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A cheery big HELLO to you all!

I just have to let you all know about my fantastic weekend.

I arrived home at 10pm (Monday night) after a fabulous weekend down in Watford (last stop Watford Junction).

I first heard from Martin via Messenger last November inviting me down to a surprise 60th birthday bash for my surrogate little sister, Helen Patricia, on the 5th February. Due to the 2020 lockdowns and other issues the last couple of years, we hadn't seen each other for over four years. I was determined that nothing was going to get in the way of being with Helen to celebrate her big birthday. In January I was finally able to let Martin know that I would be there! He told me that my visit would be the 'icing on the cake' for Helen!

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? Throughout January and right up to the day, Martin and I were furiously texting each other with my travel plans and his arrangements for picking me up from Watford Junction station. During the last week it was my big countdown, texting Martin each morning with how many sleeps were left before I would be with them and telling him how excited I was to be able to see Helen again. The plan was to keep my visit a secret from Helen until the last possible minute.

I could barely contain my excitement when the morning arrived and I headed to Thirsk train station to park my car and head to the platform I would be departing from, with Grand Central at 11.22am. I read all the way down to Kings Cross to try to keep my emotions in check. From Kings Cross station, I took a short cab ride to Euston station from where I was travelling to Watford Junction, constantly keeping Martin updated on my progress. At 3.22pm the train arrived and shortly after I left the station, Martin's car arrived to collect me. We made our swift introductions and were soon on our way.

During the journey, I asked him "What if Helen is looking out of the kitchen window when the car pulls up?" But he already had a plan of action. On turning into the street, he parked in front of the first house, five doors away from their home. He quickly jumped out telling me he would be back in a minute and headed to their house. He quickly located Helen and placed her in the living room with her back to the hall and told her to stay there as he had another surprise for her birthday. Back he came to the car and, happy that she wasn't at the window, moved the car to park in front of the house. I followed him in and he gestured to me to get behind him for when he told her she could turn around. My oh my, her face was an absolute picture when she finally saw me standing there. Lots of big hugs ensued!

After a brief catch up over a very welcome cup of coffee it was time for us all to get our party clothes on and head out to the King's Head for Helen's Birthday bash. It wasn't a big affair but a small, intimate party where we were entertained by local band, Bathtub Ginn (Helen's son, Curtis playing double bass in the band). At one stage, even Helen's youngest granddaughter, Alice (aged 4) took to the mike! What a fabulous night we had and the hot buffet food was delicious! Helen's birthday cake was a masterpiece (as you can see in the pic below) dedicated to her love of gardening (organised by her daughter, Hayley).

On Sunday, Martin headed out to visit his parents for the afternoon, leaving Helen and I to have a lovely 'chill out' and girly catch-up! When he arrived back home around 6 o'clock we were ready and headed straight back to the King's Head for Sunday lunch with Curtis, his partner, Becky and little Alice.

Monday morning arrived all too fast and it was the last few hours with my little sis before I had to make my way back to Yorkshire. A new fence panel arrived and Martin and Helen spent a short while in the garden whilst I was in the shower. Helen cooked us a beautiful brunch. We made some promises for Helen and Martin to come up and stay with me in Yorkshire some time this year and also another possible visit to be made by me when Helen and I will go the Harry Potter studios for the day (which is literally 'round the corner' from Helen's home. The afternoon passed us by too quickly and before long it was time for Martin and Helen to drop me off at the station for my return visit to Yorkshire.

What a fabulous weekend I had. Thank you once again to Martin for inviting me down to spend Helen's 60th Birthday with her, and to both Helen and Martin for making me welcome throughout my stay. Let's not leave it too long in future!! Lots of love to you both!!




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