We had had such a good start at the hunting lodge on Wednesday.
The decor was warm and inviting, with an added smidgeon of creepy. Think Disney meets Addams Family. Creaking parquet floors, panelled walls and leaded windows. Carpets and murals in rich colours, big brassy chandeliers. Plenty of antlered skulls too. Not my thing entirely (or rather, not at all) but it was to be expected. The term hunting lodge rather gives it away don't you think?
And then there were all the Christmas decorations. Huge trees everywhere, hung with baubles as big as your hand. Wreaths and garlands, and more baubles. Over the top, but in a good way. This girl is all for understated elegance, but I have to admit there's something to be said for good old-fashioned fun.
It was the perfect setting for our Christmas do. Lovely food, lively banter and plenty of laughs (some shrieks even), and oh yes, we did go over the company results and challenges as well.
Some of the more bright decided it might be a good idea to book an overnight stay. Yes, I was one of them. Clever of you to guess that. My good mate Mar and I were lucky enough to book the last accommodation still available. We were told we could have the cottage. A little cottage, hidden among the trees by the drive. Sounds delightful, wouldn't you say?
We were in for a bit of a surprise.
By the time we left the main building that night it was so late that we actually heard them lock up behind us. Yes, we had been ignoring the tell-tale signs of them wanting to get rid of us for at least half an hour. Possibly a bit longer. In any case, the biting cold outside soon sobered us up. As we set off to find our cottage the drive looked rather eerie and my companion once again reminded me that ghost stories were strictly off-limits. I told her not to worry - I only wanted my bed and a good night's sleep. Plus I had already managed to sneak in a grizzly tale over dinner.
It wasn't till we reached the cottage that the true horror story unfolded. Not only was the cottage decor nowhere near as inviting as that of the hunting lodge, it lacked another important quality as well - warmth. Despite the bitter cold outside, it felt like stepping into a fridge. Or a morgue, if we stick to the creepy theme. And to add insult to injury - a test of the taps learned that there was no hot water to be had either. I was amazed the stuff was actually still liquid.
So not only did we have to spend a miserable night shivering in ice-cold beds, there was no chance of a hot shower or a bath in the morning either. And there are few things that make me crankier than not being able to have a proper wash.
Told you my bloody gremlin likes to travel.