The Clerembeax Palace Hotel and Spa – The Assumption of Mary
The beautiful Downshire village of Clerembeax St Giles was situated to the west of Abbeyvale located between Grace Hill and Bushy Down and on the outskirts was the Clerembeax Palace Hotel and Spa.
It was once the home The Clerembeax’s, who arrived in Downshire following the Norman conquests and stayed for a thousand years before the name died out following the death of the reclusive Marcus Clerembeax at the age of 96.
The current owner was Yvonne Labuschagne, who decided to open it as a Hotel and Spa.
The Spa was a good attraction, but it was crucial for them to maintain a high occupancy rate, however things were tough in the Hotel trade with the success of Travelodge, Premier Inn and Holiday Inn Express and so places like the Palace needed to offer something extra to attract the guests, apart from the Spa.
So, they put on novelty weekends, such as “Murder Mysteries” and in addition, they had a sizable Ballroom which was used for special occasions, high days and holidays, which boosted occupancy and Spa numbers at the same time.
But it was necessary to offer guests as wide a range of activities as possible during their stay, to attract them in the first place, and hopefully to come back, which was why they bought and stabled horses up at Stevens Farm, in order to offer riding.
The Stevens farm bordered the Clerembeax Estate, so it was a natural choice and it was a large farm which had at its centre a large farmhouse, parts of which dated back six centuries, which had been added to over the years to accommodate the changing needs of the family.
There were also a significant number of out buildings, including a stable block.
The farm was run by Russ Stevens and his three sisters, Mary, Rose and Murial.
However, they had plenty of farm work to keep them busy, so they had little or nothing to do with the horses, so Hotel Manager Hannah Morgan employed the Storey Brothers, Adam and Craig to do the job.
The Stevens girls were all good looking, with red hair and striking Celtic green eyes, which didn’t go unnoticed by the two brothers but that was mainly because they were trying to get noticed.
But as the weeks passed into months nothing happened until the middle of August when Adam and Mary were in the barn stacking
They had been at it for about half an hour, and there was the normal amiable chatter between them as they stacked the bales, with Adam at ground level handing the bales up to Mary who was about ten feet up, piling them layer on layer, but then as she reached down for the next bale, the one she was standing on crumbled, and she fell forward onto the bale which in turn fell on Adam and they ended up in a straw covered heap on the floor facing each other and then while she was still trying to catch her breath he took her by surprise and kissed her
“Oh” she exclaimed when he stopped
“Sorry” he said “I couldn’t help myself”
“Oh, that’s ok, it was very nice” she said “you just took me by surprise”
“Well I always assumed you were gay”
“Well there are five attractive women here on the farm, and I rather immodestly include myself in that number, between 21 and twenty-five and in the nine months you’ve been here you haven’t tried it on with any of us, have you?”
“No” he said very definitely
“Firstly, because I’m not interested in your sisters or the stable girls” he said “and secondly because I was trying to get up the courage to ask you out, but then gravity intervened, and I seized the moment”
“Well you haven’t” she stated
“You haven’t asked me, you’ve invaded my personal space and assaulted me, but you haven’t asked me out” she said matter of factly
“Oh, I see, well yes” he said, “would you like to go out?”
“of course, I do” she replied and then pushed him back on the pile of straw and invaded his personal space, and she was doing that to great effect when her sister Rosie walked in
“I’ll come back later” she said