Missmas all began in February 2018 as a family gathering because we were on our travels and had “Miss”ed Christ”mas“. This year we were nearer to family at our house sit in Northamptonshire but we wanted to meet up with our sons and their partners so Missmas was planned for the weekend between Christmas and New Year. We had two days of cover for Molly courtesy of Jemma, the home owner’s niece. Last minute Christmas shopping done and wrapped, home-made truffles and Sweet Chilli Relish chilled, all that was left was to pack the car and head for the Hitchin Priory.
A Chinese Cottage?
We all met up at our son’s flat and tucked into some rather tasty vol au vonts that he had made these were washed down with a selection of beer, wine and gin and tonic. It was so lovely to all be together. I think I just spent my time looking around and smiling. After checking into our rooms at Hitchin Priory just a short walk away, we headed out to find food. Jonno had requested the Chinese restaurant that we had been to a couple of times before called the Regent Cottage. Why you would call a Chinese restaurant this fails me, but the food is excellent and the enthusiastic waitress spent a long time explaining the variety of animals for each Chinese New Year. I think we were both born in the Year of the Ox. Unfortunately a letter was missing from one of the displays and it has now been renamed “Ear of the Dog“. Drinks at Kite at the Red Hart followed before heading back to our rooms with that lovely glowing feeling from lots of chatter, drinks and fully tummies.
Fun and games in the Corn Exchange
A hearty breakfast first thing was followed by some present giving and opening in The Library at the hotel. I am not sure that the Library is really meant for general use because it looked set up as a small meeting room but no one objected so we made ourselves at home. We had presents to open and look out anyone who dared get in our way.
This was followed by a tour around some of the excellent vintage shops in Hitchin and lunch in the Granello Lounge a very cool looking bar/restaurant.
Our next stop was the Pitcher and Piano bar which is in the old Corn Exchange on the Market Square. Eagle-eyed Ella, our youngest son’s girlfriend, recognised the Market Square. It was used in the filming of Doctor Foster and also recently featured in the Boots Christmas advert, although they sneakily added a Boots shop front to make it look like it is in the Market Square.
We found the perfect table for 8 and before we knew it we all had drinks and even a pitcher of Winter Sangria. Games at Christmas are a family tradition and it is no different for Missmas. Sam and Tabitha had a backpack full and we played a new card game called The Game where you all work together to place cards in ascending and descending order and “go out”. I’m not sure we had the rules correct for 8 players but it worked. This was followed by a couple of rounds of Listography. Another very good game that we only came across this year. A few rounds and pitchers later (about 5 hours) and we decided to head back to the hotel.
Skulking in the Library with Gus
No one felt tired and it felt like we needed a nightcap so we snuck along to the Library and set the room up with alcohol and snacks for more games. At one point a little head came around the door to see what we were doing. It was Gus the Night Porter who looked a little shocked that we had made ourselves so at home but also semi relieved that we were hotel guests and hadn’t just wandered in off the street. Gus ended up as the go to guy for everything. Nothing was too much trouble. I think that probably the night shift is a bit solitary when the hotel is not fully booked so he was pleased to have some people to talk to. When all the bottles were empty and the eyelids were flickering we headed up the stairs to Bedfordshire.
Sad to Say Goodbye
All too soon the morning to go our separate ways had arrived. Missmas was over for this year and who knows what next year will bring. To be honest we don’t care how, when or where we get together but as long as we do at this special time of year that is all that matters. Thank goodness we have dates pencilled in the diary for the coming months. To Shaun and Katie, Sam and Tabitha, Ryan and Ella, thank you all for a wonderful Missmas and I will leave you with the family photo I am going to have printed onto canvas and proudly hang in our home (when we have one!)
28/12 – 30/12/18