Busy busy busy, that's what we have been of late. And I'm afraid that I can't guarantee any kind of regularity of posts right now, as we're right in the middle of a four-weekend spell of activity. Boy, if I were still playing Social Eventing, Sarah Betts would surely be quaking in her recently-married boots.
Talking of marriage, the last two weekends have bought a couple of weddings. And these shall be the subject of this post.
Friday the thirteenth saw us Bristol-bound, for the wedding of Gemma's university friend Shelley at a bright little church in Shirehampton. The evening of our arrival in my ex-home city didn't get off to the best of starts; whilst we were walking from the harbourside hotel to The Watershed for tea, Olive fell flat onto her face. She had just taken to walking along with her hands in her pockets, and I had only seconds before warned her of the dangers of this method of locomotion when the prophecy came to pass. A grazed chin, a pair of bitten, bloody lips, and a tearful dinner were the result. Then we realised that we (75% me) had forgotten to bring Olive's new dress. This necessitated a rainy Saturday morning visit to the new shopping centre in the city centre.
In church Olive was keen to burn off some energy, so credit goes to Shelley for arranging for the Brio table to be left out. It was like a Brio table to a small child. Afterwards we attended the reception, which was handily close to our hotel. Olive managed to fall again and this time picked up a paid of grazed knees, but also had a good time eating and dancing and playing hard to get.
A word about the hotel, the Ibis. It is a strange place, French-owned and staffed. The chain positions itself as offering cheap city centre accommodation with tolerance for stags and hens. The extent of the frill-less nature of the place only became apparent during our stay.
On the first night, whilst we waiting outside the room for Olive to go to sleep, I tried to log on to the wireless broadband only to find that this was not free like I thought. Sadly, I found the £7 for two hours unagreeable, and turned to my book. Earlier, it took three attempts to locate a working cot. The bed-frame seemed to be fashioned out of MDF, but surprisingly we slept well. The heat in the room didn't help. When I called reception to tell them our air conditioning seemed to be broken, I was told that the thermostat was set only to come on if the temperature rose above 25°C. Well, this is at least five degrees over the recommended safe room temperature for babies. But you get what you pay for in this world.
And paying a little more for a bed and breakfast in Castleton this weekend proved this rule. We were there for the wedding of another of Gemma's friends, Josie. We stopped at Causeway House, reputedly the oldest house in the village. The view of Mam Tor from the window beat the view of a multi-story car-park.
This time we were sans Olive, who stayed with Neeley for the weekend (and by all accounts had a good time at Flamingo Land). The wedding took place in nearby Bamford and was lovely. The reception was in an isolated barn which was beautifully decked with bunting and fairly lights, and which looked out onto Shatton Moor.
The speeches were excellent, and unlike the previous week we both knew some of the other guests - a significant number came from Gemma and Josie's intersection in A&E at the LGI. And there was a pork pie cake (with suitably rearranged figures).
In contrast to the hotel in Bristol, Janet and Nick, the South African proprietors of the bed and breakfast were friendly and fussy. The breakfasts were excellent, and the room was one of the best I've stayed in. Castleton is pleasant little place, in a wonderful part of the Peak District. And a nearby 'attraction' that we visited on the Sunday before heading home is worthy of it's own post...