My Saturday morning consisted of waving Mike off to get the train to Bristol for a birthday party, a bit of housework, and then a bit of knitting while supervising (aka watching) the chimney sweep (From http://www.chimneysweepcambridge.co.uk/) - who let me see the brush poking out of the top of the chimney for good luck. Then I dashed out of the house to the bus stop, for the frustratingly slow bus into town, and then a rather faster one out to the Golden Hind to help Becky and Stu move house (from two flats into one house). Everyone else had already got much of the heavy lifting down, but I helped unload the first van and load the second and even managed to sneak in a bit of helpful hoovering of cobwebs - very satisfying. I wish them luck in getting everything unpacked, and every happiness sharing the house together.
Next was another dash back into town on the bus again for a quick change in Lion Yard loos, before meeting Sarah S, Sarah W, Lorna, Laura S, Tish and Karen for the first part of Laura's hen party - a cream tea at Auntie's Tea Rooms. Sarah W's brilliant idea to ask for *bacon* sandwiches with her scones, rather than egg and cress, was shamelessly copied by nearly all of us. After a lovely long tea setting the world to rights and getting to know people we pottered off (through a *very* busy town centre) to find Hidden Rooms - a relatively unknown bar lurking beneath Pizza Express on Jesus Lane - for the rest of the festivities.
There we were joined by Laura W-D, Rach, and Fiona, and with the first round of cocktails ordered we spent an hour learning to dance a routine to "We'll always be together" from Grease. This was great fun, but definitely quite hard work! Sarah S, who sat the dancing out, kindly took lots of photos (even of those trying to hide at the back) and videoed our final dance for us. I've not looked at them yet, but I've promised not to publish lots of photos that people hate, so you won't see any until they've been vetted!
Once we'd finished the dancing we were joined (last but not least) by Tanya, with a mysterious sparkly bag, and it was time for stage 3 - a cocktail making class! Our instructor Marcus, and his glamorous assistants Cathy and Alistair, spent the next hour or two entertaining us and feeding us lots of tasty drinks. Starting by teaching Laura the art of sabrage. First we all made mojitos, then they demonstrated what happens if you just throw things together at random by getting us in pairs to each pick a favourite cocktail ingredient and then mixing them all together and asking us to try the result - with midori, gin and creme de menthe amongst others it came out apparently tasting like Listerine. Laura made cosmopolitans, and we all got a chance to learn the knack of releasing the glass from the cocktail shaker after you've shaken a cocktail, and then we tried our hands at igniting orange oil for the top of the drink. Next we watched how to make a chocolate milkshake, and saw how fun it is to set fire to chocolate powder. And finally we split into two teams for a design-a-cocktail contest - coming up with The Princess Bride (loosely based on a cosmo but featuring creme de mure, gin and apple juice) and Pete's Tropicana (which was loosely based on the mojito, but rather lemony and refreshing - apart from the limoncello I'm not sure went it in - but it was very elaborately decorated). Considering I'm on medication this week and can't drink at the moment they went out of the way to make sure there was always something I could drink instead - with some rather syruppy concoctions instead of the jagermeister shots which were the prize in the contest. I did have a drop of cava for the toast mind, and a tiny taste of some of the cocktails. I can definitely recommend the virgin mojito in particular though - probably my favourite of the ones I tried.
When the cocktail class finished we had a booth booked in the bar for us all to hang out in for the rest of the evening. It was still relatively early and quiet, the first other customers were just starting to arrive, and now was the perfect time to bring out the mysterious sparkly bag that Tanya had arrived with. The contents had been sent by Bridget, who sadly was ill and couldn't join us, but had done an absolutely *awesome* job of creating the KryptHen Factor challenge for Laura. I want to personally thank her for the notes she'd made for the Quiz Master, and I only hope I did it justice. There was a mental agility round, where having memorised a sentence on a card (which we later all signed as a memento) Laura had to put together different letters from different words to spell out some comedy answers. Then there was the physical challenge round - where with some help from others she skipped over an ankle hula-hoop thing (do those have a name), twirled batons, threw bangles as quoits onto her fantastic fluffy tiara, and attempted to juggle. She absolutely aced the observation round - and spotted all 5 changes we'd made in the selection of artfully arrange oddities (we later ate the chocolate orange to much satisfaction all round). The intelligence round was a puzzle, arranging pieces of card marked in dark and light patterns to make a picture of a space invader - and although the result wasn't perfect it was recognisably the right sort of thing so she got quite a few points for that. And finally the general knowledge round, where really I think some of the hints from the audience (naming no Sarah Ws or Tanyas in particular) were perhaps a *little* on the generous side. However when the scores were totted up at the end Laura was declared the winner, with a fab score of 45! Sadly she didn't get a chance to learn any of the tricks from the magic set - so we'll have to look forward to her dazzling us with them at the wedding instead perhaps?
The rest of the evening was whiled away with more cocktails, chat, pizza (twice!) and even a little dancing. Our booth was lovely for being almost like having the whole place to ourselves, and the music was at a good level so you didn't have to shout to hear each other. It was a great space to be in. I couldn't believe how much time flies when you're having fun, and eventually they were chucking us out, with a rather impressive bill on the tab - which considering there were 11 of us drinking cocktails was actually pretty reasonable. I made my way home in a taxi - to remember when I got home that actually if you need to take medication on a full stomach maybe it helps to take it out with you. An excellent excuse to have cheese and biscuits for supper though :)
Today I woke early, rolled over and went back to sleep for another 3 hours. I plan to stay in my pyjamas all day if possible, and will probably go watch a chick flick before Mike gets home from Bristol, and generally veg out. It really was a fab evening though, and I can't wait to see everyone again in September.