I'm back off my holiday! It was a long weekend but it was so badly needed it feels like I've been away for two weeks. I'm feeling refreshed and excited again and ready to begin some big things. However, I also don't know where to start. There's some catching up to do after a holiday. June and Elizabeth very kindly stepped in to cover whilst I was away - I always feel very humbled that everybody rushes around to make sure I can get away, it's very much appreciated - but they can't do everything, including looking up missing orders and dealing with the back end of the website and stuff like that. So that needs doing. And I'd really like to get the accounting done. And I have a big plan that was scuppered a month or so ago by a whiny, obnoxious person who made me feel so terrible about doing it that I had to just kick it aside. But I'm feeling stronger and better now and I'm going to get on with it. Ahhhhh. Anyway, I'm starting the day by doing this blog because I want to relive my weekend and it makes me feel like I'm doing something. Then I'll get on with all the stuff that takes brain power and the stuff that takes a little bit of brawn (an order turned up in the meantime).
So, if you've been following the blog, you'll know that me and Chris went camping to Clumber Park which is just about half an hour up the road from the shop. We chose it because I wanted to go to an open air opera thing on the Sunday and it was easier to camp and allow Chris to enjoy a drink than it was to get home. I was very excited because I've not had any significant time off since Christmas! I usually have a coach holiday in May but this year I couldn't afford it because I was saving to buy the business partners out. I did miss it even if I didn't realise it at the time.
So we set off on Friday at about half past five. The journey was smooooooooth apart from my knitting going seriously wrong. I'm doing a diamond-y type pattern thing but one set of diamonds ends with two stitches and one set ends with one stitch and I keep forgetting which is which and 'putting it right' at the end of the repeat which turns out not to be right... We got the tent up really quickly:
Miraculously, despite it raining allllll day, the sun shone whilst we set up and only started again once we were cosily ensconced inside our tent. Chris made me go to sleep at 9 o'clock! It was still light outside and there were children running around and there we were happily snoozing.
But that wasn't a problem because it meant that we woke up easily at half past six on Saturday which was the most glorious day. It was my birthday and Chris didn't bring me anything to open which I call a boyfriend fail. However, he did bring me chocolatey cereal and cook the most delicious sausagey breakfast so I'll forgive him. Two breakfasts for my birthday. Beautiful.
Then I did yoga. On my own with nobody to tell me what to do. I managed about a 20 minute routine which I was really pleased with because I don't feel like I know a lot and I'm not doing it as much as I was. But I know the poses that I like and made sure to do all of them. Really nice. Maybe next year I'll manage a half hour routine or something. Ha.
Then we headed into the park itself thinking we'd have a wander before hiring some bikes. We were really early so there was nobody about apart from a lovely volunteer who told us his life story about camping and losing weight. The courtyard bit (I think it's called the turning yard) is absolutely gorgeous:
We had a cup of tea and our first ice cream of the day whilst talking about some plans and hopes and dreams and that sort of holiday stuff before setting off once the bike place was open. Neither of us realised that it wasn't just bikes but trikes too!!!!! Because I hadn't written him a list, because he assured me he was a capable human being, Chris had forgotten his back pack which meant we were stuck with my handbag (essential for knitting, fags and sunglasses amongst a million other things) and his big old bulky camera and a picnic but the trike was the perfect option because it had a big old basket at the back. Everything went in there! BRILL! And then we had to get going. BUT HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO RIDE A TRIKE!!???!?! It is not like riding a bike. You can't lean into corners. You have to turn with the handle bars which means that you mostly have to keep the handle bars straight which is really bloody hard. And you set off with both feet on the peddles instead of one on the floor and one on the peddle. And it's wide. I do wish that Chris had filmed my first few attempts as I veered sideways and ran over a few people. But once I'd stopped for a photoshoot and a fag I was feeling a bit better:
ISN'T SHE GORGEOUS????!?!?!?!
So we set off on the short ride which is five miles long and not very uphill and downhill. Chris is a much better cyclist than I am so he went off and circled back to me and went off again whilst I trundled as fast as my short, stubby and out of shape legs could carry me, which was not very fast. We circled round to the campsite for lunch of cheese and cured meats and cracker bread and it was fabulous. And then we decided to try another five mile cycle but added on a couple of miles. It's not cheap to hire these bikes/trikes and we were determined to get our moneys worth. I was really sad when we had to give them back but that's not the end of my wheely journey this weekend - more later.
So, we got back to the campsite, had a hot shower each and headed out for some food somewhere. We were hoping for a country pub or something like that but we were half way home before we decided we'd just go to the next place we saw which happened to be fish and chips which is what I wanted to order when I got to the pub anyway. BOOM!
And when we got back to the campsite again I managed to get a smile out of Chris:
And I believe that's the first time that's ever been caught on camera. We played mahjong and dominoes and drank wine (bought my numerous customers - fanx!) until about 11 when we were ready to collapse into bed and I realised that we hadn't toasted marshmallows which was a big plan for my day.
Sunday started off beautifully:
And slowly, slowly, everybody started packing up. The reason? This:
Yep. Sunday, if you remember, was rainy and blustery and bloody cold. But! This was my one chance at a holiday so I put on my borrowed 'cag in a bag' and went about my business with Chris and his miserable face dragging along behind.
