Out of season Center Parcs is slightly cheaper than a good hotel so for my 50th we set off for Longleat and their Executive Apartments! Although close to the centre of the action it was still a good 10 minutes’ walk to the Aqua-thingy but it didn’t stop Michael wanting to swim the first evening. After a nap to recover from the driving we packed our swimmies and set off to the pool. Girding our loins we navigated our way through the unisex changing rooms, narrowly avoided having a group wee in the gents (glasses were in my locker by this point!) and headed for the heated outdoor pool. It was magical; the trees were lit with a million fairy lights and the steam from the pool drifted across the forest. Mike wore a kayaking top to prevent any damage to Audrey which worked really well. We bobbed in the warm water until our heads began to freeze and an elderly man who had probably left his glasses in his locker too energetically squeezed my thigh.
Unaccustomed to any form of exercise we headed back to our apartment on the slow and breezy land-train and got heckled along the way by a four year old who shouted, “Haha! Slowest train ever!” A grown up in our carriage leant out and shouted back, “Yeah; but at least we’re ON the train!”
(Image from Trip Advisor)
I joined Mike in his liquid only diet, buying 24 Slimefast shakes (Tesco Deal!) as I could do with losing a few stone. The first day went well; I actually looked forward to having my Café Latte shake for breakfast. The second day went almost as well with Chunky Chocolate added to the menu (wasn’t chunky) but by evening I began to feel really sick. My stomach churned as I tossed and turned in bed and for breakfast I could only face an actual hot coffee. Even now, as I write about this trauma, the nausea is rising. I lost half a stone in four days but I wouldn’t recommend this as an enjoyable weight-loss regime. (If anyone wants some free Slimefast Shakes I have a load hidden in a drawer in the kitchen but you’ll have to come and get them in because the sight of them makes me barf).
The highlight of the trip was the bed linen. Mike is forever complaining that I hog the duvet with cutting comments such as “Is it on the floor your side?” interrupting my pre-sleep state of relaxation. The linen at Center Parcs was crisp, cool, white and covered a snuggly, Super King duvet. So on my birthday we did what any married couple escaping from their noisy family did; we hit the web in a quest to track down the best set of bed linen in the world! I listed elegant ivory and duck-egg blue covers and pin-striped V&A bedding sets.
(Not our room.)
Being a generous person, I let Mike choose. This is what we got:
(Also not our room.)
The Super King duvet actually does touch the floor either side leaving plenty spare to go round Mike’s sleeping form on his foam wedge.
Returning home to a broken toilet and faulty central heating system didn’t take anything away from the break we had in the beautiful forest of Longleat. Accessibility for tired legs isn’t great with a few areas only available if yours work. The Plaza and Venue both had loads of stairs and little curvy pathways but there is a lift if you can find it. Little motorised trucks can be requested if you have mobility problems but have to be booked well in advance and are on a first-come-first-served basis. I think if we went again we might look into a portable electric scooter for flexibility. It will do me good to jog after Mike; maybe I’ll lose another 7 lb.