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  • James Glover

Story 22: The doodles have a spa day

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

DeDe knows that roughly speaking half the year is called winter and the other half summer. What puzzles her is why the half called winter seems to drag and the summer half flies by. The sight of another wet and cold day made her give out a long deep sigh and settle back in bed.

Most doodles aren’t bothered about the weather, as long as it’s not too hot, too windy, too cold or too wet. The weather they like best is ‘just right weather’ when there’s not too much of anything.

Recently there's been too much ‘wrong weather’ and DeDe was tired of wearing so many layers. Yesterday she'd been to the beach and spent most of the day huddled in the cafe watching the rain. When she'd dared to go out her tish-tash was blown in all directions, so she was thrilled when Dante suggested they go home early.

Although there were plenty of seats on the train, none of them sat down in fear of making the seats wet for the passengers that came after them. Instead they stood in the aisles watching the puddles grow around their paws. By the time they arrived at their station there was so much water on the floor it flowed straight out the doors the moment they opened.

Rather than amble up the hill as they usually did, Dante ran off ahead shouting ‘chase me, the first one home gets to sit nearest to the fire’. DeDe’s legs are that little bit longer than Dante’s and even though she was a distance behind she reached the front door before him.

After supper she sat down with another long sigh. 'There must be other things we can do on rainy days. I like the beach cafe at Camber but sometimes the smell of damp clothes can be off-putting when one is eating. We need to think of better things to do on icy winter days'.

Thumbing through her lifestyle magazine she came across an interview with one of the social media influencers she follows. DeDe knows these articles should be taken with a pinch of salt because they tend to be more about the influencers’ self-promotion than giving genuine health advice. She has the feeling the influencers are being paid to influence products they might not use themselves. Anyway, whatever the agenda she enjoys the glossy photos and tries not to take it all too seriously. If DeDe were an influencer she would talk more about feelings than things because she knows happiness is found through feelings not things. The best doodle qualities are acts of kindness and friendship rather than the subtler shades of lip-gloss and fancy eye liner.

The main photo of one article was taken at Le Manoir Health Spa, the caption underneath listed the services the spa offered. She dreamily stared at the elegant furless two legs plastered in mud facials, being massaged and even having their toes painted. What she really noticed was the glamorous surroundings, in one fancy photo she marvelled at the palm trees growing around the indoor swimming pool.

A day at Le Manoir Health Spa would be very different from the Camber cafe, thought DeDe, I wonder if we could spend some time at a spa? She sent Lily-Poo a positive thought asking if she’d ever been to a spa? She knew she wouldn’t get a quick reply because Lily-Poo would be watching her soap-opera at this time, but as soon as it had finished Lily-Poo replied saying she had enjoyed a spa day in the past, cautiously adding how she’d found the menus extensive but the portions far too small. Later on Lily-Poo sent another thought saying the treatments had been wonderful and she’d come away feeling like a princess. The magic words ‘feeling like a princess’ was all it took for DeDe to make the booking.

We won’t bore you with the details of how DeDe made the reservation for five doodles to spend a day at Le Manoir Health Spa, because such details are unimportant and to talk about money would be inappropriate in this story. All we need to know is that very soon five day passes had their names on them.

As soon as she’d received the positive thought confirming the reservation, DeDe forwarded the details to Lily-Poo who was very excited about the trip, although Lily-Poo did wonder if the others would be as excited as they were. Somehow she couldn’t picture Dante being comfortable on a spa retreat, and also Phoebe might think everything was just a little too clean. Perhaps it would have been an idea to ask them before making the expensive booking?

Unfortunately Billy train doesn’t stop anywhere near Le Manoir Spa and although there is a bus service twice a day, DeDe decided to push the boat out and book a taxi to ensure a stress-free time. Lily-Poo, of course, would meet them there as she's always driven from Chislehurst.

On the day DeDe woke well before dawn, not because she couldn’t sleep but because the rain was lashing on the window and making such a noise. She lay motionless for a while listening to the wind and rain, but when Dante’s snoring got even louder she went down stairs for a light breakfast.

