Thursday, 30 April 2009

Weekend Break

Ah well, this entry has come a bit sooner than the last. In between the work, work, work we spent a very enjoyable weekend just gone at Centerparcs in Longleat.

It was good to renew our acquaintance with Centerparcs, since we haven't been now for a couple of years. I travelled straight from the clients on Friday, met up with Jacqueline and Alice, who'd spent the day there. Time for a brief swim (unbelievably quiet) then supper in a Tapas restaurant on site. I have to say I've always thought Centerparcs food was highly-priced and poor quality, but this particular meal was excellent, as in fact were the other meals we had during the weekend. They've obviously got their act together somewhat, they've obviously taken a decision to bring in franchises (for example there are now a Strada, a Café Rouge and a couple of Starbucks outlets) and the effect has been good. For all I know, the Tapas place may have been a franchise, though I didn't recognise the name.

Anyway, Saturday I'd booked a birdwatching walk, and I thought I may have been stretching my popularity somewhat when I had the family up and out for 8am. As it happened we all thought it was excellent, the ranger taking us around was a really nice chap, and any doubts (or hunger pangs) were firmly dispelled when I bought us all a nice cooked breakfast afterwards.

Even then, the fun wasn't over, because I'd arranged for us to go on a treasure trail that afternoon too. Very disorganised and not much good, we missed one clue completely, and I rode straight past another, so missed that one too. Annoying, at least they gave Alice a medal for taking part.

Saturday evening Jacqueline had a spa session booked, so Alice and I headed off to the dome. Again, very quiet, and therefore very pleasant. Took Alice to supper - there were queues everywhere in the dome so we ended up cycling to their "posh" restaurant. I had a pretty good calf's liver, followed by a rubbish lemon tart. Cycled on back to the villa, well and truly ready for bed.

Sunday started off beautifully, I woke early and was out with my camera by 7:30am. Some nice photos in there. Went on a lovely walk and ended up at the dome, where I get some fresh bread, fresh coffee, and was just in time to catch the first shuttle of the day back to the villa. In the meantime Jacqueline had been busy, cooking breakfast for us. So she was grateful for a decent coffee, and I had a lovely, fresh bacon baguette.

More activity Sunday morning, I'd entered us into an orienteering event. Very easy, they gave us all GPS units which had had waypoints programmed into them, plus they gave us pretty obvious clues. Despite the fact that other people did the course on bikes (we walked), still more people used mobile phones to cheat quite easily, we came quite a creditable fourth, though unfortunately no badge for Alice this time!

After a short nap (far too short!) we were back off to the dome for a swim, this was the only time in the weekend when Alice gave us jip. After a mere 90 minutes swim, we told her we had to get out, and she went straight into a strop. The thing was, we did have to get out because I'd arranged another event for us - the family quiz! I'm very good at quizzes generally, though this one took me by surprise. Very interactive, the host was pretty good and all three of us had to get up and do things to earn bonus points (I happened to give an excellent rendition of Bare Necessities, even though I say so myself.) Anyway, could you believe it, we came joint first! A miracle! By the time we'd finished we were all quizzed out, so we just split the prize between us. The prize itself was immediately useable - Centerparcs vouchers that we immediately put towards supper.

Back to the villa once again, and I was once again out with my camera, this time taking some photographs in the dark. Again, a couple of good ones.

Monday, of course, was home day. However because we'd only been there for the weekend it was pretty easy to pack everything away. Because Longleat isn't too far from us, once we packed we headed back to the dome for one last swim, followed by lunch at the Café Rouge (moules frites, yummy!). And that, as they say, was that. Back home via the supermarket.

And from that point to this, it has all been work!

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