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Date night in Edinburgh – micro trip report by Froggee (paterfamilias)

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  • Froggee

    Courtesy of Creation Financial Services Limited I had an IHG free night voucher which expired in May. This did not work with any of Family Froggee’s travel plans so rather than see it go to waste, a couple of days before it expired I booked the Kimpton Charlotte Square for a random night in September.

    This meant one of two things – either I had to find a mistress, or a date night with Mrs Froggee. I chose the latter option which I felt was the lesser of two evils. As it turned out, the random night was Tuesday when our beloved Queen left Scotland for the last time. Logistical issues made it tricky for us to witness her departure but also meant city centre parking was unviable. A shame on both counts.

    Obviously Kermit and Freddo were highly unamused at being abandoned by their parents. We put up with the requisite amount of guilt-tripping the evening prior and on the day itself, as per our service level agreement with the boys. Thankfully Nanny McPhroggee arrived promptly at 4:30pm We were out of the house like bulls with dyspepsia but not before Freddo gave Mrs Froggee an impassioned hug. He then shut the door in my face.

    We had little choice but to walk to the Kimpton and went a somewhat circuitous route to avoid the various pinch points with the dispersing crowds. The walk took us 37 minutes but this did not matter as it was a sunny day and we were absent the incessant whinging we usually get from Kermit when we walk anywhere.

    Check in at the Kimpton was fairly swift after a second receptionist was fished out of the bullpen when it became clear that the lady in front would be spending a long time demonstrating that Canadians can be just as demanding as their southern counterparts. Our receptionist was overjoyed at my IHG Diamond Elite status, thanking me for my loyalty, and could not have been more delighted to let me choose my welcome amenity of free breakfast. Sadly the secret password had ceased eight days prior and I was too shy to try and scrounge a drinks voucher out of her by pretending I thought it was still valid. There was no mention of an upgrade but I didn’t really care as we wouldn’t actually be sleeping in the room – just hiding there until it was safe to go home again that evening.

    The lift didn’t seem inclined to come so on a whim we went down the stairs to check out the car park. The signage led us through several grungy corridors with an unnerving number of Pest Monitoring Stations. Please don’t monitor them, just kill the bleeding things already. We found the car park. It was a car park. But I do love how these old buildings fit together. Back upstairs and we successfully obtained the services of the lift this time.

    The room we were allocated was an upgrade of sorts as it featured two single beds pushed together with a comfy mattress topper making it a proper king bed rather than the double I had booked. The room also had a substantial couch. The windows faced inwards, overlooking the breakfast area, which would have been my preference if we had been sleeping there as the noise from Charlotte Square and George Street would not be conducive to a good night’s kip. The room was quite classy and the bathroom was spotless. Mrs Froggee had a quick cup of tea and then we headed out for dinner.

    We had wanted to like the Kimpton’s in-house restaurant, BABA, but had both looked at the menu and thought NAHNAH. So we went to Dusit on Thistle Street which is Mrs Froggee’s favourite restaurant in Edinburgh. It is thoroughly recommended and indeed I’m aware of one overpaid Londoner who once flew his wife up to Edinburgh for the day, just to eat lunch there on her birthday as she likes it so much. Mrs Froggee received a warm sawadee khrup and we were shown to our table. Service was swift as always. Mrs Froggee had fancy seafood dishes with a green tea and I had more basic Thai fare with a Singha beer. I don’t normally drink but the waiter had a Singha t-shirt on and I am a sucker for brand marketing. We took advantage of the rare pleasure of eating without Kermit and Freddo’s constant interruptions by talking about Kermit and Freddo.

    £65.30 did not seem at all unreasonable and I graciously let Mrs Froggee pay with her HSBC World Elite card as it turned out she had reneged on her promise to buy an Amazon gift card to try and trigger the “@JDB bonanza initial signup bonus”. I think Mrs Froggee genuinely believes that the Gift Card Fairy tops up her Amazon balance before it hits zero so her purchasing a gift card would have been wasted money. It was still early but we decided to head back to the Kimpton so we could do what any long-married couple would do in a hotel room sans enfants.

    That is, Mrs Froggee watched Celebrity Antiques Road Trip featuring Craig Charles and Robert Llewellyn and then a somewhat inconclusive episode of Fake or Fortune while I focused on the following day’s Waitrose order and then perused Headforpoints. We called it a night at 9pm and headed home. Surprisingly Mrs Froggee was happy to walk again and this time it took a more reasonable 27 minutes.

