Sunday, May 28, 2023

No Sundaes on a Saturday


I've been coy about our weekend destination simply to add a little suspense to the ol' blog, but I suppose I can now reveal where we are. We came to a country inn near Winchester, in Hampshire. It's quite secluded -- there is literally nothing around us but farms, which is nice unless you're looking for a cup of coffee as I was this morning. (I resorted to the in-room Nescafe.)

We came down by train yesterday from London. The builders surprised us by turning up again in the morning, because we thought they wouldn't be working through the weekend -- but apparently they are. Even on the bank holiday! The supervisor said if they didn't our renovation job would run into the following week, but as it stands now they hope to be done by Wednesday. Woo hoo!

Still, all the more reason for us to "get out of Dodge," as people of a certain generation who are familiar with the TV show "Gunsmoke" might say.


We got off the train in the town of Micheldever (pronounced "Mitchell," not "Michael," I belatedly learned), and headed directly to this colorful little pub for lunch. Olga sunbathed and enjoyed some meat and cheese from my ploughman's lunch plate. We bought her a cup of ice cream supposedly made just for dogs, but it was strawberry and she wouldn't touch it. What dog wants a strawberry?

Then we caught an overpriced taxi to our hotel, the Norton Park Hotel, Spa and Manor House.


Here's the Manor House, which I haven't been in yet. Olga and I took a walk around the grounds and also saw the barn (top) and explored the very modern hotel. I tried to book a massage but alas! There's a wedding here this weekend and all the spa slots are taken. I'm going to try to get on the waiting list today just in case, but it looks like my goal of a weekend massage may not be achieved.


I may not get a spa treatment, but Olga found several opportunities to indulge her physical being...


...like a woodland walk...


...and a canine mud bath. She plunged into this pond before I could stop her and, being from Florida, my immediate first thoughts were of alligators -- but of course we're in the green and pleasant land so no harm came to her at all.

We had dinner last night in the hotel bar, and that was a whole 'nother saga. It starts, as so many restaurant sagas do, with me ordering a gin martini in the vain hope that some bartender somewhere will know how to make one. This guy said he did, but what I got was so heavy on vermouth that I couldn't even taste the gin. (I'm trusting that gin was actually in it.)


Meanwhile, Olga did her best to lie in the sun, and wound up snoring so loudly that people around us were laughing.

We ordered our meals, which were meh, and then Dave said he wanted dessert. But for some reason the bar put a pause on all food orders for half an hour -- I assume this had something to do with the fully booked restaurant upstairs, which in turn probably had something to do with that wedding again. We waited and were eventually able to order a couple of sundaes that should have been relatively easy to assemble, but an hour later we were still waiting and so we cancelled them. No dessert for us.

Today we're hoping to get into Winchester to see the cathedral, and Dave made a restaurant reservation there for us tonight. Olga will stay snoozing in the room, and I don't think she'll mind.

30 comments:

Rachel Phillips said...

Judging by the Norton reviews I just read the restaurant and spa problems are a regular thing, wedding or no wedding. You were brave to pick the place although I guess allowing dogs was the atttraction. Wise to choose a restaurant elsewhere tonight. At least Olga gets a good break.0

Rachel Phillips said...

That O is not meant to be there, typo. I mention it because you never know these days, it might mean something I didn't mean.

sparklingmerlot said...

Oh dear. A bit of a mixed bag but at least Olga had a good time. Hopefully tonight's dinner will make up for it all. AND you're not in London dealing with the building chaos. I'd pitch a tent in a field to avoid that!

Frances said...

I love the pic of Olga rolling in the long grass. My boy does this whenever he can too at this time of year! Enjoy your weekend.

River said...

Meh food and no dessert? I wouldn't stay there again no matter how pretty it looks.

Moving with Mitchell said...

That first shot is beautiful. And “Olga and the Manor House” looks like “Christina’s World.” A shame about the wedding weekend and the disappointing restaurant. I love everything about your escape except for no nearby café.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

You are having a bit of an adventure at the Norton Park Hotel, Spa and Manor House and weatherwise you have really struck lucky. I hope you are keeping all your receipts so that you can later be reimbursed by your landlady and landlord.

