Wroxall Abbey Hotel, such a magnificent facade – truly Victorian, and once the country seat of Sir Christopher Wren. I passed by the small cathedral, parked the car, and, head-down against the rain, made my way to The Court.
I was there for the British Women Racing Drivers Club (BWRDC) Awards and AGM, which I felt I should rightfully attend, as a member, and one who knows very little about the club and what it does.
An hour or so later, and having met Speed Secretary Jenny Howells (spreadsheet guru, encourager and Imp driver), I was checking in and trundling off to my room. What fabulous beams! Set within the eaves of the second floor, quiet and secluded, this room had much to boast – mostly, it’s quantity of furnishings:
1 very large bed, 5 chairs, 2 wardrobes, 3 cupboards, 1 desk, 2 tables, 1 tea trolley, 1 sofa, 1 rug, 1 dressing table, 1 ottoman, 2 televisions, 2 heaters, 7 mirrors, 17 pictures, and a sewing machine. I kid you not!
There was an eclectic feel – dark wood furniture, mis-matched and collected over the years. I guess it was all a bit dated, but you know, it was okay, I’m not complaining. It felt like staying with a great-aunt (a very wealthy great-aunt) and I liked that. It was comfortable and homely, even if it wasn’t my version of home (aside from the mis-matched dark furniture, that is ‘very’ my home!)
I didn’t have a room with a view, the side window looked out onto slate roof tiles and a rogue scaffold plank. But the room felt very safe and cosy, especially when the rain started to beat down on the roof lights, and the wind whistled around outside.
I was so comfortable that I fell asleep for half an hour, waking to dress in my best grandma/goth get-up (with my cool Shae Nakoto necklace) and headed down to join the BWRDC crew.
I’d only got as far as the lobby when I was approached by a roaming Granddad in search of assistance. He’d been at war with an umbrella, his hand awash with the bloody evidence. Perhaps I shouldn’t have forced him into a selfie before getting a first aider, but he was such fun!
At dinner we raised a celebratory toast to Patty McLaren, who had passed away just that morning. I sat with Jenny and a fabulous lady called Pauline who owns 2 donkeys and 9 Ferrari’s. I ate French onion soup, followed by a really rather good blade of beef with horseradish mashed potatoes, and then Eton Mess that tasted pleasant but looked like something Hannibal Lecter might have dreamt of.
Suzi Perry gave a great Q&A session, she was interesting, funny and charming. Then the awards were presented. My class, the Sprint Championship, was won by Elen Worthington, with Lisa Selby taking second. I came third. It seems the BWRDC don’t give trophies for third place, more’s the pity (for me!)
In the morning I was first down to breakfast, so I had two bowls of Coco Pops. Winning.
I was given a bunch of beautiful yellow roses by the BWRDC and trotted down the corridor clutching the bouquet like a determined bridesmaid. To the pool!
I was delighted to find the pool empty, and warm. I swam up and down as the welcome sun shone through the glass roof. I flipped on to my back so as to enjoy the view. Clouds passed over, crows flew by, twig in mouth. Such serenity. My eyes scanned down, onto a group of people who were looking in at me, through the window, on a tour of the facilities I presume. I felt embarrassed, they looked embarrassed, I tried to smile and awkwardly lifted my hand just enough to wave, like a graceless, cheery, short-armed otter.
They moved on, and I returned to my front, concentrated, and got the quarter-mile in.
It was then time to depart, all to soon. I took one last look at the pleasing Minton tiled lobby floor, said goodbye and thank you several times, and headed out to have a quick look at the Priory ruins before I left, looking back up at the impressive red brick mansion house with it’s gargoyles and charm. The sun was shining. Everything was still and quiet.
The door to Wren’s Cathedral was ajar, so I popped my head in, to behold some of the oldest stained-glass in the country, and found the MG Magnette car owners club gathered closely at the alter. Not what I was expecting, slightly bizarre, but fabulously ‘Wroxall’!
Wroxall Abbey Hotel & Estate | Birmingham Road, Wroxall, Warwickshire, CV35 7NB
A great big thank you to the lovely team at Wroxall Abbey Hotel & Estate for welcoming me as their guest.