Every time I see the word ‘Mississippi’ I sing that rhyme – ‘Mrs M, Mrs I, Mrs SSI Mrs SSI Mrs PPI.. MISSISSIPPI!’… I hope someone out there knows what I’m talking about or this will look mighty strange.
So we’re in Natchez, reclining in our luxurious, antique four-poster bed. This place is definitely up there with the (very) small number of other luxury places we’ve stayed in this year. Our room in the size of a squash court and people keep calling us ‘ma’am’ and ‘sir’. It’s a bit unnerving.
The style to which I would like to become accustomed.
The property is an original antebellum plantation house and the town of Natchez was once home to over half the millionaires in America – cotton was the main export and the wealth was built on slavery. These days it’s a quiet little town but still nicely kept and with over 500 mansions like this in the area (or so I’ve read).
We had an exceptional evening tonight, quite unexpectedly. We had decided to dress up for dinner (now that I actually own a dress) and go down early for a drink at the bar. We got talking to two gentlemen who were both from the south – Mark and Paul. Both lawyers who were here for a case, we ended up sitting together for dinner and having one of those nights of conversation where there’s never a dull moment and you leave feeling like you’ve had a window into another culture. They were both interested in Australia too – Paul had been to Sydney but not Melbourne and was keen to share his impressions.
We talked food, sport, cultural differences and similarities, economics, politics.. it was wonderful. Just the sort of engagement I’d been hoping to have with people here. Better yet, Paul offered to email us with some suggestions for places to eat and visit for the rest of our trip… if you’re reading this, don’t forget, Paul:).
This post should really be called ‘Amanda accidentally stays in a place of extreme luxury’ because that’s what happened.
Yesterday I booked accommodation for Mum and I. We’d decided one night at the south-ish end of the Lake District and one at the north, giving us a day to drive around or, in the unlikely event that the weather smile on the British public during the half term school break, do some walking.
I searched for something moderately nice and under 100 pounds a night and there was nothing decent in Kendal or Windermere so I booked the Merewood Country Hotel, which is closer to Ambleside (as an aside, how adorable are English place names? We drove through Pudding Norton the other day and there’s a suburb of Birmingham called Mouse Sweet. Seriously.). It was cheaper than the place we stayed in Warrington (Best Western-type establishment next to a motorway) and included a full breakfast. But check this out.
the bar, where I’m sitting now. The view from the windows is over Windermere. Well, mostly it’s rain but there’s definitely some lake-like thing in the distance.
This place has a library, for god’s sake. Every room has a functioning fireplace. If I was denied the Lebua in Bangkok I would accept this place as a strong substitute.
The entrance hall. It’s pretty much every Georgette Heyer book come to life. And if you don’t know who Georgette Heyer is, you’re missing out on the best Georgian/Victorian romance novels since Jane Austin.
It was the country home of some lord and his much more posh hunting lodge is just up the hill. More posh than this! Needless to say I having nothing appropriate to wear but neither does Mum… in fact none of the guests are dressed as nicely as the staff here. I’m slightly concerned about what to wear to dinner in the dining room, which looks more fancy than the rest of the house. I think my dream holiday would involve swanning around somewhere like this in some extremely large and swishy gowns (think Dangerous Liaisons), flirting with handsome men and eating extremely small cakes from large silver platters. Tell me I’m not alone in this.
To finish off my massive post-a-thon for today, here’s a picture of Mum from this morning. We drove through Manchester on the way here and stopped in Burnage Lane, where Mum grew up. The house she lived in has been replaced but the street was familiar and so were the shops and the place names.