Busy Weekends Part I

The weekend before the weekend before last, Ruth, JTA and I went up to Preston, for:

My Sister’s Birthday


Sarah on her birthdayMy sister, Sarah, turned 21 at the start of this month, and we – accompanied by her friends and family – went out to a new Punjabi restaurant called East Z East. The food was fantastic (although in hindsight we probably should have adapted the formula as far as naan bread is concerned, at least – each naan bread was about three feet long!), but the restaurant was a little full! Perhaps be better on a midweek night.

And…

Hoghton Tower

As has become traditional (see blog entries for 2009, 2005, 2003), the next stop was Hoghton Tower for their annual concert and fireworks display. As usual, this event began with the erection of a gazebo in which to have our picnic.


JTA and Ruth building a gazeboThe instructions for the gazebo clearly stated that it was to be constructed by two adults, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to help Ruth and JTA building it, except in a supervisory capacity. I helpfully assembled the first deckchair and sat in it, drinking a beer and overseeing the process.

JTA gets lost inside an incomplete gazeboJTA gets lost inside an incomplete gazebo
My management skills paid off, and soon we had a gazebo, tables, and a (huge) picnic.

The picnic gets started
Some of my sister Becky‘s friends had brought face paints and brushes with them, so we formed a line of people, each painting the face of the next. My mum painted mine: she asked what I wanted, so I told her that I wanted a narwhal, breaching the water and leaping for the sky. I think she did a pretty good job:

Me with a narwhal on my head
Then came my turn. I was to paint Ruth, but she didn’t know what she wanted. The suggestion came that I should paint a rubber duck on her forehead, and so long as you don’t mind ducks that look like they’re from canary heritage:

Ruth with a duck on her head. Sort of.
The concert itself was even better than normal – the arsenal of fireworks was even huger than we were used to, and was supplemented by the addition of a laser show, too! I was slightly disappointed that God Save The Queen wasn’t performed (not for any patriotic reason, I’m sure you understand – I’m just used to them playing it!). Still, a great night, and a fabulous excuse for me to re-educate Ruth in how to count to three (in order to waltz, you see: it’s incredibly difficult to dance when one participant is counting to three and the other is counting to two).

Fireworks at Hoghton Tower

4 replies to Busy Weekends Part I

  1. I’ve been to East Z East in Manchester twice, both times on stag do’s (one of them mine). It’s really great food – and yes the giant hanging naans would somewhat skew the system.

    My food boffin friend declared it the third best curry he’s ever had. I’m going to the place he considers second best next week.

  2. Following up on my post about the weekend before the weekend before last – here’s what I got up to the weekend before last (i.e. the weekend after that). You can see why I’m confused:
    Ruth’s Family Picnic
    The weekend before last, JTA and I joined Ruth and her family at their “annual family picnic”. This family reunion really shows quite how numerous Ruth’s relatives are, and I’m pretty sure that even she had to stretch her memory to recall everybody’s names as she introduced me (and, sometimes, JTA) to them all.
    This year, they’d held the picnic in a wonderful National Trust-managed country estate called Cliveden. If it weren’t for the roasting temperatures, it could have been better still, but the sheer heat made it exhausting just to be sitting down, never mind walking around and climbing trees. Nonetheless, we got the chance for a good explore of the grounds, found the Secret Garden (their mistake was putting signs to it), and clambered around on the remains on the Canning Oak, a tree that lived hundreds of years and was a favourite spot for former Prime Minister George Canning… but which had been felled in 2004 after its roots threatened the structure of the slope on which it stood.

    Apart from the ludicrous temperatures – suffered mostly during the journey in the sauna that is the car – it was a fun little trip. There was only one moment of awkwardness at the revelation that both of the men Ruth had brought with her were her partners. It’s often a difficult thing to bring up with more-distant relations, especially when you’re not sure who knows what already, and you don’t want to hide anything from anyone but there are few social norms about how you’re supposed to say, “So, you know what the deal is with us three, right?”
    One response, though, was particularly fantastic, and so I thought I’d publish it here: upon being introduced to JTA and I as “her fiancé, and her other partner,” a particular relation of Ruth’s replied “Lucky you!” That’s a nice, positive response that I can get behind.

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