Tuesday, 4 November 2014

SHWI Getaway: The Sequel



I’m writing this post from the loneliness of my sofa. It feels weird, no, in fact WRONG not to be surrounded by a bevvy of SHWI beauties. Once again, I’ve left my heart in Keighley! 

Currer Laithe Farm
I’ve just arrived home from SHWI Getaway: the sequel. The thing is about sequels is that they rarely live up to the original (except for Grease 2, of course which is AWESOME and I shall not have a word said against it!) So, after last year’s escapades, which can be revisited here, how was a return visit to Currer Laithe going to pan out? Was it going to cut the mustard (or, homemade chutney?) Was it going to be an unfortunate cringe-fest of epic proportions a la Sex and the City 2? Or was it going to be a legendary, action-packed thriller in the mould of Terminator 2 (only HOPEFULLY without the molten metal, shape-shifting cyborgs)? 

Well, I’m here to tell the tale (just) and while there were certainly a few incidents that would make even Samantha Jones blush, I’m chuffed to announce that SHWI Getaway 2 was a resounding success! As last year, the convoy of SHWI-ers arrived at Currer Laithe farm just outside of Keighley on Friday evening anticipating the Pot Luck Buffet that awaited them, managing en masse to avoid the hideous fate of pushing cars up Cobbled Hill of Doom (I think I need to trademark that name). The weather was kind to us but the roaring fire, courtesy of firestarters-extraordinaire Julie and Cat, was a welcome sight, as we all settled into our rooms and pondered the sensible evening of quiet reflection and polite conversation that was surely to follow (!!!) The buffet was IMMENSE as ever, and I think I speak for all when I give a special shout out to Di’s terrine, Corinne’s Aero traybake and Carolyne’s breads for providing ultimate culinary fitness. Ain’t no buffet like a SHWI-made buffet. Word.
The first night was all about getting to know each other and the ice-breaker games were nothing if not slightly revelatory. I think it’s fair to say that we all went to bed feeling that we had made new friends, and even those who were old friends definitely became more, er, intimate, as there were a few stories that made us QUAIL (sorry, readers, Getaway in-joke alert). But, onto Saturday. 

We headed into Saltaire to visit its Salts Mill complex and wander about the town. It was a very relaxed day and people wandered in groups finding activities to suit their own tastes. Some people visited the David Hockney exhibition, some trawled the vintage shops, some went to partake in milkshake heaven, some went in search of beer kegs and some bankrupted themselves in the frankly marvellous book shop. We all also enjoyed a fantabulous packed lunch constructed from Friday night’s leftovers by Anna T and Carolyne. Us SHWI-ers love many things (one in particular, as the Getaway go-ers know), but we do hate waste, so thank you again ladies for this. This was much-appreciated after a hard morning’s browsing and lined our stomachs nicely before heading to Fanny’s Ale House. There we met several lovely ladies from Saltaire WI and spent a couple of hours spreading the WI love over an ale or two. We do love a bit of bonding.


SHWI meets Saltaire WI
All too soon it was back to the house to prepare for our fancy dress pizza party. This year’s theme was ‘female characters from film, TV or literature’ and only myself and Jen could manage with a category this wide to come as the same person! However, we were both happy as it goes to show that great minds dress alike! So, who did we have this year? We had literary lovelies (Hermione Granger and The Owl and the Pussycat), animated awesomeness (Tank Girl, Kiki, Marge Simpson, Leela, Velma), TV titans (Joan Holloway, Wednesday Addams and Leslie Knope) and filmic femmes fatales (Mrs Mia Wallace, Dorothy, Frenchie, Sarah Tobias, Viane Rocher and of course Lydia Deetz x2, which I think proves that Beetlejuice is one of the best films EVER and should be watched IMMEDIATELY by all SHWI-ers). 

Fancy dress night
As with last year, I’m afraid I can’t divulge any more about the evening’s shenanigans, but I will say that a few important lessons were learned: that Jen makes a mean Prosecco punch, that we can’t eat as much pizza as we previously thought , that I now know Brook and Grace rather better than I did before, and that Carly is one HARD taskmaster…
Sunday was a day of recuperation, with some folks blazing a trail round the farm and its neighbouring footpaths, others staying behind to prep for the Sunday lunch of epicness that was to follow, and others (i.e. me) put on tea-making and dancing duties (really) so as not to cause havoc anywhere near the kitchen. We all convened to sample the feast of wonder at 2pm, as some people sadly had to leave on the Sunday night. Surely it should be written into every SHWI-er’s employment contract from now on that time off for the Getaway is a non-negotiable basic human right? Not sure how the catering team managed it, but I think it’s fair to say that this year’s effort surpassed last year’s. Grace’s Yorkshires were a triumph, Julie showed mad skillz (chest thump) in pimping the packet stuffing, the roast squash was simply ambrosial and I’m just going to have to observe a reverential silence of wonder as I recall Di’s leeks… sigh.


Awesome Sunday lunch
Dinner was followed by a chilled out evening of crochet, reading and chat, lubricated by leftover booze, tea and homemade bread and butter, jam and Nutella pudding (oh, yes, we went there). Or at least this would have been the case had we not switched on Absolute Radio Gold and got a bit overexcited by Ace of Base and Shed Seven, and had we not then gotten out the Taboo (the board game, not the spirit, although to be fair that wouldn’t have gone amiss). A hard-fought battle left Team A overall victors (boooooooo), but special mention must be given to Zoe’s talent in both guessing (Di: ‘It could be a man or a women and is present during…’ Zoe (interrupting):‘midwife?’ Di: ‘YES!’ Everyone else: sound of jaws hitting floor) and describing (‘hard egg on a cake’. Answer: meringue and yes, Bainbridge guessed it correctly from that clue!)

Anna learns to crochet from Sarah
And again, Monday arrived like a slap in the face. But unlike last year, I am not in a deep chasm of depression. This is because when Kirsty and Grace went to hand in the keys, the ladies who own the farm asked if they wanted to pencil in dates for next year! No brainer! SHWI Getaway the Third WILL occur! Roll on 2015, only 362 days to wait! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Kirsty and Grace from us all for all of your hard work organising the weekend, we are forever indebted to you both. But, seeing as you are so good at organising these things, when are you going to start organising a commune for us all to live on?!

Anna Pilson
SHWI Committee Member

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