“I should have brought my big camera,” I said, as the sun came out and lit up the hills.
“Nah, it would probably get wet,” Rod said.
I froze. Where the hell were we going? The camping jokes had gotten old really fast and the casual mentions of the Arran ferry were transparent but this comment threw me.
“AH! My wellies are in the other car!” I gasped.
“Oh…. Well, they’ll probably provide everything we need,” he said, then pointed and made to turn into a field filled with trailers and what looked like a circus tent.
“JUST KIDDING!” he cackled. I wanted to cry. I didn’t like this magical mystery tour and I was beginning to get seriously worried about where we’d end up. Then suddenly I saw a sign that made me cry out in relief.
I should have trusted him and I should have remembered what a wind-up merchant he can be. Luckily the wee spud had excelled himself – the receptionist said some truly magic words:
“Your suite will be ready in half an hour so you can go in and get ready before your spa treatments.”
Even spending thirty minutes waiting in the bright atrium with a freshly squeezed juice and nothing to do but sit was a treat. We couldn’t stop smiling at each other.
Our suite was stunning – I felt like I was on the set of Downton Abbey. Two sets of patio doors led out onto a terrace with stone steps curving down to the lawn. Two enormous plumfy beds were against the wall opposite, the views in the morning would be stunning.
I noted the large bathtub (I love a deep soak) and a huge TV (Jessica Ennis, Tom Daley and Ussain Bolt were on Jonathon Ross that night) as well as a sofa buried under cushions and a beautiful fireplace. But there’d be time to enjoy it later, we had to slip on our robes and pad through to the spa.
The treatment rooms were minimal in their design and a lovely cool temperature. I lay for an hour in that suspended state of consciousness while the therapist eased away all the knots and tension spots. Afterwards I clutched my glass of water and sleepwalked out to meet Rod, who also had that dazed look. We rounded the corner and flinched as the sunlight poured through the glass wall that was the entire side of the swimming pool. With its infinity edge it felt a bit like floating at the edge of a waterfall at the top of a green wooded valley. Eventually I couldn’t stand it any longer and suggested we go back and enjoy our terrace. Rod agreed.
After a long bath and a lovely dinner we took a walk as the sun set. There was no traffic noise and very few other people -just fresh clean air and the reflection of the pinks and greys in the loch.
We woke up early (old habits) and breakfasted on smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit in the dining room. A breeze came through the half-open window and Rod spotted a hot air balloon on the horizon. We wandered back to the room, tidied up a bit and dressed but it wasn’t even ten o’clock, so we went out to explore. The Japanese garden was a wonderful surprise – as was the warmth of the day. We followed a path and came across a waterfall, a little wooden bridge and stepping stones, all beautifully designed and maintained. I loved it.
We wandered through the rest of the grounds, sat with a capuccino for a while and then had a light lunch back in the dining room before tearing ourselves away. We had a little boy waiting for his mum and dad to come home and we couldn’t wait to see him. What a brilliant 30th birthday present.