Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Christmas party to top all Christmas parties

I have not had the time to sit down and write about my wonderful week-end until now.  Wow, what a week-end is all I can say, the company I am currently working for do not do things in half measures.

The last week of November I was at the office and of course the talk was about the Christmas party, I had arranged with one of the ladies from work to get a lift down with her and then D & Em would be coming down to Thomastown on the Saturday night and I would get a lift back with them on Sunday.  So everything was organised until Thursday when my boss called me and said that I am needed at the client on the Friday, which really put a spanner in the works, anyway it turned out that D & Em would go down with our friends Paddy & Teresa and Isabel and I would drive myself down on Friday night and then we all come back together in my car on Sunday, all's fine except I have not driven myself anywhere off the beaten track in Ireland before.

So armed with my Sat Nav, I packed the car on Friday morning and headed off to the client with all intentions of leaving Dublin about 3 which meant that I would get to Thomastown at about 4:30.  As we all know nothing works to plan, I headed out of Dublin at 3 ish but got stuck in mad Friday afternoon traffice and by the time I hit the N7 it was already 4:30, I knew that part of the road as I had driven down to Kildaire Village twice and once pretty recently.  The only problem was 4:30 December it is dark, the road was fine until I had to turn off towards Kilkenny and to top it all it started raining and the road narrowed to a country lane and it was PITCH dark, I have never ever driven in blackness like it before in my life. 

To cut a long story short I ended up on the new motorway near Carlow which my sat nav didn't recognise and kept telling me to turn back which I eventually did, but in actually fact I wasted half an hour because I didn not need to turn back, and then by the time I got down to Thomastown the road and the River were flooded.

I finally reached my destination at about 6:30.  Got to the reception and checked in and the porter drove in front of me to the cottage I was staying in.  In the rain you couldn't see much, but we got to the cottage and he took my bags in, wow as you came in there were stairs going up and at the top was a huge passage and reception area, going off the reception area was two en-suite bedrooms and then a huge lounge with a fire place and two balconies, then a dining room off to the side and a kitchen - awesome.

The porter lit the fire for me, I was going to go and have a shower but decided just to relax after my hectic drive and have a glass of wine.  Slowly one by one everyone arrived, I was sharing a room with Elaine and the other room was reserved for Dermott who was only arriving on the Saturday night.  Eventually after everyone arrived we went down to the Club house for dinner, I had a bottle of wine to myself as no one else wanted white wine, oh yes not everyone came to dinner there were those that decided the pub in town sounded like a better bet, but most of us stayed behind - after Dinner we went through to the bar to finish our drink and then at about 1 a.m. decided it was probably time to retire.

However, this was not to be as when we walked past Kieran's cottage it looked like they were having a party so we knocked on the window and were all invited in, needless to say by that stage everyone was well toasted, so that was the start of the rest of the evening which ended with people peeling off to bed slowly, I remember leaving with Dianne at about 4:30 and then getting to bed at about 4:45 only to be up at 9:00 to have a shower and go with some of the girls for breakfast. 

We had breakfast and then most of the girls left to go into town while I sat with Justyna while she ate breakfast and then slowly the late revellers from the previous night came into breakfast, it was quite funny seeing them look really awful, and I actually didn't have a hangover at all.  I think we eventually left the dining room at about 11:30 only to have to be back in the clubhouse for 12:00 to go Clay pigeon shooting and Archery.

The driver took us to the fields for the Shooting and Archery and we were split into two teams of 7 oh yes there were 19 of us, but one had to rush back to Dublin to catch a flight, 2 were playing golf and 2 were sleeping away their hangovers.  So in the fine misty rain we get to do the shooting first, it was fun but I had never really hed a gun in before let alone a shotgun, there were various different shots we had to do and I hit nothing.  We moved to a different place where the clay pigeons basically rolled on the ground and you had to shoot at them, I still got nothing.  We went back to the first place and had to do a double shot one straight ahead and one up in the air and guess what I got 2.  So out of 25 shots I hit 2 - whopee.

Once that was over we headed down to the archery, once the instructor showed us what to do we had some practice rounds, and guess what I got a bulls eye, not only that I managed to hit every circle on the board - so I guess it turns out I can hit stationary targets but not moving ones.  So give me a gun or a box and arrow and I am likely to kill you so long as you don't run from me ;).  We never got to do too much of the archery and just as I was getting into it, the rain just started coming down heavier and heavier, so off we went cold and wet back to the clubhouse.

It was so nice to be inside by a warm fireplace and a hot Mexican coffee, after the best Seafood chowder I had tasted I headed back to the cottage.  I put on some dry clothes and lit the fire and put on a movie, which happened to be a James Bond movie, the irony was that our Christmas Dinner that night was a James bond theme.  Elaine came back but then went off to the other girls to have champagne, I did not feel like going out in the cold again so I went and had a nice hot shower and got ready for the evening.

We all looked really smart heading over to the Main hotel for our Christmas Dinner and Casino night, we first all met in the lounge for pre dinner drinks and then went through to a privat dining room for a silver service dinner that was absolutely awesome.  After dinner we were taken through to the same loung which had now been done out as a casino.  We were all given chips and Martini's, and could play on the Black Jack or Roulette tables, I was now starting to feel really tired from the night before and once I had lost my chips, settled into a nice comfy chair chatting to the girls for the evening.  I eventually headed up to the cottage at about 1 leaving my room mates behind, it was actually nice because I basically had the cottage all to myself for most of the week-end, by the time I put out the light at 2 a.m. they were still not back, but I was warm and snug in my bed.

Sunday morning and down for Breakfast, I hung around waiting for D & Em to arrive and was quite anxious as I had missed them, not having seen them both since Friday morning.  They eventually arrived at Midday with Teresa, Paddy and Isabel, we then headed back to the clubhouse for some lunch and then over to P & T's new house in Thomastown. 

It's a really old house that they are renovating and doing up, Teresa being an architect has drawn up the plans how they want it.  There is loads of glass which does so much justice to the house because the views are absolutely incredible, can't wait to see it when it is finished, I said we would come down round April - have to do a week-end with D at Mount Juliet even if it is just to do the archery and maybe a facial.

Talking of the Shooting and archery I had the biggest bruise on my arm, which is still slightly there that I have ever seen from the kickback on the shotgun, and my arms are still aching, but it was so much fun and I hope I would do it again one day, I also hope that the company keep me on so I can experience some more Christmas parties, I had a look on their intranet and they have had one in Florence, France, Galway, Westport and some other places I don't remember so who knows where 2010 will be.

No comments: