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A bridge, my back and a hotel up north

I don’t know if this is true but I heard somewhere that the Golden Gate Bridge is always being painted. They start at one end and by the time they reach the other it’s time to scoot back round to the other side and start again.

My back is the Golden Gate Bridge.

Not that I have it painted of course, that would be weird. But replace the paintbrush with a masseuse’s hands and the metaphor is complete.

I feel like I need to be massaged all the time. If Henry is there and willing I get him to squeeze and prod my shoulders and neck until he gets bored. And then for quite some time after he gets bored if I can get away with it. If he gets early onset arthritis in his hands it will be entirely my fault.

This can be anywhere by the way. I made him do it on the tube last night because after a day at my desk my shoulders had almost seized up. While I made odd noises in front of a carriage full of strangers he used his free hand to read the paper.

Sadly I have more things to achieve day to day than the Golden Gate Bridge and create less tourism income for the local area so it’s impossible for me to just stay still indefinitely while constant massages take place. If only my sole purpose was to link one place to another. I’d be laughing.

As it is my massages and spa treatments come sporadically so when I’m at a hotel I want to know that at some stage someone is going to attack my back like it’s a piece of dough in serious need of some heavy-duty kneading.

Which is why I was smiling as I read about where I’m staying for the weekend later this summer when I head ‘Up North’ as we London-dwelling English men and women call anywhere north of the capital.


Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, United Kingdom

Rockliffe Hall, an 18th Century country house close to the North Yorkshire Moors. Wonderful.

It has the largest golf course in the UK. But I don’t care.

It has elaborate crystal chandeliers, chenille and velvet fabrics in rich browns and reds AND televisions in the bathrooms. But I don’t care.

Alright I do care a bit. As you know as I once wrote an entire post about how much I love television baths.

But the amount I care in comparison to what I read when I reached the spa section of the website is roughly the amount a hungry Labrador cares about chasing a ball when someone has just dropped a large steak on the floor right by their nose.

Sure I want to play with the ball at some stage but for now I’m entirely, single-mindedly pre-occupied.

The list of things I can do in the 50,000 square foot spa is so extensive I had to look up some of the words in the dictionary. It’s possible, just possible, that I might leave this place feeling like my Golden Gate Bridge has been painted so well it won’t need a touch up for months.

Aromatherapy, body scrub, caldarium, deep tissue massage, hamman, hydrotherapy, Indian head massage, jet shower, kundalini, lymphatic drainage massage, rasul bath, reflexology, salt glow, sauna…

I’m going to stop there before I fall into a happiness induced coma. I feel relaxed simply reading the list. By the time I walk out of there having been covered in mud, salt, warm water, cold water, hot water been stroked and scrubbed and massaged all over I probably will have achieved nirvana and be able to float around rather than go through the bother of putting one foot in front of the other. And more importantly perhaps poor Henry will be able to enjoy our train journeys from now on rather than be forced to massage my neck every time.

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