take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Monday, April 16, 2007

You get what you pay for 

If anyone wants advice on where *not* to stay if you need Bed and Breakfast accommodation in Bristol, I'm your ... er... man.

Location-wise, it was perfect - a few minutes stroll from Big's friend's house which, though envy-enducingly huge compared to our humble abode, was still unable to accommodate the gathering of many friends and appendages for the annual birthday celebration which has become a regular feature in our social calendar.

To be fair, the party hosts had not recommended this place, merely mentioning it as being nearby when the recommended option had been fully booked, so we and another couple reserved our rooms at our own risk.

As we approached, overnight bags in hand, the first thing we noticed was a skip on the front drive. My friend then remarked "Hmmm, an external staircase which appears to be made of Meccano!" The front door, actually located at the side of the house, was surrounded by general detritus. A couple was visible in the back garden, enjoying the sunshine. Overall, first impressions were that the place, whilst a grand, sandstone house probably worth an absolute fortune, had been a little neglected over the years.

We rang the doorbell. Slowly, so slowly at first that we weren't sure that the movement was related to our ringing the doorbell, the lady in the garden began to move, hobbling slowly toward the house in a style reminiscent of Julie Walters' "two soups" waitress, except she was dressed somewhat more flamboyantly in leopard print leggings and sported visible sunscreen on her lips. Also, she did not have bowls of soup in her hand, but that's just being picky.

She disappeared for a while and let us in the front/side door and we passed through to the foyer, where we got our first glimpse of what was in store. A dark, gloomy reception area, musty smelling with an old and garish carpet. The preliminaries over with, she showed us upstairs to our rooms where we noted the stairlift on our way up. She considered us two couples and said to our friends: "I think Room 3 might suit you," showed them the door and handed over the keys.

She then led us through a door, up another staircase, through another door, along a dark corridor to a room right in the top of the house. At 6ft3, Big was already having to stoop in the corridor and sure enough, when we reached the room we were greeted to the sight of a sloping ceiling. I was a little bemused that, faced with a choice of rooms, she deliberately chose to put the clearly taller couple (I'm 5ft10) into the room with the least headroom (the other room having plenty of ceiling height, the other couple being of normal size).

This would be the first of many bemusements, however, others being:

Our friends' room was no better: a broken door handle, a skylight which could not be reached to open or close, a curiously modern and stylish bowl basin located in the bedroom itself, a television with no reception, a velour headboard, an en-suite shower room in the space the size of a broom cupboard.

Okay, it was reasonably priced, it provided a roof over our heads and was extremely conveniently located for our needs. What it lacked in style, sophistication and good taste, I guess it made up for in comedy value, providing several minutes of conversation and a blog post.

And the muesli was nice.

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