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?