I’m over at Dan’s again, and gladly so. The week felt like it had gone on for ever, for all that I’ve enjoyed it; I was very ready for the week to end. It’s gone well, but as seems to be tradition, it didn’t get the best of starts.
Things didn’t go well though,in the getting to Dan. I got up at 5am as is normal for a day when I’m going to stay with Dan. I left at 5:45 since I was ready and walked to the train station. I do quite enjoy walking down that early, there’s not too many cars and I have the place to myself, and I can set the world straight before it goes wrong.
I got to the train station, and that’s where it all started to go wrong. I was very early anyway, so I settled in to wait for the train… except it didn’t come, and the display board showed that the train was on time, even when it was obviously at least ten minutes late! At this stage I decided enough was enough and called across the tracks and asked what the heck was going on with the train, it was showing as on time but was obviously late. Finally there was an announceent that the train was cancelled due to a technical fault and had been reinstated as the 08:10. All very well, but this meant I missed the connection at Nottingham and had to get the next one, which meant I went from catching a train that was 25 minutes later than the original train to arriving in Lincoln 75 minutes late. Very unimpressed, and I spent the time on the connection from Leicester trying to decide how best to word a letter of complaint and who it should go to. It did help me calm down a bit.
All this time I made loads of calls to Dan, trying to sort out whether I should go for the connection to Lincoln or whether they would come and get me from Nottingham, and generally to calm down too. It was pretty grim, waking up at 5am and doing my bit only to find that the public transport network was having a hissy fit and I was over an hour late for a weekend that I’d been waiting 2 weeks for!
However, I digress. One of the main reasons for my coming to see Dan this weekend was because a friend of Ted and Dee was having a 50th birthday celebration this weekend, and I had been invited along too. We were concerned about how it was going to go, the invitation said to bring a bottle and an umbrella if it was damp – and it was raining most of the time when we were getting ready to leave. However, we got there to fine rain, and were directed up the garden to a series of gazebos of various sizes. We got drinks and then sat in a larger one to chat, and I had a good opportunity to watch Dan and Ted and Dee chat with people they had known for years. It was really nice, to go from thinking we might get washed away to sitting in fairly dry places chatting with people who they knew from years ago. It was really pleasant. Even though the only people I knew were the people I’d come in the car with, it wasn’t a problem; everyone was chatting with everyone else, and the small groups of people would change and reform with different people. In my eyes it was something of a perfect event, bringing together people who had a common interest – a shared history and a love of food and a birthday party.
After about half an hour, the people in charge of food opened a large metal container to show a hog being spit roasted. From there on it was predictable, eat as much really tasty food as you wanted and wash it down with wine, beer, cider or juice, just as you wished. I pigged out on salads having noticed that most of the desserts contained chocolate – chocolate and I really don’t mix too well any more. I don’t like paying for it the next day. Nice cider though, I’d really kind of forgotten how nice the stuff is – well, no, I hadn’t, I had it 2 weeks ago at Mark’s barbecue and enjoyed it, and remembered how nicely it goes down!
Anyway, eventually it started to get dark, and the hog was carved down to a skeleton, and people finished their desserts and candles and garden torches started to appear, lit by a guest and his son, and proudly marched down the garden and hung in trees by the little boy. The garden torches were very helpful at shooing away the midges since they contained citronella oil (Helen and her husband live right by a canal – prime midge territory!) Just as it got completely dark I pretty much hit a wall, aided by the cider. The early start and stressful journey caught me right up and I almost fell asleep on Dan’s shoulder right in the food gazebo!
That pretty much ended the night. We had an hour’s drive back to the house, so we got going at that point. I slept well overnight, strangely enough! Overall, I did very much enjoy it, and I may have ranted about the journey, but I was able to out it aside once it was over, so that was OK