I have been running The Bristol Grandparents Support Group since 2007 now and as it [...]
Grannynetters go wild in Birmingham!Created by Jane Jackson in Jane Jackson's Blog
When I was first approached by Verity and asked if I would write on the forum regarding grandparents who are denied contact with their grandchildren and write articles/blogs, I had no idea that it would enable me to make great friends who have given me so much support over the last few years, life long friends I hope.
Way back last year the latest GN meet up was in the pipe line, some of you will know that I don’t like travelling alone, no idea why, not rational I know but there we are. I really wanted to join them having not plucked up the courage last year. I was telling my OH about it and he said that if I wanted to go he would take me, so a deep breath and tickets were ordered, no going back now.
I woke up Friday morning, feeling a little apprehensive and a bit nervous. We were soon on the M5 heading for Birmingham. I walked into the bar of the hotel we were staying in and I spotted someone who I recognised from her photo, she gave me the warmest smile and all my nerves dissipated. The weekend adventure was about to begin.
A group of GN members were already there and were in full swing Was there any alcohol at this point,? I believe there might have been! Gradually the group grew and grew. The first incident occurred when someone, who shall be nameless, managed to spill my drink all over herself and floor, I was last seen doing a very good job indeed of Bleach Babe cleaning.
Oh did I forget to mention that three GN members managed to book into the wrong hotel! Once again no need to mention names. We all went off to unpack and agreed to meet in one of GN’s rooms at 4pm for nibbles and a glass of something bubbly. Very bravely three of our husbands had also ventured to Birmingham, they sensibly thought it a good time to ‘do their own thing.’ At 4pm, 14 of us, I think it was 14, descended on RNs’ room.
When I said a few nibbles etc., actually it was almost a banquet. Dips, things to use for dipping, long cheesy things, curly round chocolate things( they were very posh indeed) crisps, and more chocolates. I must admit my relief at realising this was going to be a ‘Healthy Eating’ weekend. Now I didn’t count them but there were many bottles of fizz, produced from cool boxes from someone who is the most organised person I have ever met. The corks started popping, and popping and popping, everyone was very jolly.
I was a bit concerned as to what on earth the hotel staff were going to think when they went to clean RNs’ room in the morning. Also her room was in the quiet area of the hotel. Mmmm, small error. Time to go and wash and brush up for dinner. Yes there is a theme running through this I feel.
We ate in the hotel that evening, all food had been pre-ordered, and I must say can’t speak highly enough of the young lady who had to deal with us all. Amazingly we did all get what we had ordered and very good it was to. The only problem was that they had put the tables in a sort of L shape so it was somewhat anti-social, it bit difficult to talk to the back of someones head. By now people were even jollier! Time to retire to bed.
I awoke the next morning to the rain pouring down, grey skies and we had a planned open top bus tour booked. Never mind pac-a-mac at the ready and umbrellas it will be fine. Breakfast was calling first. I don’t know about you, but having breakfast out feels so decadent, I love it. This was indeed a first class breakfast, every thing you could possibly want, I did have a bit of a problem with working out how the toaster worked, bit like a conveyer belt, went in bread rolled out toast.
Conversations about how we had all slept, or not slept, talk of air-conditioning, vent axias, pillows some soft some hard, noise usual sort of morning conversations! By the time we were ready to go on the bus as if by magic it stopped raining, the guide did have to dry all the seats before we got on though. A couple of Dutchman joined us on the top of the bus, and I understand some flirting took place!
It may have stopped raining but by the time we returned some were suffering from hypothermia, and fortunately no-one lost an eye with overhanging branches. In the afternoon, we split up and some people went shopping, some watched a football match that apparently was on, others went on a canal trip, others just crashed out. Due to the fact there was so many nibbles ect, it was necessary for a return to RNs’ room later in the day to make sure nothing was wasted, or should that be to make sure who was wasted?
There had been some discussion on the forum before we left as to dress code for Saturday night, just be comfortable was the consensus of opinion, personally I think we all scrubbed up well. We were having dinner in a bar that GN’s members had been to last year. We were ushered into a room to one side, I don’t know if that was as a result of last years visit, this time the table were in a square so that we could all talk to one another. It was so, so hot which helped us burn off all the calories we consumed. The venue had a Greek theme so not to sure why there were hieroglyphics around the wall, but there we are.
On one occasion a GN member was last seen under the table, there is photographic evidence. When we were well and truly stuffed we staggered back to the hotel and to bed, a goodnight was had by all. On Sunday it was time to say our goodbyes.
Thank you Grannynet for the true friends I have made, friends who are so supportive, so encouraging and so warm. Friends I know I can rely on and trust. An enormous thank you to everyone who made this happen, organising, planning, booking and joining up all the loose ends. A thank you to my OH as well, if not for him I wouldn’t have gone. Where shall we go next year?