So I had a lovely weekend in Newcastle chez lethargic_man's parents.
For various odd reasons I arrived slightly earlier than I'd planned, so I was able to make it to shul for the Friday night service. As I might have guessed if I'd thought about it, I was the only woman there; in that sector of the community women simply don't go to synagogue on Friday night (and on Saturday morning mostly attend only the last half hour or so of the service). It's fairly strange at the best of times making a conscious effort to be less conspicuous, but even odder when I end up sticking out a mile despite my efforts. Anyway, it was a very pleasant service; apart from Oxford last month I haven't been to shul on Friday night for absolutely ages. As a general rule, Reform Friday night services tend to be way too slow and Orthodox ones way too fast, but this service was paced very nicely.
After that we had a very nice meal; lethargic_man's friend FB was in Newcastle for the weekend and M's parents had invited him to join us. FB is really lovely, more than can be accounted for by my being prejudiced in his favour due to his very pretty French accent. The three of us stayed up talking quite late after the parents had retired to bed. So all in all the evening left me in just the right mood for a relaxed and happy weekend.
On Saturday after shul in the morning lethargic_man and I were able to spend the afternoon just being together. This is something I really appreciate; apart from the fact that we don't spend a lot of time in the same physical space, we are also both inclined to be always doing. Even on shabbat it can be tempting to feel pressured to have fun and relax as efficiently as possible in the time available. This time, though, we just enjoyed eachother's company. Since the weather had turned beautifully sunny by mid afternoon we went out for a couple of hours for a walk across the Town Moor.
There were rather a lot of things we wanted to do which we couldn't do on shabbat. This was a problem since shabbat went out fairly late, but anyway. Things like lethargic_man playing me some music, and watching the video of the Question Time show I took part in. Seeing myself on TV was a little cringey; the camera makes it really, really obvious that I am absolutely incapable of sitting still.
Sunday lethargic_man's parents drove us plus FB around to see the Northumbrian coast, which is exceedingly pretty. We spent the greater part of the day wandering around Lindisfarne but also saw some other towns in the area. We had lunch in a cute little olde worlde pub / hotel, who served some really tasty kippers (apparently a local speciality). It was a delightful day, and also reminded me very strongly of holidays with my parents, even down to being rather cramped in the back of the car.
It was particularly pleasant to have FB's company for most of the journey back. He's very chatty and easy to talk to, and in fact spent most of the time telling me what a wonderful flatmate lethargic_man was when the two of them lived together!
Oh, and on a side-note, lethargic_man has found a picture which he is convinced is an eight-year-old version of me. I know there are a few people reading this who know what I actually looked like at that age, and for the rest of you, I'm just pointing out that he's very strange. I am tracking down real photos of me for comparison, but given that my parents have a bad habit of never archiving photos, this may prove tricky.