8/3/15 – Tone vs. Food

Tasha actually beat me as first up this morning. That was a new one! Had a cookie to munch on and Sar and Kel both got up not long after. Dad then popped round to tell us that they’d overprepared this time and cooked all of the breakfast already. Last night there’d been a bit of hoo-ha over us being late over there for food, so we all hurried over sharpish to make sure it wouldn’t happen a second time (minus the boys, who were still asleep again). Breakfast was yummy once more. The oldies all decided they were going for another walk. Since it was raining we decided we’d had our share of walking for the holiday and went back to our own cabin.

The four of us spent the next few hours having a good natter and gossip about everyone and everything. Ben and Mark got up amidst the chatting and joined us. We had a run over to the other cabin to collect some more fresh pizzas to cook at ours and all got super invested in the Take Me Out re-run. Last of the series, sob. Ben took a real interest in my Superfreaks story, which always really flatters me. He also got what was probably the most in-depth rundown of it that I’ve given anyone so far. After a while we decided to check out the game room. I beat Kel at darts, but she beat me at foosball and our crazy long game of ping pong. We also played with some giant dominoes, but as we’re not entirely sure of the rules we don’t know who won. We’ll call it a draw.

I came back up to the cabin just as Sar had gotten out of the hot tub. Boo. She went in the shower so I got some Fall Out Boy going on the sound system, got my notebook and a can of cider and went to do some writing in the hot tub. It should have been the most ideal way to write (apart from sitting out in the sun and catching a tan at the same time) but it didn’t last very long when Dad, Auntie Ann and Uncle Colin came creeping round to chuck cold water over me. Normally I’m all for cheeky antics, but this time I wasn’t impressed because A) I’d tried so hard to keep my hair dry so that I wouldn’t have to wash it before going out for food, and B) my notebook got soaked and I don’t have any of it backed up. Thankfully best cousin Sar had been stood out in her towel chatting to me after her shower and she ran inside with my notebook before they chucked more water. Saviour of the day!

I didn’t stay in the hot tub much longer after that. Came in and got dried off and sat watching most of Mulan on telly with the others. Things are always better with a bit of Disney. Found out amidst the compulsory Disney talk that Mark loves Princess and the Frog. Oh yeahhh. Most underrated Disney film ever! Since my hair had gotten wet I then had to go in the shower and wash it. My notebook seemed to have survived the drenching so I guess I couldn’t really complain. Once I was dried and ready we all got into cars and headed back to the George and Dragon Pub Inn from the first night. They had the Stowford Press on draft and an amazing looking menu so I was certainly happy to go back.

I had a mixed grill this time and asked for my usual no veg of any kind (in this case peas, mushrooms and tomato. Bleugh). Even still it was friggin’ huge! I had a steak, a big piece of gammon, a pork chop, two sausages, two pieces of black pudding, homemade chips and onion rings. I pawned off the black pudding after having a little taste and being unsure if I actually liked it or not. Still can’t decide. But I of course devoured everything else and everyone cheered. Apparently I have hollow legs – I always seem to amaze people with my capacity for food, The worst part was that I wasn’t even full! I still had room for an Eton Mess sundae afterwards. Did feel a little bloated once we got back to the cabins, so I just chilled in the hot tub with Sar and Ben for an hour or so. They asked me a million and one questions about writing, which again was incredibly flattering. It was really hot in there again and I ended up having a major granny attack (i.e. a sweat) so we all got out. Got changed, grabbed a cider and we all settled down to watch 22 Jump Street for the night.

I didn’t stay up to watch the whole thing. Kel had already gone to bed so I knew that meant we’d be packing everything up first thing in the morning. Sob, just when I was starting to get attached to this place. Goodbye for another year, hot tub holiday!

Goodbye, super nice cabin!

Goodbye, super nice cabin!

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7/3/15 – Chihuahua Woof!

First one up at about half eight. Guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by that. Did a teeny bit of writing, then had a chat to Sar when she got up. One by one the others got up too, except for Ben, and Auntie Ann came round to take our orders for breakfast. Door to door service! We then all migrated over to their cabin for eats. A man stood out on the decking of his cabin probably wondered where on earth we were all running to in our pyjamas, bed socks and my fluffy Totoro poncho thing. All worth it in the name of food though. I do love a full English. Well, my idea of a full English – sausage, bacon, beans and plenty of toast!

