The holiday, quite possibly the gushiest film from the past ten years – it’s idyllic ability to capture the essence of true British Countryside and way of life to the contrary of chic minimalist LA living. It is, and always will be, my favourite of all films; the soundtrack is, and always will be, the song I hum in my head whenever I walk through a park or in my car or generally day-to-day life.
Back in the midst of March and the whirlwind of bizarre bitterness of cold and frost, Gav and I made our way down to Wotton House Hotel in Surrey - we had booked a one night stay, dinner bed and breakfast and a bottle of champers back in January on Groupon – it’s not something I have ever used before, and if you haven’t explored the site yet I really do recommend.
The supposed 40 minute journey from Twickenham down to Wotton in Surrey took a little longer than expected and after three attempts at not missing the turning and provoking the ‘deja-vu’ comment…again, we did eventually turn down a lane and were on our way to the hotel. It was a rather mystical drive and somewhat strange; turning off of the busy motorway onto a narrow road seemed out of the ordinary, and what lay ahead was a long quiet tree sheltered lane with steep hills, windy bends and might I add the perfect opportunity to hum the holiday theme tune (yeah I did!) I squealed with excitement as we came over the last hill and the grand beauty of the hotel peaked just between the trees and I felt a wave of utter excitement tickle into my fingertips. I must say, I did mention how being in surrey, at a wonderful venue and with a very special person felt all so familiar to elements in the film, but the lack of snow was the one thing keeping the two separated and despite the daunting news headlines of several icy inches of the stuff, it would make our reality and the film match up completely.
The room we were given was perfect, it had the type of duvet that could almost give you a hug itself, and the pillows let you lay down softly and sink into your dreams. The funny thing about hotels, which I have now only come to realise, is you not only spend a weekend with your loved one, but with old matey boy and his loved one too; they are there at lunch and dinner eyeballing what you are wearing and ear wigging in on what you think about the food. Yes, that’s right, we had one of those couples at Wotton House on that same weekend – it had never occurred to me that feeling of people watching at midday and thinking you won’t set eyes on those people again, until a few hours later when you see them down in the restaurant a, and yes, again the next morning. Well, I can tell you, nothing, not even the “gosh, she doesn’t look great in the morning” looks, were going to spoil the all you can eat, all types of breakfast for us! After indulging on granola and fresh fruit, a fried egg and soft buttery croissants I felt complete and happier than I have felt in a long while. I should probably add now, that as I had awoken early that Saturday morning to adjust the curtains, I had been greeted with (that’s right…) a fluffy dusting of snowfall on the grounds around the hotel to which the grass was a shade of glittery white and everything seemed to look just, perfect; I honestly did gush at the sight of it all; I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting – I beamed as I scurried back into the warmth of the duvet and once again hummed the magical tune of the Holiday in my head once more, our Saturday and indeed weekend was complete.
So, not being an overall lover of Valentines day, the words “It’s not a real day” uttering from my mouth every year have somewhat made me a bit of a scrooge for the 14th February, and instead I usually opt to find happiness in wishing my Nanny a Happy Birthday for it is her special day too.
This year, however - Gav and I decided that maybe we should give this whole ‘valentines’ malarky a go… afterall, how would I really know if I had never had anything to make me think otherwise. As current, I am working in my local Tesco store as part of my graduate placement (and loving it completely - the real mix of characters is one way of sprucing up ones day might I add!) And on thursday the 14th February 2013 we were allowed to pay £1 to charity and shine our little socks off wearing red! I jumped at this chance, and went all out - Jessica Day - red dress’n. Despite, at first feeling still a little sceptical about the whole situation, I went in beaming for today was the day of love and romance, and even if it wan’t for me I was very intrigued to see the wonders of supermarket life on this day in particular.
From early morning at 8 O’clock the builders started in their drips and drabs buying numerous bunches of red roses and bouquets, chocolates and the odd bottle of pink Moet. I felt a little lifted by their commitment to keep their other half happy when they returned home with such presents and from here my day started to look up. I, along with the other lovely ladies on Customer Services wore a red rose behind our ears (which prompted all sorts of loving comments from old couples I must say!)
After a hard days work, I went back to Gavin’s and after not seeing him for a week and a half I soon realised why maybe I had been looking forward to Thursday the 14th more than usual, we had dinner with his family and later watched ‘Valentines Day’ (which I love by the way! Why some critics slated it I really don’t know — what’s wrong with an American love actually?!) so here, I can safely say - Saint Valentine, you did me proud this year and I am proud to say that you have made quite an impression on me.
