Saturday 4th December
After yesterdays trouble with traffic, rain, fog etc, this morning was about taking it easy; a late breakfast and a potter to a local location for a coffee and a mooch about. Christine and Karon had decided a walk along the canal towpath was the answer, but after a few short yards she believed me when I said, “it’s too muddy to walk without your boots”, the penny then dropped whilst Jane and I watched on and felt very “smug”😂😂. We then headed to “Darlington’s” a small quaint and cosy tea rooms establishment in the “Heart Of The Shires Shopping Village”, a set of converted farm buildings renovated into an area of “niche” expensive shops; well worth a visit.
Heading back to the hotel we suddenly realised it would be a long time ‘till dinner is served so popped into the “Wheatsheaf” in Crick, a lovely old pub but modernised inside 🥵. The four of us shared a rather scrumptious platter of various starters, and a couple of good real ale 😍😍; just right for the occasion: then back to the hotel.
The “program” for Christine’s party was: welcome drink upon arrival at 1830 hrs and dinner served at 1730hrs, however that didn’t quite go to plan, the party was in full swing by 1600hrs for the majority, just the stragglers missed out!!!
I was very apprehensive as to how everything would work out having done the booking and made all the arrangements on line from Spain with who I thought was the contact at the Holiday Inn, in Crick. This apprehension was further raised when we had booked into the hotel on the Friday as their Computer system wasn’t functioning at all well. It was now I realised the person who I thought was a member of the Holiday Inn staff, in fact wasn’t, she was from the “events and conference centre”; probably very obvious but there was no clue given to tell me this; when I rang the hotel direct it turns out I was put through to a central place!
On our return from the pub I met up with Adrian, the person I was told would look after us during the evening and when he took me into our function room; what a pleasant surprise, the tables were laid out as requested, he confirmed our meal menus and the correct quantity of booze ordered 🥳🥳🥳 and the 25 place settings for family and guests; my anxiety level dropped immediately, I could now relax. It transpired Adrian was in fact the manager, and he was not only a very efficient, he was also a very nice chap from Eastern Europe. Marian then “volunteered!!!” to set up a a scrolling picture collection of Christine over the years, many, many thanks Marian, though I fear Christine wasn’t too happy!!!! Also many many thanks to Leisha for producing such a magnificent birthday cake, again. I also want to thank Monica and David, our friends with feet both camps, Spain and U.K. who kindly took the pictures on the night. Where would I be without such good [useful!!!!!!] friends. Anyway Adrian provided a suitable and a magnificent cake stand to display this masterpiece.
After getting into more suitable clothing we went downstairs to join the guests who were already well ahead partying, and by 1830hrs, with everybody present we headed to our function room, collecting some bubbly on the way in.
Tonight wasn’t a surprise party for Christine and therefore she put her “twopenneth” in and we decided that with the issues over the past two years, we wouldn’t have music etc., we would spread the dinner out over the evening and enjoy catching up with family and friends.
Our starters arrived on time and to the correct person as ordered and after a suitable interlude, the main course. The wine was flowing very well and the 3-tables were all laughing and enjoying themselves. Two years was a long time not being able to catch up with friends and family but most importantly the grand children.
Desert was followed by a cheeseboard, accompanied by several bottles of Port. This cheeseboard was the like-of-which none of us had ever seen before. I had ordered 1-per table, in fact one would have been more than enough for everybody, the vast majority of it went back to the kitchen, still we can share it out tomorrow!!! Then the “piece de resistance” arrived with firework candles shooting up from the cake; Christine was unable to blow them out!!!!
The evening just flew by, suddenly it was midnight and several called it a day and and left but most carried on ‘till about 0200hrs leaving just Lee and myself to drink a bottle of Soberano; we left the room at 0300hrs, unfortunately there was a couple of fingers left in the bottom, never mind “must do better” next time!!!!
The format worked well and by the time the evening had eventually ended, everybody knew everybody. What we don’t know tonight was how many, if any, will actually have a clear head in the morning!!!!
Footnote: During the function we only saw Adrian attend to us. He served and cleared everything as we went, he was attentive, helpful, courteous, efficient, polite and worked his socks off as the hotel was short of staff, but thanks to Adrian, the service was seamless. Thank you very much Adrian, tomorrow I will write to your boss and tell him.