    On our return, Nanny McPhroggee informed us that Kermit had thrown a piece of Lego at her, hitting her on the head when she was sitting on the couch with Freddo; both boys had been absolutely wild at dinner repeatedly getting down from the table and aiming their bottoms at each other; Freddo had a major meltdown when he realised Mrs Froggee genuinely would not be returning before his bedtime; and Kermit had come downstairs at 9:15pm with a massive smile on his face saying he was scared. So all good then?

    Dinner had been fish fingers and the floor was noticeably crunchy as if someone had accidentally tipped the empty box upside down while walking over to where we keep our recycling. Just how we like it. We thanked Nanny McPhroggee and bade her goodnight.

    As I felt it was inevitable that we would be subjected to Freddo’s night-screaming which he subconsciously does to punish us for any parenting transgression, I suggested to Mrs Froggee that we get ahead of the game. At my behest she went into Freddo’s bedroom and kissed him on the forehead and said “mummy’s home Freddo. Night night”. As she retreated, Freddo sat bolt upright in bed. “I wanna hug mummy”. Freddo received his hug and slumped back down asleep. And with this psychological masterclass we were allowed to sleep uninterrupted that night. In the morning Freddo had no memories of the interaction. Hallelujah – we have replaced night-screaming with night-hugging.

    In the morning I hoovered the kitchen floor as I couldn’t take the crunching when I was emptying the dishwasher. I started interrogating the boys about the prior evening and was relieved to be told that Kermit hadn’t thrown a piece of Lego at Nanny McPhroggee. He had catapulted it at Freddo but missed. I was about to become stern but then the boys noticed that Mrs Froggee and I were hardly having any breakfast and inquired why. With hindsight we probably should have lied and claimed this was because of a late dinner but we naively admitted we were going out for breakfast together. The hostility clause of the service level agreement was immediately invoked. So Mrs Froggee swiftly took the boys to school whereas I disappeared off to make space for a high carb breakfast. I then walked to the Kimpton taking a mere 21 minutes as unlike Mrs Froggee I do not have stubby little legs. Mrs Froggee drove there from the boys’ school. The motivation of a free breakfast saw her beat me to the hotel room where we had said we’d meet at around 9am.

    Breakfast was uninspiring. I was given coffee which reminded me of the time I forgot to put a fresh capsule in a Nespresso machine. It was so bad I sent it back and I never complain. Well, I tried to send it back by saying it was undrinkable and asking for a replacement cappuccino but they left the coffee. I kept taking sips to remind myself of its blandness. It really was awful. Actually, let me just check again. Ugh. I did get my cappuccino though. Mrs Froggee’s tea cup had clearly not been washed but she handled that by deftly grabbing a clean one from the table directly behind her. There was little else to report from breakfast other than a stealth dachshund suddenly barking which saw our server jump out of her skin. Sadly she was not carrying anything at the time as that could have been spectacular.

    We then went back to the room for a rest and to allow breakfast to settle before we hit the pool. We were interested in comparing the Kimpton’s facilities to OneSpa at the Sheraton Grand where we are members. Here the Kimpton suffers from its townhouse nature as the spa is buried in the basement. The “mood lit pool” felt gloomy to me. It almost made me pity poor billionaires with their subterranean swimming pools. The sauna was fine and the thermal suite was indeed a thermal suite but the combination of the extractor fan and the bass from the pool’s mood music made it spooky. Particularly for Mrs Froggee who had to sit looking at me through the mist. By comparison, the Sheraton’s pool is marvellously bright, it has several different thermal suites, and also a totally awesome outdoor rooftop hydropool. Even at half price we would not be tempted to switch to the Kimpton. Oh the Kimpton’s changing rooms were much smarter. The Sheraton’s are tired.

    The pool area was at least quiet. At first there was the statutory aging fat man lurking in the sauna although unlike the Sheraton’s aging fat man, he at least did not try and talk to me. After some time he exited, leaving us in blissful solitude. Having experimented with the “experience shower” I felt it was time to introduce Mrs Froggee to the experience. You have a choice of too hot from up high or too cold from the side. Mrs Froggee tried too hot and said it was too hot. Therefore I sought to bring balance to her shower experience by switching on too cold also. Briefly she was too hot and too cold at the same time but then the hot went off and she was just too cold. It isn’t a million miles from the experience of a cheap electric shower.

