The arrival of a young man today at Blenheim Lodge looking for a quiet place to stay in order to do some productive writing has reminded me of the numbers of people who have similarly booked to stay at Blenheim Lodge looking for a peaceful retreat: perhaps to write, study, contemplate and pray, or simply to take some time out of the busyness of and complications in their lives. The world can be such a frenetic place to be in, and often one thinks that one is not achieving anything unless one is actively doing something, rather than just being. Yet I like to think of Blenheim Lodge, our home and guest house in the Lake District, as a place where one can be quiet and achieve something in the midst of that stillness – whether that quietness provides a place to recuperate from the stresses of everyday life or an opportunity to think and resolve conundrums or to progress new ideas.
Our young man today reminded me of another older man who came to stay some years back. He, too, came to Blenheim Lodge because he felt that it would give him the ‘space’ to write his novelette. He chose a room with a Lake view, which he felt would be an inspiration to him. He took advantage of the peaceful atmosphere of our Bed and Breakfast to pen his novel. Sometimes, he went out for walks in the woodlands at the back of our house and took his notebook with him, jotting down ideas as he went along. In fact, I remember that he was so successful in his quest that he finished his novelette a day earlier than he had expected, and spent the final day enjoying the freedom of the hills instead.
One day, I received a call from a Welsh lady who had previously stayed with us with her husband. This time, she was coming to stay by herself because she needed time out to take stock of her new situation: her husband had unfortunately found a newer model. We had got on very well when she had last been here, and I felt so sad to see her so down at heart.
In the past, she had asked me about my faith because she had seen a Bible in her bedroom. (We leave Gideon’s Bibles in all our guest rooms.) Although I was a relative stranger to her compared to her friends and family at home, it is sometimes easier to speak one’s heart with someone who does not know one intimately. So this lovely lady opened her sorrowing heart to me and sought me out that I might share my faith with her. What a great privilege of trust it was that she bestowed upon me, giving me the opportunity to care for her, listen to and speak with her about God’s love for her despite current circumstances, and praying with her.
Another lady springs to mind who came to stay with us three times in one year. She was Taiwanese and had a dissertation to write. Unfortunately, her digs did not provide her with the peace and inspiration she required to pen her thesis. Our guest house was perfect for her as we have single rooms – although she did once take a double room for single occupancy – and she said that the views from the three bedrooms she stayed in gave her inspiration for her writing. In fact, we got to know this lady so well that we introduced her to our family and she went walking and sightseeing with us. She too, asked about our faith because she had seen the Bibles in the rooms and wanted to know more.
When we first thought of running a B&B, we never thought that we would be providing a place of retreat for guests seeking peace and tranquillity. However, I am very glad that we do have such a place to offer people searching for that quiet space we all need in our lives. Of course we do get lots of different types of people who come to stay at Blenheim Lodge, and sometimes we get guests who have mistakenly chosen our guest house to stay in even though we might not match quite their style of accommodation; (for example, we are not a boutique hotel nor are we suitable for party animals.)
Blenheim Lodge is first and foremost a comfortable place to relax in, where one can snooze in the lounge if one so wishes and where some guests have even felt comfortable enough to enter our breakfast room shoeless and in their pyjamas. Our aim is to create a place with heart that extends a warm welcome to all our guests. A quiet retreat need not be a place where one tiptoes around. It can also be a place of joy and laughter, a home from home that creates an oasis of rest and refreshment for our guests. This is what we aim to achieve.
‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com