Yes, it’s that time again! We’re off to Warner’s with great mates Geoff & Rhonda and Paul & Sue, known collectively as our alter-egos – “The Northants Nutters”. 😮
This year, our destination is Alvaston Hall, Nantwich.
The highlight of the weekend is the ELO tribute band – “ELO Again” – on Saturday night! 👍
We’re now on our FOURTH outing together where our Trivia Quiz talents have become legendary! 😜
Our first Warner experience
Warner Weekend 2019 – Littlecote House Hotel
Our second visit to Warner’s
Warner Weekend 2020 – Holme Lacy House
Our third visit to Warner’s
Warner Weekend 2021 – Gunton Hall
11.36pm: After all meeting at Paul & Sue’s, we headed north in convoy! 👍
1.17pm: It was a hassle-free journey north on the M1, and then onto the A500 – albeit with the additional challenge of patchy fog and plenty of drivers driving like twats!! We took a short pitstop at McDonald’s in Lysander Road, Stoke-on-Trent without only about 20 miles left to cover. Triple Cheeseburgers all-round plus coffees! 😉
Day 1 – Arrival, Friday, 14th January
2.58pm: Checking-in was simplicity itself, as everything we needed was given to us at the Welcome Lodge whilst we were still in the car just outside the entrance. After perusing the minimal paperwork, we then located the two free electric chargers in Car Park ‘C’
Whilst Ann and Rhonda confirmed our table for our meals and the entertainment, we took some time to soak up the immediate surroundings inside. Very impressive! Next stop, was our rooms. We’re all close to each other this year, so that made things a bit easier – and less distance to
stagger walk when travelling to each others’ temporary home for the next few days! 🤪
3.30pm: These were probably the most modern rooms we’ve stayed in at Warner’s. Very spacious, fresh and bright! Having sorted out our respective rooms, we all met up for a ‘planning meeting’ to decide what we were going to do over the next few days! 👍🙂. There was plenty on offer, but clearly, everything was popular, resulting in some big limitations on our first choices. Ah well, a ‘Plan B’ was required and somehow, some way, we plan to get in a walk, archery, skittles, the pool – and maybe even a trip to the Bar! 👍🤪
4.30pm: We were impressed with this location! Although it’s an old building, it’s been well looked after. There’s also been a tasteful extension to add more accommodation. There are also plenty of public areas where the staff were super-friendly! 😁.
We stopped off at the Cheshire Barn inside the hotel for our first intake of alcohol (first activity ticked off!) where discussions varied from the challenges of getting older to the pros and cons of having children! We’re a cheerful bunch, honestly! 😉
5.15pm: Our first quiz of the day! We’ve got a good track record of doing well in Warner’s quizzes, but their ‘Quest for Knowledge‘ was tough…
It was also VERY well supported! With 15 minutes to go before the start, the place was packed, with no spare tables, and no extra chairs. Consequently, we had trouble finding somewhere to sit! Luckily for us, a large group vacated their space just before the Quiz began, and we got into position! 🙂. Guests beware! The Northants Nutters are here! 😉
Thirty minutes later, it was all over. This one certainly got us scratching our heads, including: ‘What’s the World’s largest fish?’ Anyone? Anyone?? 🤔. In the end, we scored a credible 17 out of 20 (We struggled with the ‘The Greek God of War‘, ‘A Female Donkey’ and ‘Greece’s National Anthem‘, but we were clearly amongst experts, as the top score was from the table right next to us – a full 20! Impressive! Still, our dignity was maintained (at least in our own heads) as we were in the top five! 😉
6.50pm: After a quick change of clothes, it was all round to ours for nibbles and pre-dinner drinkies! The G&Ts and Champagne went down well, although those new Pringles SPICY sour cream crisps were err, surprisingly spicy! Tough life ehh!? Thirty minutes later and suitably ‘oiled’ we took the short walk, down the single flight of stairs to the restaurant.
