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The birthday bash

semi-overcast 9 °C
View Year of the Nink on Buccas's travel map.

We settled back in to life in Otley, with Rosie taking our return completely in her stride and being pleasantly surprised to find us still there each morning. We did some of those boring-but-essential jobs (like washing), and a spot of delicious-and-essential cooking. On Thursday night, Simon and Andy went off in the search of Culture and enjoyed a screening of a film about football in Palestine as part of the Leeds Palestinian Film Festival. They came back with plenty to say about it but unfortunately Annie and I were not particularly receptive to their stories on account of it being nearly midnight and us being nearly asleep.
On Friday we headed into Leeds on the X84 bus (free wifi, lovely views from up top) and met up with Annie while she was on her lunch break from her training course. We strolled about the German Christmas market, making sure to complete a full lap before deciding which foods to partake in. We opted for that German Christmas classic, yiros with lamb, feta cheese and tzatziki. As you do. I quite enjoyed the singing moose, as well as all the stalls and lights and rides. The atmosphere was vaguely Oktoberfestish, and it felt as if we had fallen into one of those scenes you always find on Christmas cards. Splendid.
Annie returned to work, and we returned to touristing, with a brief visit to the sculpture museum. The highlight of this was actually the five metre gorilla statue standing outside the building - but inside was free, so it was no great loss. We stopped in at the library, which felt just like a good library should. The building was old and grand, but cosy and welcoming at the same time. I would have been quite happy to stay and read a book all afternoon but we moved on to the Leeds Museum instead, completing the trifecta of free things to see in close proximity to each other. The museum featured the 'story of Leeds' as well as a delightfully haphazard collection of taxidermied animals. I appreciated the inclusion of a platypus to make us feel at home.
We caught the bus back to Otley with Annie, and met Andy and Rosie in town for a Friday night pint at the Horse & Farrier. Rosie enjoyed the opportunity to use one of her favourite words 'star' in context (huzzah for Christmas trees) and then we moved on down the road for Thai dinner, at which point Rosie was less impressed with the situation and finished the meal fairly thoroughly covered with sweet chilli sauce.
Saturday morning was a flurry of cleaning, making paella and playing with Rosie. The afternoon was when the party really began - Andy took Rosie in to stay with Steve and Lesley, and returned with Clare, Paul, Crawford and Jazzie. Otley suddenly felt a lot like Camperdown! Crawford was fairly disappointed that Rosie wasn't around to play with, but was easily consoled by the fact that Rosie's train set was readily available. The rest of the crew rocked up, we tucked in to Andy's paella and Rara's mint-not-basil and strawberry topped chocolate cake. Delicious.
After dinner we roamed the streets of Otley, trying our best not to terrorise everyone we encountered. We started at the Black Horse (where Team Dunn were staying), and then moved on to the Cock Inn (where we commandeered the upstairs room) and finished up at the Junction. There was a band playing music loudly, and they would have benefited from someone doing a Chambo and walking through the crowd to discover that the levels were all wrong. But regardless, Proud Mary was enough to generate dancing from a couple of the more enthusiastic members of the party. And once the band had finished, Andy entertained us all with a heartfelt and moving speech for his wife, who was both the firm and tender age of 30, and who had apparently kept her mountain climbing passions a secret from everyone (including herself). Once we returned home, it had officially become Annie's birthday and so there was prosecco all round, and another two speeches from Andy. It seemed that he was finally accepting of the fact that he had married a Yorkshire lass - and a lovely one at that!
The morning after the night before started with bacon sandwiches, always a good start to the day. Things continued well when we sauntered along to the Otley Victorian Fayre, essentially a fair with the occasional person dressed in Victorian attire. Kate and Fay introduced the Australian contingent to the concept of Argos shopping, and we were all absolutely thrilled to discover the concept of the human fruit machine as a fundraising strategy. Absolutely hilarious, and we all scored a free pen for our troubles. One pound well spent.
Crawford made the most of the rides on offer, and was pretty gosh darned happy to see Rosie Posie again as well. The dodgem cars were a particular hit for Crawf, while the rest of us speculated about the target audience of said cars, given the use of pictures of scantily clad women on the car track. The music accompanying the cars started off with 50s classics and then made an abrupt and unexpected turn into Nickelback land.
After we had exhausted all the fun of the fair, we returned to Annie and Andy's place for more cake with all of the Thornton/Lancashire clan, and settled in for another solid session of playing with trains. Once the trains were packed up, the weekend was officially over and declared a success.
Monday morning rolled around - Annie and Andy went to work, while the rest of us went to the airport. We struggled through security - someone forgot to remove their laptop, someone left all their toiletries in their carry on luggage, and someone forgot about the hand sanitiser in their backpack. Not our finest airport moment, but we still had plenty of time to get to the gate and get on board our plane to Berlin. Auf wiedersehen, England!

Posted by Buccas 11:14 Archived in England

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