50th Birthday Celebration at the Deanery Chelmsford

I had heard from Cathy and Beth earlier and we told them we would set off for the Deanery after 11.30, as the party started at 12.00.  We had given Cathy the postcode of the hotel, but they had got lost so they arrived later than I expected. However there was time for them to get changed for the party, as it did not matter if we did not arrive at the very beginning.  I remembered the way to the Cathedral, so we found our way through a gate we had been shown earlier.  We had to ask where the garden was as there were a number of buildings and we were in private gardens; fortunately someone knew which the deanery garden was.

We knew it was a Regency party, but we could just wear smart day clothes if we preferred. Beth bought a regency dress from Ebay, but Cathy and I just wore smart clothes.  My sister Janet and her husband had got Edwardian costumes which looked splendid, but poor Janet got overheated. I was very hot so I chose to sit in the shade.  For her 50th birthday celebrations Christine had organised a dance troupe to teach us some regency dance. They first gave us a demonstration and then we went to have a go at the dancing; I was the man and Fran was the lady; Beth was the lady and Cathy the man.  It was quite fun but it was so hot that I was glad when we had a lunch break. There were curries all cooked previously by Nick, Christine’s husband, were delicious. There was also rice and jacket potatoes to accompany the curries.

After having the lunch I retreated indoors as it was too hot to be outside.  I nearly fell asleep in the coolness of the deanery.  I enjoyed seeing family and catching up with great nieces and nephews. Christine’s three grown up children, Ruth 22, and the twins Ben and Lucy 21 were there.  Ben had graduated but Ruth and Lucy had another year to study.  Christine and Nick were in splendid costume and looked brilliant.  Lucy and Ben were also in regency costume; Ruth looked splendid in her unusual outfit with a tapestry waistcoat and a top hat.  Nick even took his 11.15 service in costume with a ponytail and looked great, as he was going straight on to Christine’s party.  David, Christine’s father, who would be celebrating his 80th birthday on July 29th!  He looked wonderful and regal in his costume. His younger daughter Marie was also there at the party with her husband and three children, Annabel 6, Rory 4 and Sam 1 in August. It was good to see the photo of David with his 6 grandchildren.

We tried another of the regency dances but it was so complicated that we did one of the dances we had tried earlier and did better with that.  It was good to see Jonathan, my eldest nephew and Selwyn and Janet’s son; he is always good company and has a good sense of humour.  Cathy managed to persuade Jonathan to join her for one of the dances, but we were all in fits of laughter as we could not do the dance!  Cathy had wanted to be a lady in that dance.  We then had the sweet course of the meal, which was good.  David reminded me about the German family, friends of Nick who were there so I had a bit of a chat in German, although my German is rather rusty now.  One of their children was Christine’s goddaughter so they were staying at the Deanery, before they went on their family holiday later on.

Cathy and Beth enjoyed seeing everyone; Cathy was especially happy as she is not always around when we have family occasions.  I am so glad that Christine and Nicholas are so happy in Chelmsford, as they are nearer to Marie and family and to two of their children.  It was certainly much hotter there than normally in Harrogate.  I must admit I was ready to return to the hotel and rest after a long period of socialising. Fran and I were glad to rest and Cathy could move into her hotel room properly. Beth got changed but decided to return to her campervan, as she needed to rest after being so busy.

Having just stopped and rested in our rooms we met with Cathy and went down after 7pm for an evening meal.  The heat of the day meant that Janet and Graham were ready to eat a meal; they could not eat much at the party.  Selwyn just joined us for a glass of wine as he could not face any food. Fran, Cathy and I shared 3 starters instead of main meals. Lauren was tired and just had a pudding and returned to her room to recover.  Cathy and I then treated ourselves to bread and butter pudding, our favourite, which was lovely.  We returned to our rooms and relaxed watching some television.  It had been a full on day.  I slept better that night, although not as well as with my beloved, whom I looked forward to seeing the next day.

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