Despite the Boyfriend’s insistence on surprising me for this date, he caved and told me what we would be doing with the same self-deprecating tone he used when he told me he’d kept the receipt for my birthday present in case I hated it. The boy should really have more faith in his ability to choose fantastic surprises.
So, I knew we would be heading down to Cornwall – a near six hour drive from where we live – to check out the Eden Project. I’d been before, but it was many years ago, when the project was in its infancy, and I was keen to see it again with fresh eyes. To make sense of the long journey, we also booked a hotel in Bristol, at about the halfway point, in order to break up the return journey, give us an extra night and do some shopping in Cabot Circus.
We drove down on Sunday night, after I ran(ish) 5K and after the Boyfriend had done a shift at work, so neither of us were in a particularly datey mood. A quick meal in McDonalds, a brief drink in the pub and we settled down to an early night. Of course, the Boyfriend, being the highly-strung, on call person that he is, was unable to completely relax and did leap out of bed in the middle of the night and run out of the room in his underwear, looking for a fire. I’m just glad it was at about half past two – I don’t think the other guests at the Premier Inn would have appreciated it too much.
After a massive breakfast, we took the rest of the journey down to the Eden Project. We were there very close to opening time, before it really got busy, but the Boyfriend was still surprised at how many people had turned out for ‘a greenhouse with a tomato in it’. A quick bus journey, and a ride on the ‘Land Train’ (that the Boyfriend got ridiculously over excited about) proved that it was more than just a greenhouse we were going to see.
We went through the Mediterranean Biome first, as I knew from experience that the Rainforest Biome would be hard work. We bickered about who could take better photos and chatted about nothing in a way we haven’t done for a while – largely due to me being completely exhausted by work pressures – and it was really nice to get away from work and home. I thought that I would miss not going abroad this year, but I think it doesn’t really matter how far you go, just that you actually get away – sleep in a bed that isn’t yours for a night or two. Spend some selfish time just on yourself and each other.
The Rainforest Biome was next, and I thought as we walked in that it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Within ten minutes I was unzipping my trouser legs to turn them into shorts and wishing for a cold bottle of water. That heat creeps up on you, exhausting you slowly so you’re shattered before you even realise you’ve started to feel tired.
Still, determined to make the most of it we queued nearly forty-five minutes for a chance to climb to the observation deck – a large platform suspended from the very top of the Biome from which you could look down at the Rainforest canopy. I was reminded very much of the highropes as we climbed up. I’m not afraid of heights, as such – I was fine once I’d got up there – but climbing up and down to the platform had my heart pounding and more than just heat induced sweat pouring from me.
It was well worth the climb and the wait though. And as it wasn’t built last time I went, it felt good to say I’d done something different this time round.
After that exhaustion, we bought some Baoab smoothy from a drinks bar in the rainforest. It was very sweet and sickly, but just what I needed to pick up my flagging energy reserves after the exhaustion of the wait and climb for the platform.
We didn’t hang around long after that. The Boyfriend bought some beer from the shop, and we had a scone in the restaurant, then we got the bendy bus back to the car park and began the drive back to Bristol. We stopped off at Plympton to see where the Boyfriend used to live on the way.
Once at Bristol, the Boyfriend suggested we see a movie, and I essentially hassled him into watching the last Harry Potter. It was the End of an Era! I argued. That began with E. It was date appropriate. We had to wikipedia the plot of the last film, as neither of us could remember what happened (despite the fact that I have actually read the book) and then drove out to a leisure park outside of Bristol I used to go to when I was at Uni, doubling the nostalgia points of the trip.
We ate at Chiquitos, where we had Enchiladas (quite by accident) and I threw a Tequila Sunrise all over the table, much to my dismay.
Now, the Boyfriend doesn’t have a good track record with staying awake in cinemas. I asked him as the adverts came on what the last film he can remember watching all the way through was. His response was Constantine, which was the first film we went to see together, before we were even officially Boyfriend and Girlfriend. I laughed at him. He didn’t do too badly in Harry Potter (though his verdict on the film was less than favourable) and I only had to poke him a couple of times to ensure he wasn’t snoring.
Feeling very full and sleepy, we headed back to the hotel.
The next day, we did a bit of shopping, but were eager to get the last stretch of the driving done. I bought some new t-shirts and the Boyfriend picked up a really nice pair of shorts, then we headed home.
It wasn’t abroad, it wasn’t particularly adventurous, but I had an amazing time, and despite feeling very under the weather when I got home, I felt better than I had done for ages. F Date is being organised by Mum, but they haven’t done D yet, so we may be waiting a while for our next one. Still, no bother really – we have plenty of things planned for the summer, and should be kept very busy in the meantime.