On Friday 6th December, a group of twenty-four people left Blandford Methodist Church and headed for the Orchard Garden Centre at Gillingham. On arrival we made our way straight to the café where we indulged in a variety of beverages some naughtier than others and these were accompanied by the most delicious homemade shortbread that was the size of a saucer.
Once we had been suitably refreshed there was time to wander around and purchase gifts for loved ones and ourselves before making our way back to the coach and setting off for The Kings Arms at East Stour. Here in a delightful setting we tucked into our various chosen dishes which ranged from Beef Lasagne and Salad to Fish Goujons with Chips. Compliments on the food were passed on to the chef but particularly highlighted was the fish pie served with seasonal vegetables. The main course was followed by either sticky toffee pudding or apple crumble with ice cream, cream or custard with a cup of tea or coffee to round off the meal.
By this time, we were all feeling rather full and a little sleepy, but that didn't deter us from visiting the garden centre at Sherborne so that we could wend our way through the Christmas Grotto. Without a word of a lie from floor to ceiling proved to be a veritable feast of Christmas decorations from around the world.
However, amongst the baubles, the tinsel and the working miniature trains there was one thing that caught everyone's attention. In front of each fireplace was a life size white Labrador which could be seen breathing and every so often it would lift its head and place it on its paw. Quite a sight to behold.
After all the excitement it was then time to make our way home for some rest and relaxation especially for those who were taking part in day two of the Christmas Holiday at Home.
Saturday's proceedings began with coffee and biscuits followed by a chat about various things that happen at Christmas. After which, it was on to the serious business of the day. The rolling and cutting out of a selection of Christmas star biscuits. Once these had been placed on a baking tray, Pat & Rona concentrated on cooking the goodies. No mean feat with twenty-four trays to bake.
Whilst the biscuits were cooking, everyone attempted the Pantomime Quiz which proved rather tough, though our winner Ken scored twelve out of nineteen. Oh no he didn't. Oh yes, he did.
Once all the tables had been cleared and wiped clean the ladies and gents settled down to make a label for their biscuits and a Christmas card. The concentration was amazing, and many excellent cards were produced.
Those who completed this task early opted to have a go at the Guess Who Quiz which was won by Jenny.
By now tummies were beginning to rumble, so dinner was served. We tucked into steak pie purchased from Pamphill Butchery served with baby new potatoes, baton carrots, peas and gravy. This was followed by homemade trifle and a cuppa.
After lunch, Peter Aston from Holtwood Church entertained us with a variety of folk and Christmas songs. We were each given bell to shake at the appropriate time which we did whilst also singing along with the songs that we knew. One of our ladies said she didn't know the tune that Peter sang to one of his songs and gave us a rendition of the version she knew which was met with a round of applause.
Once Peter was thanked, all that was left to do was to pack the biscuits in their festive bags add the label and if folks wanted to, they could stay for another cuppa and a piece of Chocolate Log.
We had a fantastic two days but for any event to be successful it relies on volunteers and what a team we had. So, to Rona, Pat & Brian and Margaret & Alan, I say a big Thank You. You were amazing.
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