7.32pm: On arrival, it felt like we were last to arrive as it was already very busy. We were shown to our table (ours for the next few days) and were soon making our choices. An evening of entertainment was to follow (from the comfort of our dining table). By the time we actually began eating, some ten minutes later, the eatery was pretty much at 100% capacity! The Warner’s Marketing Machine had done a good job for this stay, but at around £65 per-night-per person, including all food and entertainment, what’s not to love, especially on a cold, damp and dreary January weekend!? 🤔
Food ahoy! (with everything bathed in a slightly weird purple hue!) 😯. Either that or the camera is broken (but probably it’s my vision due to an excess of champagne earlier! 🙂)
The food was pretty tasty, and the service, reasonably prompt. But with so many people to feed, it felt a bit manic.
8.30pm: Resident singer Dan Smith impressed us all with his versatile voice! 👍
A good playlist Dan! Cheers! 👍
8.45pm: Next up: The Blackjacks! An in-house trio knocking out a wide range of familiar tunes! Dad on the keyboards, daughter on vocals, plus their non-family drummer.
Well, their range of tunes didn’t take long to pack the dance floor – a great act – whilst we played our part and acted as professional spectators! (I blame the wine and the volume of food! 😉).
9.37pm: Next was a Tom Jones tribute act – aka David Kidd. We recalled we’d seen him a few years back at Littlecote Hall – back then, he wore a badly fitting wig! 🙄. He was great entertainment and performed most of TJ’s hits including Delilah, Green, Green Grass of Home plus many, many more, right up to the more modern stuff such as Sex Bomb and You Can Leave Your Hat On. He was pretty convincing as Tom Jones (although his staring eyes were a bit creepy sometimes) 😮. More information about David Kidd is HERE.
10.25pm: Although he was good, we were first to bale out! Nothing wrong with the music, it was just that we were knackered! Nighty-night! 😴😴
Day 2 – Saturday, 15th January
6.35am: Morning Reader! We slept well. The bed is enormous and should come with Google Maps pre-installed! 🙄
9.15am: More food! 🤐. We all met for Breakfast in the restaurant. Again, just like last night, it was very busy, but there were plenty of staff (and plenty of food options) to help us start our day in a positive frame of mind.
10.19am: Walkies! And it’s a cold one. It feels much chillier than the 1℃ in the forecast! 🌨️🌨️. This was an organised walk heading in the direction of Nantwich covering a mile in total.
We walked a little further than the rest of the party, where, in spite of the cold, it turned out to be a very pleasant stroll.
A little further on, we learned the significance of the footpath.
11.30am: Back at the Hall, we returned to The Grove, as it was quiz time again! We were feeling positive!
With Stephen as our Quizmaster, today’s subject was again, General Knowledge. On a positive note, no team got them all correct! Top score was a mighty 18/20 where we scored a slightly less-than-mighty 15! Again, we were in the top 5, with 5 incorrect answers, having struggled with ‘Furthest planet from Earth’, ‘Nickname of Bobby George the darts player’, ‘which TV pop programme ran from 1965-2006?’, ‘The second most capped English soccer player?’ and ‘The name of Billy Connolly’s band?’. 🤔 That Quiz was a toughie!!!
11.58am: A brief return to the Orchid Lounge for some light refreshment and a natter.
1.30pm: And then back to The Grove (not for more food!) and time for something very different – Mölkky – aka Finnish Skittles! 🤔. Nope, We’d never heard of it either! 😳. It was a challenging game but actually very enjoyable! A combination of Ten-pin skills plus good mental arithmetic, as well as reasonable eyesight, were the requirements for this new game! 👍🙂
2.42pm: Just time for a bit of shut-eye whilst Ann tried out the pool.
4.52pm: Another day, another Quiz! This time, a new quiz format (well, for us, anyway!). It was called Majority Rules’ and it went like this: Fifteen questions such as ‘Name a car’, ‘A famous one-word film’, ‘a well-known person’ etc, where the correct answer was the one that most people had written down. So, for the question: ‘name a supermarket’, the ‘correct’ answer turned out to be ‘Tesco’s’ (Sainsbury’s didn’t even feature! 😮). Things got more hilarious AND stressful AND even dangerous when we got to the questions: ‘The most annoying thing about a man?’ and ‘the most attractive thing about a woman?’. It wasn’t exactly University Challenge but the answers (especially to these last two) gave some excellent examples of shallowness! 🙂 Great fun though!!!!
