Thursday, 25 August 2011

What I did on my holyers - Part2

What was the Spa like? I hear you ask. It lived up to my expectations - a 20m ozone cleansed pool with jacuzzi. I managed more  than I thought I would after being away from swimming since January and what with  being run down and all - 300m in 8mins. My lungs were fine, it was my shoulders that screamed 'enough!"

A shower and dry and it was time for my massage. Not sure that Jade listened carefully enough to my request to 'avoid the eczema flare on the hips' but the oils she used (eucalyptus, tea-tree, and peppermint) really loosened my lungs.

View from one of the resting places

After the massage, I returned to the Tierney suite and had tea and biscuits and a nap. Then outside for a stroll down to the point at which there is a glorious view of The Thames.

The grounds are extensive. There are lots of woodland paths and little surprises that pop up when you're least expecting them. There are plenty of resting places, some with rustic seating.

Water-lillies and carp

On the way back up from one of the woodland trails, I stopped to talk to the carp in the pool.

Table overlooking the Thames

Then it was back to the hotel to the table waiting for me in The Orangery where I had dinner.

Both my waiters were French, though the Maitre d was at pains to point out that only his mother is French, his father is Egyptian. He is studying in Oxford for a degree in IT which he is funding himself. In another two years he will return to Egypt and set up business there.

He was tickled by my 'Franglais' and I told him we used to keep the boat near where his mother lives in Lyons. He knows Pont de Vaux well, so he says.

Michel Arnaud Rose  grand cru

I explained that the  boat was now in Picardie, close to the Champagne region and that I was quite particular about the champagne I drank.

We discussed the champagne I was going to have with the meal and I eventually settled for a Michel Arnaud Rose grand cru √† Verzenay  (just a glass, I hasten to add.).

Wonderful summer fruit flavouts and gentle bubbles makes this a wine to rival that of my favourite, N. Potie of Conde sur Marne.

Roast duck

The champagne went perfectly with my entree - Roast duck with pear puree, baby potatoes and greem beans.

The duck was cooked to perfection - pink, moist, and tasty. The pear puree was a pleasant fruity accompaniment.

Navarin of lamb

For the main course, I had chosen Navarin of lamb. This came with pureed potatoes, carrots, and a rich, much-reduced  gravy. It proved a little salty for my taste but I couldn't fault the cooking.

Poached yellow peach

I didn't really fancy any of the desserts, but as the meal was included in the md-week break, I decided to try the Poached yellow peach with thyme ice-cream and thyme biscotti. I'm not too sure about adding thyme to sweet courses and the biscotti was a disappintment as it had been made into an 'upside down' crumble 'topping' underneath the peach. The thyme overpowered the flavour of the peach which had lost much of its fruitiness during the poaching.

The meal was very enjoyable and the service impeccable. I read my Kindle while eating and didn't  feel out of place among the couples who were dining there.

I declned coffee and made myself a pot of de-caffinated tea after a relaxing soak in the jacuzzi in my bathroom. Despite some bruising from the massage on my back, a comfortable night in the super king-sized bed rounded off a  magical day.

Breakfast in my room this morning was lovely - fresh fruit, grapefuit juice, ceral, toast, and a large pot of tea were just what I need to set myself up for the beginning of the Tai Chi Retreat at London Colney. I probably won't have much access (if any at all) to the interweb but should be able to Tweet my progress.