Hello all! Managed to sneak away from the family types long enough to get onto the computer (note to self: must erase history lest my nearest and dearest’s wholesome opinion of me be destroyed forever)
After a rather Rioja fuelled evening yesterday saying farewell to Maxie G as she prepares to leave for Vienna for a while, I staggered home. If only I had collapsed in bed the moment I got through the door but no, I thought it would be a good idea to text The Hobbit. Then, when I didn’t get a response from him I texted Almost Famous, who did respond. Dirty, dirty drunken sexting followed, which I shall recount to you at a later date once I recover from the shame of it all! Ohhhhhhh my, I do recall mentioning that I was naked and prepared to touch myself inappropriately. He asked for pictures. I don’t think I sent them…
But this morning, my alarm went off at 6 am and I nearly died. I have not seen 6 am on a saturday for a while and until today I wasn’t sure it actually existed. I showered for about an hour with the hot water on full, desperately trying to rid my system of wine, and drank gallons of green tea in the hopes of avoiding hangover. This did not work.
Somehow, I managed to get myself to Ealing Broadway to meet Nora by 9am (was supposed to be 8.30. Damn you central line), and when I got there I jumped in the car and we were on our way! Only when we hit the M25 did I discover that when Nora said she’d got back from her Devon recording session at 5, she meant that morning, not the night before. The night before, she and her band had been swimming in the sea. Serious.
So, with an hour of sleep and significant amounts of caffeine, Nora was… a tad exciteable on the journey north of Watford Gap. With Jonathan Ross’s show on as loud as we could stand to keep us awake, we made a couple of pit stops (one for greasy food, one for petrol) but otherwise drove northwards with remarkable amounts of enthusiasm for two such sleep deprived and hungover people!
Then, about a mile away from the homestead, we turned the Sat Nav to silent and I slid down in my chair so I couldn’t be seen through the windows, and called my mum. I acted as hungover as I possibly could, saying I had just gotten up, told her about the night before, said I was planning on having a quite night in with a DVD etc (LIES!) and she chatted away about horse tand Wii Fit games and whatnot. As she does.
Then, as we whizzed down the drive (after I had to use rather inventive sign language to tell Nora which drive to go down) I opened the car door and crept out, of the car, with Nora close behind muffling her excited/hysterical giggles. I knocked on the door and hoped it couldn’t be heard down the phone.
‘Oh hang on, someone’s at the door,’ the mother grumbles, and I had a fleeting thought that it would be hilarious if she pretended not to be home. She sent my dad to open the door, and he did so, looking so confused that for a moment I thought he might close the door in my face. Then, as she started moaning about people always showing up at the door at lunchtime, I crept in and opened the door to the dining room (where the phone lives) and shouted out ‘Surprise!’ in total and utter victory.
‘NO WAY!’ was the response, quickly followed by crying. Yup. That’s my mum for ya. Many hugs for moi and Nora, and gloating from the little sister that she’d managed to keep it quiet.
Of course, me being here was not enough (according to the sister who demanded to know what I’d got the mother for said sunday) so I came bearing cupcakes. What else?
Spent the afternoon eating cake, playing Wii, avoiding cats and laughing as Nora actually fell asleep on her feet and eventually gave up, retiring to my bed for a power nap. Then, of course, we headed to the famous pub for the Ham and Eggs that Nora has waxed lyrical about for the past two and a half years.
THIS PUB IS THE WEIRDEST PUB YOU WILL EVER DINE IN
It’s called The Dovecote, it’s somewhere along the A46, and from the outside it looks like a nice, pleasant, friendly pub. I called the number on the billboard and made a reservation for six pm, and thought all was well.
Well, when we got there, it was like walking into that pub in the Wicker Man. Just with less people. Every head turned and glared a little bit, in a kind of ‘you’re not local!’ kind of way. Um… my Dad’s family own the hotel next door and my uncle lives down the road. Shush, little village weirdos.
Went to the bar and stood there for ten minutes or so until someone bothered to stop chatting and come and serve us (Ritzi was getting a liiiiiittle bit snobbish and southern around this time) and I said we had a reservation for 6pm. Apparently, this was something of a novelty.
The woman who served me pulled my father’s pint, turning to her colleague as it settled and feeling the need to inform her that her boil popped last night. No joke.
When we AT LAST got into the dining room (we were waiting in the bar for about half an hour while they found menues, even though the whole menu was on a blackboard next to us anyway) I remembered why we put up with the insanity of the country folk. The dining room looked straight out of a Jane Austen novel. Ahhhhhhhhh.
And the conservatory was even better, although a little chilly for this time of year sadly!
Candles on the tables, beautiful presentation and while Nora was happy with her Ham, Egg and Chips, I opted for one of the few but fabulous vegetarian dishes (a concept not entirely understood by the country folk), a baked goats cheese salad with fresh caramelised onions and AMAZING rustic fries. A lovely evening was had – at last – even though we admittedly had to ignore the insane waitress who thought we really needed to know that the chef was a temp who’d not been there for a while and couldn’t actually understand the menu. Satisfaction was, in fact, a miracle.
That was, until they made me pay a pound to use their credit card machine, which I had to use at the bar because they ‘aren’t quite tecnologically advanced enough to have a mobile PDQ machine’. Seriously… who carries eighty quid or so in cash to pay for dinner?
Full of cupcakes (so much better than staying for desert!) Nora and I just finished listening to the results of her recent recording sesh and put our feet up in front of a roaring country fire.
I’ll cope with the crazies for another day.