DeDe made sure Dante was ready well before the taxi arrived and at the agreed time a silver mini bus pulled up outside. They quickly jumped in and drove off to collect the others. Harley wasn’t outside when they arrived at his house. He’d decided to have an extra piece of toast just in case there was too much salad for lunch. After a couple of toots on the taxi's hooter Harley came running out and they were off. Luckily Phoebe was waiting at the end of her drive and soon they were on their way.

It didn't take long before the taxi swished through the main gates at Le Manoir Spa and down the long drive leading to the grand house. They jumped out the moment the taxi stopped. The uniformed doorman respectfully nodded to each of them as they walked through the double doors onto the most sumptuous carpet any of them had ever seen. At the end of the long room was a reception desk where a smiling blonde furless two legs with bright red lipstick stood behind the counter. While waiting to register they checked out the treatments menu and decided which ones they wanted to try. Dante and Harley didn’t fancy any of them, deciding to split their time between the swimming pool and the hot tub.

Lily-Poo and DeDe both opted for the aroma therapy deep tissue body-massage before lunch and the Indian head massage in the afternoon. The rest of the time they’d spend lounging by the pool, napping with one eye open just in case they saw anyone famous.

When Phoebe saw the detoxifying seaweed wrap treatment on the menu she couldn’t believe her luck and booked two sessions, one for the morning and the other for the afternoon. She hoped it would be as smelly as the seaweed at Camber.

Once checked-in they were given the fluffiest white bath robes and instructed where to find their chosen treatments. Dante and Harley rushed to the swimming pool, tossing their bath robes onto the loungers before making the biggest splashes as they jumped into the deep end. DeDe, Lily-Poo and Phoebe walked slowly down the quiet corridors before finding the therapists waiting at the entrances of their treatment rooms.

As every reader will appreciate what goes on in a ladies’ treatment rooms is between clients and therapists, so we shall not describe the details other than to say all three felt totally rejuvenated by lunch time.

Le Manoir Spa offers both formal fine-dining and buffet-style lunches. They’d heard the service in the formal dining room could be a little slow, so opted for the buffet. They also figured the portions would be bigger if they were able to serve themselves. Once the waiter had settled them at the round table over-looking the garden they made their way to the buffet table.

Every doodle enjoys a bit of broccoli or carrot from time to time, but it should never be the main item on the plate. It was a shock when they couldn’t find any beef, chicken or sausage on offer but, not to cause a fuss, they helped themselves to a little bit of everything on the table. When Dante tried to pull a yellow rose from a vase, DeDe quickly told him it was a table decoration and not part of the buffet.

‘You can hardly call this lunch’ said Harley

‘This is a health spa Harley, we’re not here for a culinary delight, we’re here to detox after a winter of comfort food’ said DeDe.

‘I’d waste away if this is all I got at home’ he replied.

After lunch DeDe and Lily-Poo went to their next treatments before joining Dante and Harley by the pool. They didn't recognise Phoebe when she joined them, her second seaweed wrap treatment had been so intensive, not only was she toxin-free she was half her size with soaking wet fur.

‘If the tea is going to be anything like the lunch, we might want to make a move’ Dante tentatively whispered.

‘Nonsense said Lily-Poo, I expect we’ll be offered a medley of tropical fruits and a cup of Darjeeling with a hint of lemon and personally I’m looking forward to it’

Seeing the others nod in agreement Dante settled down in a huff.

Lily-Poo had been half right about the tea, there was a medley of fruit, but sadly more north European than tropical. There were apples, pears, blackberries and if you hunted hard the odd slice of strawberry. Dante hadn't had Darjeeling tea before and concluded it tasted similar to the water he gets at the cafe in Camber.

As they were finishing the waiter came over and whispered to DeDe that their taxi was outside. While the others left the table Phoebe popped back to the tea trolley and without anyone seeing grabbed a handful of strawberries to eat on the way home.

The journey home was uneventful but as they nibbled the sweet fruit they thought they overheard the taxi driver talking into his radio, saying something about sweeter smelling doodles than the ones he’d picked up that morning.

© The camberdoodles

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