We have decided to re-institute the habit of alternately organising mystery weekends away to celebrate our wedding anniversary. When we married we had all the toys we needed which makes for a challenge when present buying. Instead we took it in turns to organise a surprise weekends away.
That worked well until the 10th when we went back to Egypt for another Nile cruise and the sights we didn't visit on our honeymoon - Cairo, the pyramids, sphinx and Abu Simbel. The next year we bought Trullo Azzurro so we started combining anniversary with olive harvesting and close down for the winter.
But now we are resurrecting the original plan apart from next year's 20th which will be a joint planning exercise.
Mary got the ball rolling by organising this weekend. I knew nothing and it was a piecemeal reveal. First to Paddington where my ticket told me I was going to Bodmin Parkway. On arrival, getting into the taxi which told me I was going to Padstow. Which obviously meant dining in Rick Stein's posh restaurant and staying in the hotel above (or nearby). So far so good and a very fine meal it was.
Then I was told that I had to be breakfasted and ready to go by 9:15 the next morning. Oh, there's more!
Walking along South Quay Mary suddenly turned left into a door labelled cookery school. We were going to spend the day at the Padstow Seafood School learning how to prepare and cook a number of fish dishes:
- Prawn and squid caldine
- Ceviche of monkfish with avocado
- Fricassee of turbot with button mushrooms and salad onions
- Bream baked in a salt crust
- Lobster with ginger, spring onion and soft egg noodles
It was great fun and the food delicious if we say it ourselves. I learned loads including how to prepare a squid. Potentially very useful in Puglia as they are usually present on the fish counter.
That evening we decided to take pot luck on eating. We were on the wait list for one restaurant but no one cancelled so we ended up having fish and chips and a pint of Doom Bar in The Golden Lion Hotel (really a pub). Then on to The London Inn for a nightcap of a pint of Proper Job.
Next morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we took a stroll down the estuary and back getting to the hotel just as it stated to rain. Check out and the homeward taxi and train - first class naturally.
Well done to Mary for organising that. I now have two years to plan our 21st.
Full set of pictures on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markmclellan/sets/72157631898170859/