The following morning Morticia and I were driving north east towards Scarborough. This was our first trip together since our honeymoon.
We'd planned this trip some months earlier when Morticia received an email offering a deal on stays in the Grand in Scarborough. Morticia had aways wanted to stay there since she first saw the magnificent building that dominates the bay as a child. We booked and the time came 'round.
We arrived without incident and even managed to park fairly hassle free. After that it started to go wrong. Now I'm not daft, I know the Grand isn't as grand as it once was. I was under no illusion. We entered the reception area and we were immediately impressed with the beautiful architectural features and the impressive staircase which dominated the centre of the large hall. We then noticed how small the reception desk was in the corner, and how large the queue was for it.
The queuing is when we first got an incling that there might be something wrong. The queue was made up of people checking in and people complaining. We got to the front and got our booking sorted out by a woman who looked like she was having a bad day and was passing on the vibe. We were directed to our room which was down what looked like a service corridor to a lift and down 1 level. We got to the room; it was shabby, smelly and it had NO WINDOW! I wish I'd taken a photo just to show how bad it was.
We returned to reception, this wasn't acceptable (I'm normally the kind of person that can put up with most things but everyone has a limit). I joined the back of the queue (again) and waited. The same woman listened to me with a "don't give a toss" look then started the hotel was full and we'd have to put up with it. We were absolutely NOT going to put up with it! We demanded a refund deciding that we'd rather go home than stay in a smelly dump. We emerged back into daylight with the refund back on our credit card.
Upset and angry we were going to spend a short time in Scarborough before heading back but I thought I'd try to find an alternative hotel on the internet. The first one we tried was full. It was a long shot, the place was busier than I'd imagined for the time of year. The second one was a bit further out, just above the spa.
The Ambassador Spa Hotel was on a street filled with hotels. I'd put in a booking on the aptly named booking.com website but this was ultra last minute. I went to reception and asked. The friendly receptionist had a look and with a smile announced that there was one room left. Result!
Relief lead to excitement as we unpacked. The room was clean, a nice size and tastefully decorated. We lost most of our afternoon faffing about getting a room so we were keen not to waste the evening. We were both tired and hungry so a trip into the town rather than the sea front seemed to best course of action. We found a pub called The Courtyard which did food. A couple of beers and a nice meal were consumed before we returned to the hotel for a drink in the bar and an early night.
Breakfast was a buffet which I always like. We went down to the front via one of the cliff trams which Morticia had never ridden on. We strolled on the sea front stopping regularly (a necessity because of Morticia's condition) at cafes and pubs. We had lunch in the chip shop cafe where we ate before with our children. It was so different to not have any responsibilities.
Our final morning and we had a greeting from a new friend outside the bathroom window...
After checkout we went onto the front again, unlike yesterday it was pissing it down. That still didn't dampen our spirits. We stuck around until lunch (at Winking Willy's) then went to take a look at the statue of the chap sat on the bench. Then it was time to head home.
We stopped off at a pub on the way home, the Coach & Horses in Rillington. It has to be one of the worst pubs I've ever been in. We didn't stay to long...
Late night Rags pick up. Rags was due back about midnight. In fact they were running early. We tracked her phone up the M1 to Chesterfield before her battery died. She did manage to call us with an ETA. We sat in the car outside school, as did every other parent, waiting. The coach came and a very tired Rags was delivered back to us.
She had had the experience of a lifetime and we had recaptured something from a long time ago and a glimpse into our future.