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Monday, 2 September 2013

Suffolk and Constable Country Tour -Day 1

Well I'm off again today and with a late departure time of 1100 hours, I didn't get out of bed until 8 O'clock. My destination this week is Suffolk and Constable Country. I've done this tour for the past few years and apart from doing things on different days, essentially the itinerary is the same. So in theory, this should be an easy week. Famous last words! 

We were slightly late leaving the depot but it didn't really matter as we don't have an awful lot of mileage to cover today. We have all ladies on board this week and just a small group of 28. They are all single ladies, whether divorced, widowed or spinsters. Some are travelling with friends but the majority are travelling on their own. These are the groups who generally take a bit more time to gel together, especially if there are several people who have never travelled alone before and I was expecting to have my work cut out to help them along but to my surprise, they were interacting with each other very quickly apart from the odd one or two. So I shall have to keep an eye on them that they do not feel excluded.

I had made the decision to drive directly to Stamford in Lincolnshire for our lunch stop and a little free time. We had only been on the road for less than an hour when my courier came and said to me that she had broken a seat. She had leant on a back rest and it snapped, lying flat on the seat behind. She had moved people to safe seats but I now had to spend my lunch time trying to solve the problem, which is a big one. When we arrived in Stamford, everyone was let loose and the tool box came out. I couldn't fix it but my depot found a man that can!

I've visited Stamford several times and when the weather is good, which it was today, it is a lovely place to spend a few hours. This medieval town has been used for many film locations including Pride and Prejudice in 2005 and The Da Vinci Code in 2006. The Industrial Revolution largely left Stamford untouched. Much of town centre was built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in Jacobean or Georgian style. Stamford is characterised by street after street of timber-framed and stone buildings (using the local limestone that Lincoln Cathedral is built from), little shops tucked down back alleys. The main shopping area was pedestrianised in the 1980s.

After an extended lunch break and a relax by the river we set off for our hotel. The Best Western Stoke By Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa. I've stayed here several times now. The rooms are all lovely and we never have complaints there and this week I'm in a suite with a bed big enough for a whole rugby team! After all our ladies had gone to their rooms I had to give the porters a kick for taking too long to deliver all the luggage to the rooms and I stood over them until the job was done! That didn't leave long for me to change and get back to the bar for our welcome drink. A choice of red or white wine or orange juice. I had 2 glasses! We moved through to the restaurant for dinner and had very nice food with very good service, especially from the handsome Portuguese waiter! All the ladies are getting along very well and I needn't have been concerned about anyone being left out.

Now I'm enjoying the comfort of my suite and am headed for a long soak in the bath before bed. We have a busy day to look forward to tomorrow. Goodnight x