Back in glorious Milton Keynes now, with the gentle pitter-patter of rain outside - and the twittering of birds whose parents obviously never taught them only to sing after the rain had stopped. Fledglings of today, I ask you.
But this has been a simply terrific weekend, and my earlier secrecy paid off, with Katy's mum enjoying a truly surprise sixtieth birthday lunch out at the Mill House at North Warnborough on Saturday. It was a super location, sold some of the best food I've eaten in a long time and of course the company was most excellent, with all of the immediate family there plus the odd straggler from Milton Keynes. It was a little pricey, but well worth every penny, and Daniel, Rachel and Rob got good mileage out of the free boating available on-site.
Back to Katy's parents for a healthy walk round the block while Grandma had an afternoon kip, tea and the ceremonial Opening Of The Presents. Then the time was for ourselves, but with it having been such a hot and humid day we were both very tired so decided not to do anything too imaginative for the evening. Instead we took a walk around the block from Katy's house and stopped for a half at one of the local pubs - and very glad it had a good garden because it was incredibly oppressive inside. Thankfully it cooled a little overnight, so I slept fairly well back at Katy's parents' house, though there were some good and welcome rumbles of thunder that interrupted my last few hours of sleep!
Today we've been to church, which was a just about perfect blend of worship, message and ministry - and I learnt a couple of new songs into the bargain! We didn't rush our sociable squash and biscuits, but decided then to go to the cinema if there was anything good we could get tickets for. That meant popping home to check the Warner website, and booking ourselves a couple of seats for The Matrix Reloaded. We picked up our tickets, grabbed a bite of lunch at the Beefeater pub near the cinema, and wandered back up to see the film. In terms of deep meaning it was even more of a load of hocum than the first film, but in terms of action and especially comedy - albeit perhaps unintentional - it was a good popcorn flick, or in our case, pick'n'mix and nachos. Then for a stroll along the Basingstoke Canal from Odiham, and it was just about time for me to do the inevitable heading back up the motorway bit. Thankfully the latter was a bit quicker than last time, though it was a mucky journey with the weather as it was, and heavy traffic, but I was still home in about an hour and a half.
So, as I said, overall this has been another truly excellent weekend, even if yesterday in particular was rather pre-organised in comparison with previous visits - not that it really would have worked any other way of course! It's really nice to be welcomed and accepted once again as part of someone else's family - and I sense more than ever that this might be one I'll be staying with for more than the odd night on occasional weekends... It was a little strange as we drove out to the pub on Saturday to pass by the house where I used to live all those years ago now - but perhaps this is somewhat of a coming home?