    After a few more laps and some sauna time I went to join Mrs Froggee for one more too hot shower. Mrs Froggee timed it perfectly so that just as I arrived, she ducked to the side, the hot went off and she hit the cold button. I know it sounds patronising but I was very, very proud of her in that moment. So I dive bombed into the pool as she was prevaricating on account of the water temperature feeling cold after her too hot shower. The pool was well heated so this sensation was a direct result of the experience shower. It’s difficult to describe. You really have to experience it yourself.

    We got changed and went back to the room to find that they’d already put a fresh duvet on the couch in anticipation of our pending departure. Taking the hint, we legged it. At reception they attempted to charge me £39.90 for breakfast but on realising that I was an exalted diamond member, the receptionist could not have been more delighted to waive the charge as he thanked me for my loyalty. I think I last stayed in an IHG property in 2001 and that was indeed on a cash rate. You’re welcome. As we headed along George Street towards Mrs Froggee’s car, she squeezed my hand and said “that was nice”. I don’t think she has used these words since our wedding day.

    We drove home and Mrs Froggee dropped me round the corner from our house so as to shave a couple of hundred yards off my 3.75 mile walk. I have felt compelled to stick to this daily route since the conkers started falling as it goes past 15 horse chestnut trees of varying degrees of fecundity. The distance could be slightly shorter but my OCD does not like back-tracking. I suspect this comes from when I obsessed about round the world routes with Oneworld. Today was not a good day, probably because there was barely any wind and I only found four conkers.

    Freddo now takes great delight when he gets home from school to find a wee pile of conkers. Sadly, pesky school kids have robbed us before, having the audacity to stamp on them outside my front door, taking the kernels and leaving the empty shells for me to clear up. Therefore I now hide them out of sight from the street. I hope the four conkers will suffice and placate Freddo who does not take kindly to his parents absconding.

    On arriving home I found Mrs Froggee fast asleep on the couch in the kitchen. Clearly the unparalleled success of date night followed by date morning had been too much for her. Bless.

    There is little to add except when Mrs Froggee headed out to fetch the boys from school she messaged me to say that the conker thief had rumbled my hiding place and robbed us blind again. I have a knack of catastrophically predicting the future so I had a small contingency bag of conkers in the garage. These got placed outside the back door. Good luck climbing over my seven foot back gate Mstr Conker Thief.

    Thankfully Freddo was happy with his conkers as they were all good ones and peace was restored in the Froggee household.

    Would I recommend the Kimpton? I guess. It’s okay. If you are a light sleeper I’d definitely ask for a room looking inwards rather than outwards. It was excellent value at zero pounds but it does make me sad that I should’ve, could’ve used the voucher for something more salubrious. Them’s the rubs of having kids, innit?

    And do totally go to Dusit when you visit Edinburgh.

    The end.

    Aston100

    I feel the mysterious fat sauna man will have a significant part to play in the next installment.
    I’m also hoping for a conker thief plot twist.

    WaynedP

    Another highly enjoyable read that successfully distracted me from the chaos of the local school run circus that unfolds on my own doorstep daily.

    Thank you, Froggee family.

    Yes, these thoughtful gestures are so important in any longstanding marriage, and after nearly three decades together, I too find myself catching up on HfP beside my OH as she is glued to 24 hours in A&E, and she in turn graces me with her silent company while connecting with her FB fan base as I wallow in Heathrow: Britain’s busiest Airport.

    We do, however, avidly watch Bake-Off together and take it in turns to provide sweet treats for each other (while undergoing a self inflicted mini Lent devoid of sugar for the rest of the week). Mrs dP excelled herself this week with an opening gambit of cinnamon, iced buns so I will have to be pointedly cunning to avoid disappointment next week.

    dst87

    Always entertaining to read your reviews. 😆

    Dusit is indeed fantastic, though I also really enjoyed the food at Baba (though I remember the ambiance being somewhat dark and loud).

    I found the breakfast at this hotel appalling when we were there last year, but I put it down to covid. Sounds like they haven’t improved it much. What a shame!

    elguiri

    Thanks @Froggee for a good read during my morning coffee. Have to try and keep the smirks down whilst on the teams meetings though…

    WaynedP

    Thanks @Froggee for a good read during my morning coffee. Have to try and keep the smirks down whilst on the teams meetings though…

    Just as important to double-check that microphone is switched off if multi-tasking with a Teams call on in the background … during a recent senior management Teams update to our entire division, one of our US colleagues answered a call on their mobile and audibly encouraged the caller to go ahead, describing the Teams call as “bullsh1t” (direct quote).

    Would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall at their subsequent performance review.

    The Savage Squirrel

    Brilliant as always, @Froggee. “Nanny McPhroggee” 😀 😀

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