I’ve just got back from a couple of nights away at a lovely cottage in Mildenhall, Suffolk nearby Thetford, called The Walnuts.
Over the last few years, the distance I can drive, even as a passenger has reduced (see the post Cars Vs Sleeping). It’s usually about an hour as the maximum. However, I also find that it’s very rare for me to be in a car for longer than five minutes, without falling asleep!
I don’t usually go away for long, as my cats get stressed in the cattery, so if I do get a chance to go away, it’s as close to home as possible. It’s a shame as I’ve love to see more of the country, but there are some beautiful places nearby so I’m lucky.
One way I’ve found to slightly increase the distance I can travel is to recline the seat right back, and cover it in pillows. I’m usually asleep before we get on the motorway, and only wake up when we arrive! It helps reduce the pressure on my spine, so I’m not such a mess when I get there.
The Walnuts had a Groupon offer, which I sadly just missed, but when I phoned to book the owner was kind enough to honour it. The deal included a BBQ pack, but there are other options if this doesn’t appeal to you.
In terms of accessibility, there are a number of cottages on site, and all except one have the bedroom/s upstairs. The one that didn’t is called ‘Inglenooks’ and has everything downstairs, so that’s the one I stayed in. One of the good things for me about going away for just two nights, is the battery in my wheelchair lasts that long, so I can leave it in the car. That I don’t have to worry about getting it in the cottage. There is parking directly outside the cottage, which is handy if you can’t walk far.
The cottage wouldn’t be suitable for a full-time wheelchair user, as it doesn’t have level access. Each room has a raised threshold (not a step, but more than enough to stop a chair.) There is enough space for a manual wheelchair to be folded up, or stored in the bedroom, or living room – so if you don’t need to use it all the time, but want it keep it with you that’s an option. The biggest step is the one leading into the private garden. There is no bath, just a shower, and there is a small step into it.
The threshold into the bathroom
The larger step into the garden
We received a warm welcome when we arrived for one of the owners, and he showed us how everything works including the private hot tub. It was quite chilly when we arrived, as the weather had suddenly turned cold, and so he lit the open fire in the bedroom.
The fire lit
My first impressions were very good. The living room contained a sofa and a table and chairs. The flat screen TV was placed on a lovely book-style table, that opened to find a selection of DVDs and menus. The lamp was quirky and made out of a stack of tea-cups.
The bedroom holds a queen size four poster bed, and another flat-screen TV on the wall. There are nice little touches like fresh flowers on the dresser, and chocolates on the bed. There is a sofa and arm chair next to the open fire, and a book shelf with a small range of books – and it was lovely to sit next to the fire and read.
In the bathroom they had provided towels, robes, shampoo/conditioner, body moisturiser and body wash.
Waiting in the kitchen was a large breakfast hamper containing bread, jams, marmalades and honey. A range of cereals and porridge, salt and black pepper, fruit, tea/coffees and cookies. In the fridge juice, milk, beer, wine, butter, yoghurts and bottles of water. In addition was the BBQ pack, which included a range of meat, portable BBQ, marshmallows and sticks! There is also free wifi, and each TV can play DVDs.
Also in the garden along with the hot tub is a place to sit, and a real BBQ, but our attempt to light it failed!
One of the owners also provides treatments – including relaxing massages, beauty treatments or full-packages, although the room for this is up a steep flight of stairs. She did manage to provide a downstairs room for my treatments, so definitely mention this when you book.
The only negative for me was that the sofa was pretty uncomfortable, which made it hard to relax. Most people I’d imagine would use their cottage as a base to sight-see, but the weather kept us in a lot, and so this was a pain for me. (Quite literally!)
All in all, a lovely stay, and I’d love to come again in the summer months when the garden could be made full use of.
Have you had any nice trips away this year? Tell me about them in the comments below!
I thought it would be fun to do something a little different, and picked a random ‘getting to know me’ questionnaire.
1) Do you have a middle name? Yes.
2) What was your favourite subject in school? English, History and then later Politics, which I then did a degree in.
3) What’s your favourite drink? Diet Doctor Pepper, but I’m trying to give it up. I’m allergic to most squashes/juices, and don’t drink hot drinks. I’m trying to just drink water, but it’s difficult. I’m doing quite well on my water-quest at the moment, but haven’t made the full leap. I rely on the caffeine to wake me up.
4) Favourite song at the moment? I like Troye Sivan’s new song Happy Little Pill.
5) Summer or winter? Summer all the way. I struggle in the heat, but it’s nothing compared to the pain of winter, and I despise snow. Don’t get me wrong, the morning it snows and everything is clean and white is beautiful, but then it represents being trapped from going out, as I had a nasty fall once, and now I’m a total wimp about it, even in my wheelchair. Plus the sun always improves my mood, and makes everything seem brighter.
