As I keep rabbiting on about, I am turning 40 on the 10th of this month. I don't want a huge fuss but I have set myself some goals, and there are a few things I would like to do and have already done to mark the occasion. On Friday, I was meant to be walking up Snowdon and taking the train down again with our friends Mary and Alexander, who were down on holiday locally. Unfortunately, the weather changed completely this week and after the hail and snow that was put down, we had to change our plans. Mary and Alexander spent the day doing touristy things in the Llanberis area and then they came to us in the evening and we went out for a meal to one of our favourite local(ish) eating spots, The Kinmel Arms in Moelfre. They of the massive gammons. There, Mary presented me with a large box, my birthday present, and she told me I had to open it before my birthday. Ok, I promised. I will. And set the gift down on the table. Now, fool! She told me. Ok, she wasn't that rude... but sometimes I can be a bit thick...
I unwrapped the large box to find a shoebox, taped down. After three years had elapsed I had finally got past the sellotape, to find an wrapped envelope within. She does this to me, too, said Alexander ruefully. Mary giggled, wickedly. When I opened the envelope it was a card, with the details of a lovely little B&B in Whittington near Oswestry that she and Alexander had booked for Mr G and I to spend the weekend at. It had stunning views overlooking Whittington Castle and moat. I was speechless. The card told me that it had all been planned, my Mum was in on it too and she would be looking after the children. We'd spend next Friday and Saturday night there, and check out Sunday morning, go to watch Crusaders v Oxford in Wrexham in the afternoon and then come home. To say I was speechless was an understatement, it was such a wonderful and thoughtful (and unexpected) gift. Mary pointed out that she and Mr G had been in cahoots for months over this, and if I remembered one afternoon when I was trying to book the Premier Inn opposite the rugby ground after finding cheap rooms and Mr G put me off with the excuse of not knowing when his operation date was. She was behind that. I couldn't speak. I kept opening my mouth, starting sentences and then having to stop.
So, this morning I have started to personalise our trip. After the children have been packed off to school on Friday morning, we're going to head down the A55 to Holywell and visit St Winefride's Well and Chapel which is known as the 'Lourdes of Wales'. See if it can rid me of my sciatica... haha. Then we're going to go on to Llangollen and spend a couple of hours there, visit a little place I found on TripAdvisor called 'Prospect Garden Tea Rooms' and have a light lunch or cream tea. On the Friday evening, I have booked a table at a nearby pub 'Ye Olde Boote Inn' - they do real cask ales, and the menu looks fantastic, there are a couple of dishes that have grabbed my interest. And no, they're not steak pie, cod, burger or gammon either!
On Saturday after breakfast, I am going to continue to indulge my (slightly-odd?) fascination with Churches, Abbeys and Cathedrals, we're going to first go to All Saints Church in Gresford and then back to Wrexham and go and wander around St Giles Church, which is one of the most beautiful churches I have seen from the outside, anyway. I have been dying to go inside from the first time I clapped eyes on it. Two of my favourite days out when in Dorset and Devon are going to Christchurch Priory and Buckfast Abbey. When looking on the Open Church Network website, I see that there's also a Cathedral nearby, St Mary's, so we'll also have a walk around there, hopefully. During my planning today I've found out that I've incorporated four of the 'Seven Wonders of Wales' in my weekend away. There is a rhyme, but today is the first time I've ever come across it in my life;
"Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
Snowdon's mountain without its people,
Overton yew trees, St Winefride's well,
Llangollen bridge and Gresford bells."
I'll see St Winefride's Well, Wrexham steeple, and Gresford bells, and more than likely whilst killing time until check in at the B&B, I'll stand on Llangollen Bridge and look over at the water. On the Saturday afternoon I've booked us in to THE Chinese Buffet for our late lunch/tea before we go back and
probably definitely sample a pint or two in one of the two local pubs.
On Sunday morning, after breakfast and when we've checked out, we're going to go and spend a couple of hours looking around Whittington Castle and the grounds there, before making our way to The Racecourse Stadium for 1.15 pm for a Roast Beef Sunday lunch in the Rugby Lounge - eeep! Cru take on Oxford at 2.30 pm and then, after they give me my birthday present of a home win (please!) we'll go back home to relieve Mama of the children :-) I know how to rock a 40th Birthday, me. You can shove your parties, girls weekends in Blackpool and strippers. Churches, Chinese, CAMRA, Castles and Cru! Cru! Crusaders! all the way ;-) I'm so looking forward to this that I can hardly breathe. Good, says Mr G. Add to this, they're promising a heatwave for next weekend? I'm going to take so many photographs. Life begins, or so they say...