Back when it was still summer (see, I'm still catching up!), and Phe was back from Qatar (and the desert and all the places that are very very very far away) and so, making good use of her time, we went up to a little cottage in Oxfordshire for the weekend. And oh. Oh goodness. It was a very idyllic little English cottage, with a rambling garden and the house had mis matched multi-lever stone floors, and smelt of smoke and comfort and was full of books. All the random books.
Also, the boys were outside roasting chickens on a stick over glowing embers. On the lawn, as if it was a thing that happened all the time. I loved it, being outside while we quietly decimated the lawn with cooking. Also, there was the drinking. It started out with Hue pouring an entire bottle of gin into what otherwise looked like something out of Pintrest (think gorgeous ceramic jug, filled with fresh strawberries and lime and ice), and while the rest of the night passed in a blur (singing, dancing, some kind of weirdness where the boys all took of their shirts and hollered, literary conspiracy theories and quiet grins and much bragging, oh, all the bragging). I do vaguely remember the many, many, many bottles of delicious wine that was left on the large solid wood table.
There was much eating, and then there was croquet. First outside on the lawn, and then by the river by the abandoned ruins. For the two of us that were not going to get involved in the very manly game of croquet with all the extra rules, we quietly ate our way through the picnic, reading our books and catching up.
Later, we had dinner outside. A large wooden table was set up in the back garden, with candles and lanterns and white table cloths. It was a gorgeous meal, where we all sat in borrowed chunky wool jumpers that smelt of smoke and drank wine and just, it was a phenomenal evening.
There was also Trivial Pursuit, which hilariously, the two not-academics (ie, me + Zee) got the furtherest in before we had to leave.
Shilton it turns out, is super idyllic. Add a few crazy friends into the mix and it was a brilliant, brilliant weekend.