I was looking forward to a nice, peaceful quiet weekend doing very little. And more or less – I got one.
It started a bit earlier than I had been anticipating. At just before three on Friday afternoon, the fire alarm sounded. Rupert and I looked at each other, got up and picked up our coats and bags (you’re not supposed to, but they were to hand so no time was lost). The alarm stopped. Rupert and I looked at each other, shrugged, put down our bags and coats and sat down.
Thirty seconds later, the alarm went again. Exactly the same scenario played itself out. Groundhog day in miniature! Except that after we had sat down again, Rupert thought he had perhaps better go and find out what was happening.
Thirty seconds later he rang down and said that we were evacuating the students because nobody knew why the alarm had gone on and off like that and safety first was to be our watchword. I grabbed both our bags and coats and snuck up the back way to Level 4, abandoning the students to their fate.
It was complete chaos up on Level 4. Alan the security bod was announcing over the intercom that people should leave the building. Students were wandering out in a desultory sort of a way. Staff had gone out or were hanging around in the entrance lobby. Just as the building was nearly cleared, someone came in and said the alarm had been triggered (twice) by the contractors working on the lift (We’ve only had the lift a few weeks – how come it has had to have contractors working on it so often since it arrived? Doesn’t inspire confidence!)
Those in Charge decided to let the students back in. Even greater chaos as students were still trickling out but now also stampeding back in.
Eventually it was all sorted out and I decided there was no point in going back down to the office and starting again and went outside to await the arrival of The Builder and Oscar.
Saturday was a stunningly beautiful day. Absolutely glorious. Clear and blue and sunny and still. Not hot, but beautiful. We trundled off to Chatsworth (huge queues heading towards there from Sheffield and the main road from Chesterfield again – a second weekend of Christmas Markets in the Chatsworth grounds). We went to Dunstan Hall just for a mosey about. As we were driving over the hill towards Dunstan Hall and could look down into Sheffield and into Chesterfield, and could see way, way out towards the horizon, The Builder remarked on how lovely the view would be from Spitewinter. Well, by the time we’ve pootled about in the garden centre and then been to the supermarket, it will be time for lunch. Let’s go to the Three Horse Shoes and admire the view.
So we did.
They are suffering a bit with the recession, I think. It was fairly quiet for a sunny Saturday lunchtime. But they were offering a November lunchtime special of vegetable soup and roast pork with roast potatoes and all the usual stuff. So we had that. It was excellent. A few more people were trickling in as we made our way out to admire the view and head home.
A lovely and quiet afternoon and early evening, and then we headed off across country to Manchester airport. For Freyja was coming home and her plane landed about ten minutes after the last train into Manchester central departed. Seems remarkably early to me – her plane was due in at 25 past 9, which is hardly late. We stopped at the Red Lion just outside of Disley – just up from the Dog and Partridge where we met Ian’s niece when we collected him from the airport back in August. The food in the Red Lion is very much nicer.
We got to the airport, found Freyja waiting, leapt in the car and headed back to Sheffield, making extremely good time. We dropped Freyja, Bernard and Sleepy Hippo at their place and trundled back to Tupton, where we arrived to find Tabitha and Gareth in residence. We didn’t stay up until after 3am drinking wine and whisky at all, no, no, no, no. Of course we didn’t. Well, I certainly didn’t. I don’t drink whisky!!
We poured ourselves into our beds.
For some reason I slept extremely, really, very well.
Right up until The Builder sat up in bed and exclaimed: Goodness me – it’s 9:00!!!!!
Nine O’CLOCK?!?!?!?!?! Gosh. I was supposed to have breakfast ready by then Tabitha and Gareth were supposed to be dressed, fed and ready to go into Sheffield to visit Batch and his new wee kitten for 11.
It didn’t happen. Everything slipped by a couple of hours. Eventually they went to Sheffield, The Builder and I pottered gently about and did a few useful things, time passed.
Tabitha has polar bear pyjamas. I want polar bear pyjamas! She had bought hers in Primark in Cambridge. There’s a Primark in Chesterfield too. We arranged to meet them there later in the afternoon. I didn’t buy polar bear pyjamas in the end. I bought sheep ones. And some Rudolph ones. And some Christmas knickers. We all bought pyjamas. But The Builder’s aren’t as fun as mine!
Then we went home and had slow roasted shoulder of lamb followed by apple and rhubarb pie and we drank some more wine (apart from Gareth, who was driving) and then they went home and The Builder and I went to bed.
It was a lovely weekend.
And mine continued. For I had Monday off. And absolutely no plans at all.
The weather wasn’t so good, but the house was nice and cosy and the tea was plentiful and there was toast and I really did just amble through the morning, doing a very few useful things and just enjoying being At Home. Then I went. All By Myself, in The Vixen into Chesterfield. I don’t go out All By Myself very much any more. It was quite an adventure!!! Oddly, when I got to the car, I found both the front windows completely, absolutely, fully open. Just as well it hadn’t started raining before I got there. I can’t quite work out how that happened.
I had a nice wander around in Chesterfield. Went to the library, and pottered around the shops, and wandered around the town centre. Then I went to Sainsbury’s – for some reason we were completely out of wine. The Sidings was a Wine-Free Zone. I can’t remember that ever happening before!!!! Then I went home, the back way just for fun, and made stew and dumplings and read recipe books and slowly drifted into the late afternoon.
Then The Builder dashed home and dashed almost straight out again. He had an appointment at the surgery at 4:45 for the doctor to look at the manky rash he’s had on his arms and legs. He was gone for simply AGES! Eventually he came back to report that the doctor was pleased with progress, had written him a prescription for yet more slippy unguents, and that he had been gone for so long because, although the receptionist had SAID 4:45, she had put him in the slot for 5:45!!
We have a pharmacy in Tupton. It arrived a couple of weeks ago. It’s where the smaller of the village shops was. And the butcher, which closed last summer after a fire (which was about the time the (contiguous) village store disappeared) came back at about the same time that the pharmacy appeared. We are quite well-appointed for a not terribly huge village. Butcher, pharmacy, fish and chip shop, grocers with Post Office attached, two pubs actually in the village and another one on the main road, coffee shop, a couple of mechanics, and a surgery. Plus a junior school - and a middle school and another shop, but they are dotted about slightly further afield. Apart from a branch library, there’s not much missing!
The Builder has bought me a new Le Creuset casserole. It’s HUGE! What shall I cook in it to inaugurate it?