Monday, 30 March 2009

Lost in Austin

Okay there were going to be photos of this weekend's activities there really were till I woke up horrified I had forgotten to alter my alarm clock and ended up flying round the house in a panic, trying to get out the door as fast as I could, and forgot the cable. Doh. Well for the moment I'm going to have to try and illuminate the weekend in words. On the Friday I took as my day in lieu (from a very dull meeting ages ago) as I still had half a dress to finish, several cakes to make and a gig to attend in the evening. The cakes were done fairly early on in the day but due to various things not going the way I planned the dress was finished at 6.30 on Sat morning (I had to wear it Sat afternoon, oops). I went off to see LAU (they are Scottish and very good, if you like your folk, or even if you don't you should buy their Cd's, did I mention they are very good? :-). The Cornerstone is possibly the classiest venue in Didcot and was very nice. Fi tells me that Eliza Carthy is playing there next month which can only be a good thing. I attended in the end with accordion player and jolly nice chap Nick (hereafter known as accordion Nick & not to be confused with Fi's Nick, or Nick Spangle) who's girlfriend was away in the US on workee so he came to get himself out the house and stop missing her, awwww.

Sat morning after a very early start for some of us (the hem was finished thanks to very strong instant coffee, hurrah) we bundled into the car and headed for Lyme Park, as soon as we had left Oxfordshire it started blowing a gale and the rain started to fall. Which wasn't great. This weather continued all the way up, the winds increasing in their ferociousness. We got to Lyme Park and met up with the rest of the Hen's (some of whom were sensible enough to drive down in plain clothes and frock and bonnet up at Lyme). First up was the ladies luncheon in the cafe (very nice it was too, I had the estate's own venison). We then took an extensive tour of the house (lovely but we weren't allowed to take photos) and the garden's (freezing but there were some very good photos). After an hour or two of that during which some of the party appeared to turn blue we retreated to the beautiful Cressbrook hall ( where we had rented a self catering cottage for a night. Once installed, back in civvies and much warmer we sat down to an evening of the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (yes that was indeed the theme of the weekend) after a couple of episodes we broke for dinner each of the girls providing a course (the hastily assembled chocolate and chestnut cake (recipe by Hugh) went down very well indeed).

Next morning (earlier than we thought because of the hour) my friend Helen and I got up early as she was desperate to go for a walk up the mountains. I'm not sure how we managed it but we somehow ended up on the wrong side if a river and found we couldn't get back to the house. Oh dear. Cue eight mile unintentional hike (it wasn't planned but it was beautiful and thankfully I was wearing sensible shoes) and us going 'missing' for two hours (there is no phone reception in the middle of Derbyshire up the side of a hill so we couldn't let the rest of the girls know about the river, oops). We got back and had a little stroll round the formal gardens of Cressbrook before returning to the car to head South. It was about this point that my friend Emma suggested we call in to see her Mum and Step dad who live in Matlock (my godfather who looks very much like Rubius Hagrid lives there as well). So we called in on them for a cup of tea. Their house is Amazing Emma's step dad is an artist but used to work in the building when it was a cowshed. The local council approached him about converting it (it was a bit of an eyesore) and it is now the most beautiful space. He works mainly in bronze and is a big fan of birds so there were all these beautifully tactile bronzes around this gorgeous space (I will post the link here once I've located it). After catching up with them it back back in the car to return to Oxford and a furious scrabble to find out who won the boat race (well done boys :-). Last night all I managed to do was a bit of ironing have a bath & straighten out my spinning and it was time for bed (pesky hour) but what a fantastic weekend!

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