We'd planned the weekend since the invitation arrived just after Christmas. The two daughters of friends about to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary were organising a surprise party for them and, sworn to secrecy, we made arrangements to be part of the fun. For a short while last week we thought we'd have to cancel, but with Bettine safely in the care of Gloucester Royal and a lengthening list of friends and family planning to visit her, we felt that we'd not be missed for a couple of days. We called in to see her on Friday morning on the way to the M5, checked all was well and headed north.
Ugh, the traffic. Our route was straightforward: M5, M42, M1...but when the heavy traffic became slower and slower, our satnav suggested an alternative route. Trouble was, maybe everyone was using the same satnav because almost every car in the queue indicated at the same time and we joined a small procession through a few Derbyshire villages.
But oh my, if the traffic was bad, the weather was worse. The raincloud followed us the whole way and my hero's patience was drawing very thin at times.
By the time we reached spitting distance of our destination, heralded by le Tour de Yorkshire banners and bunting, we were ready for a break.
But life had one more challenge to offer - not one, but two tractors to follow (at walking pace) up Sutton Bank. The last bit of our journey was the slowest!
I can't tell you how glad we were to reach The Pheasant!
Or how wonderful it was to sit back and enjoy a relaxed and utterly delicious dinner at The Star that evening. No wonder Harome is one of our favourite places to spend the weekend!
We made a short stop in Helmsley, just down the road, on Saturday morning noting the abundance of blue and yellow bunting and bicycles here as well.
This is a glorious part of the country and one we love, so any reason to be here was a great one. I'd been a little cagey about saying too much though, never quite knowing who reads my blog and who they know...I most certainly didn't want to be the one who let the cat out of the bag! As we drove north to Saltburn, the venue for the lunchtime party, we reflected on who might be there, when we last saw everyone and what we might do if we didn't recognise anyone!
When we reached Clay Bank and realised that we had oodles of time, we glady got out of the car for some fresh air and to stretch our legs. What a view! With the aid of the information board, we could pick out Rosebery Topping and the monument to Captain Cook very easily. But just below us was a wooden platform with what looked like an even better outlook.
For this was a very special place for many others as well and we spent a while quietly reading the little plaques on the fence, touching family reminders of those they'd loved and who'd loved this place too. But come on, no time to be maudlin...
The celebrations were delightful and a genuine surprise to the happy couple, who really did not have a clue what had been planned. I hope that they'll forgive me this rare diversion from my "no recognisable people" blog policy!
The party was in a lovely setting with a view of the sea, which for those of us living in Gloucestershire, is a rare sight indeed.
Much amusement was found in the slide show too, which displayed a selection of images from their albums, including one that was particularly familiar to my hero and I. Jo and Emma, arrangers of this party were also responsible for tying the tin cans and other assorted paraphernalia to our car following our wedding, some 38 years ago, too.
They looked a little different then as the next slide revealed!
Such a happy occasion then, with many memories shared and enjoyed. Before heading back to Harome, though, we needed to take a little look at Saltburn, resisting any temptation I might have had to dip my toes in the water.
Driving back over the moors was breathtaking and as always, we both marvelled at the scope of the landscape. The glowering skies fit right in here.
We love it.
In spite of another terrific dinner at the Pheasant, we managed a decent breakfast too, before making our way home, meandering through North Yorkshire a little first and passing Byland Abbey on the way.
We pottered around small lanes, a bit off the beaten track for a while then, postponing the long motorway drive home for a while.
Oh, and there was just the small matter of lunch along the way, not to mention a couple of pairs of socks... We could have spent all afternoon with the boys, but it was no good, it was time for home.
It was about 5.45pm when we reached Gloucester Royal, to find Bettine sitting in her chair, looking in fine fettle as always. She'll see the consultant today and hopefully will tackle stairs at some point soon; one of the factors determining when she will be allowed home. Meanwhile, my hero continues to keep things ticking over according to instructions.
It's what heroes do, innit?