Just back from the beautiful Wokefield Park Mansion House Hotel. This was a somewhat delayed Christmas present from daughter Liz. She won a 'spa package' in a competition and generously added to it, so the pair of us could go and be pampered for a day!
I drove down and collected her from the end of the Tube [Shepherd's Bush] yesterday and then we drove out to Reading. The 18th Century property is set in extensive grounds with a Golf Course and a lake, and lots of lovely trees.
On arrival we checked in, and then went in search of lunch. Not feeling too hungry, we decided on a snack in the bar. Is this place posh or what? They served my bacon roll with ketchup and brown sauce - but not in silly sachets, or squeezy bottles - oh no - the condiments came in individual bowls with spoons!
Having duly fortified ourselves we then checked out the whole establishment, and went to the Spa Centre for a session in the Jacuzzi and the sauna.
Back to the [extremely well appointed] room for shower and a rest - then into Reading itself, where Liz treated me to an evening meal at Giraffe in the Oracle Centre.
This was excellent [especially as you can print off 2-for-1 vouchers from their website at the minute. Liz is definitely my daughter when it comes to Thriftiness!]
Our waiter, Harrison, was enthusiasm personified...
Liz had a pizza and I had a smoked salmon salad.
Then we shared the banana waffles.
The place was bright and spacious and the atmosphere was lovely. We sat by the window overlooking the canal [or is it a river? not sure...]
I like their slogan!
They gave us little plastic giraffes to take home [why?]
We drove back to Wokefield Park and settled in with a hot drink to watch CSI [the last one with William Petersen as Gil Grissom] and enjoy an evening of chatting, TV, reading [and dishcloth knitting!]
This morning, an ample breakfast was followed by our beauty treatments with a beautician called Steph. The thing about these back & body massages is that they leave you feeling wonderfully relaxed, and as if your spine is longer and you are 6" taller!
So here we are, just after our treatments!
We packed up, and drove out through the parkland
We passed all the golfers enjoying the lovely spring weather, and got onto the M4 and pootled back into London. We saw the lovely blue onion dome of the Russian Orthodox Church in Chiswick, sparkling in the sunshine.
We drove past the new Westfield Shopping Centre and agreed we have absolutely no desire to visit it. It looked dull and ugly.
I dropped Liz off at Shepherd's Bush Tube again, and programmed the SatNav for home. For reasons best known to itself, it brought me on a different route back, up through Wembley to the bottom of the M1. I was safely home by 3pm.
It was a lovely break, and I greatly enjoyed it - not least because I always value time spent with my children. It came just at the right moment too. After my fairly intense stint with the Year 3s, I needed a bit of TLC! Thank you Liz, for my lovely Christmas Gift.
I got home [to a wonderfully tidy kitchen - thanks Bob!] and found an email from Steph saying she would definitely be home on Saturday - so my cup truly runneth over!
There are daffodils in the front garden and buds on the fig tree, I have had my beauty treatment, and spring is here. Time for a bit from the Song of Solomon I think..
My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."