Even after a hefty night of mixed drinking there were no hangover problems in the morning. I woke around 9am, took the dogs for their morning walk and returned to drink hot water and fresh lemon. It’s a wonderful thing to not have to contend with the hangover and i put my ability for this avoidance down to the fact i made a disciplined effort with my general health and well-being from an early age. At 18 i began swimming regularly and continued this for 13 years and at the age of 24 i found Yoga and i know it’s this combination (along with 30 years of dog walking) that have given me the opportunity to enjoy drinking without the shitty next morning syndrome, well for some, it can last more than a couple of days to recover after a boozy night. Anyway, check out Yoga and the art of breathing (Pranayama), it’s crucially amazing. So, my Sunday starts positively and, it being the eve of my 43rd birthday i decide to book myself into a hotel/spa in Chester.
A bit of surfing of the net leads me to find Crabwall Manor Hotel. The photographs look stunning and i can’t help but be steered toward the ‘Junior Suite’. That’s it, decision made. Booking.com and it’s sorted.
Check in time is 3pm. I leave my friend’s house at just after midday and stop en route to give the dogs yet another walk. Nice little park, sun is out, trees are green, brown, red and gold as is the floor at their base. The air is crisp and my world feels calm and sparkly, and the two dogs, well, they’re in their element.
So we gets to the Manor Hotel (right next door to the Crabwall Residential Home) and the drive in is welcoming and looks quite awe-inspiring. Loads of trees and autumnal colours. I park up and head for reception.
A two night stay in the ‘Junior Suite’ is a little over two hundred bucks so when i got inside i was a wee bit surprised at the welcoming desk and the woman sat behind. Maybe it’s me being horrid but she looked a bit flustered and windswept! and there was no dress code (i.e uniform or smart suit etc). She did however smile at me in welcome and i gave her my details. She recognised my name and said she’d put me in room 6 and that it was a nice room. It became apparent soon after that there was a bit of a to do going on as another member of staff wafted in with walky talky and the woman had to make a call to inform a the gentleman at the end of the line that his girlfriend had not handed their door key back, it seems that he then hung up. In between this i asked if the room had wi-fi and she said, ‘yeah probably’. Probably is not a word i warm to, unless of course it’s used in conjunction with a rather tepid beer. Anyway, that didn’t instill confidence in me. Plus, i know i was trying to get in my room before 3pm check in but she was having none of it. Instead, she got me to fill in a form with my details, morning call time preferred and profers a cheap and nasty biro that has the end missing from it. Then she smiled again and steered me toward the Spa. So, i thought okay, i’ll go with this and grab the opportunity for a steam, sauna and swim – lovely!
Aha! within just ten minutes a bit of a u-turn – not so lovely! apart from one of the fitness instructors (who was very easy on the eye) – well, i’d gone up to the desk and said i’d like to swim and steam etc etc and i had to sign in and it was then i was handed a towel – i took it in hand and felt it’s age at the same time as seeing its threadbare demeanour, i actually felt sorry for it, that it still had to work at such a late age in its lifespan.
I made my way to the changing room. I felt impending gloom and i got changed wishing i hadn’t chosen this venue to spend my birthday in. I wanted to go to the loo.
I tiptoed to the shower and got myself a bit wet, in preparation for the steam room. I was totally disappointed as soon as i stepped into the (small cubicle sized) room, feeling that there was definitely more steam coming off my mate’s kettle than there was in this space. I gave it 7 minutes and hadn’t broken a bead of sweat so i thought ok, i’ve still got the sauna to try. I go into that (small cubicle sized) room and sit down and then i lay down, knowing, this is going to take some time. Fifteen minutes on and i have a thin-film of glossy perspiration on me. Resigned to the fact that this is as good as it’s gonna get i think to myself, at least there’s the jacuzzi. Now this was the funniest one for me because i reckon there’d have been more bubbles if i’d have farted in the damn thing. I made do with a twenty-minute swim (the photographer had made the pool look amaaaaazing on the website) – it was okay in reality.
So i dry my swimsuit as best i can with the hairdryer and then give myself the once over because i’m still feeling sorry for the towel. That done i head back to the desk to sign out. I consider complaining but decide against it – i must be running a temperature cos that’s not like me to not air my disappointment.
