Long ViewThe trainees’ weekend away was a roaring success, with all credit to Edwin for organising a fantastic break. A bus picked us up from the office, along with several bottles of champagne to ease the ride up to Norfolk. Diss, it turns out, really is in the middle of nowhere, and we were staying in a farm a few miles outside town. Long View consisted of a main building with a large living area and kitchen, with a second floor of bedrooms taken by the girls, and an attached cabin outside with more bedrooms for the guys. The first night was actually rather civilised, albeit suitably inebriated. Edwin had, it must be said, rather over-catered on the alcohol side (far better than under, of course!), so that to polish off the remainder on the second night each person would have needed to drink a bottle of white wine, two bottles of red and half a bottle of spirit. Perhaps fortunately, we failed.

Golden TreeSaturday was largely taken up by a walk through the crisp, grey Norfolk countryside (the cold air being a great cure for those inflicted by hangovers) to a cosy provincial pub replete with roaring fireplace and genial barmaid. Here we split, some choosing to stay put and while away the afternoon while others preferred a longer, meandering walk back. I fell into the latter group, and as the setting sun dipped below the cloudline, we were treated to a beautiful golden light that played across the fields and illuminated the trees. After a very grey day, it was a stunning sight.

Rachael and TimIn the evening was the weekend’s main event, a large catered dinner (prepared for us in the cottage) which had been themed with “oversized accessories”. After a quick discussion with Rom the previous week it transpired we had no oversized accessories whatsoever in the house (for my part I tend to go with “realistic” fancy dress) so I headed out to Angels to buy one. Given my Alice in Wonderland obsession it’s not hard to guess what I picked out. Let’s just say it was a hat of the crazy variety. Lev and Stu’s Dubious Accessories Committee fared well at first, imposing penalties on those who failed to dress appropriately, but ultimate broke down. At which point the night got rather messier as people just started pouring unseemly “shots” of vodka for each other. And since it has been agreed Tour Rules apply, that is where I shall stop. I will, however, point you towards the Trainee Weekend Away gallery for a series of pictures that, at the going rate, are worth approximately sixty thousand words.