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*cluck, cluck*

I'd never been on a hen-do before yesterday, and I don't think my introduction to the tradition was entirely a typical one either. But I enjoyed myself enormously marking ms_siobhan's impending nuptials.

The morning began for part of the brood with a round of clay-pigeon shooting. I'm afraid I passed that up in favour of a lazy lie-in and the ability to let my house-guest, rosamicula, in when she arrived from London, but it was fun meeting up with glowy-cheeked ladies afterwards and hearing all about it.

Despite our plans, rosamicula wasn't actually able to get to my house to drop off her luggage during the morning in any case, due to delayed trains - which became a bit of a theme of the day. Catching up with her at the station, we found ourselves only just in time to leap on a train to York, rather than a bus which would be our only alternative for the next hour. And even the train took twice as long as usual, due to engineering works which necessitated a roundabout route.

Nonetheless, we were the first to arrive at Middlethorpe Hall, where 16 lovely ladies gathered in a private drawing-room, complete with portraits, a stag's head (though not a hen's) and a roaring fire, to giggle and chatter over afternoon tea. It was absolutely lovely, and just the perfect thing for celebrating ms_siobhan.

Once tea was over (i.e. two and a half hours later!), we proceeded on into York for champagne at kissmeforlonger's lovely flat, and then dinner at Bari's. The food here was fantastic, and rosamicula was on fine devilish form, first bowling over the waiters with her Mediterranean film-star beauty, and then deploying her feminine powers get them to bring out a cake with sparklers in it for ms_siobhan. Sitting there, I felt pleased and proud to be part of such a lovely group of warm and sparkling women - it was one of those precise and palpable moments you sometimes get in the process of settling in to a new part of the world, where you suddenly recognise how at home you have come to feel there.

Certain die-hards went on from the restaurant to continue the evening in a local goth club, but rosamicula and I decided to make sure we got ourselves on the last train of the evening, rather than take our chances with the replacement buses. It may not have been such great a decision, as after the train had set off, we learnt from an announcement that it was going to take an hour and a half to get to Leeds - nearly four times as long as usual, and surely worse even than a bus.

But it was nearly empty (other people presumably having been better informed than us about how long it would take), so we curled up in great comfort on the seats, and before long found ourselves being thoroughly entertained by a young and very drunk boy with emo hair, who was trying to explain to someone on his mobile phone where on earth he was, but was mainly just raving incoherently and declaring "I'm all alone on the train with my hat!" Eventually, the person on the other end of the phone realised that other, less drunken, people were on the carriage with him (probably from our audible peals of laughter) and made him pass the phone to us so that we could explain where his extremely inebriated brother actually was, and what station he could pick him up from. I do hope he got home safely - though in fact the last we saw of him was the back of his be-hatted head, moving rapidly in exactly the opposite direction to the station exit...

Today, we've had a lazy day drinking coffee and chatting, interspersed with a healthy romp in bright sunshine through the woods between Headingley and Meanwood. I found budding snowdrops in my garden, and we found an abandoned bandstand in the middle of the woods. And now I have Poirot and laptop and sofa, and all is right with the world.

ETA: Oh, by the way - did anyone who was in the restaurant find a purple scarf when you left? I'm pretty sure I left it on the floor by my chair. No worries if not - I think it only cost 99p in the first place. But it was deliciously soft and fluffy and a very lovely shade of purple... :-(

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
That was how the cake with sparklers turned up!
Jan. 18th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yes! I witnessed a secret surreptitious conversation in the corridor leading to the toilets, complete with lots of smiling and pointing-out of Siobhan - and then two minutes later, there it was. I think the conclusion is elementary...
Jan. 18th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
It seems a very good conclusion to me and it was a v delicious piece of cake :-) As was all the cake of the day - I have yet to cut into the 'Shannon Matthews aka The People's Urchin' cake though as I want to take a picture of it first in all its glory.

I had such a lovely day yesterday - thank you for coming and the lovely words you wrote about warm and sparkling women - it brought a tear to my eye - I am lucky to have such lovely thoughtful friends.

I checked the table last night before we left to see if there was anything left and I didn't see your scarf then, but if I see a suitable replacement I shall let you know.
Jan. 18th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
Aw, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for checking under the table. Heaven knows what happened to the scarf, then, but as I say it wasn't expensive - just nice. :-/
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
Everyone knows that tea is the new cocaine.
Jan. 18th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
Really? How convenient for my street cred.
Jan. 18th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
Hehe - that is entirely in keeping with the character of the day! I approve. :-)
Jan. 18th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
LOvely write-up - and SO flattering. *Glee*
Jan. 18th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, and many thanks for your lovely company. BTW, you seem to have left a tube of velvet shower melt (whatever that is!) in my bathroom - I'll just keep it safe for next time you're here.
Jan. 19th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, I was already missing Leeds (and York) and now I miss them even more!

Was the 90-minute train to Leeds the one that calls at Poppleton and Pannal and Weeton and (many other places and) Burley Park? I used to get that one when I lived 5 mins from Burley Park and taught one day a week at York, because I could do teaching preparation on it. Ah, memories.
Jan. 19th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
Ah, but that is only fair, since almost every one of your posts makes me quietly nostalgic for Bristol...

No, the 90-minute train journey wasn't an ordinarily-scheduled route - just something they had to do due to parts of the line being taken out of action by engineering work. It went all the way down to Doncaster, and then came back to Leeds via Wakefield Westgate.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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