Saturday, 27 November 2010

Holiday Hell or Heaven?

We have had this family gathering booked for months.  My parents are celebrating their 55th Wedding anniversary in December and this holiday is their way of celebrating.  There is nothing they like better than having their family around them, so booking a manor house in the Lake District and inviting everyone was the perfect choice.

Irton Hall was the location we settled on.  We booked Broughton House and the The Clock Tower to accommodate our extended family.  We loved the idea of staying somewhere steeped in history, opulence and with a spattering of associated paranormal activity! The idea of my parents feeling like Lord and Lady of the Manor was a very appealing prospect.

Broughton House

The Clocktower
So, yesterday we set of armed with a Sat Nav to drive the 160 miles from our home in Shropshire to the West Lakes.  Prior to this, I had my usual pre-holiday meltdown where I fail to cope with the prospect of leaving the safety and security of my own home.  I panic about what to take, and end up overpacking to cater for every single eventuality that might befall me or the children.  It's my "thing"...I do this every time we go away. We set of 3 hours later than I had initially planned to, but we were on our way.

The journey was good with minimal traffic, so we made good time until the last 20 miles.  Our Sat Nav must have thought it was incredibly funny to lead us of the beaten track to take a cross-mountain short cut.  To call what we were driving on a road would be a stretch of your imagination.  The track through the snow capped hills wound around, climbing and falling in a fashion akin to a rollercoaster.  In some circumstances this would be fun, but baby had just woken up and was getting restless.  Teenaged daughter was feeling car sick and my general anxiety had resurfaced, manifesting itself into a form of Tourette's aiming abuse at my husband for not checking the route before entrusting our lives to a mischievous Sat Nav!  Thankfully, Ian is incredibly tolerant of my episodes and kept his mind on the driving and after what seemed like an eternity we arrived safely at our destination.

The house was instantly impressive.  The sheer size of the property is amazing.  I chose a bedroom that, in terms of surface area, would dwarf the entire ground floor of my own four bedroomed house.  It's huge with an enormous four poster bed and an ensuite with one of those stand alone bathtubs in the middle of the floor.  The stair case is dramatic with its huge stained glass window and chandelier.  The living room boasts a wonderful open fireplace.  The roaring fire is perfect in this Wintry weather.  I can just imagine this house in its glory days when Henry VI and Oliver Cromwell came to stay.  The ghosts who reputedly roam the halls must have some stories to tell!  Hopefully I'll have some tales of my own to tell soon, about our long weekend!

I'm now going to go down to the grand kitchen for a family breakfast around the biggest table I've ever seen in a holiday home.  A fresh dusting of snow has made the 19 acres of woodland look very inviting...I'm looking forward to exploring!  My older children arrived safely last night and I can't wait to see them, when they wake up!  Maybe holidays aren't so bad after all!


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