For my sister’s 30th birthday Gareth arranged a get-together consisting of a clay pigeon shoot in the morning followed by a pub lunch in a one of England’s oldest pubs.
To begin the celebrations, family and friends met up at Wick Farm in Bath to shoot some clays. The day started with sausage baps, a quick warning about the potential shoulder bruises and then people were split into groups to head over to the different shooting stalls.
I had ear ache so didn’t shoot (I didn’t think loud noises right next to my ear would help!) so I was the designated photographer. That means quite a bit of pressure when your sister studied the topic at university! Mike went first in his group and made it look easy getting 8 out of 10 clays!
Although looking back at the pictures, this could be him tampering with his score…
Everyone managed to hit some clays, which was quite impressive seeing as it was the first time for some.
There were three areas; two in wooden huts where you shoot the clays coming across the field and one where you shoot the clays as they come over your head – definitely the hardest one.
After shooting, we all headed back to the barn and huddled around the heater, enjoying a glass of prosecco for the girls and cider and beer for the boys, whilst we warmed up.
The scores were talleyed up and the winner of the day was Gareth (and he was the organiser – fix!!). The instructors didn’t reward him though as they thought the prize should go to Anneka for coming top out of the girls. Out came some trout they had caught themselves – little did they know that Anneka was a vegetarian! The prize then got passed to Jen for being the next top girl, and the poor man didn’t realise that fish is Jen’s worst nightmare (allergic apparently hmmm…!).
Whilst looking around the cabin I noticed the below picture on the wall, the games keeper came over to tell me the story behind it – a man shot a clay, hit it and also hit a duck flying behind! The day was renamed daffy duck day!
A few more of Jen’s friends arrived and we headed over to the pub, The George Inn, to warm up next to the huge log fires.
Gareth had hired out the ‘Dungeon’ Room in the pub which sounds a little scary but was a great location for us all to have lunch.
The food was delicious – I managed one shot of my salmon and sweet potato fish cake before becoming too preoccupied with eating and even that picture didn’t come out great. After dinner Jen opened some birthday presents.
After everyone had finished their main course, Mike and I went out to the car to get the birthday cake I had made for Jen. This was a chocoholics dream inspired by Georgina Haydens – favourite chocolate cake she made for Jool’s Oliver’s birthday.
Mike and I stood outside the dungeon door trying to light the candles and 30-shaped sparkler. Unfortunately the 30-shaped one was really difficult to light and by the time we managed it the others had gone out! Not that Jen noticed with everyone singing “Happy Birthday to yooooou” as we walked over to her table.
Jen’s birthday present from me was too big to fit in my Mum and Dad’s car (with Mike, Orla and I sat in the back) so I took a photo of it to send to her. As it wasn’t Jen’s actual birthday until the Monday, I delayed showing her until Monday evening when she got the following pictures texted to her.
An almond blossom tree! My sister seems to already have everything (hence the unusual birthday present of glass blowing last year) so I was finding it difficult to buy something that was suitable for a 30th and something ‘keepable’ for many years to come. Then my Dad inspired me – he bought my Mum a cherry blossom tree when she was thirty and you can still see it in the garden of our old house in Weymouth.
I chose it as it had the prettiest flowers (on the label) out of all the trees in the garden centre and also bought a big pot so that Jen can save planting it until they are in a house of their own.
Happy 30th Birthday big (old) sister!