Thursday, 14 November 2013

Away weekend 2103

got off to a good starton Friday 8th November with an effortless journey on the A14 (thanks @ Sue Hayler)

This report cross-linked to Tales from the Slow Lane.

Looking towards the sitting room from bedroom

I'd upgraded to a suite the day before and was directed to The Deben Suite on the ground floor of the main building. The suite consisted of an outer vestibule, a lobby with Utility cupboard, second lavatory, and desk, a sitting room, a large double bedroom and bathroom with shower, bath, bidet, and toilet.

Corner of sitting room

The sitting room has a large flat screen TV and the bedroom a smaller version. There are French Doors leading to the gardens which I haven't used due to inclement weather. The sitting room is cosy and very warm.

Sue and I had lunch in the bar. Some very nice thick-cut Suffolk Ham for me. Our event liason person scored lots of Brownie Points with me, when she gave me a jug of fresh milk to take to my room to replace theUHT cartons on the refreshments' tray.

Day Room - The Cornhill Room

Our 'package' of bed, breakfast and evening meal also included the use of a day-room and a private dining room for dinner.

Most group members were already in the Day Room, which was easy to find - just follow the sound of laughter along the corridor.

After a couple of hours knitting, knattering, and catching up with everyone's news, I enjoyed a massage which I'd pre-booked. No aromatherpy oils, a basic Swedish Massage from a young woman who took my request to 'go easy, I bruise' very seriously.

Dinner was a set menu with plenty of choice. For a small 'corkage' fee, Sue and I placed a bottle of alcoholic fizz on two of the three tables set out in the group's private dining room.

A selection of deserts, including this lovely cheesecake.

The food was excellent, served with efficiency by attentive, discreet staff.

I had great difficulty selecting a desert and, in the end, opted for the cheese platter. When it arrived, I was slightly overwhelmed. This would have made a substantial lunch all by itself, and I'd already eaten two courses (melton starter and Suffolk Pork main).

Towards the end of the meal (we over-ran somewhet), the owners of the local yarn shop introduced themselves and described some of the products they'd brought along. Some items were offered at a good discount and it was very difficult to abstain - some group members found it impossible.

Saturday, 9th

After a hearty breakfast (full English) in which thick, prime Suffolk pork sausages and bacon featured heavily, members of the group scattered to the four corners of the world Ipswich.

Photos of Essex - Featured Images
This photo of Essex is courtesy of TripAdvisor

A few headed to Pin Mill on the Orwell Estuary to look at the Thames Sailing Barges and the activity at the boatyard.

Others walked into Ipswich and met the remainder of the group at Jenny Wren's Yarn Shop to finish the yarn purchases begun on Friday evening.

A few went on to lunch, followed by the cinema to watch Philomena.

I stuck to Plan A - when you find yourself at a Spa Hotel for the weekend, don't waste time exploring the area - use the facilities. I had a twenty minute swim in the 'deep' area of the pool, followed by ten minutes in the extremely warm jacuzzi.

I had the Day Room to myself for a while, then joined those who'd returned from their outings in the bar for lunch.  Many of us were still 'full of breakfast' so had a very light snack or just a drink for lunch. I had a pot of tea and fruit Danish pastries. These turned out to be tiny, light, exceedingly good pastries (still warm) indeed. I enjoyed them so much, I had a repeat of this order for afternoon tea.

The Orwell Suite

There followed an afternoon of knitting in the Day Room before assembling in the Orwell Suite for our 'Posh' Dinner with traditional entertainment (quiz and 'name that child' photo competion.)

Earlier in the day, the local florist had delivered a bouquet of sweet-smelling flowers - a 'thank you' to Alicia, our Group Elder, who organises the away-weekend every year.

Everyone always makes an effort at Saturday evening's dinner, wearing something nice and dressing it up with a necklace and/or pretty shawl.

The Winning team
At one point in the quiz 'name the contents of this little fabric pouch', my table's team dissolved in helpless laughter at some of the suggestions of what might be contained in each pouch. My favourite was 'a tiny thimble for an Elf - probably one of the Wee Free Men's'. Despite this descent into levity, our team won the prize for identifying 22/25 mystery objects correctly. Our table also had the winner of 'name that child' photo competition on it, correctly naming 18/20 (three people forgot to bring a photo with them.)

Lots of shared laughter, diverse topics of conversation, lots of knitting, good food, good wine, and good company - all ingredients that go into making a good weeked a really good one indeed.

Sunday 10th

Breakfast in the dining room was followed by a bit more knitting and knattering in the Day Room, before we all departed and headed home. 

The hotel was great - see my review on Tripadvisor. Thanks to Alicia for organising the event every year and to Pam and Linda for running this year's competitions.

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