After we’d been fed we swapped cabins again to get ready to go out for a walk. This is the kind of thing that is only acceptable in countryside locations. Nobody wants to just go out for a walk through the middle of Birmingham. It actually looked so nice out, bar the wind, that I literally just wore leggings and my Stephen Amell’s fuck cancer tank top. We had a good couple of hour’s walk up out of the valley and through the hills. Some of it was quite hard-going and we lost a couple of our group along the way (anyone walking the same route afterwards would have found checkpoints of Auntie Helena and Uncle Dave). It was crazy windy once we got up to the top of the hills so we were all quite happy to start heading back again. We all had a laugh when Auntie Ann had to stop to have a pee in the bushes. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Just glad it wasn’t me! Me and Uncle Dave found a shortcut along the last leg of the walk back, so we beat everyone to the cabins. Win!

Ditched our trainers and walking boots, then came back over to the oldies’ cabin for cake. Never had red velvet before – it was quite nice. We’ve established that so far the only times we’ve visited their cabin has been for food. We’ve got it made this holiday. Plus they seem to have all the food since our fridge is completely full of alcohol! After cake we decided to hit the pool in an attempt to work off some of the calories. Didn’t really happen. The pool was pretty shallow and the same depth all the way across. We ended up shooting water at each other instead by squeezing it through our hands. I was pretty crap at it, so couldn’t really retaliate when Ben kept spraying me (besides my one fluke of a genius jet that got him right in the eye!)

Since we were all in our swimwear we decided to leg it over to the cabin and get straight in the hot tub. That was fun running over just in my towel and ankle boots. Glad we’re not exactly in the middle of civilisation here.Had a very quick scoff of some cheese savouries since I was feeling peckish, grabbed a couple of drinks and got in the hot tub for about an hour. It was mega hot this time and left me feeling quite lethargic (though that probably wasn’t helped by all the vodka). Best friend Auntie Ann had cooked up a pizza for us whilst we’d been in there and brought it over not long after we’d got out. I’m not a big pizza fan at all, but that fresh cheese and tomato was just absolutely ideal right then.

We all chilled for a while and listened to music. Safe to say my iPod didn’t appeal to everyone, particularly when it kept wanting to play anime score music. Mark seemed to love Reindeer Are Better Than People though. Can’t beat a bit of Disney. We all showered in slow procession, put in our orders for the chippy and watched some of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. Not a show I’d normally choose to watch but I do love the Celebrity in My Ear segments. Come on, it’s just totally Impractical Jokers style!

Moved over to the other cabin for food again. Chips and pie, yum yum. We had a few drink runs back and forth (armed with a torch this time to combat the crazy dark) and settled into playing a couple of rounds of Kel’s new Chain Reaction board game. The rules seemed a little extensive at first, but once we got into it it was actually hilarious. Some were really silly, like one asking for dog breeds but for everyone to say ‘woof’ after their answer. And I almost died laughing when I picked up a card asking for famous baldies. I was ready to own on a couple of categories like naming types of dinosaurs or Harry Potter characters, but sadly not everyone was as geeky as me and couldn’t keep the flow going. If only I’d had my Flick with me! Our team still won both games though, oh yeah!

More alcohol came out when we got back to our cabin and introduced the others to a game of Roxanne. For those who don’t know it’s a drinking game of two teams listening to Roxanne by The Police – half of you drink every time you hear ‘Roxanne’ and the other half drink every time you hear ‘red light’. Being on the Roxanne team is the more brutal, which of course was the one I was on. We then chilled watching music channels for the rest of the night. Had another lazier game of Roxanne a bit later on, which effectively spelt bedtime for me after that.

6/3/15 – Lost specifically just inside the Welsh border

Our next little vacay is go! This time we had a much more relaxed preparing session before leaving. I still got up fairly early to go with Dad to take Izzy to the kennels. He made his standard joke of did I want to go to the playground on the way back (we’d always done that as kids when taking Star and Oscar to be kennelled). I said yes, but he didn’t actually take me. Rude. Me and Kel ran round doing the last alcohol runs, packing the final things, etc. I made sure we still made twenty minutes spare to watch the newest episode of Impractical Jokers before leaving (that punishment was brutal – poor Murr!)

We met up with the rest of our twelve-person crew at Becketts Farm for brunch. I’m not really fancy enough to make brunch a common thing, but it was an awkward point to eat that was in between mealtimes. Therefore it was brunch. Had a lovely brisket and caramelised onions ciabatta and some fancy onion rings. As we were all getting back into the cars Mom suggested we all follow each other and stop off somewhere in Ludlow first as we wouldn’t be allowed into our cabins until later. We agreed, but then the rest of them sodded off and left us whilst I was still having to faff with the immobiliser. Rude again. So me and Kel armed ourselves with Disney music and her Aussie satnav Bruce and just had to head straight to Knighton, since we had no idea where to find the others in Ludlow.

The drive was fairly similar to the one we follow when we go to Little Brampton. There was an amusing moment when we passed another MX-5 going in the opposite direction – we started waving at each other pretty much at the same time! I love how everyone seems to have the same mindset that they want to wave at other people who have the same car (or in Mom’s case if they just have yellow cars too). The postcode we’d put into the satnav didn’t even take us the whole way, but after a weird detour round some little backwards town with tiny roads and some directions via phone call from Mom we were able to find the right path again.

We’d been driving down this creepy-ass road with room for only one car at a time and overlooked by big spooky hedges when it suddenly opened up onto a massive space that looked out onto Blackhall Lodges in the middle of a valley, where we’re staying. It’s quite literally in the middle of nowhere. It has several cabins all grouped around in one little field (with a playground too, yey!) Can’t decide quite yet if it’s creepy or cute. We were given the keys to one of the cabins and got to have the first look around. Oh yeah. The cabin’s very nice! It’s all warm and cosy with high ceilings, a loft room and its own hot tub out on the patio that overlooks the surrounding hills. We sat down and chilled to some McFly over the fancy sound system whilst waiting for the others to turn up.

When they eventually arrived it turned out that we’d been given the keys to the wrong cabin, so we had to play swapsies. Luckily we hadn’t unpacked anything from the car yet. Uncle Dave was winding us up about having to move rooms, so I pointed out instead that I’d already used his toilet. Ha! We all unpacked and had a lounge around for an hour or so. Had a Kopparberg (let’s face it; it’s not a Tone holiday without some Kopparbergs) and chatted to Ben about games. Then we all convened again to get in the cars and head out in search of a pub.

Had another mad little detour around the crazy back streets but we soon found one. Was happy to see that they had Stowford Press on draft. Easily the best thing about Wales! The food took a pretty long time and we were all cursing, but it was worth it. I had chicken tikka masala with mixed rice, naan bread, poppadom and onion bhajis. When in doubt go for the meal that has the most extras! It was super dark by the time we got back. Kel had to use the light on her phone as a torch to get us from one cabin to the other. The idiot then freaked herself out by shining it on the anorexic bear statue outside our cabin.

Once we got inside I immediately got changed into my bikini, grabbed another Kopparberg and hit the hot tub with Kel, Mark and Ben. It was absolutely lush – even better than the one at Little Brampton. We had a goss about Arrow and Gotham and had another round of drinks. Getting out was brutal though. I hopped around with my towel outside for all of ten seconds before we all crammed in to huddle together on the mat whilst we were still wet. When I was drying off afterwards I found out that my old bikini had melted all over me in the hot tub. Yay. Safe to say that got thrown straight in the bin and best cousin Sar helped me to get the marks off my back.

We all chilled in the living room for the rest of the night. Broke out the cookies and watched the rest of Bridget Jones 2 that was on telly, followed by some lame horror called See No Evil. You gotta love Zone Horror. The whole time the wind was proper raging outside. Never heard it quite like that before! There’s something about sitting somewhere cosy inside and listening to the wind though. Of course it wasn’t quite so comforting after when I was in bed. Not only could I not get to sleep; there was an even weirder noise outside that sounded like somebody was getting abducted. Cue nightmare time. Let’s hope tomorrow night’s weather is a little less British.

Welcome to The Village. We hope you enjoy your stay!

Welcome to The Village. We hope you enjoy your stay!