Friday, 24 January 2014

A Day Without Expectations ....


Someone once told me "one is only ever disappointed by one's own expectations". That has stuck with me for as long as I can remember and I have tried to live by that philosophy. As a result, I try to expect nothing but am very often pleasantly surprised by life events. Today was one of those days. Our mission, a necessary business trip to Somerset for John with me tagging along for the ride. Business concluded, we passed through the village of Wraxall and feeling a little peckish decided to stop at The Battleaxes, a very attractive looking Victorian mansion, now a gastro-pub with rooms. Stepping inside, I turned around again to look out, just to make sure I hadn't walked through some time portal into another dimension. This is the offspring of an old country hunting mansion complete with ancestral portraits, crossed with the comfortable ambiance of a fine dining Starbucks, if there were such a beast. There's free wi-fi, antique leather furniture sourced from ebay and one of the most inventive pub menus I have seen to date.  John and I shared a carnivores dream, "The Pig Out" board consisting of locally hunted venison together with in-house butchered lamb, beef, pulled pork and accompaniments including thick, hand cut chips. It was way better than GOOOOOOOD! Pudding was sent from the Gods! A pear poached in mulled wine with thick, knife worthy Marscapone and home made peanut brittle and honey glaze. Fruity, crunchy, creamy heaven on a plate! Interestingly enough, coffee was served with a fork. Had I known their chef hailed from Harvey Nichols, I would have had expectations and, they would most definitely have been met.

As I sat there, more relaxed than I had been in a while, I gazed at one of the portraits on the wall. Adele's "Lovesong" was playing in the background and I thought how different our lives were to his. He could never have imagined how my life could be, but history has pretty much told us everything we need to know about his time. I wonder if he ever had a mulled wine poached pear, cappucino with a fork or biscotti? After lunch I had a good look around. This place is so beautiful. The lighting ethereal, reflected off lustrous walls. The glow from the sash windows, soft grey on this winter afternoon. Mis-matched furniture everywhere, obviously picked by someone with a discerning design eye. How could they pick so many styles and have them all work together perfectly? Beats me.

We left the Battleaxes in such a relaxed, happy mood. It felt like an afternoon of therapy. Strange feeling, like it was a gift from the house, all it's history and past residents. Excellent food, good service and the most beautiful surrounding countryside.

All that's left to know is, when can we move in?

38 comments:

  1. What a lovely place to stop off at. That Pig Out board looked crazy good! I adore little places like that, you can just sit, relax and almost feel at home.

    Caroline x
    Cocktails and Caroline

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    1. Exactly Caroline, I did feel at home. You would love it! If you're ever in Somerset I highly recommend it.
      Di
      xoxo

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  2. Di.....

    wait, I have to catch my breath. Literally.

    You come across the most enchanting places, you grab your camera, you know what you are looking for, and you deliver. I always expect the UNEXPECTED from you, and that is what the magic is for me. MY GOODNESS - THE FOOD? WOW! I never, never have seen such a generous display, ever. What a lovely day you had, and Di, one of these days.....we must collaborate. Your work sends my mind to another world. LOVE! Anita

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    1. Another one for your list Anita.
      I will email you over the weekend.
      Great to see you my darling!
      Di
      xoxo

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  3. Charming! And a beautiful view out the window as well!

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  4. What a deal! Good food, lots of it, comfortable furniture and great windows for light and looking out into the countryside. I love mismatched as it seems to make for more of a congenial setting, but there does need to be that similarity that pulls it all together and they have it here.

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    1. I know, I'm not sure I could pull it off!
      What a great place though if you're ever in this neck of the woods.
      Have a great weekend.
      Di
      xoxo

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  5. Hello Dianne, The Battleaxes looks ready for me to move in. A few of the tables might be superfluous, but the kitchen staff can stay.
    --Jim

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    1. Yes Jim, way too many tables, we may have to move some of those out :-)
      Di
      xoxo

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  6. ah, expecations, the downfall of humanity!

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    1. Too true!
      Hope you're keeping warm!
      Di
      xoxo

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  7. You find the most incredible places and the best-looking food. I'm dying for that pear dessert.

    You really should be doing the publicity for these places you show us.

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    1. Mitch,
      I'm still thinking and drooling over that dessert. Exceptional!
      I never tell them I'm blogging until I have finished and paid. I don't want to feel like I have to be nice cos I've had a free meal. If I have a bad meal I just would not bother telling anyone about it. I feel it's just like me telling friends where to have a good meal. This was one of the better ones.
      Have a great weekend darling.
      Di
      xoxo

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  8. That look great !!!...i am hungry now...)))...happy weekend...love Ria...x !

