First, I offer a big apology to my fans, for not having posted for such a long time. In inadequate recompense I give you this link to a brilliant article by Waleed Aly in the Sydney Morning Herald. Waleed is a writer and broadcaster, and one of the most thoughtful and articulate blokes in Australia today.
The article is about Brexit, which makes me stroppier than almost anything outside the Middle East. But I’ve written so much and so often about Brexit, and none of it seems to have touched the hearts and minds of the decision-makers who matter, so now I’m going to push other people’s views and analysis with which I agree. Certainly Waleed expresses what I think better than I can.
But all that has nothing to do with either travel or terrorism. I’m in the UK at the moment, having travelled from Adelaide via Dubai – not my favourite transit hub, I have to say. On the way I was moved to compose the following limerick, which I throw to you, my readers, much as a rock star might throw an item of clothing into the audience…
While waiting in airport queues,
Then taking off watch, belt and shoes,
I imagine Osama
Bin Laden (the charmer)
Laughing – he didn’t lose!
I judge a hotel on its fulfilment of a few basic conditions:
- Helpful staff.
- Free wi-fi.
- A fridge uncluttered with overpriced mini-bar stuff.
- Separate waste bins in the bedroom and the bathroom.
- Separate, decent-sized bars of soap for the basin and the shower.
- A shower that I can stand under without using one of my hands to hold it up.
I recently stayed at a hotel that failed dismally on the last of these. Luckily I always travel with a coat-hanger made of very thin wire. This is how I had to shape it to hook the shower head on the top rail of the shower screen:
Do you have items that you carry around to rectify hotels’ deficiencies?
I have to share this news… I have my Trip Advisor Reviewer badge! It is a Passport badge, because I am so well travelled. How does Trip Advisor know that I am well travelled? Because I wrote a review of a B&B in St. Austell and a review of the Eden Project.
Mrs SG and I were travelling by rental car in Devon and Cornwall a couple of months ago – we can’t afford trains any more – and finding B&Bs as and where we could at the close of each day. We discovered some interesting facts…
First, British B&Bs are very expensive these days: around GBP100 for a double in St. Ives, which could be why the man with seven wives was coming back. Why is that? Only 50 years ago you could stay at a B&B anywhere for between 6/- and 15/- a night. Half-a-guinea was pretty normal, which was about 3% of the average weekly wage. Now you’re lucky to get away with GBP30, which is about 5%. True, you get an en-suite bathroom and a flat-screen TV now, but do those fripperies really justify such a hefty hike?
Second, Trip Advisor has replaced the AA as the arbiter of quality. Every B&B has a certificate on the wall or even a metal plate beside the front door. That’s why I’m so proud of my new badge!