Last time we were at the Swan at Stoford, we tried to book a room for Saturday 28th March so we could come down for The Builder’s mother’s birthday which is on April 1st.
No go. They were fully booked.
We didn’t really want to come down on the 4th because we are going away for Easter week on the following Friday and we do like to be at home just occasionally. If nothing else, the cat likes to have us about from time to time! So we booked a room for the 21st, went home and thought no more about it (other than putting it in our diaries, of course).
A little while later, I had an e-newsletter from the Swan. Amongst other things, it announced it was now taking bookings for Mothering Sunday. I pondered this. The date looked strangely familiar. Oh look – it was the weekend we were down in Salisbury and the very Sunday that we had arranged to take Gwen out for lunch.
I dashed off a hasty email, booking a table for the Sunday.
A little while alter, it crossed my mind that, although we had invited Gwen to lunch on Sunday the 22nd, and had written it on her calendar, we hadn’t mentioned that fact that it was Mothering Sunday and nor had she. It seemed highly possible that she might be expected to join her daughter and small grandsons (and son in law!) for lunch on such an august Sunday. I got The Builder to ring her.
But no. She wasn’t expecting to be invited out anywhere apart from with us and still seemed entirely delighted to be lunching at the Swan with us.
Excellent. Then we will let the booking stand. Just as well, really. Not sure quite when we would have got down otherwise!
So. The weekend dawned beautiful and sunny. Gloriously so. I did a couple of loads of washing while The Builder went to the Sorting Office to collect a parcel for me. Then we headed up to the allotment for a couple of hours of digging in the sunshine. Feeling quite pleased with ourselves, we headed home for a spot of lunch, brought the washing in, fed a Very Suspicious cat with extra rations and some kitty treats, then headed off down towards Stoford, where we arrived about 3.5 hours later ready for a couple of pleasant soft drinks in the bar, accompanied by a warm and welcoming greeting from Carl, Matthew and a lady whose name I don’t know (but not the Australian lassie who has gone on her European travels prior to heading home) and a truly lovely braised beef for me for dinner.
I was in bed and asleep pleasantly early. And slept in quite nicely on Sunday morning. The triple glazed windows, plus the almost blackout quality curtains meant that the sunlight which was dappling the river and lawns across the road had not penetrated into our room!
Breakfast was slightly hampered by my Lenten diet. No alcohol is not a problem at breakfast time. Nor, really, is no chocolatesweetsbiscuitscakescrispssnackyfoodsorother
sugaryorfattyyummythings since you probably wouldn’t have any of them at breakfast. But no cheese was a tiny problem (otherwise I would have had the fruit, cheese and ham platter, in preparation for a proper roast lunch at just before 1). I had eggs benedict instead and didn’t eat the hollandaise sauce. The Builder had a full breakfast!
We went to the Wilton Garden Centre in search of a birthday present for Gwen. We had had a mug made for her for mothering Sunday with one of the photos I had taken of her and her brood at Christmas printed onto it, so that wasn’t a problem. In the end we bought her a willow tepee (small!) with a pot inside containing sweet pea seedlings for her patio. It’s a bit early for putting sweet peas outside, but her patio is fairly sheltered and I think they should survive all right. We bought some seeds for us as well. Not sweet peas (I have lots of sweet pea seeds, plus about 7 plants ready to go out when April is well advanced). And a book about keeping chickens. The Hyde-Ruddle chicken enterprise may be nearer than we thought!
Then we called in at Waitrose, went and collected Gwen and headed back to the Swan for a truly lovely Sunday Roast. Even Gwen managed to eat very nearly all of hers. We took her home along a scenic route, called back at Waitrose so we could buy her some smoked fish – having discovered in the morning that she is quite partial to a bit of smoked cod or haddock, and dropped her back at her place ready for a Sunday nap. So was Gwen!
We came back along the Fosse Way, it being a beautiful afternoon and we being in no real hurry.
And I was in bed by just after nine :-S This healthy living is all very well (3.5 weeks with no chocolatesweetsbiscuits…..; 3 with no alcohol) but it isn’t half exhausting. I’m sure I had loads more energy before I embarked on my Clean and Simple (ish!) Living for Lent regimen! Lindsey tells me my energy levels will rise again in good time. Probably. I reckon that yes, of course they will. On Easter Sunday when I take it all up again! Although – I have a SHU Wellness MOT on April 27th where they test you for absolutely everything (more or less – no more eBay blood tests for me!!). Perhaps I should maintain my Clean and Healthy Living Exercise until then (barring Easter Sunday, of course).
The daylight hours are getting noticeably longer now. Spring is indubitably about. The daffodils are cheering the waysides and gardens, the blossom trees are in flower in the south (though not yet up here). And the UK clocks go forward by an hour in the early hours of next Sunday morning, should anyone wish to note the change of time.