We returned yesterday from a fantastic weekend, in a house in East Devon that can, at a push, sleep 27, but which need to house a modest 16 during our stay.
The house itself was lovely. It was massive, with 3 separate sitting rooms, one with pool and fuseball tables, a separate dining room that easily sat us 16, a medium-sized kitchen, a medium-sized indoor swimming pool, and an upstairs so vast that we needed motorised scooters to reach the West Wing, where we sensibly housed the children. The size of the place meant we were never on top of each other, and certainly large enough for all 8 children to go feral. There would be a build up and whoosh like a train going past as the pack stormed from one stronghold to another, presumably in search of blood and fresh meat.
This did mean that the adults were able to spend vast amounts of time chillin', as I think it is called, and much fun was had by all. We had packed all the usual wellies 'n' waterproofs that are pre-requisites for any country stay, but I am ashamed to say that the furthest I ventured from the house was to the garage area to take out the rubbish, and only then with a torch and a map of the locale.
The house itself was the usual large country pile. Lots of flagstones, an Aga cooker, wide floorboards in several rooms, and sofas the size of a one-bedroomed apartment. As is often the case with those rich folks, the attention to detail was somewhat lacking in places, and my now-trained eye would be needed a fair amount of re-plastering, sanding down and general TLC if I were to own the place. I think they call it shabby chic, and I can attest to at least the former. Some of the windows also looked in great need of attention, being as they were single pane and wooden, with a lot of condensation damage to the lower parts of every pane. Luckily, it was not my place, so we were able to enjoy one hundred percent the pleasures and amenities the place gave us.
My biggest complaint, and to be fair it is one I make almost everywhere except my own, is that the beds were not good. They had cheap mattresses that even my topper was unable to civilise, and consequently I did awaken not that refreshed and with compound issues with my back. This was to LO's advantage in that I therefore got up with the Maggots and did the early shift. This in turn entitled me to an afternoon siesta, of which I partook regularly each day.
It has been a bit of a shock coming back to the real world. We are obviously delighted to be back in your own home (comfy bed, smooth walls, etc etc), but the pace of things was initially just too much for us. We have adjusted now, and I am working from home alone.
We did manage to go buy a Christmas tree off the local Gipsies, and have also brought down our old and unused-for-many-years artificial tree, so that we are now a two tree family.
Other than that, not much to report. We are in the tortuously slow final two weeks to Christmas, and I just need to keep everything going so that we are clear in 2011, for a simple and easy start to 2012.
Have a good week and speak soon.