6.29pm: Another victory snatched from us! Next, it was all round to Geoff and Rhonda’s room for pre-dinner nibbles and drinks! Yummy food to prepare us for even more yummy food… 😯
7.32pm: We arrived for our evening meal for the day in good time. Just like last night, it was already busy when we arrived. We tucked-in, looking forward to tonight’s entertainment…
9.15pm: And tonight was the highlight of the weekend for us – The ELO tribute band called ‘ELO Again‘.
And they didn’t disappoint! Consisting of two keyboardists, a drummer, bass guitar, lead guitar, electric cello and electric violin, the five-male/two-female setup captured the sound of ELO perfectly! (although if I’m being picky, I felt they could have cranked UP the mix for the strings and dropped it a little for the drums). They performed two sets, (we’ve not had that before, with any Warner’s headline acts). Each set was around an hour long with just a fifteen-minute pause between them. Two hours of their music and I think they covered pretty much ALL of ELO’s hits – and then three more tracks as part of their encore.
We even met ‘Jeff Lynne‘ in the corridor afterwards looking for his room!
11.22pm: Wow! What an evening. ELO Again were superb! Even if you’re not a massive fan, you won’t have failed to have been impressed by tonight’s performance! They were a well-rehearsed and very polished act. A perfect end to our day!
As usual though, we two were ready for bed soon after, whilst the others partied on into the night! Sweet dreams! 💤😴💤😴
Day 3 – Sunday, 16th January
6.16am: It’s our final full day here and one of us was ‘up with the lark’. I’m not sure why though! 🤔. A quick read of the Telegraph before anything else! No let up for Boris and his wife is reported to have broken lockdown rules whilst Novak Djokovic IS going to be deported! 😯
9.30am: We met our fellow Nutters for breakfast and discussed our plans for the day. Our first activity will be the short drive to see the Secret Nuclear Bunker in nearby Nantwich (it’s well signposted!) Arf-arf!😉
11.03am: Twenty-five minutes later, we arrived at the Secret Nuclear Bunker (Shhhh!)
Click for a background to the Bunker! 🤔
Opened in the Easter holidays of 1997, the Siebert Family now run the bunker as a museum. To give it its proper title – Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker – now has daughter Lucy as its Museum Director. After nearly 25 years the museum has welcomed many thousands of visitors. Prior to that, for over 50 years, this vast underground complex, remained secret, hidden on the outskirts of Nantwich. Declassified in 1993, the 35,000 sq ft underground bunker would have been the centre of Regional Government had nuclear war broken out.
11.07am: It wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but once we were through the (triple reinforced steel) door, it was an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of 60’s cutting-edge communications tech and nuclear-related defence information.
Viewing on a mobile or small screen? Click on the photos for a larger version
Wow! What a location! There was so much to see here – and take in! 😮
Probably the most memorable part was the showing of a (previously banned) BBC production called The War Game (by Peter Watkins) about the realities of a nuclear strike! Even by today’s standards (it was made in 1966), it was
scary terrifying stuff and a sober reminder of how the collective mindset was ‘back then’ regarding a possible nuclear war. Together with the exhibits, it brought a dark sense of realism to the potential threat. There’s a short extract HERE from the film, but be warned, it feels very authentic!😯
12.58pm: Back in the room! (152 that is!) after a thoroughly worthwhile visit to the Bunker! Probably the most densely-packed Museum we’ve been to in a long while! I’ve never seen so much ‘stuff’ in such a small space! Excellent and well worth a visit! 👍👍
1.55pm: Yes, it’s that time again! I’m let loose with an air-rifle. With the rest of Cheshire told to stay indoors for the next 45 minutes, I took up my position. Much to the concern of the locals, it’s become a bit of a ‘must-do’ at these Warner Weekends, and It’ll be interesting to see whether we’re (I’m) any better than last time (for me, the only way is ‘up’… or at least ‘on’ the target!) 🙂. Whilst I was trying to hit the target, Ann declined, and hit the nearby Gym! 😉
3.12pm: With the ‘All Clear’ sounding, I completed my rounds. To the victors, the spoils (Paul, Sue, Geoff and Rhonda did really well!). Therefore, it was off to the nearest Bar to celebrate… or giggle!🤪
