We cooked our own Christmas Dinner this year, using both kitchens at Wesley Memorial. Several kind volunteers peeled potatoes, carrots, parsnips and sprouts, kept an eye on the real Christmas pudding kindly made for us, and – supervised by Mary – made sure everything went into ovens or onto stoves at the right time.
Helen organised games to keep everyone entertained.
We were very pleased to be joined by some of the members of Wesley Memorial Church who have supported us over the years.
Taking the minibus and a car, we set off on Friday morning, hoping we might even arrive at the coast in time to see the sea before we checked into the hotel. Unfortunately the A34 was completely closed southbound, leading us to enjoy a scenic tour of Hampshire instead, with a highlight of the services at Sutton Scotney.
Finally we arrived at the hotel, checked in, unpacked and mingled with members from other Phab clubs in the bar until it was time for dinner.
Dinner was a buffet, with a selection of hot dishes, and was accompanied by entertainment and followed by disco and karaoke .
After a buffet breakfast, and a presentation by the CEO of Disabled Motoring UK, we split into groups for activities in the morning and afternoon with a buffet lunch in between.
Edible Christmas Crafts
In the this activity we learnt how to make a snowman, a wreath and a mug of chocolate out of marshmallows, biscuits and other edible goodies.
We saw, and in some cases got close to, a range of animals.
We got dressed up for a posh dinner.
Dinner was followed by a Disco.
After an Act of Worship for anyone who wished to attend, and who had got up in time, there was a Team Building exercise, once again making things out of edible material.
This was followed by a full Sunday Lunch, with Roast Beef, Pork or Turkey, and then we had a wrap up session and all went home.
The building itself is fascinating, and the permanent displays, such as the minerals which were available to be touched, and the columns, each of a different stone.
All these features were tempting, but we tried to press on and see the special exhibits, and come back another time to see the parts we could see at any time.
We saw how the colour of our faces as seen by an Infra Red camera matches how much blood flows to different areas.
We learnt a lot about long range weather forecasting from a climate scientist who showed us the tail end of Hurricane Maria, live on the displays at windy.com
Many displays, such as the chance to compare the weight of a cow bone and an ostrich bone of similar size, were rare opportunities, and we learnt a lot about bones. Bones are made of collagen and calcium, and we could feel how a normal bone is very strong; one from which all the minerals have been removed is quite floppy and bends too easily to support any weight, while bones which have no collagen are brittle and crumble under pressure.
This could be seen as a metaphor for they way that people, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, can come together to be tougher and stronger than we are on our own.