All very civilised

Slept very well, woke at 8. A glorious morning. Though highly recommended, I’ve found an interesting feature of room 7. Apparently the guy who installed the bathroom was only 4 foot tall – I had to shave on my knees.

The green asterisk indicates our room

We had a full English breakfast, something I won’t do again in a hurry. Funny, it used to be a treat now the thought of that much grease just makes me shiver. I can say the coffee was superb though, something I don’t normally say! After breaky we had a stroll around the village and the sun was so hot my hair was dry by the time we returned to our room.

Mirinda finished marking her scripts then wrote her speech for the conference tomorrow. At 12 we went over to the pub to check out (how civilised is this place? Check out up to midday!!) and have a beer (me) before leaving for Peter’s.

Sudborough is very close and he’d given a 12:30 start. We were the first to arrive even though we took the long country route. Peter and Jeremy have made a lot of changes to the house since we last saw it two years ago. Walls moved, floors tiled with old church tiles, bathrooms redecorated. Peter had a virginal made for Jeremy and it is magnificent. Truly beautiful. I’ve seen plenty of antique harpsichords and pianos and organs but this is brand new with hand painted significant flowers and odd birds. Sounds great. A lovely piece of workmanship some would think had been lost.

Their garden has changed too, grown and matured, with plants leading up to the back area which is now reminiscent of an of altar to Diana. Peter has little labels on all the plants so guests don’t have to keep asking what the violets are.

Gradually everyone arrived (except for Victoria and Josh who had to come from Brighton) and we soon partook of a lovely cold buffet. After supping sufficiently we meandered across to the rectory and roamed the lovely garden, close on the heels of a departing coach party of pensioners from Margate. The garden is big and wonderful but, again, changed a lot since 2001.

We returned to Peter & Jeremy’s for strawberries and cream…at least everyone else did, I managed quite well on the cheese. And we finally bid our farewells at 4:30.

The drive was good with only one slight altercation when I said turn left at the A1(M) – whatever the ‘M’ is – where it meets the M25 and we started heading towards Barnet. Naturally this is the worst thing since Oppenheimer realised what he could do with gunpowder and his chemistry set, but was quickly forgotten as we rejoined the M25 and sang along to Grease, Madonna and They’re Playing My Song. I think it added at least 10 minutes onto our trip. Home by 7:15. The cottage very odd without the puppies – I’m picking them up tomorrow. All in all, a lovely weekend.

One of the locals

PS: We fully recommend the Wheatsheaf.

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