You can take the country out of the girl but she’ll always find her way back to the cowshed…

I may have left the udders, milk and lush green fields far behind but my fiery affair with London hasn’t overcome the love I have for the countryside. To be honest, I didn’t realise that England actually has stunning rural scenery; that was, until last weekend.

The lead up to my birthday on Sunday was like a mystery prize draw; I knew there was a massive jackpot coming my way – I just didn’t have the foggiest about what it was. The thought of another birthday away from my Australian family was torture. Sure, the influx of post is welcome but cards plastered with ‘Air Mail’ stickers soon lose their novelty value. I’m still waiting for a parcel sent for last year’s celebration… I’m sure the lovelies at Australia Post are just saving it to prolong the surprise. Or, maybe the fellows at the Royal Mail took a liking to the frilly knickers beneath the packaging.

This year, in a gallant attempt to kerb the inevitable bout of homesickness, my lad promised me a birthday surprise I’d never forget. Great, in theory but never fool proof. My first ‘English’ birthday involved a different boyfriend and a similar promise. I wanted tickets to see The Lion King. I got a second hand invite to his mate’s birthday bash. “But babe… they’ll sing for you too!”

It’s my party and I’ll bawl like a baby if I want to.

A new boyfriend and a few subtle hints later I thought I was surely onto a good thing. True enough, Sunday’s present opening ceremony revealed the four vital ingredients in a successful birthday recipe.

Perfume – check.
Clothing – check
Sexy knickers – check
A trip to a luxury star studded health resort – you bloody betcha!

The boy “did good”. Actually, the boy did amazingly and guaranteed himself double ‘Brownie points’ and a night of lovin’ to boot.

I’d never heard of Babington House before but obviously the rest of the world had because the eyes of total strangers turned turquoise green with envy as I screamed it from the rooftops. “I’m going to the countryside to RELAX”. A sly day off work organised by the lad, a quick suitcase jam session (just how many pairs of shoes does one need for a night in rural England) and a short train ride later and we arrived in Bath. A not so-subtle taxi driver sussed us out just long enough to determine we weren’t of ‘famous’ stock and delivered us on the doorstep of the castle-come-manor. Hello luxury! Three dining areas, a library, gym, a lake, relaxation therapies and a country estate covering half of Somerset – surely! The pools overlooked the manicured gardens – have you ever swum on the edge of the earth? – Mark my word, this is the closest you’ll ever get.

A surprise one-hour facial gave me an insight into the joys of being rich; unfortunately, I’m not so it’s a one off I’ll have to relive in my dreams.
And oh, what dreams I had… the bed was made for my tired little body. Either the massage, swimming, sauna, steam and aromatherapy sessions and red wine had worn me out, or there’s a bed making genius out there somewhere. I disappeared in the folds of the bedding and didn’t return until 10:00am the following morning.

If you want a break with a difference, head to Babington House for a night. It’ll cost you more than a weeklong budget trip to Egypt and a month’s worth of groceries but your love life will thank you. Trust me.

“Relaxed then?” I hear you ask. In a word; “No!”.

After checking out, a 2 hour-long bike ride left me breathless and buttless. The seat broke from beneath me (obviously not long enough spent in the gym) and I found out the hard way that a young male’s bike is not meant for a curvy woman – no matter how short she may be. I downhill cruise with the wind in my hair soon turned into an uphill return journey minus the wind in my lungs. My thighs may disagree but it was worth every painful second.

Life back in London just doesn’t feel the same. Somerset here I come… as soon as those frilly undies turn up. Any day now I tell you… any day.