I was invited by a friend to be her guest at a spa day for which she had received a gift voucher. Naturally, I said, “Yes please”. Shortly after 11am this morning we turned into the grounds of the early eighteenth century Haughton Hall, a Grade II listed building, and followed the drive through the surrounding woodland and mature gardens.
We’d hoped that our day would include a relaxing drink whilst we enjoyed sitting in the sunshine but were let down by the ever-changing weather -it was raining. We began with coffee and a catch up. We’ve known each other since junior school and although she was in the year below me she was allocated the same table in the dining hall. My abiding memory of this time was that she drove me insane with her constant rendition of ‘Last train to Clarksville’. We were both keen Monkees fans but to this day, it remains my least favourite of their songs! I then went off to High school and later she went to a different one. We’d probably not have seen each other again but my parents decided to move house and I discover that my former schoolfriend lived just four doors away from our new home. The friendship was rekindled and even though, in adulthood, she moved away for more than thirty years (returning to our home area only about ten years ago), it survived. Although now both members of The Ladies’ Dining Group ( The Ladies dining group) it’s been some time since we spent any time as a twosome.
The spa itself was a little tired but the chosen treatment (a facial) provided the desired relaxation. The beautician had a lovely light touch and I’d have happily lain on her couch for another hour listening to the gentle spa music! Needless to say, with the surgical boot on my right leg, I didn’t take advantage of the pool!
I love a facial but once I no longer worked full time, something had to go. Hair comes first, nails next. I manage a back massage from time to time but a facial (other than self-administered, which deals adequately with the practicalities but fails dismally on the pamper front) is only a very occasional treat. Afterwards (having reapplied our faces!) we made our way into the main part of the hotel, marvelling that this would once have been someone’s home. Given that such homes were built long before the days of central heating I’ve often wondered why they so often have such high celings which would undoubtedly have made them very cold. We had a drink in the lounge bar and then went into the restaurant for the second part of the treat – afternoon tea.
Since afternoon tea once again became very popular a few years ago, versions of it have popped up everywhere from garden centres to cafes, from hotels to spas. I’ve experienced quite a few, some very much better than others. This was one of the good ones but silly me, I forgot to take a photo. However, given that I’m telling you how good it was, I can’t imagine that the hotel will object to me using theirs.
Following the sandwiches and smoked salmon pinwheels (curiously served with a bowl of chips!) we had scones with jam and clotted cream (of course), far more cakes than we could have eaten and a chocolate fondue with fruit and marshmallows. The waitress told us that she was happy to wrap anything we couldn’t manage which meant that we each took three cakes home. Soon after she’d dropped me off I had a text from my generous friend…’J scoffed the cakes already’ referring to her husband.
‘G did too,’ I text back’, referring to mine!