The hen weekend was based in Elvaston, Derbyshire where we stayed in a lovely wood cabin in Beechwood Park. Friday night was the main arrival point with Liz and I arriving first and having time to sit out in the sun with a drink while discussing possible readings for the wedding ceremony. Once everyone else had turned up, we cooked up the enormous bolognese made earlier and everyone got introduced.

On Saturday morning we said goodbye to Rosemary and hello to Elspeth as we got ready for the day's activity - raku. This is a Japanese technique of glaze firing and involves removing the glazed pot from the kiln when the glaze is molten (around 900 degrees Celsius). The glazed pot is then put in a reduction chamber (in our case an old metal bin) and covered with sawdust. This action gives the typical black crackle. The pots cool down very quickly so you can take them home with you on the same day. The pots were made in advance so no actual artistic skill was required. This took up most of the day with a break for lunch in the sun and gained us three pots each to take home as souveniers.

On Sunday evening the usual change of personnel resulted in a few departures and the addition of my honorary hen, Matt, who I shared an office with back in PhD days and who came up for a meal out in the pub in the next village.