I spent my Easter weekend at Daniel's family home just outside of London. Since we've both been so busy, we decided to take the whole 4 days off (gasp!) and make a proper break of it, and I've returned feeling well-rested, well-fed and well and truly 'Eastered'! Easter weekend is almost unnoticeable in my family; it passes by unrecognized but for an egg from my lovely Auntie, and so it was nice to spend it in a household where the meaning of Easter holds strong and chocolate is consumed as a necessity!
We got a really early train from York on Friday morning, which added to the magic of the whole experience. With a packed-breakfast and a foggy head, we crept through the streets at 6:30 with only the birds for company. I love York in the early morning when the streets are empty. When I worked at Bettys I sometimes started at 5:30, and I never opted for the free taxi pick-up, instead preferring to set off a little too early to wander through a city which is unrecognizable in its atmosphere from the city I know by daylight. The smells and sounds are entirely different, the people in the street not shoppers or tourists or buisinessfolk, but cleaners or bakers or warehouse staff with overalls and vans packed full of fresh bread or fashionable clothing.
Then there's the magic of the train journey itself - my third favourite way to travel after bike and on foot! Speeding through Yorkshire fields, resting sleepily on Daniel's shoulder, watching the other passengers or munching on treats. We made up some overnight porridge with sultanas, which made for much slurping tasty goodness!
Three hours later we arrived at Daniel's, sleepy and unenthusiastic about the day ahead. Luckily, Daniel's Mum knew exactly how to pep us up, and we were soon munching on hash browns and baked beans - Mums, eh? ;-) We spent the afternoon in a country pup with some friends, munching on chocolate and generally being lazy, and my assignments didn't enter my head for a single second.
The next day we headed out to the Chilterns for a pre-roast walk (roast dinners are never as tasty when they haven't been earned with mud, fresh air and aching legs!). I think Daniel was nervous to show a Yorkshire girl the surrounding countryside - there are no hills, for a start! I must say, I was really surprised by how flat the area is; we could see for miles and miles, and it wasn't even a clear day! However, the typical rolling green countryside of the home counties made an appearance on our walk - we did a 7.5 mile circuit around the last part of the Ridge Way national trail - which featured the area's highest (and only!!!) hill: the Ivinghoe Beacon. This was an odd feature on the landscape, and we worked up quite a sweat on the ascent!
The route provided everything I have been craving lately. We passed through long green fields and dark woodland.
And it was wonderful to see the new life sprouting up from old life.
We arrived back, muddy, tired and hungry, to a lovely roast dinner and an evening of folk music and conversation.
Easter Sunday was especially unusual, as we went to a wedding in Southend on Sea! I love weddings, and this one was perfect! Though I don't know the couple very well, I couldn't help but let a couple of tears loose at the service, which was so honest, beautiful and incredibly simple. The reception was at a nearby country house, surrounded by gardens and fields.
I love the Easter-themed trinkets at the table!
And the romantic touch to the apple crumble!
There were many champagne and wine top-ups, which helped fuel an evening of non-stop dancing, and a morning of groaning agony. Luckily the hotel provided an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, which helped ease the wine-head a little ;-)