Travel Stories

A Night at The Swan Inn, Tarporley

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I was absolutely shattered by the time I arrived at the Swan Inn, in Tarporley. I’d been at Derby Uni delivering a Professional Development talk for Shutter Hub and critiquing some photography. It had been a very full-on day, starting with a long journey (and some Sat Nav confusion), followed by my presentation being wiped off my pen-drive, then various other technical glitches and misery.

My cunning cheer-me-up chicken kiev stop at Anna’s house was such a pleasure that I probably used up my last bit of the days energy there.

Still, it was easy to find the hotel pub pubotel, and easy to park.

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I wandered into the bar at about 9.30pm and made full eye contact with three members of staff before one asked me what I wanted. I wanted to check in. ‘Harvey?’ Yep. No airs and graces, I was asked to pay upfront. I scrabbled through my bags and produced my debit card, made the swift payment of £50 and was led to my room. My teeny, tiny room.

As a point of interest, when I’d originally booked the room I’d had a quick look on their website and then phoned to make the reservation. The lady on the phone told me it would be £75, I mentioned that it said £50 on their website and she’d responded with, ‘Well if you want it for fifty you can have it for fifty!’ Alright then. So I did. I then emailed a request in response to the booking confirmation, but received no reply. I should have seen the signs.

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I text Adam, ‘I’ve arrive at the hovel!’ I was probably being a bit harsh, or possibly not.

I’ll never trust a hotel that asks you to pay upfront, not since the ‘That’s not chocolate on the phone’s mouthpiece!’ incident of earlier this year.

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The room was tiny, cell-like and claustrophobic, but I could tolerate that, I only wanted to sleep here. That’s right I only wanted to sleep!

The big old single glazed sash window was next to my bed and facing right onto the road, over the front door of the pubotel. The catch lock was missing off the window, but there were at least some signs that the old sash was being repaired. Well, the bit of pitch pine with a Wickes label on it was a giveaway!

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There was no ceiling light, but three double-shaded wall lights. Only one of the lights had bulbs in though. The tiny TV on the wall at the foot of the bed made me think of hospitals or nursing homes. But at least there was a trouser press.

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The room was clean, with a good array of Teapigs tea, and even a Laura Ashley mug for me to drink it out of. A bit of a strange juxtaposition against the rest of the room I felt. The bathroom was also clean, compact and clean. I wasn’t keen on the claggy clagged up  jar of bath salts, or the unusual pattern in the bath (to stop me falling over, I assume).

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Often in a hotel room one might find a bible (Gideons), but here I found The Little Hunting Handbook (you know what rhymes with hunt?) and a leaflet welcoming me to ‘The Summer Swan’ and asking, ‘who could believe we are into the summer months already?’ I’ll tell you who – me. In and out.

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The pillows were synthetic, but at least they were thick and not like sweaty pancakes, and the duvet was nicely feather filled. I got into bed. I’m not used to sleeping in a single bed and I was a bit worried that I might fall out. I also felt strangely like my grandmother. She’s dead.

The bed was quite comfortable, but so narrow I feared for my safety. There was no lamp, just the afore mentioned wall light, the switch was placed on the wall in reachable distance – if you’re Mr Greedy or some kind of long armed giant (who wouldn’t have fitted in the bed anyway!) Thankfully the glow from the sign and lights outside was plenty to light my room, and the loo was literally three steps/creaks and a door away from my bedside. So I survived.

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As I tried to get to sleep I was startled by a loud noise, right next to my head. I lay still. ‘Ghost snorer?’ I thought. No. Heavy sleeping overweight warthog in adjoining room. At least someone was getting a good nights sleep. It was actually quite comforting, in a very strange way.

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I slept fairly well, until the sound of passing cars woke me up, that was sporadic though. Then, at 6.40am, a shop alarm over the road started to go off and continued to do so. Having been awake at 4-something the previous morning I was rather hoping for a bit more sleep. I hid my head under the pillow, but by 7.20am I decided I couldn’t take it any longer. It was like some kind of torture, that even when the alarm intermittently stopped it left my ears ringing.

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I went down to breakfast and helped myself to some Alpen and some pictures of the carpets. (More carpets on Instagram!)

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On my way back to my room I met the cleaning lady and congratulated her on the cleanliness of the room. She was sweet, ‘Thank you, very nice!’ she said. I liked her.

When I checked out they didn’t ask me, ‘How was your stay?’ and I don’t blame them! I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the receiving end of everything I had to say, especially not so early in the morning.

I suppose I got almost 6 hours of sleep in total, and some Alpen. Considering how knackered I was, less than £10 per hour for sleep was actually quite acceptable. I would have happily paid £75 for 7 hours sleep and a smile though!

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My bedroom of ‘excellence’ was just above the front door.

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The rate for a single room at The Swan Inn, Tarporley is either  £50 or £75, depending on how they feel! Tarporley is a very nice place, and the ladies in the Post Office are lovely! 

I felt that the customer service at The Swan Inn was shocking, and my room was oppressive and unwelcoming, but I am sure they must have some nicer rooms – they look fine on their website!