Meeting Mrs. M

-PAXP-deijEThe cold damp air penetrated my body to the bone. One thing I did not expect on this trip was all the walking. How I missed our car- especially the heater. Thankfully the terrain in Salisbury was flat and the sidewalk wide. Unlike the fast paced London, Salisbury seemed relatively suburban and not terribly different from home.

“How much farther is this place?”

“It’s supposed to be a twenty minute walk from the train station” Donna got her words out between steamy breaths.

“It’s been forty.”

“How old is this hotel?” the red-cheeked Chris asked.

“It was built in the 16th century”

Alex ribbed his brother. “Oooooh. . .I bet they have ghosts”

Eventually we walked across a small car park to the entrance of a tan-colored cut-stone house. The paned-glass front door opened and there stood a pleasant-looking older woman wearing glasses that made her eyes look big. She led us inside, where the warm air smelled like something was baking in the oven.  The overstuffed chairs looked inviting. It seemed like forever since I’d sat in one.

She asked Donna to sign the guest book “Do you need my credit card?”

“No Dear.” She replied in a quiet voice. “We will take care of that later. Come now, let’s go upstairs to your rooms” I loved her voice. It seemed that I’d walked into an episode of Masterpiece Theatre.

The steps creaked under our weight. “This is the children’s room.” she opened a door to reveal a brightly lit bedroom with three neatly made beds.

Jill walked in slowly “Our own room – Really?”

“And you’ve got satellite television.” Our host added. The kids turned their heads so fast they nearly got a collective whiplash.

“How many channels?”

“Oh I don’t know – thirty?”

The three of them began fighting for the remote.

“And now, to your room.” she unlocked a door located a few steps away. It had deep brown open wood beams and a four-poster bed.  It was dark and cozy with burgundy carpets, perfect for a couple who’d just spent five nights sharing a room with three kids.

Back in the hallway, she opened another door to a bathroom with a huge tub. “During your stay, you may use this private bath if you wish.”

If I wish? I was ready to jump in clothes and all.

“If you’re interested, we offer a traditional English dinner. The cost is six pounds per person. I need a one-day notice.”

“Maybe on our last evening here?” Donna suggested.

“Lovely.”

“Ever seen any . . .ghosts around?” Chris asked from his doorway.

“There’s rumor of a 14-year old girl that haunts the inn.” she replied. “But I’ve been here seventeen years and haven’t seen her.” Chris returned a nervous smile.

Our host headed for the staircase.

“I’m sorry” Donna said “I’ve already forgotten your name.”

“They call me Mrs. M”

NEXT: Mr. Rogers with an Apron

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