Saturday, November 06, 2004

Butter and I spent my birthday at the exceedingly upper-crust Ashdown Park Hotel, deep in the Kentish countryside, a short canter on a pony away from Winnie the Pooh's birthplace. Hoorah! Twas very grand and a bit like staying at Hogwarts, only without the quidditch or headless spooks. Well, I didn't see any - perhaps they were on holiday and only appear when the hotel is busy.

As one might expect for the first chilly week of November, Ashdown (as I have come to know it) was almost deserted. We had the swimming pool and jacuzzi all to ourselves. I wasn't able to swim - would a one-legged swimmer go round in circles or just sink? - but soaked my leg in the whirlppol spa for therapeutic purposes. Going through the swimming pool footbath on crutches was an experience I'll never forget. My crutches were lovely and clean afterwards: they sparkled. Then I had a bit of a struggle getting my trunks off in the changing room. I was nearly compelled to call out to the Eastern European attendant (female) for assistance, but I finally managed to remove my sodden swimming garments on my own. Shame.

We were outnumbered by staff in the fancy-schmancy restaurant (or banqueting area) too, which was nice as the bored waitresses kept bringing us canapes to sample. After quaffing martinis, we dined on truffle soup, asparagus and avocado salad, goats cheese risotto with a port reduction, and drank the finest wines known to man (aka a lovely bottle of muscadet). For pudding, Butter had pistachio creme brulee and I had a vanilla panna cotta. Shortly afterwards, we passed out. (Upon seeing the bill.)

We spent yesterday morning munching pastries and reading the paper in front of an open fire in the sitting room. I felt like Penelope Keith in To the Manor Born. I definitely should have been born into the aristocracy - perhaps there was a mix-up in the maternity ward.

After that, I came back down to earth with a visit to the physio, who iced my leg and tried to make me bend it. Aaaargh! I can bend it a mere 47 degrees. Which gets me out of going to church for a while, at least.