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Day 7: Christmas….It came, it went and now we’re off home!

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

Today we’re off home, back to Dorset and need to vacate Stone Cottage at 10.00am this morning. How will Sir Winston cope with getting up that early and be ready in time? We all know he’s not an early riser but his saving grace is that fortunately for him he can sleep in the car on the way home!

Yesterday evening we rearranged the lounge back to how we found it although we much preferred it the way we’d arranged it on arrival but, hey, it’s not our house! We’d packed most our ‘stuff’ and left it in the lounge and were amazed by how much ‘stuff’ we actually had. It seems we have more now than when we arrived and we’ve drunk all the drink and ate most of the food so how have we accumulated so much? It’s not that we’ve been out shopping and bought lots of additional items!!

We took Winston for a final walk around the village to do his ablutions before setting off just after 10.00am. It should take us just shy of three hours to drive back home, and if we include a thirty minute break we should arrive home at one thirty, all being well that is! To ‘get our moneys worth’ for me being added to Maice’s car insurance for the week I was in the driving seat, Maice navigating and Winston as always, the back seat driver, perched on top of his blankets and our coats. Seems he likes to be elevated in the car so he can see where he’s going.

It was a lovely sunny morning and one would think it was ideal driving conditions but the sun was so low in the sky it dazzled with every twist and turn in the road. To top it all, as soon as we entered Wales the heavens opened and Wales became ‘wet Wales’. Not only was it ‘wet’ it was very, very slow! We only just happened to find ourselves behind the slowest Mercedes driver in the country who braked at every lorry that approached, at every bend in the road and drove just over 30mph on a 60mph road. Honestly, it was painful and very, very frustrating. We even had the opportunity to overtake him when the road became an uphill dual carriageway but due to me driving a manual car rather than my automatic I was waiting for it to accelerate automatically which it didn’t do so by the time I’d realised this it was too late to overtake so we ended up, not just us but at least 20 cars behind him, driving at his speed, braking every couple of seconds for at least 10 miles. What made matters even worse was that every turn we needed to make, he would make the same turn, so there was no getting away from him. When we finally made it onto the M4 the whole entourage who had been trailing behind him managed to overtake him …..thankfully!

By this time we were in desperate need of sustenance so pulled into the nearest service station and enjoyed our pre-packed ‘Michelin Star’ sandwiches, walked Winston and set off again. Well we would have set off if we could find the car keys. We hunted high and low; inside the car, outside the car until we eventually found them down the side of the drivers seat. Honestly, what a malaver! Following the man in the Mercedes had eaten into our ETA and we were behind schedule so we needed to step on the gas. We needed to make a manoeuvre onto the M5 and even though I’d been in the correct two lanes it very quickly petered into one lane and no one would let me in. Honestly, I very near caused an accident by trying to squeeze into the one lane, there was so much horn-honking and I’m sure lots of cursing. I know if it was me driving behind me I’d be doing the same thing! As it was, not one car would let us in so we had no option but to continue on the M4 and soon found ourselves driving through Bristol, adding an extra hour onto our journey time, which in hindsight, was quite fortunate as the queue on the M5 was quite horrendous. Unfortunately we never ended up on the M5 due to SatNav sending us cross country via Shepton Mallett, our favourite place, Not! We nearly had another accident when crossing over a junction…..Maice's mouth said to go straight ahead whilst her right arm indicated towards the right, so I followed the arm only to hear her raised voice ‘straight ahead, that way’ she screeched, her arm miraculously turned towards the correct road and on that command I made an illegal manoeuvre, almost into the path of an oncoming car! Crisis averted, hearts-a-pumping we found ourselves heading in the right direction on the right road and eventually arrived home, me at 3.30pm and Maice just a mere ten minutes later!!! In total its taken us fI’ve and a half hours to travel back to Dorset! We’ve travelled through two countries, four counties and crossed the amazing Prince of Wales Bridge…..awesome!

We’d only just arrived home when we received an email from Sykes Cottage, the company we booked Stone Cottage through asking for our feedback. So, what can we say about Stone Cottage. Well, it’s a Grade II listed cottage, it’s quirky and it’s full of nooks and crannies. The floors are uneven, the furniture wobbles on the uneven floors, everywhere creaks and groans and wherever you go there are things; ornaments in strange places, pictures hung crookedly on the walls and you certainly can’t sneak around in a place like this due to the creaking floorboards. We were certainly challenged with the front and back door locks which for some reason we just couldn’t fathom out how they worked. Every day we’d fiddle around with the locks, wondering if we were going to remain locked in or out of the cottage. At one point we went out of the back door and it took at least ten minutes to get back in! I suppose the moral of the story is, take both the front and back door keys with you when leaving the property, you know just us case you can‘t get in one door…. at least you’ve got the option to get in the other….hopefully! The stairs were also an issue, not so much for us but for Sir Winston, who being rather small in stature did find the 2nd floor stairs rather steep. He could manage to get up them alright but needed one of us to carry him down! And then there’s my room being on the top floor. The best way I found to walk down the steep rickety staircase was to sashay my way down which would take me either to the first floor or straight into the bathroom! The bathroom, although spacious, had a lot of wasted space. It had a long bath with a toilet at the end of it. Woe betide you if you were challenged with long legs as you’d find it a tight squeeze! The bathroom window was large and although it had a blind, if you were sat on the loo you could look straight out into the next door neighbours garden and indeed into the neighbours ‘man-cave’ and see what he was up to, but then if he looked out from his ‘man-cave’ he could see what we were up to on the loo!! And of course there were the IT challenges we faced in trying to work out the TV controls. Surely not everyone who stayed here could only watch the BBC channel. Was this incompetence on our part or was it due to other factors? The jury’s out on that one! With three controls to contend with we found it rather confusing, particularly after Prosecco! And finally, the washer/dryer was a nightmare as it took hours to dry anything. Ah, the foibles of living in Stone Cottage……!

But all that aside, we would definitely recommend staying here. We’ve had a fabulous holiday, all three of us. It’s been so relaxing sitting around the kitchen table every day, eating, drinking and doing our social admin and then to retire to the lounge to watch our favourite channel, BBC, on the TV. And we’ve been so lucky to stay in one of the most quaintest villages in England with its beautiful countryside and plenty of walks for Winston. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to get away and experience this lovely countryside….two friends and Sir Winston at Christmas in a lovely cottage. What more could we wish for. It’s been super…xx

Merry Christmas Everyone…..

Until next time…..

M&A and Sir Winston xxx

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