Susan’s Celebration – Helpful Q&As

I’ve already had many guests asking questions… so I thought it might be nice to have a webpage with the answers.

And of course please let me know if you have any other queries at all … 07850-551375 or [email protected]

I am hugely looking forward to seeing you and celebrating us all.

With love,
Susan

Questions

Answers

I need to stay overnight. Is there accommodation?

The best option is to stay in Westminster College itself.

Single occupancy rooms are around £75, double occupancy rooms around £105. All are en suite. Given that Westminster is a working college, sadly they are unable to accommodate children.

As partygoers, you can book direct by ringing 01223 330630 or emailing Westminster College. Please mention that you are with the party on June 18th. The staff are hugely friendly and efficient.

If Westminster College is full, please let me know and I will send you a list of other accommodation options – there are many.↩︎

Should I eat beforehand … if so, where?

There will be a steady flow of canapés as well as drinks, but you will likely want to eat lunch, or a very light late-afternoon meal beforehand.

Where to eat? Very near the college, the stretch of Castle Street running into Magdalene Street running into Bridge Street is packed with restaurants and pubs.

Especially good is The Architect at 43 Castle Street CB3 0AH which does excellent fish and chips, pies, and vegetarian/vegan options. Open from midday and possibly wise to book: 01223 563779.↩︎

How do I get to Westminster College?

Here are directions.

The College is a 10-minute car drive or a 30-minute walk in flat shoes from almost anywhere in central Cambridge including the railway station. If, like me, you will be wearing silly heels, Panther Taxis is on 01223-715715. ↩︎

Is there parking?

Yes! There will be some parking spaces at the college, and Westminster College’s website gives you lots of other nearby suggestions.↩︎

When should I arrive for the celebration?

Please arrive between about 19.00 and 19.15. If the weather’s kind we’ll begin outside, if not we’ll be indoors. At 19.40 I’ll say a few words, and then we’ll start the celebrations in earnest. ↩︎

Where should I arrive?

If you’re coming from outside the college, please come through the big gates to the main outside entrance of the college building.

If you’re staying in the college, please come to the inside front corridor which runs the length of the main building, then head for the main inside entrance.

Lots of lovely people will then point you in the right direction. ↩︎

What about Covid?

We’ll always be either outdoors or in the College Dining Hall where there’s good space to move around.

That said, we don’t want to be a super-spreader event… so for everyone’s sake I’m asking all guests to follow these guidelines.

  • If you are travelling long distances, take a test before setting off.
  • Take extra care if travelling by public transport or taxi – masks, hand sanitiser, distancing.
  • Take a lateral flow test as near as possible to the start of the celebration. If you aren’t able to do this, let us know as you arrive and we’ll give you a test to take.
  • Don’t attend if you’re feeling ill, have tested positive (even if you feel well), or have had contact with someone who has tested positive.

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Dress code?

I’ll be dressing short and sparkly – but please dress however you feel comfortable: long dress, short dress, jeans, suit, DJ, bermuda shorts, white tie and tails. In other words, anything from totally informal to glitz and glam. If you happen to wear the kilt, that would be wonderful. ↩︎

I’m coming on my own – will I know anyone?

Even if you don’t know anyone as you arrive, I hope that by the time you leave you will have made lots of friends. To help with this, during the evening there will be several active opportunities to chat to others, and it would be lovely if you could be open to talking to people you don’t already know. ↩︎

Food and drink?

Food: there’ll be several ‘courses’ of canapés throughout the evening, ending with cake.

All canapés will be either pescatarian or vegetarian/vegan, and most are gluten-free and dairy-free. If in doubt, ask a server.

That said, the cake does contain wheat and cream, because when it came to it I just couldn’t help myself!

Drink: we’ll start and end with fizz and then keep wine, elderflower and mineral water flowing throughout. ↩︎

You mention ‘performance’. What’s that about?

I have lots of friends who are dancers, musicians, actors, comedians and all-round talented people. Wonderfully, they have agreed to entertain us during the evening as well as to do general ‘ushering’. In particular, my friends Miles and Ingrid are acting as MCs to keep everything bubbling.