With my altered mindset and cushy post, I hope you all had a wonderfully romantic 14th February… even if spent with your family, boy-hating girlfriends or simply your loved one, I hope that one day out of 365 you felt a little bit warm and fuzzy inside.
It may be my only day off, but Sunday as you well know is one of my favourite days of the week, and what better way to start it off than with a hot bath, copious amounts of bubbles and a brilliant new episode of New Girl Season 2. I know, perfect right? All apart from the weather – another dull wet and windy day and bitterly cold; as I sit here tapping away on my laptop I can see that the rooftop of the house opposite has turned a silvery shade of white and that the so called sleet that has been steadily falling from the sky for the past few hours has unfortunately settled and it appears that the warmth of spring isn’t quite yet around the corner.
Fear not, however – the loom of the pathetic fallacy of the weather was not to dampen my outlook on the day and so I set out this afternoon to meet a friend and change that pessimistic preconception of today. With scheduled gossiping, treats and coffee all to come, we finally managed to find somewhere warm on the highstreet to sit – ‘The Gingerbread Man’ – a café usually overflowing with mothers and children was instead peaceful and quiet, lazy even. It is no unusual sight to see multitasking at it’s best in this particular cafe; a mother holding the arm of her toddler trying to entertain them, no doubt with waving a book or toy in their face, is common nature. This, all done whilst sipping tea in the other hand, wide eyed and focussing on what her friend, who probably doing this same monotonous routine, is saying - trying to hear what one another are saying above the raised noise… You get the picture, right? Like I said, not today – Charlie and I found us a comfy seat by the window, and not a blotchy faced child in sight. Bliss. We were able to admire the neatly hung bunting and quaintly decorated shelves and coo over the delicious foods written on the blackboard on the back wall. At the time, there was only one other table occupied by an old couple enjoying a light bite, and so as we immersed ourselves in the warmth, and invitingly peaceful nature of the café, and there we began our ‘Oooh my goodness’s” and “did you see that’s” of the previous missed catch ups of the weeks that had rolled past so quickly.
It wasn’t until a couple of hours later, after indulging in beautifully hot tea and coffee, deliciously warm scones and Danish’s, that we noticed the lack of customer on all the other tables; in the time we had spent finishing each others sentences the odd person had flitted through – I’m sure of it? Maybe it just wasn’t busy in town today - I could see outside that the rain was still steadily pattering against the windows, and I suppose the rugby was on? Maybe. That’s probably it – everyone is busy at home today…yes.
‘The Gingerbread Man’ had been strangely quiet for a while though, we could hear the radio was still murmuring in the background and the sound of the coffee machine and buzz of the ‘lazy waiter’ had been continuous. But just at that moment, two women bustled through the door, prompting the little bell to ring, to which apologies were made that ‘Oh, sorry, we’re closed now’. The two left and our faces were a picture of shock and laughter – the waitress looked at us and waved an understanding dismissive hand in front of her face – “Oh no, don’t worry – you’re welcome to stay” she said, smiling as she continued tidying behind the cash register.
There away from the melancholy day outside of ‘The Gingerbread Man’, Charlie and I had lost the past two hours, in a closed café – and we were allowed to stay? I loved it!
See the thing is, what I am really getting at is not that the waitress had noticed the lack of people out and about, or the fact that we hadn’t ordered a second drink, but that she could see how we clearly had so much to catch up on – that we had our blinkers on to everything around us and were lost in conversation as two old friends. My point here being, that days like this, are the best – the most important of friendships are those that radiate to others and make them smile in spite of a café being past it’s opening hours. Oldest, and best friends are the ones who you should spend hours with in such circumstances, and who you should feel like when you arrive home that you still forgot to tell them about a whole other list of things! What I would do without those friends? I don’t know.
You are the friends that can take one look at me and note that something is wrong, that I really need a cuddle, a jar of marmalade, or the ears of a Malteaser bunny; they are the ones who know what you are going to say next and are never surprised when they are perfectly correct; they are the ones who can see what will happen next before you do, and those are the friends who I cherish the most.
So, as I drove home after buying bunches of daffodils in an attempt to brighten the living room, I smiled at the thought of how I wouldn’t want each of those people any other way. How despite the worries and uncertainties we have of everyday, we have our oldest friends to take our mind away to something else for a few hours, and make you feel as though you are in it together, and for that you lovely, lovely people, I couldn’t be more grateful (and mushy, I am fully aware!)