A Chaotic Cheltenham Morning


On Cheltenham's Promenade

One of our festival-goers ‘(Hanover House) A fantastic place to stay, especially during the Screenwriters’ Festival.

Hopefully not a typical start to a day in Hanover House, but also probably not too untypical either! It started with staggered breakfasts, two at just before 8.30am and two at just after 9.30am, but tempered with three other concurrent activities – not including Sophie’s demand for feeding. One was an urgent requirement for us to book our own accommodation in Beverley, in Yorkshire, on a ‘flying’ visit north, the second was an urgent (yet again) need to collect a sorely needed vintage toastrack, required to grace our breakfast table, from a location in central Cheltenham, and the third was that – during Veronica’s feeding of the 8.30 Dutch walkers and my attempt to book Beverley accommodation online, new guests arrived unexpectedly, having seemingly travelled overnight from the Isle of Man!.  Breaking off my wrestling match with an online booking service to help carry a large suitcase up 3 flights of stairs to the Rossetti room, we found to our chagrin, that overnight the heavy curtains in Rossetti had pulled the curtain pole from the wall, and they lay in an untidy and rather embarrassing heap beside the bed…

I had also been trying to get some breakfast in preparation for my departure to work north of Oxford, and shortly after having helped sort out the Rossetti problem, and still breakfastless, I found myself walking in beautiful morning sunshine, into the charming centre of Regency Cheltenham.  At 8.40am, with low early morning warm Autumnal sunshine on the handsome white buildings and avenues of trees, it was quite lovely, and with not too many people yet around – a pleasure, and a relief to escape the temporary chaos behind me, including Veronica serving breakfast and trying to find a man to resurrect the curtain pole. My target was the Parcelforce office, which according to the internet seemed to coincide with a building society office on the High Street. Of course virtually none of the shops have a number and so it was difficult to judge where the office should be and after a false start I honed in the postal address. According to its High Street address it wasn’t co-located with the Post Office, but wanting directions I went into its area co-located with WH Smiths but all the staff were tied up in an early morning briefing (morale boosting?) session prior to opening at 9am, and no-one was available. Exiting again, I found the supposed street address, and the Building Society office that occupied it likewise closed, and defeated, I headed for home via St Mary’s Church and the very pretty Well Walk and its tearooms.

Back at Hanover House, in desperation I ‘phoned the Parcelforce helpline, explaining that they had failed to deliver my item and a card to tell me that they had failed and that clearly they had also failed to attempt a second day delivery (3 failures and they should be out!). However the helpdesk was for once helpful and after I relayed the tracking number, they told me that my toast rack was indeed in the Post Office/WH Smiths’ I’d tried first – so another foray tomorrow. Grabbing a quick bowl of porridge, greeting and leaving the by now 9.40 breakfasters for Veronica to deal with, having fed the ravenous dog (almost breakfast-on-bed in this case in our bedroom) and grabbing my bag, I headed out into what had suddenly become torrential rain.  A quick dash to the car in Parabola Lane was followed, already running quite late, by a wet and windy drive to work behind exasperatingly slow traffic, clearly with all the time in the world to meander to its destination(s)! 

With (good) luck, the day can only improve….

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