Next stop? In around 90 minutes’ time, the much-advertised Music Mayhem Quiz – our final opportunity to exploit our quiz talents! 😮
4.46pm: This was it! The much-anticipated Music Mayhem Quiz! I think most of Cheshire were there and consequently, just like the previous occasions, there wasn’t a spare chair in the room, and it was therefore clear, even before the quiz began, it was being taken VERY seriously! Luckily, Paul & Sue had arrived early to bag a space! The quiz format was this: 15 questions in total with 3 tracks per question to listen to. For each question, teams had to name the title, the artist, and what connected the 3 tracks. Do try and keep up at the back! 😉😯
Scoring was just as complex! Two points for the title, two for the artist and a massive FOUR for the connection between the tracks. Therefore, 10 points maximum per question, and a grand total of 150 points was possible. We’d got a very broad knowledge of music amongst the six of us, so we felt pretty bullish! 👍
Actually, once the quiz was underway, the hardest part was being able to write down the answers before the next question was asked! 🤔. We found most of the tunes pretty easy to identify as well as the connection. The part where we had to identify the artist correctly was to be our ‘Achilles Heel’ – “Who Let The Dog’s Out?” anyone???? 🤔
Anyway, by the time the quiz ended and the answers were read out, we’d scored a mighty 139 out of 150 – and we genuinely felt we must be in with a chance of winning. Clearly though, we were amongst the best-of-the-best, and it wasn’t to be! With our hands in the air to indicate the range of correct answers, those hands started to drop dramatically once we hit 100… (all good so far!)… 110… 120… Still some hands in the air… 130… down to just a few tables now… 140… Drat! We were now out of the running, but there were still three tables left looking VERY smug! 😮. As we closed in on the winner or winners… 145… 146… 147… 148… STILL some hands in the air!! 🙄. Incredibly, by the end, one table had scored FULL MARKS. An unbelievably good score of 150, and in the true spirit of sportsmanship, we gave them a round of applause! 👏👏👏👏👏
Anyway, it’s not the winning is it..? 🙄
Yes, it is!!!!! 😉. Actually, it was a very entertaining and stretching quiz (full marks for whoever developed it!).
6.35pm: With the quiz now a distant memory, and for the final time this break, it was time for pre-dinner drinkies and nibbles again. Paul & Sue hosted.
7.32pm: This was also the last of our evening meals. The food so far has been very impressive, both in terms of quality and presentation.
8.15pm: After enough food to feed an army, the entertainment began…
This guy had a fine voice! A tremendous vocal range and with a real stage presence. We had also seen him run some of the quizzes here, where he showed he was also a natural entertainer, with a great sense of humour! What a talent!!! 👍👍
9.02pm: The Blackjacks were next and covered a wide range of songs from Showaddywaddy to Status Quo via a slice of Opera and an Abba medley. Again, fantastic talent from all three of the band – especially the extended drum solo! Fantastic! 👏👏
9.45pm: Our day had caught up with us, so we left the remaining Nutters to dance the night away with the next Act – Bohemian Rock – a tribute to Queen courtesy of the in-house Entertainments Team.
10.17pm: G’night all! 😴😴. We check out tomorrow after breakfast.
How was the weekend?
Well, that’s it! We’re all ‘Warnered-out’ for another year (in a good way!) and we’ve all really loved this particular venue of theirs. The food, the entertainment, the accommodation and the staff have all made it a very enjoyable experience. For us two, in particular, it’s probably been our favourite Warner’s to-date. Considering we’d booked this one when we were at Warner’s Gunton Hall in August last year (mainly because of the heavily discounted price on offer!) we didn’t really know what to expect, but at only around £65 per-night-per-person – including all food and entertainment – what’s not to love! It’s ticked ALL the boxes for us two! In short: Alvaston Hall has been hard to beat and exceeded our expectations!
Another great start to our social calendar for 2022👍👍👍👍👍
(Now where’s that diet sheet????) 😯😯
All the photos (and none of my chat!)
I got into blogging quite late in life, not publishing my first post until 2004 – well into my 40s!
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