Life is for living, so they say, and I completely agree. But living doesn’t have to be big and bold, it can be the small things as well. The things that make you smile, make you laugh. The things that bring you calm, bring you peace. The things that make memories you will treasure for ever. This weekend was full of experiences that tick the box in every way. I was enjoying myself so much that I completely forgot to take pictures of everything, so I’ll have to improvise.
The weekend began with a meal out on Friday night for my very good friend’s birthday.
We went to the Albert in Tamworth which, as you can see, doesn’t look massively special from the outside, but the food was delicious, and the service was good, and the company was excellent.
On Saturday hubby and I went on a bit of a garden centre crawl! We went for lunch at Wyevale, which we seem to have got into a habit of doing and we need to break the habit because it’s expensive both in cash and calories! I didn’t buy any plants, but I did come out with this beauty.
Next we decided to have a look in the garden centre at Homebase but it was very disappointing – loads of bedding plants and not a lot else – so we decided to pop into our local garden centre, Halls, as recompense. Good move! I picked up a couple of plants from the sale table.
On Sunday, we had a day trip and overnight stay planned. We put loads of biscuits down for these two …
… reassured them that we weren’t leaving them for long and headed off down the M40. Destination?
Huge excitement! This was the fourth visit for me, but the first for hubby. However, there were first time experiences for both of us. First up they’ve completely changed the entrance to the tour. Now, rather than the main attraction in the queuing area being the cupboard under that stairs which was Harry Potter’s bedroom for the first eleven years of his life, you’re greeted by this sight.
Pretty impressive! It’s a Ukrainian Ironbelly Dragon.
After this, the first half of the tour was largely unchanged, but it was great to see hubby’s reaction to it all, and I’ll never tire of gazing upon Harry Potter artefacts.
We entered through the Great Hall which was as awesome as ever.
See the women with Hogwarts house ties on? They were on a hen do – what an amazing activity for your hen do!
After the sets is the Hogwarts Express which was the first major change to the tour a few years ago and was the reason for my second visit.
This is swiftly followed by the reason for my third visit, the introduction of the Forbidden Forest exhibit.
As well as the giant spiders, which move in and out of atmospheric smoke, in the Forbidden Forest you’ll find Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Hagrid.
Next we moved on to the first attraction within the tour that was new to me.
Next we moved on to the reason for visit number four, and the part I was most excited about – Gringotts.
After I dragged myself away from Gringotts, I knew I still had two treats to come. Namely …
Diagon Alley, and, the piece de resistance …
Amazing, incredible day! I’d recommend a trip to anyone. Even if you’re not a massive Harry Potter fan, it’s still worth a visit. Oh, and the shop is AWESOME!
We reluctantly left the world of Potter behind, but were soon feeling excited again because we were heading for a visit with my ex-boss and and his wife who live nearby. R retired at the end of April, and we’d had this visit planned for months. I worked for R almost continuously for fifteen years up until I moved to my current job and we had a great working relationship which, over the years had developed into a great friendship. I’m very sad that I don’t get to see him very often now, but I’m happy for him that, after seriously paying his dues to the company for over forty five years (I know!) he now gets to relax and do the things that bring him joy. His retirement also gave me the opportunity to meet his lovely wife, and for the two of them to meet hubby.
We went out for a delicious Italian meal in St Albans, and as I knew we would, had a great evening and all got on like the proverbial house on fire. I have lots of family who live down south, so hopefully we’ll be able to meet up when I’m en route to them – gives me a good excuse to take a whole day off work as opposed to my normal half day!
We headed back this morning after having a guided tour of the garden, which I was very interested to see because R is a keen vegetable grower so I was intrigued to compare his fledgling seedlings to mine.
Speaking of which, despite having caught hubby’s cold (the only down side to the whole weekend!) I headed out to appraise our garden, and there’s good progress.
In the greenhouse, bottom row left to right, I repotted the yellow courgettes because they’ve got quite big. I’m keeping two myself and I’ve got four more which are going to good homes. The purple carrots are now looking like proper carrot seedlings but they’re not quite big enough to pot on yet. Last but not least, the jalapeño seedlings and coriander plants are coming on nicely.
What a perfectly balanced weekend! Good food, exemplary company, an awesome day out and a bit of gardening! What could be better?
Oh, anyone know what this little fella is?
He took a liking to me!