The team met up at our Bristol office; apart from a few remote workers who made their way directly there. With the enthusiasm of any ROADTRIP!!! WHOOP WHOOP we arrived not long after lunch. Checked in to our comfy rooms and were ready for our weekend.
We had pre-booked activities, the Golfers and those that wanted to be warm… i.e. the Spa.
The Belfry is known for it’s excellent golf courses and facilities. As Team Spa I take their word for this. The non-golfers enjoyed a delicious lunch in the main bar and then went to the spa where we all had massage treatments pre-booked.
The spa facilities were great, although some enjoyed lower value for money than others… given they fell asleep. The pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzies were as you’d expect. For most of us this was our first visit to a spa in at least a year, or any kind of trip. The good thing about the Belfry was that whilst if felt like a proper holiday everything was nicely spaced out, so you good relax without worrying about Covid as might have been the case had we e.g. gone to a busy London hotel.
The team reunited in the early evening for cocktails and private dining. On the first night we had the buffet option; which was good (but not mind-blowing in my opinion). However, the wine, cocktails and conversation were top-notch.
As the night drew on some decided upon the early night option. Those with more ambition took the party on to the onsite Nightclub at the Belfry. Photos from this part of the evening exist; and will hopefully remain in a vault!
Some of the ambitious woke with soreheads and envy of the those who took early night option. Still most of it made us to breakfast which solved the hangovers.
The plan for Saturday was to go to Drayton Manor.
Before setting out we managed to fit a round of mini-golf in. Something I thought would be boring (I mean if it’s not Crazy Golf what’s the point?) – turns out it’s just as stupid as crazy golf especially when playing with hungover web developers. I think I missed the point of the game… as I believe it’s the fewest, not the most, turns to get the ball into the hole.
Post-game we took Ubers to Drayton. Although I personally think taking photos should be banned, GDPR and so fourth… especially when your Tech Director buys the one of you pulling the worst face in the history of faces on a scary rollercoaster!
I’m a moderate fan of Rollercoasters – there are some I’m definitely up for, and some I wouldn’t go near even if paid. Greg and I had to be talked out of the log flume… but given it was October we decided leave it alone! I regret that, it looked fun.
The Zoo was more sedate. I love Zoos as long as the animals seem happy and well cared for, and Drayton seems like one of those places. Given at the time I was obsessed with Frontier’s game “Planet Zoo” I was taking notes – good enclosure design, size, placement of the enrichment activities, multi-species activities.
There was no pressure to stick together and a few people headed back. Luke and I stayed on to make sure we’d done the whole zoo and I insisted on the “spooky ride”, one of those ones where the room spins around, and you feel upside down but you’re not. Well Halloween was coming up, so it was rude not to.
All in all, most people had a good day out.
The evening was probably the highlight for most. This time we weren’t in the private dinning room, and having been in lockdown for so long it was nice to be in a noisy environment again. This time we had the A La Carte menu – and WOW! JUST WOW! I don’t think anyone had a single complaint, I still can’t think about the scallops starter without dribbling slightly.
Given this was our last night more of us were up for the bar and then going to the onsite club after. A lot of very silly dancing and that one person who says, “Let’s get shots”. A great night!
So, the weekend started off with enthusiasm, and ended with a team of Zombies (I think this has to do with “let’s get shots”). The trip home was a quiet affair, headphones in, books being read, naps had. This reflected a very good time spent with colleagues/friends.
Covid has really disrupted our lives. Some of the team had never actually met each other yet except over Slack and Zoom. To all get together, with the people we spend 5 days a week with, was an absolute pleasure. What I love about these trips is that on the day-to-day I don’t always get to interact with everyone in the team, and whilst we talk about our lives these trips allow us to properly get to know each other better. Sometimes to “let’s get shots” but always to talk and enjoy each other company. And it reaffirms something I know very well, the people I work with are wonderfully fun and interesting people.