For as long as I can remember, my Mum and Dad have had a pre-Christmas lunch at the beginning of December with members of the Manchester 'clan'. (My Grandma was the youngest of eleven so there are masses of second cousins etc.) They've always enjoyed the chance to catch up with family news and hand over Christmas presents.
This year there was a clash of dates for everyone, so Mark and I stepped up to represent the Worcester branch of the family. We met up with my lovely 'cousin' M. (he's actually a second cousin, twice removed...we share the same Great Grand-parents!) and his wife G.
They suggested that we meet at Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café, which is roughly half-way between Worcester and the north east side of Manchester. It's an area of the country that we really don't know at all so we really enjoyed the drive through the Staffordshire country-side
We ate from the Sunday lunch menu (£13 for two courses) and I can honestly say it was one of the nicest meals out that I've eaten for some time. If you're in the area, then I'd definitely recommend it (but you need to book because it's incredibly popular). M. thinks that he'd like to meet there again for a 50th Birthday celebration in the Spring. The plan is that we'd drive up from Worcester with my parents and he'd drive down with his Mum. A nice plan.
After we finished our meal, we explored the food hall and 'Christmas Barn'. To be honest the shop wasn't as good value as the café but the barn had some attractive ideas and made me feel really 'festive'..
(All the photos in this post are taken from the internet... I wasn't organised enough yesterday!)
And then we turned down a cat......
A 'friend of a friend' rang me out of the blue on Saturday afternoon and explained that her cat needed a new home urgently. She's moving this week into a property that doesn't allow animals. I wasn't really prepared for this and I agreed to go over and see her today (Monday). When I put down the phone I realised that I'd made a mistake.... we're not ready in any way and I couldn't face the stress of settling in a new animal into our home. So I contacted her again and she's fine about it. I think people understand the grieving process that comes with losing a pet, but I need to recognise my own feelings and allow myself the emotional space.
One thing that is definitely clearer............
We won't be making space for another cat anytime soon.