Making an entrance
I don’t think I’m unusual in preferring to arrive without undue ceremony? It’s not that I would choose to sidle in, to be sneaky in any way but just that any kind of fanfare or fuss makes me feel very awkward indeed.
The memory of one of my most embarrassing moments still makes me cringe when I think of it. As the twenty-something daughter of a member of a company golf team, newly married to a bright young manager in that same company, I was invited for post-tournament drinks one afternoon. I arrived at the clubhouse and made my entry through the patio doors, but as I did, my heel slipped on the polished wood floor and I fell flat on my face. The whole bar fell silent and all heads turned in my direction. Thankfully, a rather sweet board member recognised me, came over and helped me to my feet with the words “Hello Gill, how lovely to see you. Can I get you a gin and tonic?” and never referred to it again!
As we arrived, the heavens opened and my hero ran up those steps to the entrance, carrying our bags. As he did, I opened my umbrella and followed him. There, between two of those clipped box trees was some kind of hawk, dealing with the pigeon it had snagged immediately before our arrival. My hero, understanding my little foibles, drew my attention to it and advised I steer well clear…except in doing do, he inadvertently scared the hawk off.
The pigeon fluttered a bit, gathered all its strength and managed to get airborne and fluttered a bit more. By this time, my hero was sheltering inside the porch there at the top of the steps and I was a few steps behind him. However, the injured pigeon also decided to head for shelter and taking the most direct route under my umbrella, flew into the porch as well.
I’m sorry. I screamed. Those who know me well know my fear of birds and know that I will cross a road rather than walk past a pigeon on the same side of the street. So, it will come as no surprise that I stood, cowering and shaking like a leaf out in the rain until that pigeon had been captured and taken outside. The country folks who were in the hotel reception that afternoon were probably wondering what all the fuss was about, but I was glad that a couple of them had no qualms about picking the bird up and taking it to safety. For how long, I don’t know, because the hawk had continued to circle high above us the whole time and would surely swoop down as soon as it spotted its prey again.
Thankfully, the Devonshire Fell was the same, familiar comfortable haven of peace and quiet we know and love.
We especially appreciate the bright, unstuffy atmosphere there; the warm welcome and the wonderful cooking. Since our last visit, the colour palette has been toned down a little and the fuchsia pinks and lime greens are not quite so prominent, but the walls are still full of lively and interesting artwork and that conventional exterior hides a very stylish and contemporary inside.
Thankfully, there were no more feathered encounters during our stay.