Monday and Tuesday were spent at the Radisson at Stanstead. The hotel is right next to the aerodrome terminal building.
The days were spent hearing the latest news about the company, product and project updates and networking with our colleagues. A rather difficult task when you never see them from one event to another.
Hotel was nice, with a feature called a Wine Tower. This is a tall tower behind the bar, where wine bottles are stored. Wine Angels are hoisted to the top to select your bottle of wine, and then perform acrobatics on the way down.
Evening was spent eating, drinking and importantly networking.
Saturday, time to go home. I caught the train from Edinburgh back to Birmingham to pick up my car. The trip was just over four hours and gave me the opportunity for a few hours extra sleep. The route was through Lockerbie, Penrith, Carlisle, Lancaster, and Birmingham.
Once home, quick wash and over to the Plough and Anchor before setting out to Bishopstone for Rosemary’s Christmas party. This was being held in a marquee, and was hosting several companies. We were going as part of LadyMead Joinery. a company which does bespoke windows, staircases , gates, fencing and other projects. The weather was cold, and the space heaters heated the top half of you, but left the feet cold. I had an excellent dance with Rosemary to a covers band called Chemistry
Friday, I was into work nice and early, not many others in until quite late. Went for lunch at the Café Royal where I ate sausages and mash. I had speciality sausages, very spicy, one quite hot.
I was not flying back this evening, as I was attending the departments Christmas lunch. Started out in the Globe with a few drinks. The place was absolutely crammed with people, and freezing cold because the doors had to be open, and the cold Northerly wind was blowing. Luckily this was resolved.
Arrived at the West end of George Street at eight for supper at Est Est Est. We were divided into two tables, had to wait quite a while for the wine, being severed by a rather dippy waitress who kept throwing her arms into the air. Not sure if this reaction wasn’t brought on by Andy. Later on we noticed people being served other peoples orders. At least they got the steak right, when I ordered my rare steak, it was only shown the pan for a few seconds.
Night still young we walked back up George Street to a nightclub called the Candy Bar. Here we talked and drank till throwing out time at 1.00. Now we were down to three, we went in search of some other clubs, most had queues, or charged, so off we went to Whistle Binkies. Christmas Friday night at Whistle Binkies costs money to enter and was packed. Not sure I want to repeat the experience.
Stayed till the band stopped playing, but I quickly ducked out leaving Ed and Mary, and was back into the hotel before 3.00
Thursday was a cold bright day, worked the day on testing.
In the evening I was able to attend the banks Christmas party, which was in a nightclub, called Cargo over Toll Cross way. Two story nightclub, all glass walls over looking the canals at the back. The walk was not too bad; I arrived several minutes after the start, meeting up with Neil and Danielle. The evening passed in loud music, dancing and quite a few beers. Usual culprits of Ed Aldridge, Mary Devine, Yura Usvyat along with lots of Walker contractors and bank people were there.
I left shortly before midnight, eating a Shish Kebab on the way home, dripping much of the sauce over my lovely tangerine coloured shirt.
After finishing the first job, I checked into the Radisson. I was staying on to work at the bank for a couple of days.
The Radisson hotel welcomed me with an informal drinks party on Wednesday evening. The idea was to meet all the other regular guests in the hotel, and award them with free drinks. Talked to a few of the guests and had an enjoyable evening. None of them though would accompany to Whistle Binkies where I watched a reasonable band.
Started the week in Edinburgh, working three days with a Life Assurance company. Travelled up early Monday morning on BMI Baby, met Chris Rooney in the lounge, but missed Yura who was flying on another carrier.
I met Clem in the Café Nero for a coffee and then over to the office for work. Stayed in the Apex City those two nights, going out for a curry the first night and then the Mussel and Steak where I had mussels followed by Bass.
Today, thought we would treat ourselves to lunch in Oxford, using the Pear Tree park & ride. Rosemary as usual insisted we had the front two offside seats on the upper deck of the double decker “ride” bus. First stop was the Ashmolean Museum to see a temporary exhibition called Spectacular Miracles: Images of Supernatural Power. Umm, to us a very odd exhibition of recent photographs of statues and pictures believed to be capable of supernatural powers, from shrines in and near the city of Genoa. I am afraid Oxford does not do temporary exhibitions as well as the Cambridge where we both saw an excellent exhibition of illuminated manuscripts back in September at the Fitzwilliam.
We arrived at Petit Blanc for our luncheon. A very slim, cute, French waitress seated us. This being the festive season, their good value menu prix fixe was not available, being replaced with a Christmas menu. We decided to eat off their a la carte menu.
We started with an aperitif of Ricard, while we studied and dithered over the menu. Rosemary started with the Bleu des Basques cheese, chicory and pear salad, and I am always tempted by terrine, so had to have the foie gras, Lincolnshire pork and Armagnac prune terrine with apple chutney. These dutifully arrived on their white bowls (to our great glee, because they were rather like the ones we just lashed out on) and were consumed with great gusto. Rosemary is definitely going to try to make the salad at home.
For the main dish, Rosemary selected char grilled Lincolnshire pork escalope with harrissa & lemon butter (which she promptly got down her jumper, having threatened me with dire consequences should I be so careless), while I had pan-fried calves liver, sage & shallot mousseline with pan juices. The liver was cooked rare and was delicious, a special treat as I very rarely have liver at home.
We finished together with crème caramel and espresso coffee and after paying walked back to Oddbins to buy some fizzy GF Cavalier wine for the festive season.
Sunday saw us in Aylesbury to see the new Wallis and Gromit film the Curse of the Were Rabbit. The film was enjoyable, but not as good as the previous films, probably because most of the gags had been performed before.
After the film we went to Waddesdon Manor and visited the house which had been decorated with Christmas trees. This is their usual Christmas event. This year the theme was the Three Kings.
Worked at home most of the week. It has been cold all week, with very little precipitation. Friday was meant to be really stormy, but in the end did not affect us. Believe the west country was badly caught out, with many children having to stay at school for the night.
I started my course if vaccinations, in the belief i might be going to Saudi. Visited the nurse twice in the week, going there again next week.
The weekend we drove to Norwich, and stayed with my father and Ann. Went to Norwich to see a film (The persistant gardener), set in Kenya. Bit of a problem getting there, traffic was bad, missed the proposed start of the film, but it actually was not showing at that time. Went around the shops, got caught by shopping center evacuations, and long queues in the coffee shops. Back to the cinema to watch the film.