“Its your birthday next week”, I was reminded, somewhat unnecessarily. “We’re going out for a meal. My treat. I’m not telling you where.” Chiltern Girl meant business and I reflected on how calm men are when faced by such horrifying uncertainty. Chiltern Girl would have prepared a dozen or so possible outfits and bullied me into revealing our destination before leaving the house. I, however, quietly slipped off my suit, pulled on some jeans and a blazer and backed myself not to look out of place whether it be Nando’s or Nobu. It was, in fact, Hartwell House, a country house on the outskirts of Aylesbury and down a beautiful country lane.
Hartwell House is a hotel and spa nowadays; it used to belong to two famous Buckinghamshire families. Said families intermarried, as you do, and lived happily ever after until King Louis XVIII of France arrived with his ugly chickens who ran riot. Since then, mercifully, various trusts have intervened and nowadays it’s well worth a visit if only for the beautiful, stately grounds and breathtaking Jacobean-cum-Georgian main house which oozes grandeur inside and out.
The staff in the main house appeared to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the House history, whipped together with some tall tales of ghosts and nightly disturbances.