samedi 7 juillet 2012
Professor Snape...is that you?
The start of the week saw me struck down with the dreaded Summer flu and I spent 2 days in bed feeling very sorry for myself! However, the weekend had been planned for many months; a very special trip to the UK for a reunion at Mark's school. I was planning to stay at home but Mark mentioned we would staying close to a huge department stores in the UK - and when you live in rural France a large store is heaven! So, at the thought of a little retail therapy, I decided that I would crawl on hands and knees or as a last resort be stretchered out to the car!!
We arrived at our hotel in a beautiful tree-lined avenue within walking distance of his old school. An old stone building with stained glass windows and a carved crest at the door. All very impressive and I was looking forward to our weekend. The reception area had period fireplaces, a huge staircase and large gilt mirrors. We were given the key to our room and dispatched through a doorway - only to enter what can only be described as one hideous mess of a corridor! Filthy dirty carpets and wallpaper hanging from the walls. I assumed that they were decorating but when we arrived at our room to see the door handle hanging off and a hole in the door badly patched up the alarm bells started to ring.
I.m not joking; the room was hideous! The curtains were hanging down, the carpets filthy and stained, the toilet dirty, the shower mouldy - and the smell left something to be desired. We were so shocked. How could this be so different to the facade and reception area. We switched on our laptop and looked at "Tripadvisor.com" and realised we had made a huge mistake. The hotel didn`t have one good report; to the contrary, everyone had stated how disgusting it was. We also realised that with the Olympic Torch being carried through the town the next day we would not be able to find space in any other hotel.
I checked the bed. The bedclothes seemed clean so I told Mark that we would have to manage as best we could. Mark got changed for an evening concert at the school and I decided to stay in the room; the last thing that the musicians would want was me coughing like an old cart horse all the way through it.
Shortly after Mark left I sat on the bed reading and something inside one of the pillows caught my eye. I peered inside and saw that the pillow pads were dark brown with staining and grime. That was it! I decided that it simply wasn`t good enough, I grabbed the keys and stomped off down the tree-lined avenue to see what I could find.
Amazingly just a few doors away was a charming family- run guest house who managed to find us a room for the weekend. Heaven! Spotlessly clean and comfortable. I went back to the hotel from hell, packed up our cases and left a note on the door for Mark when he came back to find the room empty.
The owner of our new abode managed to convince me to go back to the hell hole and demand our money back. So I stomped back preparing my speech as I walked. I managed to find the lady who had booked us in and told her why I had left and asked to be refunded. I was ready for some stiff resistance and was ready to list each fault - but it wasn`t needed. She simply said "I am not the owner" and immediately refunded me! Something I think she must be used to!!
I decided to walk into the school grounds to meet Mark after the concert just in case they had removed my note from the door and he couldn`t find me! I was amazed to see it was pure and simple HOGWARTS!!! I followed the sound of music to the Great Hall and sat outside on a moss-covered stone bench in the few minutes of the day's sunshine. If a unicorn or owl has passed by I would not have been surprised at all!!
Today we go back for a tour of the school and various events in the marquee. How do I stop myself shouting "EXPERIAMUS!!"? How will I find my wand? Will Professor Snape be there? How will I find Hagrid? Shall I introduce myself as Hermione?!
I shall tell you how it went tomorrow, mes belles!!
Have a great weekend