We went to the kitchen garden which has the most inside space in the whole of Clumber Park - a beautiful glass house and museum-y type rooms. My favourite thing to do ever is walk around a museum reading bits and wondering about the people that used to be and work there whilst knitting a sock. Luckily, the cag in a bag had a front pouch where I could stash my knitting:
Now, I know I like my garden, but I do find gardens boring, so I wasn't mega excited about looking at the plants before we went in but I was wrong. OH SO BLOODY WRONG! LOOK!
They had geranium trees! Puts mine to shame. I love geraniums. I did my work experience at a garden centre (believe it or not...) and the first thing that I had to do was arrange the geraniums. They're also the only plant that I can routinely smell. I really don't 'get' the smell of flowers - everything just smells like 'plant' to me apart from geraniums and tomatoes which is perhaps why I love them both. Ahhhhhhhh.
My favourite kind of lettuce. I felt at home here.
Vines! For WINES!
Spiky star flowers.
AUBERGINES! I'm growing an aubergine and I was wondering how they appear. I have a mental block on googling things for the garden - I quite like that I know nothing and everything's a suprise but it is nice to know how it might happen when it does. I suspect I'll only get one. I don't know if I have to sex them up with an earbud like I do for courgettes and marrows. I do love a bit of al fresco earbud sex in the garden, don't you? Hopefully they'll grow like this.
HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE blue flower plants!
I don't know whether this makes me feel sick or not. Have you heard of trypophobia? Don't google it if this image makes you feel sick...
Doesn't this look so English? It's a proper English country garden plant isn't it? I loved the colour.
AND A BIG AND FOREIGN THING! I can't remember where they said that this came from but they made a joke about how similar it was to this specific part of Clumber Park - it was something like the Maldives or that kind of thing and... really... on that day, I didn't get it. Ha. It was beautiful.
Other things I enjoyed were the metal bits. Kind of Victorian-y I think and proper practical.
Other things I enjoyed were the metal bits. Kind of Victorian-y I think and proper practical.
As we were trundling round there was a lady very efficiently cranking all the handles to open up the windows and it all worked perfectly. How exciting is that? Do you think that things made today would still be working like that 200 years down the line? Nuh uh. I think I was born in the wrong time, only I would almost certainly be in the wrong class and gender so I think I'll stay where I am.
The other thing I enjoyed was finding these pots hidden away. Failed plants. Which makes me feel much better. It doesn't matter how good you are at gardening, how much you know, how much experience you have, there will always be dead brown things. Lovely.
I've made this extra large so you can see his miserable face. He was badly dressed for the occasion. He's one of these people that things that those new fangled, fleecy, plasticy clothes will be warmer than old fashioned wool. Ha. He was miserable and cold and didn't cheer up until....
I took him for a pot of tea and let him hold the sock. By this time I'd given up on the lace pattern - too much stuff to do and see for me to concentrate, so I started a toe up sock out of a sock blank that Jem Weston gave me a few years ago. It's one of those blanks that's all in one and the colour mirrors itself down a middle line so I'm going to do the next sock top down but now I know exactly how long I can make the second sock because I've made the first toe up. (I'm on telleh tonight so you can see if being made if you're interested at all).
Annnnnnyway. We got back to the tent, and found that because Chris had insisted on a small tent that was easy to put up and it meant that the bed touched every side.... the whole bed was soaking wet. But bugger it. We carried on. I'd bought some delicious port and we drank through it. The whole reason we were there was to see the play on the Sunday evening so we weren't about to pack up and leave. We went. Along with about 20 other hardy people wrapped up and covered in umbrellas. It was all very British
And I managed to get through the heel!
And then by the time we got back it was clear enough to have a few games of mahjong and a discussion on social housing. With lots of wine. How perfect is that!?
We were always leaving on Monday but we were planning to pack up and have a bit of a hike but because Chris had made me take the smaller tent instead of my mum's palatial one the bed clothes had touched every single bit of the tent and with the rain over night everything was soaking wet through. Including us. So we packed up and headed straight home. I was wearing my leggings and a jumper of Chris's, no pants or bra because they were all wet so I made Chris take the duvet to the dry cleaners because I didn't want to get out of the car but as he was in the shop I saw a man knocked over by a car and had to get out to help anyway. Not for long because there was a nurse there and I thought I'd get out of the way but for a short while you could have seen me on Bramcote Lane in wet leggings with no bra on. What a sight it was!
So, we got home, put three loads of washing on, did the washing up and tidied and sorted a little, and then I started googling about getting a trike. They are SO expensive! I've never known the like! And also, nobody had them in stock in Nottingham. So, we had to go to Halfords anyway and thought we might have a little looksie, and I found the most perfect bike in the world. It's red and it's a ladies bike so I can wear a skirt and I'd realised that part of the reason that the trike was so comfortable was the lovely womans seat so I spent a lot of money on a good saddle that's wide at the back, thin at the front and full of gel and it is beautiful! But because there's three for two on accessories and I wanted a lovely basket I also decided to get a helmet. So my lovely bike that was in the sale and a really good price ended up costing me. A. Lot. So I've got to use it!
So on Monday we went on a nine mile bike ride (Chris kept saying it was six miles, I thought it was seven and then we worked it out together and it was nine. Boom.) which was great! My bum was only slightly painful but I've ended up with bruises all over my legs and bites right up to the small of my back because we were near the river. Tonight we're going on a quick five miler to practice some slightly harder roads because eventually I'm hoping to ride to work. That can can be kicked down the road a little though because I have to get up either Ilkeston Road or Derby Road and there's no way I can do that at the minute - getting up bridges is still causing me grief and to be fair it's all I can do to stay up right... But, imagine that! Eleanor the cyclist!
Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxx