Saturday, August 22, 2009

To the manor borne

On waking up from our final night in the cottage we break up the cleaning tasks by a final foray to the Yurt. When we had dinner last night we asked to reserve a table and 'our' table is duly waiting for us. Despite MC's obvious leaning towards his full English we all plump for their ever so excellent sausage sandwiches. We already know that with D and MC with their foresight of bringing their fridge can stock up on these Arthur Howell sausages in Wells. They have also decided to purchase two dozen bottles of Coxes Orange Pippin apple juice that I'm jealously chasing my sandwich down with. After years of normally finding apple juice just above acceptable it was a joy to find one that I loved so much. There is a small fear however that LLcT wouldn't appreciate the finest of this juice and consume it rapidly in a few thirst quenching guzzlings. I can't consider adding further to my already burgeoning luggage by indulging in some bottles to go for the train journey home, that could push me over the edge!

With the cottage all suitably ship-shape again we grab our luggage and part ways. D and MC are off for a couple of nights at the Neptune where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner on our last visit. Then they are booked in for a couple more nights at an Alastair Sawday recommended B&B in Wells-next-the-sea. Feeling that I've gate-crashed their holiday long enough I've booked two nights in 'Basil' at Titchwell Manor. I'm specific about the room as this a major part of Titchwell Manor's charms; they have the original rooms in the main building with panoramic views across the marshes. They also have thirteen new rooms built around their gardens and I was completely taken with the idea of living in Basil for the next two nights. They suggested coriander but not actually liking coriander I thought this could taint my stay so settled on the way more acceptable Basil. And it is very acceptable with a lovely room of wonderful textures and muted natural tones. There are rich stripy rugs on a flagstone floor, a mohair throw here a stack of corded cushions there and luxury - real fuchsias. There are comfy leather armchairs, stone based lamps, a driftwood mirror and even a flat screen TV. The bathroom is gorgeous also with stone tiles of chocolate and biscuit colours, fluffy robes and towels and all manner of yummy White Company toiletries. There's an intriguing crescent shaped window that if you are bothered by the light you can stop with a suitable crescent shaped cushion - how thoughtful! You even get a little trowel attached to your key; though I don't think I'm expected to earn my keep amongst the rosemary and lavender beds outside my window.
For those little home comforts they have provided a tray of bottled water, fair trade Earl Grey teabags, hot chocolate, espresso coffee, a chic Villeroy & Boch teapot and cups and even little home made biscuits in a jar. I think I'm going to enjoy it here!

The only tiny thing I'd like is for their wifi to be extended to their rooms, and that's only because I've been so Internet deprived this week. My work BlackBerry was sadly pretty well connected but Apple on it's O2 network had small brief flickers of connectivity but most of the time was bereft of outside contact. I was shocked really, it's not as if really we're in the wilds or totally cut off from civilisation but O2 can't drum up a decent phone mast or two. And yes I appreciate that many would dream of being cut off from phones and the www but I've realised how many times you use them to make life a little easier. Ringing to make a restaurant reservation, the handy locator if you get separated whilst exploring the higgledy piggledy shops, the obligatory 'happy birthday' text message and then when I have to think about going home, checking train timetables and tube connections at the other end. Maybe I don't normally holiday in places that are remote enough but the only time I can recall being mobile phone-less was whilst out to sea on the Northern cities of Europe cruise M and I did two years ago. All is well though because at least the Internet lack can be sated by retiring to the comfortable lounge or bar in the manor house and I will be able to sort out travel arrangements there but still no phone, it's eerily quiet!

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