One Ring to Rule Them All

21 04 2013
Tolkien Ring

Could this be THE ONE RING?

A quest.

This weekend, one woman has braved the elements with her husband and FFOMC (future father of my children).

Many have accepted the challenge but few have successfully completed the ULTIMATE DATE DAY.

Hobbit hole

In a flat above a shop there lived a couple. It wasnt a nasty, dirty, flat (although the roof did leak every time there was heavy rain). It was not filled with an oozy smell (unless you count the copious amounts of insense sticks), nor was it yet a bare, characterless flat with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was the home of a married couple, and that means comfort.

In this flat lived two people. They had simple needs. The pressing need over this particular weekend was to find a suitable Date Day activity that would meet both of their individual needs.

This couple were not looking for an adventure, but without thie bidding it; adventure – came to them.

This particular adventure started last weekend. It started with what seemed like a harmless and entirely unadventurious suggestion to make the most of the current good weather by finding a suitable location for a nice romantic walk.

And so the search began. But, when a modern woman is enticing her husband to participate in a romantic ‘date day’ it is imperative to have the appropriate ‘hook‘. Therefore, when I announced this morning that we would be following through with our plans to ‘GO OUT’ I had to sweeten the deal somehow. The conversation went as follows:

ME: (tentatively) Soooo…should we leave in about an hour?

FFOMC: (taken aback) Er…OK I suppose just after I finish my game. Where exactly are we going?

ME: (with great confidence) In search of ‘THE ONE RING’

FFOMC: (more interested) Are you talking about the one in Lord of the Rings?

ME: Yes.

FFOMC: Oh. OK Then.

Now I may have oversold the excursion a little.

Our trip was to The Vyne in Basingstoke. Two good friends of ours – spent their Saturday there and as is the way with modern technology they poted a photograph on FaceBook. The Vyne is a National Trust site of historical interest. When I looked at it – it seemed to be the perfect location for a romantic walk on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It started as an intimate family home in Tudor times but I needed a way of engaging my other half. Luckily it is also the home of an ancient Roman Secret.

Here comes the geeky husband friendly bit. They have a new exhibition showcasing a ring from the Roman Empire which is said to be Tolkien’s inspiration for ‘The One Ring’ from his famous Lord of the Rings books. They even have a ring room in which you can read the story of this ring, the Roman tablet inscribed with a curse on the man who stole it, and its fascinating connections with Tolkien.

In contrast to our last attempt at a Date Day: we both managed to get ourselves out of the house with minimum fuss and enjoyed a stress free drive to the site with FFOMC following the sat nav directions. We had secured a free pass from the internet which we printed that guaranteed us free entry to a site that usually charges over ÂŁ10 per person to the gardens and house.

We started with a leisurly walk of 2.3 miles (following the brown arrow route) and didn’t run into another soul as we walked hand in hand enjoying just being outside in the fresh air and chatting about everything and nothing. We had not one penny of cash on our person’s so we could not purchase anything during our time there (although the hog roast was most tempting and we did consider the virtues of becoming cut-purses for the day) but we enjoyed seeing the actors playing; Robin Hood, Maid Marion and George (complete with a Dragon of sorts) and wittnessing the archery, Morris dancing and other activities throughout the day.

The house itself was splendid and during out tour we reflected on the fact that on our holiday’s abroad – we love these sorts of excursions- but for some reason do not make the most of the rich history we have less than half an hours drive from our doorstep.

The ring exhibit iteslf (the main attraction as far as FFOMC was concerned) was confined to one small room and visitors were able to view the ring through a magnifying glass. It is inscribed (much like Tolkien’s ring) and there is the legend of a curse on anyone who steals it.

The link to Tolkein seemed tenuous but we really enjoyed the day.

On our return journey we stopped for a carvery lunch at a Brewers Fayre which was awsome and despite being our main expense, it rounded our day off nicely and brought Date Day Take 2 to a wonderful end.


All in all it has been a very adventurous day for us and I truely suspect we have Hobbit blood give our adventurous spirit! If all subsequent Date Days are as successful we may need to make it a weekly event! We may not have made it all the way to Mordor but it definitely brought us closer together 🙂


29 03 2013


The more eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that my last post was a day late. This is because of an impromptu decision last night to stay in a hotel following my sister-in-laws wedding.

