Sitting here at home watching the rain streaming down the window panes whilst the central heating does it's best to chase away the cool damp feeling which accompanies such a miserably wet Sunday it is hard to believe that just two weeks ago some of us were sunbathing on a grassy bank overlooking beautiful scenery reliving all those delicious wines we had tasted the day before (and for others the biscuits - but that's another story!)
Yes I have to proclaim the Lancaster weekend a resounding success - not just because I organised it, but more due to everyone who came, shared, mucked in and just enjoyed themselves. The cottages were lovely - complete home from home even down to the teabags, milk and slice of cake awaiting us all on our arrival after a fairly long journey up. The setting was gorgeous with lovely views over the fields and canal and the Lake District was on the doorstep.
Without making this an epic a quick resume of the weekend other than the tasting (see below) would be as follows. Following our arrival on Friday night around 7.30pm, the preceding journey involving a quick shopping trip round Sainsburys and a dilemma of how to fit the oversize packet of cornflakes into two already overloaded cars, an inordinately large number of roadworks and a particularly badly thrown Opal Fruit across the middle lane of the motorway which managed to hit the door handle and not my open window but the thought was there I'm sure.
Well we arrived, spent half an hour devising strange guessing games in order to allocate bedrooms and then decided to head for the pub which we were assured was a mere mile away - strange how dark unlit country roads seem to stretch away in front of you for miles with not a pub light to be seen. Well we found it eventually, even got some food, a couple of bevies and the walk back didn't seem half as long (I still think Bill was brave walking it on his own).
Saturday involved a joint cook-in breakfast (the organisation of which improved dramatically over the three days. By the end I think we could have opened a cafe serving breakfast to hundreds with Gareth on the scrambled eggs, Ed on the waffles and tomatoes, Chris on the sausage and bacon, Philippa on the tea, Jacqui on the toast and Bill, Quentin and Guy on the tables), a quick dash into Lancaster and then off to Ed's for the tasting (more below)
Sunday we split and went our separate ways for walks around and in the Lake District followed by the Rugby on TV and then the communal bring-a-dish dinner - French onion soup with cheese croutons, moussaka and leek quiche with potatoes and salad followed by banoffi cheesecake and apple pie, cheese and port. Congratulations to all the chefs and chefesses a grand banquet.
Monday sadly was clear up and out. Some of us managed one last jaunt in the Lake District (We're not going up there.......are we?) before a mad dash back down the motorway.
A very enjoyable weekend, a good relaxing break away from it all with good food and wine and plenty of freedom to do your own thing. So next time hope fully lots more of you will come along. Oh yes I think talking to those who went another such weekend will definitely be required. Can I sell it any more, are you convinced yet that you missed out - if so watch this space and have your diaries to the ready.
OK enough of the travelogue on to the main purpose of the weekend....
Several members have changed address and a new contact sheet will be sent out shortly. Please keep me informed of any changes of address/ phone/ email etc. If anyone currently receiving their newsletter but mail is on email please let me know as it is much easier and cheaper to send the newsletter in this manner. Thanks
A date for the next meeting was discussed and agreed as Saturday 6th June in Bath. If the weather is good this will be in front of the Royal Crescent, if not it will be in 4E servery (usual room ) at the university. Phone 01225 481925 on the morning for the latest update on the venue. Please make a note of this now in your diaries.
5 extremely good reasons for coming to this
1) The Bath tasting is always a good time for a reunion of old members
2) The Royal crescent is a great venue with plenty of space for the rounders match
3) Important decisions will be made on the Millennium celebrations (see below)
4) Baby/ child care facilities can be made available if you let me know in time
5) VC meetings are always good - for wine, entertainment and company
So please all do try and come. There will be a fair amount of free accommodation on offer on a first come first served basis. Suggestions for activities on the Sunday for those who want to include a BBQ, boating, approach golf, country walk.
Please let me know if you would like to come, if you would like accommodation, if you plan to come to the evening meal and if you are interested in a particular activity for the Sunday. We would like to see you all again - really.
OK finally plans for the Millennium were discussed. Would we like to do any thing special and if so what and when?
Various ideas were put forward including a boating weekend - Thames? Norfolk Broads? or a trip to Champagne (which seemed quite popular). Possibly along the lines of Lancaster - a long weekend in a rented Gite in the Champagne region, an organised trip to a Champagne house with free time to go sight seeing or to Paris etc.
When - probably early in 2000. The end of 1999 will be very hectic and book ed up so 2000 will probably be better.
NOTHING HAS BEEN FINALISED- what I would like is your ideas, preferences and views on what you would like to do. Please send them to me before the June tasting so we can collate them and then vote and agree on something at that meeting. We must be decided on something then or everything will be booked up. I am willing to put a lot of time and effort into organising it if I have your support so do think about it and let me know what you want .
We will probably organise a celebratory pre Millennium tasting in November 1999 in the UK (possibly Bath around fireworks night ? Again your views please)
Actually Firemountain Riesling Germany (Aus winemaker) 1996 Pfalz Tesco £3.99
Montee de Tonnerre 1996 Burgundy OD £12
Chablis Premier Cru 1992 £36 SCR (a few yrs ago)
La Cote Cuilleron (Condrieu) 1996 OD £17.99
Break for half time - rummage through the toy chest - here's the creepy toilet money box. You flush it and a hand comes up out the bowl and takes the money off the seat. Well it seemed funny after all that wine. Others investigated the Children's computer but no-one could work out how to switch it on.
Hey come on I'm in danger of sobering up half way through
Familia Martinez Bujanda Gran Reserva 1985 Rioja
Valpolicello Ripasso Campofiorin Masi OD £7.49
Actually it was Enate 1993 Reserva Cab Sauv Averys £9.50
Villa Cerro amarone 1994 Tesco £7.99
Les Cotes de Olt Parnac Cahors 1979 £2-3
McClaren Vale Shiraz 1994 Tesco £4.99
Campagnola 1994 Amarone BU £12
Kiona Muscat 1993 OD £6.00
Thanks to Ed and Sue for hosting and organising it and thanks also to Sue's children who apparently did all the clearing up.
Well that's all from me too and hope to hear from you all soon