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    1. Hello lovely Ria, sorry I made you hungry!
      Di
      xoxo

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  9. I'm putting that on my list of places to visit. :)

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    1. I would. Going back next Wednesday for another fix.
      Xoxo

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  10. Dear Di

    What a discovery!! My oh my, if only Starbucks had food such has you were given. The decor is just wonderful.
    And what I would give for that dessert.

    Continued joy as your expectations are surpassed.
    Helenxx

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    1. Hi Helen,
      I know, not really happy with the Starbucks reference but I couldn't think of another reference point to explain how comfortable it was, with its leather Starbuckesque sofas.

      "expectations surpassed" I like that!
      Have a wonderful weekend.
      Di
      xoxo

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  11. To get a visit from you during my late night or dark, early morning hours is thrilling. As I look again at your stunning photography, the dark night with the porch lights and the soft glow of the inside of the pub, I am so sure that you are a HEARTist. Thank you for always being there dearest Di.

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    1. Darling Anita,
      I am indeed a heartist, and you are up very late or very early dearest. I know, your mind is running away with you and your creativity is hard to switch off! I am here for you.
      Di
      xoxo

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  12. I do love historical buildings; ultra modern does nothing for me other than make me feel chilly. The means of serving on a board is a bit strange, but the food looks amazing. The dessert is way over the top - I'd have been happy with the pear or the other... Peanut brittle and honey has captured my imagination somehow. Mine is not especially a sweet tooth, however, so unlikely I'll do much about this. Don't blame you for wanting to move in!

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    1. Oh Shelley, that dessert would have sufficed just fine, it was definitely more savoury than sweet, just perfect.
      There were spirits in the house, not just the liquid kind. You could feel their presence.
      Lovely to see you!
      Di
      xoxo

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  13. Nice photographs. I like the old fashion looking buildings.

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    1. Me too, so much character. Beats the mass produced Barratt houses :-)
      Di
      xoxo

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  14. Looks wonderful..Love the old Downton Abby type estates...Great pictures..

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    1. This was just a small house on the large Downton Abbey type estate called Tyntesfield. You can read more here:
      http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield/
      Amazing that these places still exist.
      Thanks!
      Di
      xoxo

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  15. What a beautiful place! It has a warm atmosphere really pleasant...Your staying there must have been very confortable!

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    1. Hi Dan,
      It was so comfortable. The only downside of living there would be the draughty windows. It's a listed house so they are not able to put in double glazing. The heating bills must be astronomical. We sat in front of a window and you could feel the breeze on your back. No wonder they didn't live long then, they must have always been cold.
      Di
      xoxo

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  16. Hello Di!

    I have had you on my mind all day, I hope that you are well and not working too hard. I love this post, this place looks like something I would love. And the food looks like something my husband would love too!

    All of your photos look fabulous but the last is my favorite!

    Have a great weekend!
    xo Elizabeth

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    1. Hello Elizabeth,
      Quite well thank you. I have caught John's manflu but I think I'll pull through.
      Enjoy the Super Bowl!
      Di
      xoxo

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  17. Hello, dearest Dianne!!
    I have missed visiting you and fellow blog friends...uncooperative internet connection...such a drag, blah....
    But I see you are having splendid culinary adventures, and in such a STUNNING, romantic setting....wow! Love how you write...I want more! :)
    Your photos are brilliant...so atmospheric...and that food...oh..lucky girl!!
    I hope you are well and having a lovely weekend, dear friend...I'm off to catch up on your posts....
    Love to you!!
    xoxoxo
    - Irina

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    1. Love seeing you here Irina. I too need to visit my blog friends. Sometimes it's hard to find the time to do the most enjoyable, important things I love. Pesky life gets in the way :-)
      You would live this place Irina, so Downton :-)
      Will visit you now ......
      Di
      xoxo
      Much LOVE

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    2. So lovely to see your messages..here and at my place!! Thank you! :))
      And you sew! Oh, now that is one thing I did not get to learn from my dear Mom...did someone teach you? I do think that even with a skill, one must have creative talent, and you do in spades, dearest!!
      Yes, please, do show us what you create...it will be gorgeous, I know!
      Now, about that Super Bowl...lots of homework to finish up before the week begins, so probably not...
      Will you be rooting for the Broncos?
      Warm hugs,
      - irina

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    3. We too will be rooting for the Broncos Irina!
      The sewing thing, I am of the generation where cooking and sewing were part of the school curriculum, together with typing and shorthand. I am so glad, I'm not sure they teach anything as useful any more?
      Have a wonderful Sunday my friend :-)
      Di
      xoxo

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  18. That was wonderful. How I would love to sit in such a place and take my coffee with a fork. The portraits on the wall, the ambiance, the view from the window, how glorious!

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  19. Just checking in with you. I hope the storms are not near you?

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