It was a dark, wild and stormy evening as I hid under my duffle coat, jiggling about inside Hannah’s big old van which was trying it’s best to make it up the steepest, slipperiest hill I’d ever had the misfortune of needing to get up.
Even Hannah seemed slightly nervous, which I knew meant it must be quite bad. Amber, sat quietly pregnant by my side, seemingly calm and unbothered by what I felt was a high risk situation.
As the van stalled and we began rolling backwards towards the headlights of the 3 vehicles queuing behind us, I could only hope they were an ambulance, police car and fire engine.
They weren’t as it turned out, they were all Range Rovers, the only vehicle meant to try and get up this hill, but eventually Hannah’s van revived itself and crawled slowly skywards towards our lodgings.
And that was the start of our Petal & Feast weekend to Devon. Well, almost.
The proper beginning happened a few hours before and involved some heavy intervention from the Lord himself. If I’m completely honest, I’ve never been 110% sure that God existed. I wanted to think he did, I liked the idea and my mum and dad really like him, but I’ve never been absolutely, completely sure. That was until the Friday we were going to Devon.
It was Hannah’s very kind and lovely idea that we all go away for a staff do. I liked that idea too. She mentioned we’d stay in a yurt. I didn’t really know what one was so remained happy. Then she posted a picture of the yurt on Facebook.
At first, I didn’t realise it was our yurt, I thought it was an Afghanistany war camp or perhaps an advert for ‘Homeland’. But then I wondered why there were small children standing in front of it. Hannah’s children to be precise, looking happy enough on their summer holiday outside the camp. I rang my mother and words like bunker, mud, no electricity and November were bandied back and forth resulting in Mum announcing that she’d pray [really!] – at once…
….And then the yurts blew away. So far in fact, no one knows where they actually are. The owners were incredulous on the phone to Hannah the morning we were due to leave, unable to comprehend how their concrete anchored yurts had been ripped from their shackles and were now orbiting the sun, “it must have been a small hurricane” came one suggestion – “or God” I thought reverently. Mum was as smug as smug could be when I told her that her direct dial to the Lord had worked brilliantly and immediately.
Hannah, however, was running around her living room in circles trying to find alternative accommodation for 8 people in five hours time.
Being Hannah, she did. So off we went on our adventures to an Old School House on the edge of the world. There were hills, massive, massive hills, sheep and mist and, being Petal & Feast, food.
The weekend for me largely involved sitting in one room all day interchanging a spot of ping pong with eating meatballs, cold meats, curry, olives, bloody lovely coleslaw, bread – lots of bread, roast dinners and my contribution, crisps, chocolate and twiglets – all in two days!
There were awards too, I won the ‘Biggest Journey’ award for apparently developing into a semi-useful human being under Hannah’s close supervision and there were sing songs too. Old fashioned ones with eukalalees and guitars and some hot, mulled cider to freshen up the old vocal chords. Amber won a giant pair of maternity pants for being perfect. George won the award for being the most graceful [that’s her below – being graceful!]. She was also awarded a compass due to being directionally challenged, having even getting lost following people in the past.
I also learnt a new card game, with a name I can’t repeat. In fact, I learnt a lot of things that I can’t repeat. There were also awards that I can’t repeat either for doing things that I can’t repeat.
We also learnt all about Sarah Lawson’s airing cupboard rotation system and were tested it on it too for there was a quiz, yes there was. Not an ordinary quiz but a Petal & Feast quiz with such highbrow questions as “what are the top 5 most important things to put on your invoice if you want to get paid”. Ironically, Amber, who wrote the question, couldn’t actually remember the answer – even though she’s perfect! Other questions included the identification of the Petal & Feaster who went to the wrong wedding and started clearing glasses – [it was Maddie everyone, just so you know!] as well as translating into French well used Petal & Feast phrases such as, “Is this pastry fishy?” and “We would like ALL the goat’s cheese please!”.
Hannah is now eagerly eyeing up Morocco for our next adventure. Naturally, I’m hesitant, but no doubt I’ll be told to man up, wrapped up in a Berber carpet and thrown onto an aeroplane whether I like it or not. I’ll keep you posted.
Lever Arch Lizzie and the Gang…