A Wet Day at the Abbey

Well it would seem that not even the appalling weather could stop us hardy recovery types from going out and doing what it is that we do best; have a load of fun.

This became apparent on a cold, wet and windy Friday in early September when 37 intrepid Basement types gathered together for an epic trip to Bolton Abbey where fun and frolics were surely to be found and where a group of determined souls were to stamp their mark on a famous British monument.

All did not begin as was first planned however as our transport rolled up looking less like the luxury coach we were expecting and more like an old school bus that had just returned from dropping off a hoard of children at the local secondary modern, but undeterred we jolly fellows all piled happily on and set off on our grand day out.

The mood on the bus was upbeat and excited as everyone chatted noisily and seemed genuinely happy to be a part of the day, and even when the bus driver took a rather baffling and circuitous route to the Abbey spirits remained high and the anticipation was manifest.

When we arrived the weather was even worse than it had been when we had set off and the rain was pouring down and the wind was blustery and cold, yet we all plodded boldly on down to the barbeque site where a gazebo was erected and the food preparations began.

This of course seemed the perfect time to begin a game of rounders/baseball (no-one really knew which) and so Graham marshalled up two teams to begin the wettest and windiest game of rounders/baseball in the history of sport. People were slipping and sliding around everywhere on the soaking wet grass (particularly Raymond), still everyone genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves with Colin’s team (our team) eventually winning quite comfortably.

With this sporting triumph achieved the athletes then set back off to the gazebo, now rammed full of freezing, wet revellers trying desperately to get out of the wind and rain and enjoying cups of hot tea, for the long-awaited barbeque which I am sure everyone would agree was a huge and welcome success.

After the food, a few (mental) explorers decided to have a bit of a paddle in the nearby river and everybody had a good old chuckle.

Unfortunately due to time restrictions and the worsening weather situation not many people actually made it down to the Abbey proper, which did cause a little bit of frustration for one or two people who had wanted to see it; sometimes though these things do happen and they just can’t be helped.

I asked a few attendees why they had come to Bolton Abbey that day and if in fact they had enjoyed it. Brian said:

“For a nice day out with recovering addicts getting well.” And had he enjoyed it?
“Yeah I certainly have even though it’s been raining, a good day, a good day for all”.

Gina replied: “To be with everybody else and to have a good time and to get to know some of my peers.”
And had Gina enjoyed herself? “Err yes, to the extent that I could, under the circumstances”.

I asked Andy the same questions, and he said:
“’Cause I’ve obviously got a screw loose somewhere Richard ha ha, no it’s good to do something, weather’s been crap, it’s been good, it’s been a laugh; character building, character building”.

All in all it seemed to be a good day out for everyone; against the odds a group of people all connected to each other by their recovery from addiction came together and showed that we can make the best out of any situation however unlikely it may have seemed in the beginning.

I would like to personally thank Graham and Colin for organizing the trip, a big thanks to Vicky and Danielle for doing such a good job with the barbeque, and thank you to Emma for making sure we all had a cup of tea. However my biggest thanks go to the 37 recovering addicts, who braved the weather, made me smile and made the whole day out something to remember.


Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue  6