[ My pics from the weekend | Caroline's pics from the weekend ]
The whole idea to take Caroline away for the weekend occured to me in about October time, and I realised there was a lot to plan... mostly because I didn't want Caroline to know about it.
I'd already decided that I wanted to take her to Poole in Dorset, regardless of the fact that the weather was going to be less than pleasant. Blame Caroline for wanting a winter wedding! LOL
The idea of the long weekend came about when I was trying to work out how I was going to keep the whole thing a secret from Caroline. I then spoke to Caroline's boss and arranged for her to have Friday afternoon and the whole of Monday as annual leave. Even now, I am amazed that Caroline still did not find out about the annual leave... as she coordinates leave for her team! :o)
I booked the hotel in November, and I had also arranged for the gerbils to stay with Mum for the weekend.
I'd also booked the whole of Friday and Monday for myself, 'cos I had one hell of a lot of work to do on Monday morning! LOL
Thus the scene was set...
Friday 13 December 2002 [no pictures]
I took Caroline to the railway station as normal, complete with laptop and passcard, so she thought that I was going to work too. After I dropped her off, I headed back home to get the laundry prepared, and get the gerbils ready for their little holiday! I dropped the gerbils off at Mum's, went to the bank to get change for the laundrette and got the washing done. I was a tad worried that I wouldn't get to Reading by midday, which is when Caroline would have had lunch, so I was phoning someone else in a department near her to try and get in contact with someone who did know about the surprise to tell Caroline that I was running late, and can she take the 1pm lunch instead. Oh, it was a nightmare! LOL
After the laundrette, I went home and literally dumped every bit of Caroline's clothing into a large suitcase, and put it in the car. I did end up leaving the house at about 11:30, which was spot on schedule, so I need not have worried about being late.
So, on the way I discovered I had virtually no diesel, so I stopped off at the Esso to fill up. Filled up, paid, got back in the car. Turned the key and.... nothing. Lights in the car were very dim and not much was happening. I knew the battery wasn't flat as the car had started perfectly when I left the house, and it was a brand new battery. So it must have been some kind of electrical fault. This, understandably, worried me... car with electrical fault stranded in petrol station? Scary.
I knew I had to call the RAC, and I also knew I had to phone Caroline and let her know. Believe me, I was not happy... as Caroline will testify. Everything had gone perfect up to this point, and now this happened.
RAC bloke arrived about 35 minutes later, which wasn't bad at all! The problem was with the battery. It's one of these batteries that has both of the major connector styles. A piece of lead converts the battery from one type to the other. However, when I bought the battery they should have cleaned under the lead converter to remove any corrosion. They hadn't, hence the electrical fault. RAC man briefly attacked the battery with a wire brush and all was fine :-)
I left Slough at about 13:10 and bombed it over to Reading as quickly as I could (within speed limits, of course!! *cough*), and picked up Caroline at 13:30. Only 90 minutes behind schedule. Pah! :-P
The journey down to Poole was relatively uneventful, apart from a stinker of a traffic jam at the bottom end of the M3. Got to the hotel just before 16:00. We checked in and took the suitcase and bags up to the room. Then we popped out the local Tesco to get some snacky food for the weekend.
Snuggled in bed with the telly.
Saturday 14 December 2002 [gallery]
Got up very early. NOT!!!
Went to Poole... bloody cold and rained lots! LOL
One of the first things we did, after taking a few pics around the sea, was to buy scarves and gloves, and Caroline also got a hat. We also went to Poole Pottery and had a nosey at a lot of really nice things that we simply couldn't afford! LOL Then we found the ultimate in shops. Truly Scrumptious (scroll down that page for info). A little shop that sells sweets by the
After Poole, we took a trip to Bournemouth. It was wet and cold too. And yet we found people swimming in the sea and two blokes in Santa hats fishing. A warm cup of tea in a local cafe warmed us a tad :-)
Went back to hotel. Snuggled in bed with the telly! :o)
Sunday 15 December 2002 - our 1st anniversary [gallery]
Got up very early again. Yeah. right...
The idea was to go to Dorchester and then on to Portland. But Caroline saw a sign for Monkey World, so we went there first. An absolutely fascinating place... highly recommend it! :o)
We then went to Dorchester and did a bit of shopping.
It was getting dark, but I really wanted Caroline to see Portland. I'd been there many years ago, and I knew how breathtaking the view was, and I wanted to catch it before it got too dark. By the time we got there, it was light enough to see, but not light enough for the cameras to pick anything out. The lights were nice though! :o) [ Pic 1 | 2 ]
Caroline was really keen for us to see Portland during daylight so we decided to come back on Monday, after we'd checked out from, and left, the hotel.
We travelled back to Poole, passing some amazing cheesily-decorated houses, for our anniversary meal. We had already seen this restaurant we wanted to go to, but we were also very tired, so we only had a main meal, and then left! :o)
Snuggled for a long time.
Monday 16 December 2002 [gallery]
Got up very early again. Actually, we did this time!!!
Went down for breakfast in the hotel... this was the first time we'd got up early enough to manage it! LOL
Checked out and paid up, and then headed for Portland again. Boy, were we glad we went back. Although it was deathly cold, being one of the southernmost points of the UK and right on the English Channel, the views were spectacular. Please have a good look at the pics for this day, which include these... [Pic 1 | 2]
We went for a long walk along the Coast Path, ended up trudging through 3-inch sludge... we decided to throw away two pairs of shoes after that walk! LOL
We decided that we enjoyed it so much that we would take up walking for leisure. We are currently paying a fair amount of money a month to a gym that we're not currently going to... so we could use that money to pay for proper walking boots, and maybe even some camping gear? *chuckle*
We then went to Portland Bill, the southern tip of Portland, and the inspiration for the cartoon Portland Bill. We took some piccies of the lighthouse and some of the surrounding scenery.
We left Portland at about 15:30, and headed back for home.
We intend to come back to Portland in the summer, armed with walking boots and a LOT of camera media, so expect mountains of fantastic pictures.
It was a great weekend, with a wonderful wife, and a great way to mark our first wedding anniversary. :o)