I am posting this from a little hotel (a very famous one) in Broadway, England. It's in the Cotswolds and once hosted Oliver Cromwell and others famous throughout UK history. It has fireplaces in most major rooms, large enough to walk into, and incredible food and most of all, incredible people who work here. (Lygon Arms, pronounced "liggon arms" and lygonarms.com)
I have Internet access from their business office (a tiny room, with a single desk, printer and computer, and LAN access without charge) overlooking a tiny cobblestone courtyard.
I found this place in my reading about incredible historical hotels and inns in England over the years. I found a wonderful rate at luxurylink.com which included a package of room (a suite with three separate rooms), spa treatments and meals.
I arrived last night, late from my US flight (it's a long drive from Heathrow to here, about 1-1/2 hours by car). I was exhausted and needed a strong cup of tea.
The night porter (Stephen, who used to be a cabinet maker locally) managed to get me a pot of hot english breakfast tea, and a plate of wonderful sandwiches, notwithstanding the late hour (about midnight).
Parked in front of this unbelievable fireplace, in a stuffed wing chair, surrounded by antiques and in a building built about 500 years ago, I started to unwind.
Today I wandered down High Street (the only main street in town) past the most amazing stone-fronted cottages, in a world that looks like a Hollywood movie lot, but better. Flowers, trees, iron works and antiques abound.
Late morning I sat before another fire and met a retired teacher and banker out for a quiet day from Liverpool. We talked about children and fate. I finished another pot of tea, and while gazing into the fire, unwound a bit more.
Then, while getting ready to leave and wander around again, I met an American family stationed in London out for a day's drive. Wonderful children, a wonderful family and another pot of tea.
I then finally got out and walked into this tiny bookshop. The owner helped me find historical fiction he knew I would enjoy. We talked about books and life in a tiny town in perfectdom, England. We talked about the politics of book publishing, and another person in the shop joined the conversation and recommended some other books. I pulled the latest novel by the Princess of Kent out of my purse that wasn't available here yet, and we passed it around.
I dropped by the spa once more and brought one of my new books, and sat quietly in the jacuzzi. I then sat in the diningroom before (you guessed it!) another huge fireplace and crackling fire, to one of the most amazing meals of my life. The waitress (I cannot remember her name, but she is from France) decided that she could help me enjoy their chocolates and still stay on South Beach Diet, and managed ot do just that. At her suggestion (not with much prompting)I took my tea in another room before a different fire. (I was becoming quite an expert on fires :-)) Karen, the head housekeeper sat and kept me company, and brought me a second pot of tea when mine got cold.
I am sharing this all with you for no good reason other than because it was great to be unconnected for a few hours, with a mobile phone that only works if you stand under an old tree in the courtyard. :-) And how the Internet helped me find this wonderful place and a way to unwind before the Parliamentary event in a few days, and my return to London when the world starts once more. And how wonderful people are everywhere, especially in this tiny postcard size village where time stood still and caring and kindness still matters.