Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Special anniversary and weird happenings

We had a fabulous weekend away "down South" as we'd been invited to a family Golden Wedding Anniversary at Fontwell Park Race Course, close to Chichester. With a six hour car journey ahead of us down to Portsmouth to camp overnight at my cousin's home, we were all geared up for our first night in our new tent. All had been carefully packed, tent, sleeping bags, blow-up beds, overnight bags with Paul gently requesting that I stop and take a moment to make sure, and double make sure, that everything had been put in the boot of the car ready for the weekend. There is usually something that's left behind, but I was sure this time I'd really got my head together and life in order to firmly say that all was OK! Oh dear, how wrong could I have been!

The journey wasn't fun. It was lovely to see the sun come out and the temperatures reach sunbathing heights, but in stop-start traffic it's not fun. Luckily signs on the A1(M) notified us well in advance of huge 20 mile jams on the M25 going in our direction so we decided to head round the M25 the other way going through the Blackwall Tunnel instead. This was OK, although still pretty slow, especially near Clacket Lane services, which always seems to pose a problem, not sure why. We stopped for lunch and continued for a short while when I suddenly remembered our finery hanging up on the back of the utility room door. My blood actually ran cold for a few seconds. OK, so the anniversary party invite clearly stated "informal wear", but jeans and two day old t-shirts and tops wouldn't really go down very well I'm sure. I guess having washed and ironed the outfits several days beforehand, then hanging them up to stay crease free, they became part of the furniture and I (and anyone else) just didn't see them. Ben was OK as I'd folded and packed his outfit in his overnight bag (oh to be a boy, no dresses or creaseable shirts). In the end our cousin suggested taking a trip to the local Sainsbury's for fresh outfits. Luckily they had a sale on which seemed perfect for Katie, being a size 8. Paul seemed to get sorted pretty quickly but I had to scrabble around abit ending up with a very pretty pale pink linen top and "new line" winter trousers! £80 lighter in pocket too once we'd updated our wardrobes, but at least the three of us could well and truly represent the TU brand at the event!

We reached my cousin's home for a well earned cuppa at about 4 o'clock. We had a super evening and a delicious Mexican meal, outside, as it was warm and very calm - perfect. It was great to spend time chatting and catching up with her family, with their two children kept Katie and Ben busy.
A host of sunflowers in my cousin's garden as well as plums (that like to loudly fall during the night) and grapes too - very mediterranean.

Putting the tent up was exciting for the children and a little stressful for the adults! We still need a bit of practise I think before we head to the proper campsites (don't want to be the laughing stock now do we!?) At least we've cut the time down to an hour now, rather than 75 mins, and it was very comfortable and extremely roomy to sleep in.

As the sky was quite clear and therefore perfect for star gazing and satellite spotting, we all stayed outside until bedtime. For a second time that day, my blood (and most probably everyone elses) ran cold and goosebumps appeared as we all witnessed a very strange phenomenon. A fair sized ball of orange flame with a black ring around it silently and very smoothly travelled across the sky and then, after a while just disappeared into thin air (as a satellite would once the light no longer shines onto it). What is could possibly have been we don't know. There were plenty of aeroplanes around but they are very distinctive with their flashing lights - a chinese lantern perhaps? Having seen footage of chinese lanterns, what we saw seemed brighter that this and was definitely a ball of fire. Having done some internet research, there was nothing "official" reported, but this website had listings of similar sightings for the weekend and other days which, once again, made my blood run cold. There appears to have been a sighting of this very ball of flame very close to our home too on Saturday night - seriously spooky.

Fontwell Park House

Weird and wonderful things out of the way, Sunday's party was lovely. It was very special because we haven't seen my aunt and uncle, the hosts, for 12 years and in fact the children have never met them. A friendly relaxing time, again in the sun (a little too hot in my winter trousers), catching up with relatives we had only seen in photos (as bridesmaids at my mum and dad's wedding) and having a good chin wag with my sister and her family. With little sleep the night before, exhaustion and all that comes with it was fast approaching for Ben, but typically he managed to keep his eyes open until we reached home at 11 p.m. and then promptly fell into bed and zonked out immediately - bless.

Jax and Peter - I remember seeing the photo of their wedding day in my Mum's photo album when I was a child.

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