Party people, we had such a lovely weekend away! We went to a hotel called Strattons in a little market town called Swaffham, in Norfolk. To date my only experience of Norfolk was a visit to the outskirts of Norwich to buy Tui, early in 2007, but I’d heard good things about it.
The hotel was pretty fab, actually. I’m not sure that I would stay there again (mainly because it doesn’t take long to suck the marrow from Swaffham), but we had good dinners in the hotel restaurant on both Friday night and Saturday night and our suite was gorgeous. It was also open-plan and this led to Tui the Wonder Dog ruling the roost. Ordinarily the only time that Tui sleeps on a bed is when she stays with the dog sitter – we have schooled her to regard ‘upstairs’ as a mystical land that she has little hope of visiting – but at Strattons she slept on our bed for both nights. Both mornings I was woken up when she decided to ‘visit’ me at 6.30 and loom over me at the head of the bed, wagging her tail excitedly. She was absolutely delighted with this new development and the Tui-shaped marks on the bedspread suggested that, whenever we left her in the room, she spent all of her time lounging around like a little person in furry black pyjamas. But rest assured that this doesn’t indicate a general softening in Tui-management standards: we put her to bed in the conservatory again when we got home last night.
We spent the weekend doing a lot of lying around and a lot of pootling around. Norfolk is absolutely beautiful, with pretty villages that haven’t been ruined by high street blandness. The only bummer was the dreadful weather. We went to the beach on Saturday because we thought that it would be nice to take Tui for a run, but the wind coming off the sea was so strong that we could barely walk upright. After 20 minutes of battling we gave up and went to a local deli for hot chocolate and cake instead.
The location and the company were, of course, brilliant, but the best thing about the weekend was the opportunity it gave me to switch off. Tristan confiscated my Blackberry at bedtime on Thursday and I wasn’t allowed it back again until first thing this morning. In the two or three years since I’ve had a Blackberry I have never gone for a day without checking it, so to leave it behind for three whole days was splendid and definitely helped me to unwind. This has been a really hard year for me, for a variety of reasons, and my stress levels have been very high. Although I have had some dramas at work, they really shouldn’t have caused me such angst: it’s more that, when really stressed, I struggle to cope with anything more taxing than getting dressed in the morning. But by forcing myself to ignore work for three days I realised that I had lost perspective, big-style: Tristan commented that he was finding it difficult to grasp which of my work problems were ‘big’ problems and which weren’t such an issue, and I replied that I wasn’t surprised, given that I was finding it difficult to separate the two categories myself! Having the space and time to realise this has already made it easier for me to take a step back.
So, it was a great weekend and three days off felt as relaxing as three weeks. Many thanks to everybody who urged me to take Friday off! It reminded me that I shouldn’t take it all so seriously and that I’m very lucky to have such a lovely and supportive husband (and a lunatic dog).