6) Do you participate in any sports? No. I am looking forward to swimming as soon as I have a PA employed.
7) Favourite Book? I really like The Name of the Wind/The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, and I can’t wait for the final book in the trilogy to be released.
8) Favourite Colour? Raspberry pink.
9) Favourite perfume? Anna Sui – Sui Dreams, but I believe it got discontinued this year sadly.
10) Favourite holiday? My mum and I went to the New Forest when I was about 18. I have a list of places I want to visit in the UK, and we managed to visit a number of them including Oxford, Bath, Bournemouth and Stonehenge, and I loved them all. I can no longer drive for long periods, so holidays are very difficult. Sometimes just a night away somewhere nearby is nice though.
11) Have you graduated High School? No, but I finished secondary school! We don’t ‘graduate’ from that in the UK, it just comes to an end.
12) Have you been out of the Country? When I was 2 I went to Tenerife with my parents. My first memory is from that holiday – watching a mother with two sons playing on a basketball game, and wanting to join in. I’ve also been to France three times – twice on school trips, and once for a week for a holiday when I was 10. I would love to travel more, but it’s so difficult now. I still hope to, one day!
13) Do you speak any other Languages? Sadly not. I wish I could, but my French teacher wasn’t exactly inspiring and I had no aptitude for it, but I do believe we leave it much too late in the UK to introduce a second language. It should be started in primary school.
14) Favourite Animal? Cats – and I have three.
Button and Bailey
My little cat Pepper sleeping in a bead box.
15) Do you have any siblings? No.
16) What’s your favourite store? No specific shop, but something crafty, or even better one that sells beads! I generally hate shopping in actual shops though, but love online shopping!
17) Favourite Restaurant? I really like Old Orleans, although many of them have shut down. There is also a Chinese restaurant where I live that’s really nice.
18) Did you like school? No. My school was pretty dire, and I really struggled with it. However, I believe it was the circumstances, and if my school had been better, with engaging teachers I would have enjoyed it, as I do like learning. When I finally got to a better Sixth Form College taking subjects I wanted to, it was much better. I’m glad I got through both college and university though, as my health issues hit me badly between school an college. Had it been any later in life, my health would probably have prevented it happening, and I’m so glad I was able to live away from home, and have that experience.
19) Are you mostly a clean or messy person? Horribly messy, I’m afraid. I manage to create mess no matter how hard I try.
20) Favourite Movie? It’s really hard to pick one, there are so many I like for different reasons. I really like The Green Mile, but there are probably much better picks I can’t think of at the moment.
21) Favourite TV show? Veronica Mars will always be at the top of the list. There are many others I love though – Firefly, Breaking Bad, Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, etc.
22) PC or Mac? I’ve never actually used a Mac. I have nothing against them, but it would confuse the hell out of me to switch to one now.
23) What phone do you have? Google Nexus 4
24) How tall are you? 5″11
25) What do you order at Starbucks? I don’t drink coffee, and rarely drink tea. If I had to go into a Starbucks, I’d probably get a hot chocolate. I think I’ve been into a Starbucks once in my life, and only because it was the only place to go nearby.
26) One thing in your closet you cannot live without? I really struggle with most trousers, because I find the band really painful on my lower back. I live in thin PJ bottoms, and only change into something else if I’m going out/seeing someone. I can only put up with it for a short period of time, however.
27) What’s one thing most people probably don’t know about you? When I in Year 2 (about 7 years old) I accidentally stabbed myself in the hand with a pencil, and the lead broke off. You can still see the little piece of lead in my hand. I’m hoping one day the magical powers contained within will activate.
28) Name one thing you want to do before you die… to be truly content.
29) What’s one food you cannot live without? I have a real weakness for crisps.
30) What quote/phrase do you live by? I like the phrase ‘Home is the nicest word there is.’ Home is always my sanctuary.
31) What’s your most listened to song on itunes? I don’t have iTunes, so I don’t know what the answer is. One album I go back to a lot is Mika’s, and the two songs I listen to most are Happy Endings, and Any Other World.
32) What kind of style would you define yourself as having? I don’t think I have a specific style, but I do like to colour coordinate and match my jewellery, shoes, clothes and walking stick together!
33) Favourite number? 7
34) Hobby? Jewellery making.
35) Two Pet Peeves? I really struggle with ‘noises’ – so someone who taps, or makes a loud noise when they eat, or plays around with things near them or coughs will drive me mad. And also people who don’t indicate when driving.
36) Guilty Pleasures? I watch a lot of guilty pleasure TV shows, such as Judge Judy, Dance Moms, Sister Wives, etc.
Do you have a getting to know me post? Leave your links below!