Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Brief Interlude

So, before I donned my polyester uniform and started my new role as shop girl, it was Hubby’s birthday. I surprised him by taking him away for the night to Center Parcs.
“Alice”, he said, “We can’t afford it”.
“Yes we can”, I answered imperiously, “I’ve been saving my two pound coins for it. Besides it’s only an over night spa break”.
So, with little more than a clean pair of knicks, a toothbrush and a pair of pyjamas, which elicited the most predictably lecherous comment of “You won’t be needing those, nudge, nudge”, from Hubby, we got in the car and left the small children in the care of the big children.
It was only mid afternoon when we arrived, but almost dark yet, having been to Center Parcs once before with the children we knew the routine, or so we thought.
“You’ve come to the wrong entrance”, said a bookings clerk with a clipboard, “You should have come in through the ‘Spa Break’ entrance”.
“Oh, sorry”, I said apologetically.
“You passed the sign further down the drive. It’s hard to miss”. Hubby and I looked at each other and giggled. She was very strict.
“Turn around and go back down the drive and then enter through the staff entrance”. We nodded meekly. Finally, after a lot of “No, up there”, “No, turn left”, “No. Stop. That’s only for bikes”, we found our accommodation. It was an apartment which was more than adequate for our needs. I had no plans in cooking.
The bath was deep and the bed very comfortable.
“But this is two single beds pushed together” said Hubby, much chagrined.
“Well that’s ok”, I replied, attempting to hide the relief in my voice, “I won’t be far away”.
After unpacking our small overnight bag, we walked to the swimming pool. We were at a loss.
“It’s weird without the children”, said Hubby. I nodded.
“Let’s go down the rapids”, he suggested. Really? Did I have to?
“C’mon, don’t be such a spoil sport” and without so much as a by your leave, Hubby hurled himself over the wall and into swirling water beneath. I attempted the same leap but, never particularly athletic, got rather mortifyingly stranded with one half of my body dangling over the wall and the other half dangling the swimming pool side. Try as I might, I could not engender the oomph to get over it. Thankfully, an elderly and rather well built gentleman saw my predicament and chucked me over the edge and into gushing water. I screeched and screamed and choked and coughed most of my way around.
“Wait for me”, I kept calling out to Hubby as though my life depended on it, “Please wait for me. Glug, glug, glug”. Every time I caught sight of Hubby, decorously going along the rapid in front of me, he was helpless with laughter.
It finally ended with me being deposited rather unceremoniously in a deep pool, sideways. When I looked up, Hubby was waiting for me looking like a tall Daniel Craig, dripping, sexily wet, his hair raked back from his face. I emerged from the pool like the Kraken, hair plastered to my face, swimsuit barely covering the essential areas, bruised with eyes bloodshot from the prolonged dunking in chlorine.
“Glass of wine?” Hubby mouthed. I shook my head vigorously.
“Huh?”, Hubby hunched his shoulders in disbelief.
“I’m not saying no to wine”, I shouted back over the noise of screaming children and rushing water, “I am ridding my ear canals of the last vestiges of white water rapids”.
Fifteen minutes later, having visited the shop and bought pretzels, wine and a bath bomb, I was wallowing in far more agreeable bath water. It was bloody hot though and I emerged later, poached, looking not unlike an expensive and rather fragrant crustacean; Rick Stein would have put me on the menu.
“Hello lovely lady”, said Hubby in his best James Bond voice and he got up off the sofa and whipped my towel away before adding, “Bloody hell Alice! I can’t make love to a lobster”. That’s where all similarities with Daniel Craig terminate.
The following day was sunny; we booked into the Aqua Sana. And once within its calming, soothing environment, enveloped in a snuggly white robe, it’s as though real life has been transcended. We spent hours wallowing and sweating; steaming and meditating until finally we were called for our massages. Sublime. No sooner had I peeled myself from one treatment bed than I was led to another. Facial time.
The next time Hubby and I faced each other our skin shone and radiated, having been sloughed to within an inch of our lives. “I must drink more water”, said Hubby in all earnestness, “My therapist said I had very youthful skin and that’s all I needed to keep it looking young”. Did she now? Mine suggested a very expensive but delectable box of vials full of elixirs to keep ageing at bay. A bottle of Perrier would have been far cheaper.
“Shall we go home then?” Hubby asked. Reluctantly we dragged ourselves away from the utopian bliss that is a day in a luxury spa and headed home. We arrived with a bang. Literally. Our children were waiting for us at Mag’s bonfire party.
The contrast was too much for me. Only hours before I’d been lying on a banquette in tropical heat, wearing little more than a swimsuit and a towel as a turban, now I was in an anorak and a pair of wellies on a boggy lawn with a baked spud in one hand and a chilled glass of wine in another. I lasted an hour.
“Sorry Mags, I can’t cope with the cold. I need my bed”. It took him less than a nano second.
“C’mon then Mrs Band”, said Hubby, whipping the potato from my hand before gripping it, “Excuse us Mags, we have some unfinished business to attend to”.

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