Day 1: Christmas Eve Eve - Winston goes to Weobley!
Shopping! Now, usually we’re partial to a bit of shopping, mainly to purchase items of clothing rather than items to consume but it was a necessity for us to partake in this activity as we were off to Weobley, a village in Hereford, self-catering for a week in a little stone cottage, that just happens to be called Stone Cottage!
Thanks to Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available) we’d already purchased our alcoholic beverages, and what a bargain. 6 bottles of Prosecco on offer for £5.50 on top of which we had a 25% discount as we’d purchased 6 bottles. Lanson Champagne (in a gift box) down from £39 to £28. Baileys Original Irish Cream for £9. To spread the love we bought a lovely bottle of Port from M&S and a bottle of Gluwein from Lidl. Right then, that’s the alcohol sorted, now for the food shopping……!
We needed to regroup to sort this one out as we had a weeks worth of food to purchase and menu’s to plan, including breakfasts, lunches, suppers and of course Christmas Day dinner. We’d selected our menu choices; Salmon-en-Croute for Christmas Day dinner, vegetarian toad-in-the-hole using Aunt Bessies best Yorkshire puds for Boxing Day and other delights for the rest of the week. We set off to Sainsbury’s (…..again) on Thursday 22nd December with our ‘discount vouchers‘….. always keen to get a bargain, and went to fetch our trolley. First things first. Before we entered the shop we needed to recite our mantra before we went in through the doors……10 deep breaths, keep calm, don’t lose your cool when people get in the way, bump into you with their trolleys, or are downright rude. Mantra recited, we headed into the store with a smile etched firmly on our faces! There is a moral to this story. Never ever go food shopping two days before Christmas Day as it is carnage. Our smiles soon turned to grimaces but we managed to hold onto our sanity by continuing to recite the mantra whilst negotiating the very busy aisles and after an hour of forced smiling we made it out with our shopping, although we did have to constantly remind ourselves we were only away for one week, not one month!
We were taking Maice’s car due to it having the biggest boot and interior, in fact, overall it was the biggest of our cars. It had a lot to fit in; alcohol, food, suitcases, wellies, coats and a Sir Winston along with all his paraphernalia. Good luck to Maice who would be packing up the car before coming to collect me the next day. All that was left for us to do was to pack our bags and we’d be on our way although that’s easier said than done as you know how we have issues in the ‘packing’ department. The only consolation was that we weren’t restricted to weight and the number of bags we could take, so, if in doubt, we’ll take it all!
The next day dawned with a text from Maice…..’all packed up but there’s no room for anything else!’. Oh well, where there’s a will there’s a way….we’ll just have to make it fit, and fit we did. We squished everything in and with a fully loaded car, Sir Winston sat on top of all his blankets and our coats we took the obligatory selfie and at 11.35am we set off to Weobley, Maice driving, me with the road atlas sat on my lap, ready to take over the helm if Maice’s back got worse. You see, on top of trying to fend off a cold which she’d acquired when she finished work, she’d woken this morning with a bad back. Who knew what she’d done to it but she was walking very precariously, hobbling about and wincing with pain every now and then. We feel your pain Maice, we feel your pain!
As far as M&A journeys go this one was fairly uneventful although we did have a road atlas, two IPhones and a SatNav Steve, who on this occasion wasn’t required to help us with directions. The roads were quiet, the weather was middling, rain one minute, sunny the next, then a glorious rainbow would appear. Mother Nature always showcases her beauty when we‘re away and to see three beautiful rainbows was amazing particularly as they have special meanings to both of us for people who are no longer with us. We navigated ourselves successfully through the Costa Costa drive thru on the approach to the M5 and had a ‘wee stop‘ at a service station in ‘wet Wales’! Aptly named for as soon as we parked up and got out of the car the heavens opened and we got drenched! We arrived at Stone Cottage four hours after we set off, parked right outside, said ‘hello’ to the neighbours and started to unpack the car. I unpacked the car whilst Maice a) cracked open the red wine and b) let Winston out for a run in the back garden, or so I thought. Having taken fifteen minutes to unload the contents of the car into the lounge I found that Maice had a) poured out the red wine and b) was still trying to unlock the back door! Try as we might it just wouldn’t open, probably due to it being one of those old fashioned mortice lock keys. Was there a knack to this we wondered? If there was, we obviously didn’t have it! We had no option but to call the owners and tell them we couldn’t open the back door. They arrived an hour later and even they couldn’t open it with the key that Maice had been using, which, it turned out, was the wrong key! Somehow she had managed to switch the front door and back door keys and was using the front door key to open the back door key, then……she had the cheek to blame both of us for the switch!!!!! Words fail me. She may be suffering with her back but Maice you need to own your mistakes!!!!
Having got over the embarrassment of calling out the owners for no other reason than to reveal our incompetence we carried out a reconnaissance of the cottage. Due to Maice’s bad back I chose the bedroom on the second floor at the top of the very steep rickety stairs, Maice had the bedroom on the middle floor and Winston decided he wanted to stay with me. Problem was, he could get up the stairs, he just couldn’t get down them which meant muggins here had to carry him down each time he went up! As we were enjoying our red wine our friend Jane rang to tell us her mother Jean had just passed away at the grand old age of 99. We told her we’d seen three rainbows, more or less at the same time she’d passed and to take solace from that. We raised a glass to celebrate Jean, a life well lived, all 99 years of it 🥰.
We unpacked, rearranged the furniture in the lounge, enjoyed a Pizza and Prosecco supper and sat down in front of the TV to watch whatever was on. It didn’t bode well when we realised there were three remote controls to contemplate and unfortunately try as we might we couldn’t get the TV to work. It may have been a Smart TV but it totally out-smarted us. Fortunately we had an upcoming FaceTime with our friend Pearl who helped us out by giving us some instructions and we at least managed to get BBC to work!
Maice had an early night so at 9.40pm I took Winston out for his last walk, came back and couldn’t lock the front door. Honestly, what’s going on with these locks! After fifteen minutes of trying, and failing, I chose to sleep on the sofa in the lounge, you know, just in case of intruders……! Having taken Winston up to Maice’s bedroom and explained I was sleeping on the sofa she hobbled down the stairs and locked it straight away. Apparently the key goes in the lock upside down!!! Honestly, what is it with these grade 2 listed properties!
On that note, its goodnight from the three of us who are all looking forward to what Christmas Eve has in store…….!
M&A and Sir Winston xxx