This year’s mystery birthday bash managed to stay relatively secret until the evening food menu was leaked a few days before the big trip. So we set off to Chester quietly confident that we were going to Chester.
The day’s activities, however, were kept under guard and no one knew where we were heading as the coach forged its way into the countryside and towards a farm.
Stephen discussing art with Helen
My pottery isn’t rude. I can’t help it if you have a dirty mind.
The first activity, it turned out, was pottery at Mon Ceramics. Thankfully, we only had to suffer one short Ghost re-enactment from Bew and Andy before the teacher showed us how to throw our clay on the wheel, then decorate and paint our creations.
The results were mixed, but no one embarrassed themselves too badly. Stand out efforts from Helen, Joanne, Charlotte and Bew all deserve a mention.
Kirsty… it’s better without context
I can’t stop wetting myself.
Our wares are currently being glazed and fired, but the Born + Raised pottery shop will be opening on Etsy soon for anyone in the market for some wonky crap hand-crafted gifts.
After a beautiful buffet lunch at Claremont Farm (and a well-earned pint), it was a short drive to the afternoon’s activity – a private river boat. Sadly, the Lady Di (surely named after our own Lady Di) wasn’t to be our vessel and so we motored up the River Dee in glorious sunshine on a boat dubbed Mark Twain.
Tamaris ushering the expectant public away from the party boat
Excuse me, this is a private charter
Everyone enjoyed a refreshing drink while eyeing up the dramatic houses scattered along the bank. Top points to the owner of the ostentatious rhino lawn ornaments – they started a few conversations.
After that, it was time to check into the hotel. Everyone was ready in record time when they realised there were two-for-one cocktails being served at the rooftop bar overlooking the race course and Chester’s castle.
Back up to full cohort, we popped down the road to Olive Tree Brasserie for a feast of Greek food, wine and plenty of laughter.
Claire was not happy about the lack of dessert
We’re not having pudding? No pudding? Really? But I want pudding.
After the grub had settled we crossed the road to Craft and Co, which we quickly turned into our own private dancefloor. The DJ certainly looked pleased. The waitress and the bouncers were less impressed when we forgot to pay the bill. They very kindly reminded us on our way out the door.
There were a few obligatory sore heads the next day. Most of us napped on the coach and then enjoyed a lazy Saturday. Steve didn’t. He laid a garden path and got back on the booze. What a champ.
And that’s that, for another year. We’ve got one more night of shared memories and even more embarrassing photos of each other.
Life’s cyclical like that.
Everyone, loudly and out of tune
Woooooooowow liiiiiiving on a praaaayer.