Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dalston Hall 2

The room at Dalston Hall was well-mirrored. There was the one on the bedhead. Personally I think it was to reflect the apparitions (or do ghosts not have reflections? or am I thinking about zombies?). There was one over the desk. And then there was this one. All were intricately carved, well-dusted and, I should imagine, expensive.

And the bath: I occasionally watch house-buying programmes and people who appear on these programmes often want roll-top baths. Now, I'm old enough to remember these in the 50s, when people prided themselves on getting rid of them. I admit that they look quite interesting, maybe especially in a turret bathroom, but I've always thought of them as not very practical. I'm now able to report that I was right.

Where, crucially, do you balance your book while you wash? As I suspected, you try to sit it on the round edge of the bath but it teeters and then falls to the floor. (Or into the water, though in my case, it was the floor.) After the first night I was forced to have a bookless bath; and I can tell you that lying regarding one's stomach is not so relaxing as getting on with the biography of Gertrude Jekyll, which is what I wanted to be doing. It may depend on your stomach, of course. Possibly you can regard yours with complacency.

Arguably more important (though it's debatable) - where do you put the soap? You have to swap it from hand to hand while washing your more distant bits, and then drop in on to the bath mat. Or in the water, I suppose.

It was very strange being the only guests (apart from the girl we saw on the first morning). It felt a bit like staying at Northanger Abbey. Mr Life and I would sail down the massive staircase, our footsteps ringing (well, ok, padding on the carpets). We would enter the empty dining room and like magic, someone would come and take our order. (Surveillance cameras?) We would eat. Someone else would come and enquire if everything was all right. It was, very much so. We would depart. We did bring slightly dressier clothes to wear for dinner, but it didn't seem worth putting them on just to impress each other, so we didn't.

On the last night, the owner had "Fawlty Towers" on in the bar, where we were ushered before dinner. He stood watching it and laughing. I ventured to suggest that his hotel wasn't at all like this. "Oh, you'd be surprised," he chuckled. "Some of the guests we get... ."

I did wonder if we're going to be on some candid camera show but if so, we're unlikely to see it so will never know.

It's a lovely hotel, though. I recommend it. And now I know what it would be like to live in a private manor house, with staff. One could easily get used to it.


  1. Carpets to pad on. The ultimate sign that you are bouncing on someone else's floor! Mmm. I love bouncy carpets! Sad to hear about the roll top bath. Have always coveted one of those. Also a glass basin that sits on its pedestal. Wonder if that would be impractical too. Probably so if very short like me...

  2. One uses a wooden book stand, of course. (I've obviously watched too many antique programmes!)
    The rest of us make do with those bath-racks which hold soap, sponge and book, but are, unfortunately, made of plastic.

  3. Quite agree about a book less bath though a bath shop here sells a thing that goes over with a book rest..

    And you will remember the similar thing that went over those 50s baths to hold the soap and the flannel?

  4. As pretty as they look I don't like to take a bath...I prefer a shower...never saw the point in lying uncomfortably in dirty/getting cold water.....they are usually only enjoyable for the first minute.

  5. Complacency is usually the reason for being able to inspect one's stomach in the bath! :)

  6. There are bath racks that have a space for wine glass(es) and candles as well as adjustable book rests. Your lovely hotel was short on the practicalities!