Friday, November 19, 2010

Week in Review: Dorking

A few weeks ago, Dave had a work conference in a city half an hour south of Wimbledon called Dorking. Actually there was a little "town" closer called Wotton, but it consisted of a bus stop and a pub. We stayed at an old retreat centre by the name of Wotton House. It was the house of the novelist John Evelyn (if you know who that is, ahem, mom...)

We took the train down to the city of Dorking, which was quite a feat. The train and tube stations here were not designed for anything that has wheels - wheelchairs, strollers or suitcases. And, since we were still technically homeless, we took four suitcases with us. The rest of our belongings were at two different hotels awaiting our return. The first feat we managed was taking the bus down to the train station with our four large suitcases. We only got a few dirty looks.

Then, we had to get on the train. The station has a ramp up to the first platform. Very nice, and although it was a long (and steep!) ramp, very do-able. Then, we had to cross the platform to get to the other side. Of course it was only stairs. So, up we started. Dave would take up two of the suitcases a few stairs, and then come down to get the third one while I took the lightest of the bunch and slowly made my way up. Then, we had to go down. Without thinking, I just pulled the suitcase down the stairs behind me, bouncing all the way down. I have to say we were very lucky that none of the electronics (such as laptops) broke!

The same sort of thing happened once we got into Dorking. Again, we had to cross platforms, and again there were only stairs. So down we went, dragging the bags behind us, and then (finally!) a nice man stopped and offered to help me carry one of the bags up the stairs! 


Anyways, we got a taxi and took it to the Wotton house, arriving to this spectacular view. It was so beautiful on the property, and I got to enjoy it fully while Dave and his co-workers had meetings every day.

I have to admit that the service was less than stellar. Upon arrival we had to ask for two keys (they thought we'd share one room key!), had to wait until 7pm to eat dinner. We got kicked out of the dining room because we were there too early! They had a pool/fitness area that I thought I'd use one day, so I went by the front desk to ask about it, and the only way to get a key to the fitness area was to give them my room key in exchange. I had to beg and plead for them to give me a key without taking away my room key. I told them I was going to come back in my swimming suit and I think that scared them :-)


One of Dave's co-workers who had a car was able to take me to the city of Dorking one of the days that we were there. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera because I was planning on spending several hours there and wanted to carry one less item, but it was very charming.
I did take plenty of pictures of the Wotton House though, so if you'd like to see them, you have some options, well, one mainly. 


Since we had such a difficult time reaching the retreat centre, we rented a car for the ride home :-) I have to say that Dave is getting very good at driving around here. He still likes to ride the left curb and stalls every once in a while, but I feel pretty comfortable in the car! And that's saying a lot....

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