It's almost three years now since Marion and I had a proper holiday. OK we've had a few three night short breaks but we haven't been away for a week or more since July 2008. On returning from that trip to Tuscany and finding the economy moving into recession, we decided to concentrate on our business throughout the remainder of 2008 and all of 2009 with the aim of selling up and retiring. During 2010 we worked flat out for our new owners. When we retired in November, friends were certain that a life of cruises and sunshine breaks would follow but a new hip was the first priority and, although we sold the business for a fair price, we hope that we will be around for some time to come and have no plans to spend everything at once and end up hard up pensioners.
But on Monday we will be getting a break as we head for this self catering country retreat, The Lazy Fish near Cockermouth. It's a converted barn that Marion read reviewed in The Guardian a few years back. She kept the review as it sounded so good and we'll soon find out if the reviewer was right. The owners do some catering so we've ordered meals to make things easier for us on a couple of nights.
We're also off to the Ile De Re in France in May for a fortnight's cycling. We spent some time yesterday looking for a place to stay en route and came up with this lodge on the Mr & Mrs Smith website. If you aren't familiar with Mr & Mrs Smith, it's a site that specialises in boutique hotels that are ideal for couples. We've tried one or two and friends have tried a lot and they have always exceeded expectations. So let's hope that Le Lodge Kerisper in Trinity Sur Mer does the same as we have two days relaxing there before our two weeks in the saddle.
And whilst on the subject of holidays, I've always wanted to visit Locanda Cipriani on the island of Torcello near Venice ever since we had lunch there some years ago. It was one of Ernest Hemingway's favourite haunts and Marion has agreed that we can go there for a birthday treat in September. It's such a peaceful place compared with the bustle of Venice and, when the tourists have gone home we will have the island almost to ourselves as there are less than a dozen hotel rooms on the island. I am looking forward to it so much. It would be great if a bit of whatever inspired Hemingway could rub off on me.
I just read a tweet from the wonderful Old Course hotel in St Andrews. They have a special offer on. For just 72 hours they are offering rooms in November & March for £160 bed and breakfast (subject to availability). This is a huge saving on the regular price and it's an offer not to be missed so a visit to see Sarah is on the cards. The offer closes tomorrow so book soon if you want to treat yourself. The breakfasts are fantastic and the rooms spacious and extremely comfortable. But above all it offers just about the friendliest service you will find.
I'll leave you for the weekend with a brave performance from Daniel Craig - the ultimate macho man making a serious point about women.