So Peter Frost-Pennington met us at the Ratty Arms (an excellent pub in Ravenglass, conveniently situated at the train station, waiting to gather you into its, um, arms) and cheerfully chided us over our repeated and bizarre travel delays. It's always good to see Peter -- he inspires confidence. He hefted our luggage and drove us up the winding roads to the castle, warning us: "Sadie's having kittens, you know! She'll be relieved you're finally here." She was! Introductions all around, check-in at reception, and we lugged luggage up to the room.
THE ROOM. We had Room 1 in the Coachmen's Quarters. Nice big room, with windows on two opposite sides. On one side, we had a view of the courtyard, so we could watch people bustling behind the scenes to get things done and see the other guests and fools arrive with their entourages and families. On the other side, we had the owlery. Very Hogwarts.
Now, in my travels, I end up having to wash a lot of glue off of my head. (See my account of the end of my last visit to Muncaster here.) As a result, I become keenly aware of How Awesome Showers Are. Until recently, my most favorite shower in the world was the one at The Dome, which is a private residence maintained by some Brilliant Delightful Well-Loved Friends of Mine. The shower in the Subterranean Suite at the Dome has the water pressure of a firehose, which is exactly what you want after performing for nine consecutive hours in 100-degree Fahrenheit heat and 100-percent humidity in 100 pounds of upholstery fabric! The water-cannon-like force smashes you up against the opposite side of the shower cabinet, and you let it. You love it! It's brilliant.
A close second favorite to this shower is my shower at my bungalow. Excellent water pressure, and apparently it's heated by the center of the sun itself. Unbelievably lobsterfying hot water. Very wonderful.
But I'm here to tell you that the shower in Room 1 at Muncaster Castle's Coachman's Quarters is my favorite shower in the world. I hope my beloved pals at The Dome forgive me for cheating on them, but the experience of voluntarily waterboarding myself in their basement now comes a close second to the shower that unglued my head for my Muncaster week. When you book your Muncaster holiday, try to book this room. Between the views and the shower, you'll barely have time for tourism, but it is well worth it!
So we chucked our bags into the room, marveled slack-jawed at the lodgings, and then tumbled back downstairs to Sadie's car, and she whisked us off for a drive up to Unbelievably Beautiful Scenery and a completely amazingly delicious meal at the Brook House Inn. Tom went mad for the beef-and-beer pie, and I devoured Sadie's recommendation, which was the bleu-cheese chicken. The Inn is a Free House, which means, I learned, that you can get Lots of Different Brewers' Beers and Ales there, instead of the place being beholden to a single brewery.
And I have to continue the story in Part 4, wherein we learn about Sadie's True Calling: COWGIRL!