Thursday, 15 October 2009

Home for a rest

I was supposed to be on holiday this week. We left on Monday for a week in a rented cottage on the North Norfolk coast which we thought would make a nice autumn holiday before the weather gets too cold. I took some new yarn to knit myself another pair of socks, a couple of paperbacks and was looking forward seven days of of rest and relaxation somewhere different.

When we arrived, the pretty leaded and frosted glass in the window of the front door was cracked in several places; we reported it immediately to the owner as we didn't want to get the blame and have it deducted from our deposit cheque. She knew all about it, apologised and said a trustworthy workman had a key and would repair it on Wednesday morning, she was going to ring us that evening to let us know.

As the stay at the cottage progressed, we gradually found more and more things wrong:

Timer on the central heating came ON in the early hours of the morning, the boiler was in a corner of the bedroom and so woke us up and kept us awake til we turned the thermostat right down to turn off the heating. There was no instruction manual so we couldn't re-set it.

The toilet seat was so loose, you had to be aware of it before you sat down else you nearly fell off ...

Lid of the pedal bin in the kitchen was broken so it didn't pop up, you had to manually lift it every time you wanted to put anything in it which I thought was unhygienic and kept having to washing my hands afterwards which I found extremely annoying and time consuming whilst trying to cook.

The FM radio didn't have an external aerial and it kept going off station so listening to the radio was irritating. I really like listening to Chris Evans' Drive Time in the evening when I'm making dinner and Classic FM is really relaxing to have in the background when you're not watching TV.

We don't really watch much TV - especially when we're on holiday - but after very stressfully getting locked out of the cottage by the repairman yesterday for hours and hours til we got hold of the owner (looooong story), we sat down to our dinner which was great - a seafood and pasta salad made with fresh seafood (we usually have to use frozen being so inland where we are!) We began to relax a bit after a bottle of Chianti. We wanted to watch the England game which was on ITV so should be OK to receive on the TV - it's not like it's a wildly obscure, digital pay-per-view channel or anything ... but no, the TV is tuned only to BBC digital channels.

The TV had an analogue mode as well but I couldn't blimmin' well work out how to change it to analogue, bum all about it in the manual. Our own digital TV is really easy to retune so I decided the solution was to retune it. I dutifully read the Manual left by the owner. Trouble is the two options indicated in the manual on the Set Up mode were missing on the menu so I couldn't retune it. I am fully computer literate, used to be able to set the timer on a video machine in the days before DVDs and I passed a two year HNC in Software Engineering with distinctions in all modules - I ought to be able to do this, especially with the manual. After 40 minutes of cussing, losing both our tempers, it was practically half time when we finally got ITV working - I couldn't tell you how the hell I did it. If you've ever seen Basil Fawlty getting cross with his car when it wouldn't start and hitting it with the branch of a tree ... that's kind of hysterical irritation I was experiencing!

Tired from two nights of interrupted sleep and the stress of all the other things going wrong, we decided to call it a day and go home first thing in the morning. I think if the location were better all these minor things in isolation could've been overlooked but they all built up into a great big hole of despair. Yesterday was honestly the worst day on holiday I have ever experienced.

We stayed at a place called Blakeney which - with it's flint cottages and quaint quayside - would be lovely if it weren't for all the cars everywhere plus it isn't close to the sea at all which I didn't realise when we booked. We like to stay by the sea, use the car as little as possible and then explore the location on foot doing lots of walking with Missy, our adorable Manchester Terrier.

Normally we stay in a lovely, well equipped cottage on the Northumbrian coast in a lovely place called Bamburgh, but we decided we had got a bit staid and set in our ways and thought we should go somewhere else, I wish we hadn't! In Blakeney, you have to walk for two hours to get to the sea through the salt marshes. Salt marshes are I guess, interesting enough for the wildlife and birds alone, but there's a lot of it and it's pretty featureless and flat so four hours of walking through it can be a bit boring. (Plus it smells in places too!) We found the walking from Blakeney dreary and dull (when it wasn't smelly).

We got back home a couple of hours ago after a very stressful three days away and are looking forward to four days of rest and relaxation by way of a staycation at home. In order to get over this "holiday", I am not planning on being at my stall this weekend. All of my regular customers know I was going away this week and I have had a note on my website for several weeks that I wouldn't be there so I hope you will forgive me if I go off-line now and have a little lie down!


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