I do apologise for the late publication of this post. Although it's quite possible that nobody noticed! I had plenty of material ready, but then events overtook me, as you will realise. It has taken time to put my thoughts in order. I hope you enjoy reading my story as well as the usual book reviews and so on!
The Corridor of Doom
It had been almost ten years since A and I had a holiday together. We had planned it carefully, a date in February. A luxury hotel I had visited before. I had my sticks and the new wheelchair (I mentioned my arthritis last month). I had booked a twin room on the ground floor, mentioning that I couldn’t manage stairs. When we arrived we were told our room would be ready at three. We were finishing lunch when the duty manager came to say he would be assisting us to our room.
The receptionist offered us a complimentary glass of sherry which we accepted. The young man assigned to us (not the duty manager), took the two glasses, leaving A to push me in the wheelchair. A heavy door took us into a corridor festooned with cables, the floor a quagmire of planks, felt, plastic and builders’ debris. We had to push past ladders and half-open doors as well as men wielding tools who just looked at us with disbelief. By now we both had wet green paint on our fairly new puffer jackets.
Finally we had to squeeze into a lift with an Out of Order sign on the door. A couldn’t manoeuvre the wheelchair inside and suggested the porter hand her the two glasses of sherry. More wet paint on my jacket and we were finally in. He wheeled me to our room – small and dark but acceptably clean. We sat down, drank our sherry and asked to see the duty manager. How were we going to get out of this room, have the swim we’d planned, then come back, dress for dinner and get to the dining room? Neither of us was prepared to repeat the Corridor of Doom experience. We thought about phoning for a taxi and finding another hotel, but that meant getting back to the ground floor. The duty manager appeared, clearly embarrassed and unable to tell us why this had happened. He scuttled off to talk to someone more senior. After ten minutes he came back, refusing to enter the room and avoiding eye contact, saying we would get a refund. He had no solution to the problem of us being marooned in the room.
We insisted on seeing the general manager who handled the situation better. The back story was that the whole ground floor corridor was being renovated, work due to be completed by 12 noon that day. We wondered why we hadn’t been advised that our room couldn’t be accessed. He said the contractors had promised it would all be done. As they were still working when we left the next afternoon that seemed unrealistic. He then offered alternative accommodation in a cottage in the grounds, with porters available to wheel me around when needed. There would be an immediate full refund.
Finally settled in our cottage, we set off for our swim, changed for dinner and after cocktails, wine and a good dinner, began to enjoy ourselves at last!
The High Priestess
I do like this month’s Tarot reading. This female deity rules by slow persistence, feminine patience. Seated at the entrance to her inner sanctum. Sounds good to me – maybe useful in our chaotic world as well as to me personally.
Reading, Listening and Watching
The First Ghosts by Irving Finkel is an amazing non-fiction work about the cuniform tablets now in the British Museum. I know how to deal with a whole list of ghosts. Donkey urine is essential. This sketch is of a tablet depicting a goddess figure. I especially like her fishy feet and pet lions. A little bit like our Tarot priestess.
I really liked This Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell but struggled to keep track of the complex family relationships and time shifts. I ended up making a chart to follow. Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key, about a nanny in a ‘haunted’ house. turned out to be a readable yarn with a few clever twists. The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd (audio) is based on the true story of a young woman determined to tackle slavery. Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell (audio) is an almost modern story of a young single parent, poverty and prejudice. Gathering Evidence by Martin McInnes is a clever tale of scientific research in a dystopian future. Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo is a fascinating novel about a young wife in Nigeria. Stone Blind is another wonderful retelling of Greek myths by Natalie Haynes.
We’ve been watching the Real Housewives of Beverley Hills, Viking Valhalla, The Last of Us, Glory, the Pale Blue Eye, Better, Servant, Medieval, Tutti Frutti from 1982 starring the amazing much mourned Robbie Coltrane. Better stiil, we found the book of the series in the loft! Cannyrob has of course been watching the rugby.
The Sitting Room Project
Cannyrob finished touching up the paint and Daughter did a wonderful job cleaning the 20 year old carpet. We have enjoyed sitting on our sofa watching the new television, with pictures up and bookcases filled. The mice seem to like it. (For Bagpuss fans: they have their own little mouse organ.) The Indian puppets, bought at least 40 years ago, have new silk trousers.
Looking Forward to Spring
it’s cold but sunny and we have some daffodils and crocuses. We have a family wedding this weekend. I’m wearing layers of black net with Doc Marten style boots. And orange nail varnish. I should manage one dance with Cannyrob! He will be dancing all night. We’ve booked a few days away in April in the campervan with WeeBoy. I hope you have plans too. Please keep in touch. What’sApp, Facebook, email… public or private. It’s always great to hear from you. Love, Elinor