September 29, 2012

A Weekend Away

We’re sitting in the fabulous lounge of the Blue Boar in Maldon. A quirkier hotel I’ve never visited. It’s stuffed with old furniture, large gilt-framed portraits, Romanesque statues holding lamps and wooden beams. The floors all slope in one direction or another, whatever floor you’re on, and the whole building has a perfect imperfectness about it, right down to the frayed split in the carpet upstairs to the bubbling, torn wallpaper on the wall in our room. In the lounge where we’re sitting, there is a ‘lover’s chair’ (seats facing in opposing directions) and a triskele chair, arms radiating out from the centre in a spiral. Marble-topped tables sit in front of some of the chairs and our tea tray sits on one of them. Over the lounge fireplace hangs a portrait of a naked woman reclining on a bed. This theme seems to be carried on upstairs on one floor in particular, where a row of nubile nakedness flanks either side of a corridor. I can only imagine one of the owners had a partiality for womanly flesh.

The other intriguing pictures hang in our bedroom. The one to the left is separated from the one to the right by about 10 feet and by a world of speculation. The viewer is left to draw their own conclusions about the story behind the paintings and the motives of both artist and purchaser.

The other part worth mentioning is the amazing dining room (left). The candelabra theme is continued right through to the Turkish Prince (well, he looks like one) with the candelabra on his head. Over the top is definitely the name of the game of this hotel. The proprietor calls it 'comfortable', we called it quirky and eccentric. Whatever it is, it's definitely worth seeing and staying in.

The building itself is 14th Century and sits on Silver Street, the location of the town mint long ago. At the front are a pair of tall gates where the coaches would once have turned in off the road. The view in here is almost of a medieval street; Tudor walls running one side of the cobbled alleyway and the hotel the other side. Somewhere at the back is the Maldon Brewery, which brews Puck’s Folly - a pint or two of which will be imbibed tonight.

This afternoon we took a tour of the Moot Hall and I eventually got to go on the roof, something I’d never done before despite living in Maldon for about 25 years. Mind you, it’s taken Stephen moving here from Brighton to get me out seeing more of the local area than I would otherwise have done. But I guess that’s the way of a lot of people. We’re more likely to see the other side of the world these days than we are the other side of our home town.

Bed tonight will be a four-poster facing the window that looks out at the tower of St. Peter’s church, the only triangular tower in the country and possibly in Europe.

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