After work last Friday, we picked up a hire car and drove to Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Thank goodness we had DougDoug telling us where to go, as the roads were so dark and foggy, it was difficult to see more than about five metres in front of the car!
Still, as reliable as DougDoug was, it didn’t stop me walking through a stranger’s garden and knocking on their lounge-room window around 11 PM on Friday night, only for me to find out that I wasn’t in the right place. Yes, really. They were the neighbours, and thankfully, they were very nice about the whole thing.
Anyway, the reason we were in Wales was to surprise this man:
Some of you may know him as “Todd”, and that’s how we know him as well. His girlfriend – Star of Shannon – had organised a surprise 30th bash for him, though technically it was his 29-and-11-months bash. Still, such fine details aren’t important – what matters is, he was absolutely shocked when around midnight on Friday, he walked into a room and saw fourteen of his friends (that he really wasn’t expecting to see) staring back at him. Surprise!
The house that we stayed in was absolutely massive, comfortably sleeping sixteen people, and equipped with multiple sitting rooms, a gigantic dining room plus a games hall with a snooker and ping-pong tables. Just amazing!
On Saturday, the group split into two, with “the others” (who I now refer to as “the suckers”) going horse-riding, and the rest of us (a.k.a. “those in the know”) going skeet shooting. I felt that my years of hand-eye co-ordination training (read “playing computer games”) gave me a natural edge, and I was quite pleased with my score of 16/25 at the end of the day – equal second-highest in our group! Unfortunately, John nudged past me in the last round to take the championship by one point; clearly more training is required.
Shelley decided that she would shoot photos instead of guns, even though she really looked quite comfortable looking down the barrel.
Saturday night was party night, and everyone was getting into the spirit. Even Joe and Shamine’s dog, Jesse, was stoked to be donning a party hat (or four).
The evening quickly wore down into the wee hours of the morning with cake, Buzz, Sing-Star, and celebrity head (I was “Dracula”; I didn’t guess it but I did work out that I was a character from a lot of horror films and was roughly the same age in each one). Soon it was midnight, which seemed like the right time to start playing snooker and ping-pong; Julian was indisputably the champion of the world, winning about two billion games in a row.
It really was an amazing weekend, and one that I’d repeat in a heartbeat. Next time though, I’ve resolved myself to go out and see more of the country-side; even though it was about one hundred degrees below zero, the stunning scenery would have been worth it!
More photos online in the “Todd’s Birthday” photo gallery.