We've just returned from a lovely weekend away at Shrigley Hall, a country hotel hidden away in the Cheshire countryside, not too far from Macclesfield. En route, we stopped off in Manchester to have a look round the soon-to-be-demolished Coronation Street set. The Weatherfield blog will follow later...
As is seemingly the law in and around Manchester, the skies were dark and full of rain. It was still decidedly damp when we arrived at the hotel, but we were arguably less bothered than the couple who had got married earlier that afternoon and whose guests were dodging the puddles on their way to the function room for the evening's festivities.
We took some time to unwind before heading down to the dining room. The directions seemed simple enough... along the corridor, down one floor in the lift, up a few stairs, along another corridor, turn left, down the main stairs, turn right and bingo!
It was a "fine dining" restaurant - which means "small portions" in English, and there wasn't a sauce in sight: jus and coulis, if you please. The food was very tasty indeed though, even to this most uneducated palate, and I was hugely impressed when the waitress set up the dessert cutlery right-handed for Elaine, and left-handed for me. I assumed the pea and mint soup I'd had for my starter gave it away, but I asked the waitress anyway.
Apparently, she'd actually laid the spoon and fork that way because it was simply the nearest side of the table to where she was standing...
Ermm wrong answer.
Sunday morning was spent at Macclesfield's monthly Treacle Market, before we returned for a very enjoyable afternoon tea for two, followed by a leisurely walk around the grounds. The main stairs were being used for photographs following yet another wedding, so we had to find an alternative route through the hotel. I'm sure we could have interrupted proceedings... had we paid five grand for the privilege.
For the record, the newlyweds were called Lisa and Colin. I did consider wishing them a long and happy life together, but statistically...
Anyway Shrigley Hall has an 18 hole golf course that had been redundant most of the weekend, but the rain had relented long enough for a few belated rounds to get underway - and for us to take a late afternoon stroll. On our way round, we spotted a couple of hares and a family of ducks, before our designated route brought us alongside the tenth hole. We watched the three golfers (and I use the term loosely) drive off, the first only having to walk fifty or sixty yards before reaching his ball and playing his second shot.
We deliberately made sure we stayed behind the threesome, because backwards seemed just about the only direction they couldn't mishit the ball. At one point, one of them shouted over: "Are you golfers?"
Coincidentally, the very same question I was thinking of asking them.
What was for certain was that even if we'd been in the firing line so to speak, we wouldn't have had to duck to avoid being hit by a wayward golf ball, as shot after shot skimmed across the lush grass. I didn't enquire, but I assumed they must all have bought their irons from Ping's new "Barnes Wallis" range.
It was about then that the duck and ducklings reappeared. They were crossing the fairway - a pretty safe move. I understand that ducks aren't very good at golf, but they do like to spend time watching the players, listening to the banter... basically just enjoying the quack.
The tenth was a long hole: unusually, a par fourteen. We felt less threatened when all three eventually reached the green, and we ambled round the back on the hole and back to the hotel... just in time to watch the Soap Awards!
A relaxing weekend away with your wonderful wife that starts and ends with Corrie... it surely can't get much better!