Tagged in: stow-on-the-wold

REME Junior Leaders Unit Reunion 2011 – Stow-on-the-Wold

I flew in to Birmingham and from thence by train to Kingham, via Oxford. All transport on time and clean and tidy. Well done the two rail operators.

Kingham - The trains do run on time

I was informed by the taxi company recommended by the hotel that there was a race meeting in Cheltenham and there was no way he had any cabs available! I finally took the one suggested by the station master and we wended away along the misty Cotswold country lanes for about 4 miles and I was charged £20 for the privilege of the commentary on the Cotswolds.

Wyck Hill House Hotel...and Spa

The Wyck Hill House appeared out of the mist and proved to be a very fine venue. I have reviewed it here rather than detract from the reunion.

Arriving in the bar I found Geoff Powell and his good lady (I have difficulty enough remembering the lads so excuse me for not naming the ladies) and we chatted over a drink until the arrival of Mike Payne, sporting a neat Oz accent. A couple more drinks passed as more participants, I hesitate to use the word delegates, arrived. Barry had provided name tags this year so it was easier to identify people we should have known.

Shortly after this I retired to bed for a couple of hours in order to be in good form for the evening festivities.

It had been decreed in the ORBAT that we would assemble in the bar at 19,00 for preprandial drinks, but most made it early in order to find a comfortable spot.

I left you in this position

Maurice Quinnell and co

I was pleasantly surprised to meet Maurice Quinnell, whom I managed to half recognise, and we exchanged some old stories. It was a good time for getting to chat to people who I didn’t really remember but whose stories were so similar to our experiences.

And so to dinner and more good conversation.  Our table was occupied by the “bachelor group”, Barry obviously having decided that we would not be safe let loose amongst the ladies until after the formalities.

Following dinner we were entertained by an updated slide show from the 60’s. All human life was there but, unlike the NOTW , all with their clothes on.

 

Now where was I ?????

 

Then followed the tales of woe and embarrassment from a number of those present.  Forgive me but I have forgotten the stories and all the names but James Rafferty who “performed” last and won the whisky! I’m sure he deserved it.

And so back to the bar to discuss topics of great worldly import and generally enjoy ourselves.

Those were the days

I maintained my reputation of being the last to leave once again, but only just!

I breakfasted with Roger Smith and his wife, another couple who had flown in from Australia for the gathering, who assured me that it had all been worth it.

After this I made my farewells as I was being collected to join another reunion, this time Intelligence Corps, in Cheltenham.

I will attempt to get the details, and any photos, of the Cotswold bus trip and any further adventures from Barry and add it to this post later.

I’m sure everybody will join me in thanking Barry and Alan for getting this put together again and we look forward to the next gathering in 2012.

 

Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

The Wyck Hill House Hotel was the chosen venue for the second reunion of  past inmates of the REME Junior Leaders Unit, Arborfield.

The address is Burford Road, Stow-on the-Wold, and if you arriving in the area by any other form of transport than car or coach tour the taxi fare from Kingham Station, four miles away, is £20.

According to the taxi driver it has been reopened, following a complete makeover, for about 18 months.

Reception is a desk in the hallway and I was greeted by a pleasant young lady who, having taken my particulars led me to my 1st floor room. I understood why as trying to direct one to the lift would have been quite a feat.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable, however they are certainly not  soundproof.  Mine was opposite the lift door and the “Ding” of it arriving was clearly audible; luckily there are not a lot of rooms per floor!

Perhaps I am just unlucky but my safe refused to lock and, after losing my cameras from a room in Rome, I am a bit paranoid about  leaving valuables lying about.

Houskeeping got somebody to me in about 15 minutes and he duly reset the mechanism.

The bar is neatly set out and a Bombay Sapphire and Tonic restored my spirits. The £8.00 for a smoked salmon sandwich, the size of bridge roll, on ciabatta I felt was a bit excessive though it did come with a neat little pot of crisps and a bit of salad.

We were about 50 for dinner and the standard of the food and the service were impeccable..

I had a trio of fish for starter with a light hollandaise sauce and it could not have been faulted.  The fish was firm and tasted superb and the sauce complimented it perfectly. The other members of my table reported theirs to first class as well.

I had ordered Pan fried breast of corn fed chicken with thyme rosti cake, savoy cabbage, smoked bacon and shallot sauce.

It came perfectly cooked, nicely moist, and the thyme rosti was a perfect accompaniment. We had the house Merlot to wash it all down!

I picked the Eton Mess for dessert which was adapted to include red berries rather than strawberries but lost nothing for all that.

We finished up with standard coffees.

Breakfast the next morning was delightful.  A good selection of fruit, museli, cereals and yoghurts; a mixture of cheeses and cold meats or a substantial cooked menu.

I took the sausage, bacon and black pudding and asked for a soft poached egg.  Three out of four right was not too bad.  Why is it that nowhere seems to be able to soft cook any type of egg these days.

A large pot of strong English Breakfast tea was just the ticket to see off the excesses of the night (or morning even) before.

The tab for bed and breakfast plus the dinner was £120.  Not really over expensive.