Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Home Again

I wrote a big post about the church weekend, but it turned into rather a large moan-fest. Given that I enjoyed myself a lot (albeit mostly when the children were asleep or I had run away from them), and felt that the weekend was a very positive experience, this feels rather ungrateful. I therefore deleted that post. Nobody likes a complainer.*

I shall instead touch on a few selected highlights.
  • As I mentioned earlier, I was unable to leave work on time to catch the coach, and had to drive myself there. I was delayed further by a phone call asking me to pick up a few things from the shop, and further still by my own ineptitude with the borrowed TomTom. This meant I arrived a long time after dinner was finished. I ate my dinner in the company of a couple of other grown-ups while the children pouted and threw their way round a gentle stroll in the woods.
  • Lots of people brought wine. We had a very enjoyable evening getting to know each other better** while drinking wine and eating biscuits and chocolate brazils. I didn't even have much of a hangover the next morning.
  • I had to share a room with a friend of mine, Heather, and at no point did I have to sleep in it with a child present. One child tried to spend the night there, but her teddy bear got scared way before our bedtime and she took him to sleep elsewhere (she's nothing if not compassionate). I swear I had nothing to do with this.
  • Heather brought Benedictine. Benedictine is made by monks and is thus holy. It has amazing happy-giving properties, and nobody else seems to like it except my parents and The Guy Who's Not Russian, who will drink anything. This means that I do not have to share it.
  • Heather and I escaped for a walk up a hill. From there we had a beautiful view of the countryside. I sat among some logs looking at the pretty weed-flowers. During that time period, only one member of our group was taken to hospital.
  • That evening we had a barbecue. I managed to get three barbecues ready for cooking meat shortly after we finished eating it, having given up a long time ago and put the sausages and burgers under the grill. The important point here is that I was not defeated by the recalcitrant barbecues. Pyromania rules OK.
  • After the children had gone to bed, we were treated to lots of Martini and lemonade. I was inspired, and re-wrote a research proposal (in note form) so that it became a lot smaller and more manageable than the original proposal. Having done this, I may be able to use it to apply for a research grant. I have not yet read it sober; it could be a pile of crap...
  • At lunchtime the next day, there was not enough room for me at the table. Nobody was paying any attention to me,*** and I managed to slip away unnoticed and eat on a picnic bench outside. The weather was lovely, and I finished my lunch before being disturbed by any children waving pointy sticks.
  • I got a lovely hug from a lovely little girl after the service in the afternoon. I am reasonably sure I didn't get head lice from the encounter. She asked if I had written the songs we sang. I assured her that I have no talent in that area. It's quite funny to see little children's faith in the power of adults! And oh so very lovely.
  • At the end of our stay, when I got into my car to leave (not on the coach with everyone else - yay!), I put the air conditioning on. That was nice.
  • When I got home, as time seemed to have passed so slowly (it's amazing how long the days are when you get up in the morning), it felt much later than it was. I therefore had lots more evening left than felt reasonable, but in a good way. I prepared myself a simple meal and extracted some cider from the fridge. Which I then drank.
Thus ended the church weekend. The further away it gets, the more fun I had. I'm remembering it rather fondly now - a stark contrast to how I felt just before the children went to bed on Saturday.

*Which may be why I have no friends.

**Actually, they probably already know each other rather well. I got to know them better, though, and they got to know me better. I therefore conclude that my original sentence is fit for purpose. And undermine this declaration by the over-generous use of asterisks.****

***This is an observation, not a complaint.

****Should I be using fewer asterisks? They are rather annoying, especially when there are four****** of them, and I appear to be using them as a poor substitute for both humour and proper, clear sentence structure. However, having surveyed all of this blog's readers,***** I have decided to worry about this later. Or maybe not at all. Sorry, as yet unanticipated reader; I do hope you didn't come to this blog with high expectations.


******On re-reading this, I realised that there were five asterisks. There are, of course, now six of them.

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