It was a secret. Everyone played their part. They never suspected a thing.
That was the plan. Becky and Toms’ birthday celebrations, delayed a few weeks with the All Blacks and the Rugby World Cup. James and Lexi had it pretty well sorted. Trying to do the logistics, accommodation and bike hire for 14 people in the Cotswolds was a mission in itself.
It was Bonfire Night Celebrations. Waiting in the Thrifty Car Hire waiting room we waited for the others, plotting some form of surprise. Eventually they arrived and we put on a small charade. It was a secret. Everyone played their part. They never suspected a thing…
The drive to Stroud encountered a bit of bad traffic. A bit of fiddling with the GPS was enough to throw the birthday kids off course. More were waiting at the pub in Stroud. Our place was massive – big enough to hold everyone using every last bit of couch and floor space.
Overnight it rained. It poured. Puddles formed in the mud. Mountain biking was on the cards in the Forest of Dean. The bike shop had more than enough bikes. We set off along well worn paths, wide wet stretches of water and brown leaves in the mud. Making our way through the forest we had a few thrills, spills, punctures and sculptures. In all a much more challenging course than the New Forest, with a few purpose built tracks.
A few got lost on their way back (unfortunately the ones with the house keys). A roast dinner followed with drinks and drinking games. Several re-occurring themes including flatmates, driving directions and general filth. Great times!
The final day saw some of us leave by train, while the remainder meandered back through Cirencester, Birbury and Burton on Trent. The local pub made hearty meals, each with half a block of cheese melted on top.
Great weekend. Good effort from Lexi and James to pull that one off.