Friday evening saw eleven Pinkies heading towards Streatley Youth Hostel, a spacious old house near the Thames on the Berkshire – Oxfordshire border. The little country towns of Streatley and Goring face each other across the river, nestled in a valley set among the gentle Chiltern hills. This year we were catered for by friendly hostel staff, and Friday’s veggie dinner option was so good that Mel had it again for breakfast. Maya kept us entertained at dinner with “strange but true” animal stories and Liang and Hsien finally arrived later in the evening, thanks to the assistance of the AA.
On Saturday we awoke to clear weather. After a cooked breakfast, including some slightly strange scrambled egg, most of us set off on a five mile walk along the river, led by Michael with the map, who warned us about all but one of the hills beforehand. Liang managed to keep his shoes in pristine condition while Fran sank up to her ankles in river mud, having decided to investigate the bulrushes. Annie looked all set for the Arctic with a Siberian style cap.
Vicky and Keri joined us later in the Greyhound Pub at Whitchurch, Vicky needing time to recover from a bad cold. Food and service were excellent, and it was warm enough to eat at least one course al fresco. We gladly accepted the offer of lifts back to the hostel from Liang, and people rested, read the papers and played cards until dinner, which was delayed so we could indulge in the good old tradition of watching Dr Who on Saturday evening (but without anyone hiding behind the sofa! Liang then initiated some of us into the mysteries of Mah Jong, while others played cards, to a background of non-stop karaoke.
The highlight of the evening was Liang’s presentation of a card and flowers to Lynne and Annie, with the announcement that the Pink Singers had collectively chosen to sing for free at their civil partnership reception, in recognition of all the work that Lynne and Annie have done for the choir.
No hangovers on Sunday morning! Most people opted for fried eggs instead of the suspicious scrambled ones, apart from those brave souls who had kippers. We had a group photo in the garden before getting ready to leave the hostel mid-morning. Lynne and Annie, Fran and Hester set off along the Thameside path towards the village of North Stoke. Weather was warm and sunny and we watched swans taking off and landing majestically along the river. Spring flowers and blossom were out and it was one of those calm, sunny mornings that make you feel vibrant with life. We were disappointed to find that the only restaurant in North Stoke was fully booked for lunch, and no taxis would be available for at least half an hour. We took a short cut back by road to the pub at South Stoke, and recharged our batteries with a quality Sunday roast, before returning to the hostel and Streatley station. A satisfying end to a relaxing weekend with friends. Let’s do it again next year!