It had been a long, very wet journey with many hold-ups and delays. And lots of contending:
"This is a NIGHTMARE !"
"At least we're still moving."
"WHY did we come this way ?"
"Well, I thought a little diversion might help."
"Just take the next exit, sign-posted High Wycombe, dear..."
It has been said that the title of Bob Dylan's song "Rainy Day Women" is a reference to this remark in the Book of Proverbs:
"A continual dropping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike."
They wear you down.
And so we ended up taking a break at Hughenden Manor, once the home of Benjamin Disraeli and his wife Mary Anne.
We were lead to believe that we might learn something of Dizzy's political ideas as we viewed the house and indeed there were insightful quotes dotted around the rooms.
"Do you see what I mean?"
"Yes - I think you wanted to preserve and promote British industries and, surprisingly, you were not against trades unions - but really, I'm not in the mood."
Disraeli and his wife Mary Anne were an unlikely pair - she was eager for amusement and companionship, he was in need of an undemanding older lady with a large fortune. They played their parts with good grace and, apparently, found happiness with each other, but I could find no paintings or photographs of them together. The best I could come up with was this still from a 1920s film, "Disraeli", which, I think, gives you a pretty close likeness.
We were greatly impressed by the décor at Hughenden - very Victorian, not too grand and with a lightness of touch and delicacy of colour that recalls the interiors of another odd couple, John Fowler and Nancy Lancaster ("the most unhappy unmarried couple in England"), who together ran the interior design company "Colefax and Fowler" after the 2nd World War.
It is an enchanting house, but we were still somewhat distracted and not just because of the driving conditions on the journey down. Another interesting couple was wandering around the Manor and enjoying the romantic, misty views from the windows. This pair were definitely devoted and enviably entranced with each other - and I'm sure they were looking for decorating ideas...
I had to be discreet with my camera, but do you recognise them?
David Mitchell and his wife Victoria Coren Mitchell (on a sunnier day).