Friday the 24th February 2006 was an important land mark in the history of the sleepy, picturesque Berkshire village of Streatley… it was the day the Pinkies landed!
The Streatley Youth Hostel was the destination for this year’s choir weekend away. As a relatively new Pinkie, this was my first weekend away with the choir and I was both excited and apprehensive about it. I arrived at the Youth Hostel on the Friday evening, just before 9pm, and, as luck would have it, I was just in time for dinner! Some people had got there earlier in the afternoon to get a head start on the drinking (and to do the shopping and cooking of course), so I had a bit of catching up to do when I arrived. I wasted no time in cracking open the wine…
After a lovely meal we all retired to the lounge for a glass of port and a nice civilized game of bridge, before an early night. That’s what I was told we did, any way; I was too drunk to remember! No, wait, it’s starting to come back to me now… That’s right, we did what Pinkies do best! We stuck on some karaoke CDs, along with a generous helping of Stock Aiken and Waterman Gold and had a good old sing-song and knees-up until the wee hours. I seem to remember too that a few of us decided that 1 o’clock on a Saturday morning after a good few bevvies was the ideal time to practise some Yoga postures. For example the crab and the head stand were popular ones (and I blamed my stiff neck in the morning on the thin pillows?!).
Having recovered from the excitement of the previous night, the next morning we decided to go for a riverside walk. It was a bit muddy in places, but I guess that’s part of the fun of it. The countryside and the views are amazing around there and strolling along the banks of the Thames, taking in the stunning scenery, even if it was a bit cold and windy, made me feel like I had stepped out of normal life into another world. We walked to the next village with the intention of having lunch there and then walking back. However the only pub we could find was a rather posh looking restaurant. They very kindly allowed us all to traipse in with our muddy boots and have a drink, but we walked back to Streatley after that and had lunch in the local pub there.
Later in the afternoon quite a few people settled down to watch the rugby (which we will not mention any more that strictly necessary!) and others just had a bit of time for chilling out. Quite a few of us helped Lynne with her mammoth task of preparing the evening meal for us all. I don’t know how she did it, but she provided us with a delicious roast dinner with all the trimmings, plus dessert, catering for every possible taste and specification!
After dinner it was time to kick off the party again. The evening took on a slightly different format this time. We played some hilarious games all together, including one called “Psychologist”, which I wasn’t quite sure about at first but turned out to be immensely entertaining and a great way to get to know people better. Everyone was involved, which was fantastic and it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves. There were more of us there on the Saturday night because a few people had travelled down on the Saturday morning. It was also really good to see two of the newest members of the choir there, taking an active part in the group. That must have taken a lot of guts to come away for the weekend with a group of people they didn’t know. I hope we all made them feel welcome.
I certainly felt welcome and included in the group and over all I had a great weekend. It was a pleasure to be in everyone’s company and I felt that every single person provided their own unique contribution to the weekend as a whole that went towards making it the happy and memorable experience that it was. I would definitely recommend it to new Pinkies for next year.
by Claire G