For the last couple of years The Scientist and I have given each other a weekend away for our Christmas present. That is to say, we have gone away together and each paid for the other's half. Sending each other away for separate weekends probably wouldn't be so romantic. Anyway, it was The Scientist's turn to organise it this year, and he kept it a complete secret until Monday, when he found me faffing about with a theatre seating plan and wondering if I could take up a special offer for King Lear at Stratford for us. He grinned a big grin and revealed that that was my surprise - a weekend in Stratford with tickets to King Lear - and all the Shakespeare houses. The weekend away was lovely enough, but RSC tickets AND all that extra thoughtful planning as well? He's in credit with the brownie points for some time. (And in this house brownie points can be exchanged for actual brownies :) ).
We've just come back and we had a lovely time. The play was amazing - neither of us had seen Lear before, but we both loved it. The hotel was nice, the room luxurious, Stratford cold but pretty (and not too crowded), and the Shakespeare houses we visited beautiful and interesting. And particularly informative given that I'm writing a lecture on homes and families in the past which was a bonus for me and no doubt quite tedious for The Scientist - but he kindly acted interested.
One of the best things about the weekend was not being in any sort of a rush. We ended up doing quite a bit of unexpected whimsical shopping as a result, and this is the stash I came back with. Most of it was from Book Depot, and a kitchen/furniture shop the name of which I forget (too busy ogling haberdashery :) ). The bookshop produced two craft books, some felt and some little handy notepads, and the other the lush selection of fabrics and a needle for knitting in the round to make this bag pattern some day when I've finished my other projects. Yes that is Liberty fabric - on sale and gorgeous. The brighter one is to make some table mats and coasters for a friend's wedding present (the red and the bias binding are to finish them), and the other is to make into a bag. And the pinky one is maybe to make some PJs - or alternatively to make something cute for The Munchkinette. I was really tempted by some fine Liberty cord as well but managed to restrain myself. The noodles were from a health food shop - it's not a good trip if you don't come back with some new noodles. In this case black rice and wakame, and green tea. I feel slightly guilty from all the shopping, but some of it's for presents or present ideas, and I know that my sewing buddies will laugh and sympathise anyway! The Scientist had a good shopping trip too - several books and a good sit-down to read the sports section while I fussed over notions.