Lil: Oh! It’s a lot smaller than I expected.
Gladys: Really? Despite the fact that the brochure stated clearly that it was an eight-bedroom guesthouse?
Sheila: …and there was a picture of it on nearly every page?
Mavis: …and their website included a virtual tour?
Lil: The pictures and the tour concentrated more on the “majesty of the North Yorkshire Moors” if I’m not mistaken, and they were shot from ground level. Everything looks bigger when you’re lying on the ground!
Sheila: I’ll take your word for that.
Lil: I don’t see many lemons about either. Just you three!
Mavis: Lil, what on Earth are you on about?
Gladys: I believe she’s referring to the name, The Lemon Grove.
Sheila: Ah! Well, Lil, judging by your face, you’ve eaten most of them!
Lil: Mavis, please tell me I’m not sharing with Sheila.
Mavis: You’re not sharing with Sheila! You’re in with Gladys, if that’s okay with you, Gladys?
Gladys: It’s fine. I once had to share a room with my four-year-old niece, so I have some experience of dealing with immature females.
Mavis: Right! Well, let’s try and leave the negative comments at the door, shall we? This is supposed to be a relaxation weekend. We’re here to de-stress and “find ourselves”.
Gladys: I know roughly where I am already. Do you think I could get a rebate?
Sheila: At nearly two hundred quid each, it would have been a lot cheaper to have someone point us out, or just stay hidden!
Mavis: Well, we could always turn around and go straight back home! I wouldn’t mind, but I’m paying for us all. I thought we deserved a break after the worries we had last year, but if you disagree…
Gladys: No, no, Mave. We do appreciate it. Maybe we need this weekend more than we think!
Mavis: Good! Let’s get inside. The evening meal is in ten minutes then an early night, I think. We’ve a busy day of “searching” tomorrow.
Mavis: Morning ladies! Oh, started breakfast without me, eh? Think I’ll just have toast anyway. Well, that was one decent night’s sleep.
Sheila: Yes, it was surprisingly comfortable.
Sheila: Yes, well, I had visions of coconut matting and rafia pillows before I came here, but it was very pleasant, as I say.
Lil: And that meal last night! I’ve never tasted veg like it…and whatever kind of animal a quorn is, they want to rear more of them. Delicious!
Gladys: Lil, quorn is…
Sheila: Just leave it, Gladys. For the sake of a quiet life.
Mavis: Lil, that’s good, wholesome, organically grown produce for you. That’s how food is supposed to taste.
Lil: Well bring it on and pile it high, that’s all I can say!
Sheila: Nice! Anyway, what’s the plan for today? I see from this leaflet we can have a yoga session, back massage, Indian Head Massage, leg massage, foot sloughing, Hopi ear candles – whatever they are – reflexology, reiki, aqua detox for thirty pounds extra, hot stone massage for an additional fifty-nine pounds and a good range of beauty treatments.
Lil: Fifty-nine pounds for someone to put stones on your back! Thirty pounds for a hosepipe up the backside! I thought this was a relaxation weekend, not a trip to a fetish club! I’m clearly in the wrong business.
Mavis: It does seem a little ironic that the bill for treatments designed to soothe you is guaranteed to raise your blood pressure.
Gladys: Indeed! For that reason and in answer to your question, Sheila, I thought I might just take a gentle walk over the moors. It costs nothing and the views are still free, for the time being. In fact, I was hoping that you and Mavis might join me. Lil, I’m sure you won’t mind if we leave you to it.
Lil: As tempting as a walk in open countryside in the middle of February might be, I think I’ll stick to the indoor pursuits thanks, Glad.
Gladys: As I thought, Lil. Shall we meet in the foyer in an hour then, ladies?
Sheila: Jeez! I thought it was cold in Purfleet, but that was sub-tropical compared to this!
Mavis: It is a little on the nippy side, Gladys.
Gladys: It is rather, but there’s not a cloud in the sky, we’re well wrapped up and the guesthouse is just down there in the valley, so I’m sure we’ll survive. Besides, just look at that view.
Sheila: I agree it is spectacular. Hang on! Isn’t that Captain Oates on the brow of that next hill? No, it can’t be. He’d have had more sense than to be out in this.
Mavis: Behave! It’s not that bad. Here, sweep the snow off those rocks. We’ll sit down for a bit.
Sheila: Couldn’t we go back and sit down in the Jacuzzi?
Mavis: We could, but I think that would defeat the object, wouldn’t it, Gladys?
Gladys: Just take a minute to look out there. The snow-covered fields and the dark, jagged hedgerows, the ice-filled channels in the dirt roads and pathways, the smoking breath and ruddy cheeks of those hikers, the clarity of the water in that stream over there, the way the hills rise and fall and seem to go on forever, and all of it glinting and sparkling in the sunlight. It’s like kneeling down at the end of the bed and looking across a pure white duvet.
Sheila: Very poetic!
Gladys: Now, what don’t you see?
Sheila: Glad, are you all right?
Mavis: Shush, Sheila. Let her go on.
(to be continued…)