When we'd had time to settle in to our room, there was a knock on the door and not one but two picnic hampers were delivered, along with a cooler bag of champagne – a very nice surprise, and we were getting hungry! So we loaded up and headed out into the grounds to find the perfect picnic spot.
I was a little concerned about this to begin with, as it was so hot and sitting outside in the afternoon sun didn't appeal to us, but we found a huge tree with the perfect shady spot. It was completely comfortable, and cool. John was a gent with the blanket. And we admired the view – impressive! We made a toast – to actually making the time to go away together. So needed and so enjoyable, even more so than we expected. We have similar personalities in that we underestimate how much we enjoy these things, and don't get round to doing them nearly enough. There was enough food to feed a hungry quartet, so we were very spoiled! I then had to enjoy the grounds a little bit more. I just love being surrounded by these huge trees, as you hardly see them in Victoria. Magical fairy trees! I enjoyed them with some gusto. But as it was very warm, more rest was then required. And after an hour we were ready to head back to our room, because... We had a spa treatment to go to! I know I've said this before, but I can be a bit disinterested in spas and such – again, it's because I underestimate how much I'll enjoy it. John and I were treated to a one hour full body massage. I hadn't had a massage for ages, and never a lush one. Anyway, I didn't take my camera with me for obvious reasons but let me just say: wow. I am a changed woman. I didn't even have to tell my therapist about my dodgy shoulder – she found it, fixed it and left me floating on clouds, with a right arm that I could then actually move properly. I have decided I actually need a massage once a month from now on because of this... bliss. Pure bliss.
We came back to earth slowly with some ginger tea, and then it was dinner time! Well, almost – we just had to go and remind each other what terrible swimmers we are in the pool (John actually laughs at me, which is not the best idea as he swallows even more water by doing this than he does with his own splashy swimming technique and that serves him right!) and then sit in the bubbly spa. You've got to really work up an appetite, you know. Look at my face – that is the face of a woman with a happy shoulder. Because it was such a beautiful evening, we decided to for a walk in the twilight to look for bunnies. We weren't disappointed – bunnies were out walking too. Walking, hopping and nibbling. I'd got changed from the dress we drove down in, and wore my 1950's blue and purple floral print with the full skirt. And, look at this... I couldn't plan that! Matching one's surroundings is something I am taking to new levels, apparently. The lily pond is beautiful. And so are the quaint little greenhouses, which are open so you can go and have a look. They're beautiful. With the sun now setting, we decided to head back to Joseph's, the hotel's restaurant. We took the long way back, as everything was so otherworldly in the soft blue light. Things I can't photograph: the deep orange sky on my right, the alive and damp feel of the earth beneath my platform-clad feet, the sounds of the birds that we don't have in Melbourne chirping and stretching and getting ready for the night. And were very well fed and looked after. Again, even better than expected, but as I'd had Afternoon Tea here in the past, my expectations were already pretty high. I like these pleasant surprises! Everything was so beautiful and fresh. And yes, I eat the flowers! It was the perfect, indulgent way to end a luxurious day. We then went for an amble around the historic buildings on the other side, that we hadn't seen yet – this place is huge, and it reminds me so much of England – and finally walked up the staircase with the lead lighting back to our room, very happy little chickens!