... but I'd rather stay up a bit longer and write up the weekend.
Friday night my dad was staying over, although since he was coming after work Mike and I had time to watch another disk worth of Buffy first. I'd been working from home so I'd had home made chilli on the stove since lunchtime, the sort with big lumps of beef rather than mince, and it was lovely if I do say so myself. Dad and I polished off a bottle of chilean red between us, and spent the evening chatting, about work and planes and nonsense.
On Saturday we had to be up bright and early (well, 7:15 alarm) to get to Stansted in time to meet the 8:25 from Belfast. See my mum had a bright idea and decided to arrange a mystery tour for my Grandad for his Christmas present. All he knew was what time to be at Belfast airport on Saturday morning - even the boarding card was in a sealed envelope which he wasn't to open until he got to the airport. He said he'd been guessing a flight to Leeds, where my parents live. So we got to Stansted, intending to get Mike to meet him with a sign at the gate to prolong the surprise, since he hasn't met Mike before. We were foiled however by the entrance to the terminal from the carparks being closed, because someone had been smoking under the detector. Eventually we got in, but when dad and I spotted Grandad we couldn't hide quickly enough before being spotted ourselves. Still, he seemed tickled pink by the whole thing.
With some time to kill we had breakfast at the airport, before heading back up the M11. As we turned off at Duxford Grandad noticed the large hanger, and we commented it was for the Imperial War Museum and asked "do you want to go?" - "oh, that would be nice" says Grandad, not knowing that this was the intended destination anyway. Both him and my dad are basically plane nuts, and they had a great day together doing the whole museum, and Mike and I had fun too, even if we were flagging a bit by the end. We arrived just after opening at 10 and didn't leave until they were chucking people out at 4, and only stopped for about 45 mins for sausage and chips and beans for lunch in the runway restaurant. By this point we were definitely glad for a sit down and a rest. I guess I hadn't really considered that we'd been on our feet for 5 hours, so it's not really surprising they were getting a bit tired! I think I might at a push be able to recognise a spitfire now anyway. And if you point me at one I can tell you if it's an early or late model :-)
Next stop was the pub, and we headed to the John Barleycorn in Duxford village, since it was one of the readers recommendations in the good pub guide. And there we sat and chatted for a while, since we had some time to kill before grandad had to be back at Stansted for the flight home. Lots of anecdotes followed - flying related, and related to my Grandad's various jobs working on an oil ship as it was transported across the atlantic, and later working in a shipyard. Dad was keeping an eye on the time, but misread his watch at one point, and when I glanced at mine and spotted it was 7pm we left in rather a hurry. The flight home was at 7:45 and the gate was due to close at 7:20. So we pegged it back down the motorway in the rain, at a rather alarming and speed limit breaking pace, arriving just on the dot and dropping him outside. But when we'd hung around for 10-15 minutes just to be sure he rang to say he'd just made it.
Dad dropped us back home for a very lazy evening, and headed straight back out for the drive back up to Leeds, but I think both him and his dad had had a brilliant day, and it was definitely a stroke of genius of my mum's to think of it. Mike and I briefly considered trying to join the party at Relativity, but decided we were just too tired, which was demonstrated by us barely managing to keep our eyes open over a rather impromtu dinner. So we got an early night and a nice long lie-in reading in the morning - only slightly interrupted by the alarm on my phone going off again at 7:15. I'm always forgetting to turn it back off.
We got up around lunchtime and took a leisurely walk in the warm sunshine over to the shops to buy some lunch - sandwiches and scotch eggs and pasta salad and nice cheesy bread, and then just crashed out on the bed in the sunshine for a bit longer, before Mike headed off to do some shopping and I headed round to Jack's to play some bridge with him and Ross and Naath.
I arrived and immediately had to borrow Jack's puncture repair kit and tools, as a bit of flint from the short cut into his little cul-de-sac had gone straight through my tire so you could hear the air escaping and it was completely flat within 200 yards. Still, it only took 15 mins or so to fix, and by then we'd realised Naath wasn't going to make it and drafted Ian in instead, for a pleasant afternoon. I partnered Jack, and Ian partnered Ross, and despite a few minor errors and a few requests for recaps on the local conventions we ended up at the end of 2 rubbers with only 100 points between us, although we sneaked in one last hand which widened the gap a little more, leaving Jack and I just ahead of the other two. Though it would have been a very satisfactory afternoon even if we'd lost.
Cycling home showed my repair seemed to be holding, but I think I need to have another look at it tomorrow. I've got odd allen key fixings for the wheels, since I didn't want to quick release ones it came with, and I'm not quite used to them and not sure if I've managed to get it back on quite central - it's definitely rubbing on the brakes on one side. It'll probably make more sense in daylight.
Looking forward to getting the tenancy agreement for our house signed and sealed on Tuesday. Then we've got a plan to have a picnic in my room to celebrate some famous saint on Wednesday, and there's something on next weekend for Rae's birthday, though I'm not quite sure what. It should be another good week.