and laughter burns a lot of calories you know!
Some of our party had to leave on Sunday due to work commitments etc but the rest of us drove to Henley in Arden where we took advantage of the fine weather to do a five mile walk... followed by more cake and hot chocolate of course!
The walk along the canal was particularly exciting for me as I spotted my first ever Kingfisher. Well to be absolutely honest I spotted a flash of bright blue skimming across the surface of the water but the others assured me it was a Kingfisher. As it was a first for me I'm wondering if that counts as a sixty by sixty. (I'm getting desperate now!)
Back at the farmhouse a few of us braved the hot tub fortified by gin and tonics... do not be fooled, the air temperature was about 4 deg C by now! Thinking about it, that is another first for me... I'm really clocking up those sixty by sixties now!
Later that evening cosy in our pyjamas and slippers, we had a wonderful supper of the leftover food. (Why do leftovers taste so good!) Then being as it was bonfire night we watched a neighbour's fireworks display and then had our own sparklers in the garden. There may have been some gin fuelled singing (this of all things!) and dancing in the garden in pyjamas with our sparklers but I won't name any names!
It was a fantastic weekend with so many wonderful memories, spent with friends both old and new. I can't remember when I laughed (or ate) so much. Thank you all xx
(Thank you too for all the photos I've pinched to write this post!)