A Couple In England – Day 7 – Part Four

Leaving the Fashion Museum and Upper Assembly Rooms behind, I now took myself, high heeled boots and all, back down Milsom Street via the cobbled sidewalk. What in the world had I been thinking when I slipped into them this morning? When I got to Pulteney Bridge, I stopped in at the newsagents and bought two more bottles of juice to take back to the room.

Once back at Duke’s Hotel and in the Wellington Suite, I found Hubby pretty much as I’d left him – all loose limbs and pale skin and laying on the bed looking for all the world like Garbo in the death scene from Camille.

“I brought you juice,” I said. “You want some?”


“Have you eaten anything?”


“Did you take your medicine?”


I sat on the bed and thought about the best way to broach the subject of the couples massage I’d booked for us in two hours time. Hubby is not a fan of massage at the best of times, but I had gone ahead and booked it months ago, thinking it would be the perfect way for us to recover from the revelry of New Year’s Eve the night before. Little did I know that we’d miss the New Year entirely or that what we’d be recovering from would be cholera, rather than your run-of-the-mill late night out.

“So . . . I had meant this as a surprise, but I, er, I booked us in for a couples massage at the Bath Priory Hotel and spa.”

Hubby turned a truly horrified gaze upon me. Think “aghast” and you’d only be getting half the picture.

“For when?” he croaked.

“In about two hours.”

“Are you crazy?”

“I booked it months ago. I didn’t know we’d be sick. You don’t want to go?”

“No! I’m dying here. The last thing I want right now is some stranger rubbing me!”

“Okay, okay.

“You go.”

“I don’t want to leave you alone all afternoon,” I lied.

“I’ll be fine. I can’t get in too much trouble lying here in bed. Unless, of course, I do actually die.”

“Well, I’ll put the phone on the bed right next to you and if you die, or even feel like dying, you can call downstairs for help.”

“Thanks. Go and enjoy yourself. What are you going to do, sit here all afternoon and watch me sleep?”

“Well, if  you’re sure . . . . “

 “I’m sure. I know how much you love the spa. I just can’t believe you feel well enough to have some stranger rubbing you.”

I tried hard to think of a scenario in which I wouldn’t welcome a massage and couldn’t think of a single one. I’ve had massages in various U.S. cities, in England, at sea, in a tropical rain forest, in Paris, in Aruba and in Zurich and . . . .  well, you get the idea. I must have lived in ancient Egypt in another life, as there’s nothing I enjoy more than being anointed with fragrant oils and massaged into a state of semi-consciousness. Pedicures aren’t too shabby, either.

So it was that I hopped into a cab at the appointed hour and went to the Bath Priory Hotel and Spa, located about ten minutes outside of the Bath city centre.

Pulling up into the forecourt, I began to see why the country house hotel had won the Relais and Chateaux Garden of the Year Awards in 2013, the same year their chef was awarded a Michelin star.
From the hotel’s website: “The hotel, built in 1835 as a private residence on land once owned by The Priory of Bath Abbey, is steeped in history and gives more than a nod to its Gothic influences – with cheeky gargoyles and dramatic arches, tempered by soft furnishings inside – beautiful paintings adorning the walls, objects d’art, freshly cut flowers and French Belle Epoque chandeliers. Sit by the smoldering embers of the log fires, sink into the sofas and enjoy a good book or an afternoon tea at leisure. If you are yearning for a well earned spa break, then the Garden Spa, complete with indoor and outdoor pools and the full range of beauty treatments, will ensure you are blissfully content.”

I had definitely come to the right place. Now, if my bowels held firm and my nose didn’t run like a faucet, I’d be fine. I walked through the front door and into a world of posh English luxury. The Elemis spa is located downstairs and I was escorted there by the hotel receptionist and turned over to the spa receptionist, who brought me back to the dressing room so that I could change into my bathing suit.

The spa has an indoor pool, but the amenities I wanted to take advantage of were the sauna and steam room. I was determined to sweat the cholera from my body.


Back and forth I went, from sauna to steam and back again for forty minutes. When I was about the consistency of a wet noodle, my masseuse collected me and brought me back to the couple’s treatment room, complete with garden view.

Cocooned in the semi darkness, breathing in the aromatherapy oils, I gave myself over to the ministrations of a stranger and allowed myself to be rubbed. By the end of my massage, I was, indeed, `blissfully c

When I got back to our hotel Hubby asked, “All better now?”

I smiled dreamily. “Much better. Still not all better. But better. What do you want to do for dinner?”

“I’m not really hungry.”

“I know. Neither am I, but we haven’t eaten since yesterday, so I think it would be a good idea to get something. How about a pizza? They deliver. We don’t even have to be dressed.”


“I’m going take a hot bath first, then we’ll order, okay? You should take a bath. It’ll make you feel better.”

“No, thanks,” Hubby said, emphatically shaking his head. “The way my luck is going, I’d probably slip and fall and end up in a full body cast for the rest of the trip.”

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I laughed because the way the trip was panning out, a scenario like that wasn’t outside the realm of possibility.

So I bathed, we ordered pizza, which was delivered to our door by the hotel staff, and then we watched a little television, namely Bear’s Wild Weekend, the premise of which is that Bear Grylls – British adventurer, writer and television presenter – takes celebrities on exhilarating adventures well outside their comfort zones. In this episode the celebrity was Miranda Hart, of Call the Midwife fame.

Here’s a description of the show: “Bear Grylls takes comedy writer and actress Miranda Hart on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to the spectacular Swiss Alps. Bear challenges novice Miranda to go far beyond her comfort zone with a series of exhilarating adventures during an intense two-day expedition. Miranda traverses a glacier, crosses crevasses roped to Bear, tackles deep snow in snow shoes and completes a huge boulder scramble. She also faces her greatest fears when she flies in a helicopter and abseils down a waterfall.”

It was a hoot and Hubby and I both enjoyed it immensely. Click the link to watch a clip of the show.

When the show was over, Hubby asked, “What’s on for tomorrow?”

“We take the train to Windsor.”

“Unh. What’s Windsor? Is it crazy like London or quiet like here?”

“Even quieter than here.” I refrained from elaborating and telling Hubby that our train journey tomorrow would require two changes. I didn’t think he’d be able to handle it just then. “I can’t believe we’re leaving Bath already and we didn’t get to do anything we’d planned.”

“You planned. I know how much you were looking forward to it and I’m sorry it was ruined for you. It seems like all we’ve done in Bath is lay in bed, take medicine, blow our noses and wait to die.”

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?

Day 8 Coming Soon!

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