Andrew said...

Aren't place names in England such a problem. What is written can be nothing like the pronunciation.
Overpriced taxi? Do you mean a proper taxi with a meter or a private taxi?
Next best thing after not being able to have a massage is for Dave to step up to the plate.
This is looking like a holiday for Olga's pleasure.
I had the same issue at our Colombo hotel during happy hour. Way too much vermouth in the martini.
Is Winchester Cathedral mentioned in a song?

Beth's Patio Chit Chat said...

Just getting out of the city with the work chaos seems like a nice get away, but the wedding could have put a larger damper on everything than it did. But NO REAL COFFEE??? I can get by without the massage, but NO Coffee would have me complaining bigly and at one point probably loudly. I suppose that you were lucky with that instant Nescafe in your room.

Totally love the picture of Olga. She looked so sweet rolling in the deep... grass that is.
Was she dried by the time that you got back to the Inn? Did you have to sneak her in and give her a bath? At least she got a Spa treatment. I hear that mud does wonders for the skin lol.
I am heading over to update my blog. I will explain in my blog why I didn't get to ask you that question a couple of days ago. UGH sometimes life gets in the way of certain things.

I hope all in all you, Dave and Olga had a relaxing weekend. It looks quaint. I bet that you had a good view of starry skies without a ton of light.

Bob said...

I think Olga rolling around in the tall grass is her idea of a massage.
I would have eviscerated a bartender who can't manage a martini.
Lastly, I'd love having a dinner next to a snoring dog; Olga, again, had the right idea!

Debby said...

'Winchester Cathedral, you're bringing me down....you stood and you watched as my baby left town.' and the jaunty bo-dee-o-doh at the end.

Debby said...

I echo the horror at no real coffee! if you cannot get a spot in the spa schedule, might I suggest following Olga's lead and having a roll in the tall grass and a snooze in the bright sun.

Boud said...

I wonder if there's a choir at the cathedral singing it..your sojourn getaway in England's green unpleasant land is a mixed bag, from the sound of it. But it's away from the construction so that's a plus there.

Ms. Moon said...

Well look- at least the shower in your weekend getaway works, right? Olga looks so happy. Self-care is no problem for a dog. That's their life! "What would feel good now? Oh yes. I little wade in this muddy water. Perfect!"
And now, thank you very much, "Winchester Cathedral" is my ear worm for the day.
Thanks for bringing us along!

NewRobin13 said...

It looks like you found a nice place to get away from all the remodeling being done at home. Olga looks happy there too. I hope you find a good restaurant tonight and get some yummy dessert. Enjoy the break.

ellen abbott said...

the manor house is not the hotel? where is the hotel? the woodland walk looks lovely.

Allison said...

Olga looks so happy in the grass. Her weekend is going very well!

Sharon said...

It's a beautiful place and Olga certainly looks like she is enjoying it. Too bad the service has been a little sketchy. It sounds like they might be a bit overwhelmed.

Ellen D. said...

Good timing to get away while the workmen finish up at your apartment!
Too bad the food and SPA didn't turn out the way you wanted.
Nice to relax, tho!

Red said...

We take our chances in many of these eating places. For one thing they are not consistent.

Kelly said...

I'm sorry it's been a bust for you and Dave. But hey, at least you're out from under all the renovation and Olga is having a great time! I love all the photos of her!

Linda Sue said...

A holiday for Olga, you two are such altruistic parents! I checked out the hotel- the grounds and manor house are lovely the hotel looks nice enough- affordable on a sunday and a monday...Anyway, nice to get out of the way of the workers and to have running water! Wise decision.

The Bug said...

I always used to think that just being about to get away was worth any inconvenience, but now I'm old & I'm not sure about that. Although I'm not a very picky eater so it would probably have still enjoyed the restaurant (especially with a snoring dog). But I would DEFINITELY enjoy being in the middle of nowhere - my favorite place to be!

Ed said...

