We have been away. Without the children.
It was berrillliyant.
It was miraculous that nobody got ill, had an accident, double booked us with a trip that could not possibly be cancelled, fell down a well, developed the scrofulous itch, just as we were about to leave.
All of these things have happened in the past, or variations thereof. We have learned, over the years, not to get excited about our trips away until we are actually properly under way.
We did not get caught in snow, hurricanes, typhoons, fifty mile long tail backs or anything else, and although it was Friday night traffic, and therefore took us twice as long to get there, it was nevertheless manageable, and we were there in time for our dinner reservation.
We found a parking space immediately outside the hotel, which, if you know Harrogate at all, is a bit like finding the holy grail five minutes after setting off on the quest, knowing that usually it would take you at least a decade.
We stayed at the Hotel du Vin. We love the chain. The service is always immaculate, the rooms are a good size, and the beds are massive. We hate small beds. Hate ’em. Specially Jason, and as it was his birthday trip away, it was important to get it right.
I splashed out and booked us a suite. It was totally decadent, and we rattled around in it like peas in a bucket, but what is a big birthday for, if not to be decadent?
I also booked us dinner in the hotel on the first night. I knew the journey would be long on a Friday night, and we would be tired and not in the mood to trek anywhere, and I also knew that Jason likes the food in the hotel restaurant, so it was a double win. The only sadness was that they have finally taken sticky toffee pudding off of the menu, and it was his favourite.
Somehow, we coped with the disappointment. A couple of gin and tonics for him and a couple of Kir Royales for me, and we were feeling very sanguine about things.
The weekend was perfect. We did almost nothing at all, but we did it in style, and luxury and at our own pace and in our own time. We slept when we liked, ate when we liked, got dressed when we liked. It might sound very boring, but to us it is the absolute pinnacle of heavenly wonder. I got to read the entire Guardian uninterrupted, including all the supplements on Saturday afternoon, which was pretty magical.
We did go out for a bit, but just for a gentle amble around. We contemplated Betty’s Tea Room, but the queue was massive and the shop was heaving and we were not that hungry, so we gave ourselves the luxury of not standing with a lot of people slavering for Fat Rascals, and moved on. I scoured the local charity shops, which as you know, is my passion. I found a Toast shift dress in grey marl for a tenner and considered myself a very lucky woman. We bumbled around a book shop, looked at house prices in estate agents windows, and lapped up the afternoon sun.
In the evening we went for a Thai meal as Jason fancied curry, and I was there to indulge him. We found a a very nice place called Sukhothai, which looks a bit like a Seventies library, but where the food was lovely and the people were very nice.
There was a small snag on Saturday night where I had intended to luxuriate in one of the two roll top baths in our ridiculously large bathroom, and it transpired that the boiler had broken. The way the hotel staff dealt with the problem was exemplary. A complimentary bottle of champagne was a most welcome substitute, as was a fair chunk off of our bill for the inconvenience, and the boiler was fixed by the end of the evening. so I postponed my bath until this morning, and it was just as good as I had anticipated.
We agreed that one of the things we enjoyed the most was our breakfast. Breakfast is a great luxury if you can have it when you want, and you can eat what you want, and someone else cooks it for you and clears up after you. It is one of the most pleasurable experiences in the world in my opinion.
We ate so much breakfast on Saturday that we actually skipped lunch and had an early dinner instead, we indulged ourselves that much.
I started with warm, granary toast spread with salted butter and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice while I was waiting for my pot of coffee. I then had a beautifully cooked mushroom omelette, and to finish, with my third and fourth cup of coffee I had a very palatable raisin Danish. It was only a shame I didn’t have room for yogurt and fruit compote, or a pain au chocolat as well.
This morning I swapped my omelette for delicious French toast made with brioche, drizzled with maple syrup and served with maple cured bacon. I can live without bacon on my French toast to be honest, but the French toast with brioche was a revelation and I am going to attempt to recreate it at home.
We have had a knockout time. It was just what the doctor ordered, a few days off from the real world to recharge and relax and be utterly indulgent.