The evening will end with a special singing ‘thing’ led by friends from the insitu: theatre company. ↩︎

What do you want as a present?

Really, no cards and no presents. Really. Really. Yes, I’ll be the one cutting the cake… but this is no longer only my birthday party but a celebration of us all.

That said, nearer the time I’ll be sending you a small tag on which you can write a message to go on the ‘card tree’ at the celebration, so that I do have a memento of the evening.

And if you want to gift, then a donation to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal or to Cancer Research UK would be wonderful. ↩︎

What time will we finish?

We’ll be starting to wind down from about 23.15 onwards. But before that, as a culmination to the evening, there is a special singing ‘thing’ – so please stay right to the end if you possibly can.

If you do need to leave early, the toast is at 22.20 along with a big group photo, two very very brief speeches and a yummy cake!!!!

Plus, if you are around on Sunday morning, please come for brunch at 12.00 at the Fort St George riverside pub. For details, see the question further on down… ↩︎

How do I get home?

If you are coming by rail, the last train to London from Cambridge Central station goes at 23.54 arriving at King’s Cross just after 01.00 am. If you order a taxi to arrive at the front drive of Westminster College by 23.15 you will be fine.

Panther Taxis is on 01223 715715. I would book this in advance, as Cambridge in June is full of revellers needing to get home. ↩︎

Did someone mention a Sunday morning brunch?

Yes! The following morning some of us are meeting for brunch at 12.00 midday at the Fort St George pub on the river bank.

I’ve done this the morning after previous parties as a really nice wind-down; as a chance for people who could not attend on Saturday to join in the celebrations; as an opportunity for those travelling back home later on Sunday to continue to mingle and to see something of Cambridge. Please do bring friends, children, animals, balloons and bubble machines. Food is good pub grub and prices are reasonable.

Fort St George is a 15-minute walk from Westminster College. There is no parking at the pub itself, so If you are driving, you need to park on the north side of the river and make the short walk to cross the Fort St George bridge. Or ring Panther Taxis on 01223 715715.

Just to add that the original plan was for us to simply turn up and commandeer whatever space we need. But in the event, more of us than expected are brunching – and it is Father’s Day – so we’ve now had to book ahead and let the venue know our menu choices. That said, if you want to come then don’t hold back – just let me know and you will be welcomed!!!

What if I thought I couldn’t come to the Saturday celebration or the Sunday brunch and now find I can come? Or vice versa…

Please come… or step back from coming… at whatever notice! But if at all possible, text me as soon as you know you are changing plans 07850 551375. ↩︎


Thank you to:
  • Catherine Latto and everyone at Westminster College for their thoughtful and committed service
  • Miles Foster and Ingrid Statman for their wonderful and inspiring facilitation
  • Performers: Barry Lane, Bella Stewart, Darren Cheek, Graham Veitch, Joe Kao, Matt Wollerton, Maxine Fay, Mike Fay, Moira Chalmers, Mo Shapiro, Phil Freeman, Rachael Monkhouse, Richard Spaul, Tony Earnshaw for their talent
  • Andrew Bailey for managing the music
  • Darren Cheek, Francesco Dimitri, Paola Filotico, Willie Elliott and Jackie Haws for front-of-house
  • Deb of Biscotti di Debora for the cake
  • James Knight and all at Boxed Events for the cooking and serving of the food
  • James Knight of James Knight Coaching for designing the website
  • Leya Morris at The Cambridge Fabric Company for the dress
  • Lorraine Hole of BluebowDesignsUK for the beech leaf cards for the card tree
  • Loredana Harley for managing the card tree
  • Martin and Emily from the Fort St George pub for their hospitality in the face of crisis!
  • Michael Lopategui of Design Effect for creating the space
  • Sharon and Team at The Flower House for bringing the garden into the Hall
  • Silvano Squizzato for taking the photographs
  • Steve Whitmee for the jive!
  • Everyone – including those who couldn’t make it – for being wonderful people and spectacular friends.

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