Back at reception the lady is still looking a bit askew. I’ve got 10 minutes to wait until 3pm because she is adamant in not letting me into a room/suite before the given time. The chap from earlier (with his walky talky) returns and i ask him if Room 6 has wi-fi, he gives me the same response as she, ‘probably’ and i return with the point that it was stated on the booking form that wi-fi was available in all rooms. They look at each other, look at me and then by the time it’s 3.05pm they’re putting me in room 10. Walky Talky guy leads the way, whilst telling me there’s a bit of a problem with Room 10 in that the kitchen fan gives off a buzzing noise : constantly (well he said it stops when the kitchen closes but i found that to be untrue as it didn’t stop at all for the duration of my stay – but it was kind of comforting in a low down buzzy type of way). Anyway, he unlocks the door and invites me in. Wow! bingo! I like it.
and the green phone! well how smart is that (but it didn’t work) as i found out the next morning when there was no wake up call and then i see it’s 9.30am and breakfast ends at 9.30am so i jump up, throw on my track suit and cap, no wash of face, no early morning stretch, no brushing of hair or sweeping away of eye grits. Go to reception where another smiling face (and better dressed and groomed) lady greets me and i ask where the morning call was? and she apologises and says she’ll make sure i get a breakfast so i race out to the dogs (who spent the night in the boogie bus) and get them sorted with a nice little twenty-minute walk in the pissing down rain – and we’re all happy! Luckily i’d spotted the rain and kitted myself out with cagool and Wellington boots so it wasn’t that bad.
Well anyway, back in the room and i strip off to my morning knickers and vest cos i just want to chill on my birthday morning.
I had enjoyed my birthday eve, just sitting off on a big fat couch with plumped up cushions watching comedy tv and writing and surfing the net and speaking with friends via text and instant messaging and drinking tea and eating biscuits, yeah it was nice … would have preferred to not have to jump up in the morning like a wild’un.
Then there’s a knock at the door and its breakfast, served by the receptionist!
ooooh, there’s a silver lid on my plate … i’m high on anticipation
Breakfast Cost = £10
and thankfully, it came with a very small eyelash on the edge of the plate – nowhere near the food.
I’m still sitting in my cartoon print knickers and star print vest when there’s another knock at the door, i’d almost finished my brekkie (remembering i leave the sausages for the canines!) .. so i answer the door, opening it just a smidgen so my state of undress remains hidden – it’s an engineer?! i’m like, ‘i’m eating breakfast’ and i shut the door.
It’s only later that i go down to reception, see the same guy and he asks if he can get in the room to check the phone lines – that’s when it becomes clear as to why i didn’t get the wake up call, there’s me thinking it’s because of the changeover of rooms, cos i was supposed to be in 6 and then i ended up in 10.
Well i’ve had a bit of enough now and decide to complain and i speak to the receptionist and tell her that i’ll show her the photos i took in the Spa to prove it wasn’t the best experience. She apologises profusely and offers me to talk with the Spa manager – ‘what can he do’ I say, ‘i can’t use the facilities today because they weren’t good yesterday’. But it turns out she sends him up to my room anyway and it turns out the manager happens to be the eye candy instructor i’d spotted first thing on entering the Spa. So we have a chat about what happened and i show him the photographs and he offers me a complimentary half hour back and neck massage (cost £40) – ok, nice, thanks. Massage turns out to be okay, the therapist (Sarah) was absolutely lovely and really amiable and professional (but i’ve had many a massage and have been spoilt by the creme de la creme of experts!) so i’d probably give her a 6.8 out of 10, no disrespect to her effort, i’ve just had much better. And, because i smelt wax in the air of the therapy room, it reminded me of my underarm situation, so, back at the Spa desk i ask if there’s room to fit me in for a quick hair removal. I’m led back to the treatment room and i say to Sarah, ‘i’ll have to pop back up to the room after to get my card to pay’ and she turns and says, ‘we’ll give it complimentary cos i’ve heard you’ve had a bit of a time of it so far’ …. So, underarm hair removal = £10.
I spend the day pretty much same as the day before, chilling out, typing, writing, checking all my birthday messages – 8 texts, 1 phone call, 17 facebook messages and 168 (and counting) facebook timeline posts. I got 3 cards (but i have no fixed abode and have taken myself out of the social scene for the last three days).
Just another quick addition, i opened one of the windows in my room – had to jump up to sit on window sill, looked out and saw this ….
and there were some massive Koi Carp swimming about in there …. (this is the Caldwell Residential Care Home)
I’ve got a couple of hours left here in my ‘Junior Suite’ so i’ll sign off. An early start is set for tomorrow as am heading further North to Leeds for some filming on Emmerdale. I will be playing the role of a ‘Talent Contest Audience Member’.