Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Wild Wood 

Thursday, September 30, 2004

“There’s a fridge full of beer and wine behind reception. Help yourself to anything you want and let me know what you had when it's time to leave.”
I caught Girlfriend’s eye and grinned. She grinned back. I had a good feeling about this place.

Mark is the most laid back innkeeper I’ve ever met. He has a beard like the sheriff in Deputy Dog and his newspapers arrive a day late. He lives in a beautiful wooden house a few hundred yards up the track, and looks every bit like a man who lives in the woods.

After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, served up by the wonderful seventy nine year old 'B' - “She’s doing a great job, isn’t she? I might keep her on for another day” - we strolled down into Grafton.
“It’s two and a half miles down to the village,” Mark had told us, “and nine miles back.”

The village was full of dummies.
We sauntered around the local points of interest and magically found ourselves at the cheese factory. Here we ate as many of the free samples as we thought was proper and dignified, which in our case was quite a lot, and I even managed to pocket some toothpicks into the bargain.
Then we watched some blokes making cheese for a bit and bought stuff from the gift shop. I can personally recommend the three year old cheddar - strong, not too dry - and the elderberry jelly, which I’ve smuggled back through customs, is delicious.
The sun shone as we wandered back to the village for lunch at Daniels Café, where I tried root beer for the first and last time.
We climbed the steep lane back to the Inn, pausing here along the way, and had a lovely lazy afternoon lolling on a hammock on the porch.

Each night cheese and biscuits are put out for guests, and what with there being no television, those who want to while away the evening chatting around the fire. It’s like living inside one of those murder mysteries set in a country pile miles away from anywhere, only without the murder bit.

Presently new guests appeared at reception. A tidy collection of empty beer bottles lay at our feet.
“Ooh, new people!” I exclaimed.
Mark rose from his fireside armchair, pointed a bony forefinger at me and murmered “Don’t you piss me off.”
“Don’t give him any money!” I yelled.
How we laughed.
We spent a pleasant evening talking with a speech therapist from Seattle, who urged us to visit her hometown on our next trip. We also put the world to rights with a nice couple from Colorado, who recommended that we visit Colorado on our next trip.
“In springtime the flowers in the desert are out of this world,” we were told.
“I’d like to see that,” I said, and I really would.

And finally, we listened to the first of the presidential debates on the crackly bedside radio.

I dreamed of chipmonks and impending global disaster.

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