Report on Midsummer in Midsomer 2017

This years’ weekend was probably the best we’ve had so far- apart from a little glitch on Sunday morning everything went very smoothly from my POV as an organiser. And the weather was kind as well, that’s always a plus!

We welcomed guests from Sweden, Australia, USA, France, Belgium, Germany and of course the UK.

Friday

Friday officially kicked off with the Meet & Greet Lunch at The Peacock as usual, most guests were repeat offenders, and its lovely to see each other again and catch up. But we had a couple of newbies - well, they weren’t strangers for long, as seems to be normal, we usually have such a nice group of people. And at least one of the newbies indicated they’d be back, so we obviously didn’t scare them too much!

For the afternoon, we went to Stanlake Park Vineyard for a tour and sampling- 7 samples were on offer, from light white to a red, and including sparkling and Champagne they’re not allowed to call champagne. Yes, they’re English wines (apparently you need to avoid things that say British wines, 'cos that’s rubbish made out of transported grape juice, "cheap plonk" our tour guide said).



As I’ve grown up in a wine region in Germany, I didn’t think much of English wines before, and was very pleasantly surprised. I tried all 7 offerings, not all were my taste, but I ended up buying a couple bottles of the only red wine they do, although their Riesling version was quite drinkable too. Hic! The coach had a certain clinking sound going along the road back to the Peacock – and not just from my seat.

The quiz evening was definitively a tricky one- even Joan, our resident expert, only got about half of the answers, so it was maybe a little bit too tricky. Although they say a challenge is good for you!

I’ve a feeling people will swot up for next year… some came prepared with lists and spreadsheets...

Saturday

Saturday morning we visited Aldbury, and the village trail quiz had some people turn up late for lunch as they were still searching for elusive answers!



We had lunch in The Greyhound pub in Aldbury, and then went to Tring to see the Natural History Museum.



After that, we headed back to Henton to refresh & change – all ready for the big dinner at The Henley Rowing Club with Daniel Casey!



He was simply the best star guest ever, he kept going for a good 3 hours with chatting, taking pictures, answering questions… I think several husbands got worried - he did give Jill a kiss and made her go very red in the face – and then called her Red Jill… ! As a female all I can say is - he’s handsome, funny and so chatty… swoon. And he’s very tall and can play the spoons. We’re thinking of making him an honorary lifetime member or something… doesn’t exist yet, but I’m sure we can create that title! 





Sunday was a little unplanned in the morning, the planned cricket session was cancelled only on Saturday morning, and we couldn't find a good replacement in the short space of time. So we went to Long Crendon, watched some very junior cricket players for a bit and then took an amble round the village.



Lunch was in The Lions at Bledlow, very nice, there was some time to walk round Bledlow too.

In the afternoon, we originally planned a location tour, but this was altered about a week prior, when I learned that Adwell House would have its annual open garden day. I contacted them, and we got lucky- the estate owner gave us a little tour in the famous hall of the house (think of Honor Blackman and her champagne do on the stairs, it’s that one) and the church (which was in Straw Woman for example), and we were allowed to get lost in the rather extensive gardens (I don’t know how many acres…) and had tea & cake on the lawn behind the house.



Sunday evening, we had our first Farewell Dinner back at the Peacock, and had to say goodbye to about half of the group.

Monday we had a late start, off to North Wales with a 2 hour lunch stop in Ironbridge near Telford (Shropshire).



We checked into two different B&Bs in Llanberis about 5pm, had some time to explore the village and the lakeside- very atmospheric that lake with the dark Welsh mountains surrounding it! We had dinner at The Heights.

The next morning we took a Victorian steam train up to the top of Snowdon, it was wet & windy, like 6 years ago when we went up Snowdon the first time with the Society . I had to buy a hoody, it was sooo cold up there, about 4 Celcius, while it was 18 down the valley. Well, that's my excuse...

Most of us climbed the last bit to the summit marker for a photo, which can be seen on our Facebook page, however, getting down was far trickier though! No view to speak off, all fog and a whiteout, shame really, I was hoping to see something this time! At least nobody filmed me going back down on my backside this time, although my partner took a pic of me climbing up on all fours! That hasn’t made it onto Facebook, luckily.



We went back down on the train- you only have about 30 minutes up there- and hopped on the bus after raiding the souvenir shop. The Society gave everybody on the trip a summit certificate.

Onwards to Portmeirion… a very decadent lunch at the Castell Deudreath before exploring Portmeirion of The Prisoner fame. It’s a weird place, totally “un-Welsh”, very colourful nestling into the hillside looking out on the sea.



In the evening we had dinner at the Lake Padarn, and were joined by an American couple who just wanted to meet MM fans, and drove down from their Scotland trip just to meet us. They said it wasn't that far...

Wednesday, we headed back towards Oxfordshire, with a lunch stop in Chester for about 90 minutes. Shame the weather had turned wet, and it wasn’t very nice to walk around in the drizzle. Chester’s got a lovely olde worlde town centre and a Roman city wall , of which about 90% is still standing and walkable.



In the evening, we had dinner at The Peacock, I think we were all done in…

The weekend raised £750.00 for Daniel Casey ’s chosen charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, so that’s very good!

Text & all photos copyright Sabine Schreiner 2017