It doesn't take much to entertain me on a vacation. Just a place to read a book and I'm pretty happy. But MEH food and an hour wait for a sundae would at least put a damper on it until I returned to my book.

Catalyst said...

Yes, I think Olga is having the best time of all of you. She looks so happy with that huge green lawn and the long grass, too.

Margaret said...

No decent coffee, an incorrectly mixed drink AND NO DESSERT? I wouldn't appreciate that but otherwise, it sounds like you're enjoying the get away.

jenny_o said...

Looks like a beautiful spot. I love the shot of Twisty Olga :) Girl knows how to have fun!

gz said...

I was born in Micheldever!!
Number 3 Water Lane I think...the far one of a row of thatched cottages.
And on the other side of the road a girl was born two days earlier.. Charlotte...whom I met twenty years later at Cardiff College of Art foundation course.
At the same time there was a lodger in the farm by the station, two miles outside the village..and we ended up tending his garden twelve miles from here when he was in his nineties.

Small world as they say...and full of Cosmic Chuckles!
I have never been back...but my brother has

Steve Reed said...

Rachel: I didn't read the reviews. Maybe I should have?!

Caro: Yes, on balance, we're much better off at the hotel, even with a bad martini!

Frances: What is it with dogs and grass? Olga just LOVES long grass, both rolling in it and eating it!

River: Well, on the plus side, it was quite comfortable and beautiful. I would just stick to simple bar fare and not try anything fancy.

Mitchell: If Christina were an oligarch!

YP: Yes, the weather has been AMAZING. I won't be seeking reimbursement unless they try to evict us at some point in the future!

Andrew: At least in Columbo, a martini isn't exactly local culture. But James Bond drank martinis, for God's sake!

Beth: Yeah, the coffee issue was a struggle, but that's often true when I stay in hotels because I get up ridiculously early before anything is open. So even if we'd had a coffee shop nearby, in all likelihood it would have been closed when I needed it!

Bob: Well, evisceration would have been unnecessarily messy. :)

Debby: Yes! I wonder who else knows that song?! It's pretty obscure nowadays. I did do some grass-rolling and snoozing, don't worry.

Boud: "Green unpleasant land" -- LOL! That made me laugh.

Ms Moon: They are creatures of impulse, for sure. And yes, at least I have a shower. I can't complain about that!

Robin: Yes, Sunday night's meal made up for Saturday's!

Ellen: I think it's part of the hotel, though I'm not sure whether it includes guest rooms. Most of the hotel is in several very modern buildings adjacent to the Manor House.

Allison: She is a grass addict!

Sharon: Yeah, I think the wedding has thrown things into a bit of a tizzy, though we haven't seen any evidence of bride and groom or wedding party. Maybe the ceremony itself is somewhere else.

Ellen D: It's still worth it just to get away!

Red: Yeah, it's always a gamble. Here we're paying for ambience, not for food.

Kelly: Oh, I wouldn't call it a bust. It's not THAT bad. In fact I'd stay here again if the opportunity arose. I'd just stick to gin & tonics!

Linda Sue: Yeah, it's actually a really nice hotel. It's a little bizarre, though -- out in the middle of literally nowhere.

Bug: It's peaceful, I'll give it that. But it's a £20 taxi ride to get anywhere! (If we had a car it would be ideal.)

Ed: Yeah, I agree. I can be pretty content with a book. But I like to be able to get out and look around, which in this case means taking a taxi to Winchester. (Still, as I said above, I'd stay here again. It IS really nice.)

Catalyst: She was having a ball, for sure.

Margaret: Yeah, aside from all that, it's been great!

Jenny-O: She makes me laugh every minute.

GZ: That is SO funny! We apparently haven't seen the village of Micheldever itself. As you said, it's a couple of miles from the station. We were actually in Micheldever Station, to be completely accurate. (I didn't know that until I looked at a map after I wrote this post.)

Jeanie said...

I just love that you can take Olga on the train and to the Manor and it's all OK. She looks to be in seventh heaven. I'm so glad the reno is nearing completion -- and glad you were away from the pounding. Bummer about the massage, though. And the sundae.