I’ve had more auspicious starts to a holiday. Both S and I have been feeling bad for the last couple of days – with some kind of viral thing that has resulted in us both aching and groaning like a couple of old women. At one point, S couldn’t move his legs. I have aching swollen glands and can’t swallow easily.
Then halfway down the M5 I realised that I’d left half my clothes at home. Not much good coming away with a couple of skirts, shorts and leggings if you have no tops to go with them. S had four jumpers so I could always borrow one but I still felt like an illness addled idiot.
It was a long journey but at last we reached a peaceful bunch of cottages set on a hill on the Hartland Peninsula. We walked down to the main house and rang the bell. It was answered by an older man who immediately called for someone else. The other man appeared, looked shocked, said, “I’ll just check something’ and closed the door. We looked at each other. I had been confident that I’d booked the holiday for the correct dates right up until that moment and then was suddenly unsure.
He reappeared with a completely different face on. “I’m so sorry, I forgot you were coming!” That much was obvious. He chattered about the traffic, the journey and then apologised because the cottage wasn’t ready. He let us in. In the centre of the room stood two big bags of cleaning things and a hoover. Some of the curtains were down but apart from that, it was ok. Martin (the owner) hung the curtains and cleared away the stuff while we unpacked the car. Then he brought down the travel cot we requested. Finally he appeared bearing a cream tea, a bottle of red wine, some chrysanthemums, a pint of milk and a box of chocolates.
I rate holiday cottages on whether they contain the following:
- salt and pepper grinders
- a fish slice
- a cafetiere
- a DAB radio
- a range of books to borrow
You may think some of these are basic requirements but the number of cottages we’ve stayed in that think cups are a good idea is too much to bear… This one had all except the DAB which we’d brought with us anyway.
We unpacked, gave E some dinner and then bathed her in the kitchen sink (the cottage only has a shower) before putting her to bed. Owls were hooting outside, sheep were blathering on somewhere close by and pheasants were grazing on the lawn. I cracked open the wine and washed down more Nurofen.
I am reading: The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend. I’m supposed to be reading Paths of Glory (NOT the Jeffrey Archer FFS) by Humphrey Cobb for reading group next week but have been sidetracked by this. I borrowed it from the library just after she died with fond memories of Adrian Mole and this is as sadly funny with as many astute observations on everyday life.
E is reading: E got loads of books for her birthday and when she’s not reading or roaring along to the interactive noisy Room on the Broom, she likes reading Tabby McTat by Julia Donaldson. It seems like anything by Julia Donaldson will work. This is the story of a busker’s cat who wanders off and misses his busker being robbed, falling and breaking his leg and being carted off in an ambulance. So the cat moves in with two lesbians and their cat instead and has a family. (The story doesn’t work if it was a dog. Cats are rubbish.) Then it finally gets a conscience and tries to find the busker again. Pah. Still, she likes it.