I was extremely disappointed that I wasn’t able to able to attend the ceremony in the afternoon because of work commitments. In fact I was surrounded by a sea of paperwork when I received a text from my husband immediately lifting my mood, suggesting that I pack an overnight bag when I finished work and he would book us a room for us. This meant I could relax at the evening reception and enjoy a few drinks without having to drive home.

After our disastrous date day a few weeks ago I welcomed the opportunity to do something spontaneous and romantic. I rushed home picking up my new outfit on the way, and a fabulous pair of nude peep toe stilettos. I even squeezed in a visit to the hair dresser to have my hair pinned to perfection atop my head in what I would describe as a designer messy look.

When I arrived at the evening reception – feeling like a million dollars – my husband of 8 years beamed at me as he ushered me into the chair next to his.

The evening involved a little dancing – something he definitely needs a few beers to even consider – some red wine, a buffet, and some quality time with my extended family.

As I enjoyed being in my husband’s arms I noticed how ecstatic my sister-in-law looked in the arms of her new husband at the end of the evening. She had swapped her pure white gown for the ceremony, with a pillar box red cocktail dress for the evening entertainment and clung to her new husband as the dulcet tones of Chris De Burgh crooning “Lady in Red” resonated from the speakers.

When the morning arrived about 8 of us enjoyed a full English breakfast together before a long walk round the pond admiring the ducks and huddling together in the cold with our faces red and windswept and our hair tousled. When we all completed the circuit we decided that a final drink in the hotel bar was in order before we went our separate ways on the journey home.

I got a lot of pleasure from this spontaneous romantic evening – maybe the key to romance and successful date days is not to over plan them but to just go with the flow.


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Valentine’s Day

14 02 2013

Three Nations

Fourteen years ago I found the perfect gift for my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. He was not a hearts and flowers type of guy so a fluffy teddy bearing a message of undying love or a box of truffles were out. I bought a crate of larger and placed a red bow on top. This may seem an unromantic gesture but to a 22 year old guy living from hand to mouth, the indulgent purchase of a few cans of beer (that probably meant me going without lunch to pay for them at that time) was recognised as an acknowledgement of how much I valued him.

I decided to pay homage to that part of our lives by avoiding the cards, hearts and other such nonsense this year and instead buy a crate of 12 British beers. I decided that to make this a particularly romantic gesture and to brighten up an otherwise uneventful day I would have it delivered to him at work. That way he would get the maximum element of surprise and enjoy telling his colleagues about his wonderful and thoughtful wife. He would come home to me that evening in a haze of romance full of nostalgetic thoughts of the beginnings of our relationship and reminded of his deep deep love for me.

This has backfired somewhat.

I ordered the beer online and declining the option to pay the extortionate price for next day delivery I decided to hedge my bets and just go with standard shipping. I had considered the possibility that it may arrive late and disappointing as this would be at least he would know that I had thought about it in advance and appreciate the gesture.

I had not counted on it arriving early.

Two days early!!!

I had also not considered that the girl working in the distribution department would not read the label correctly and send out a WHOLE STAFF email asking “Could the person who is expecting a delivery of beer please come and collect it from the post room.”

She had 37 replies.

All claimed optimistically that they were 100% sure the beer was theirs.

One of these emails was from my husband.


Luckily I had the foresight to warn one of his good friends of what I had arranged and he dutifully went to collect the beer, pointed out my husband’s name on the package and ensured that it got to him safely with an explanation of its purpose.

Despite my epic fail in the organisation department the gesture was clearly appreciated as I arrived home tonight to discover my teddy bear tucked up in my side of the bed cradling a large card and bunch of beautiful plum tulips.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

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Do Not Disturb!

31 08 2012

I think the title speaks for itself but in case you were in any way unclear…

We arrived safely in Mexico on 16th August, and had a fabulous time appreciating the tropical paradise in which we found ourselves.

Therefore I did not have access to the internet and havent been posting for the past fortnight, I was out and about soaking up the local culture, customs and ambience. I will be sharing some of my experiences in due course but having endured a 10hr flight and experiencing jetlag for now I will offer only the following: