by TIM ROSS
Is there any more ridiculous form of accommodation than the Bed and Breakfast?
To get yourself in this whirlwind sector of the hospitality game all you need is a floral doona cover for a bed in the spare room, a crystal bowl full of quality street chocolates, a decanter of port and a desire to torture complete strangers by making them eat overcooked eggs at a communal breakfast table.
To be fair that’s probably over simplifying things. You also need an ornate hanging sign that elevates your home to a Château, cottage or estate. Throw in a southern highlands affectation to your voice and a desire to manhandle pot pourri on a daily basis and you’re in business.
I understand that one of the attractions of running one enables you to meet new and interesting people, but would you really want to see complete strangers wandering down your hallway at 2am in an ill fitting robe?
They aren’t much fun to stay at either. It’s a bit like paying to stay at relatives without the joy of bitching about non-present family members.
My disdain for them was reinforced by a recent weekend spent at a B&B in the Blue Mountains.
Upon checking in, we were press ganged by the perm haired lady of the manor into attending their nightly Champers at sunset. A chance for fellow guests to get to know each other and be entertained by her husband Cols’ ‘hilarious stories’.
She showed us to our room and pointed out the bedspread (which I wasn’t going to touch without tongs), a stack of wood for the fire (two half split logs)
And the jewel in the crown, a fancy wooden Twinings tea box (which was full of Bi-Lo teabags)
Come 5.30 we dutifully headed out and joined another hapless couple on the veranda and watched as Col, with sunken shoulders, walked up the steps with half a bottle of warm Omni sparkling in one hand and four dishwasher scarred plastic flutes in the other. Following was an equally forlorn looking black labrador. Unfortunately the ‘hilarious stories’ didn’t materialise and Col, who had clearly been drinking all afternoon, rambled on incoherently about how this joint was sending them broke. Anxious to avoid eye contact with him, we patted the dog for ten minutes until he got bored and wandered off down the road, necking the rest of the booze straight from the bottle.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get more uncomfortable, we turned round to engage in some small talk with the other couple, only to watch the wife look at us coldly and declare: “just because we’re all staying here, it doesn’t mean we have to talk to each other. Good night.”
I think it’s time to get myself a tent.
Have you a bad (or good) bed and breakfast story to tell? What’s the most bizarre out-of-home experience you’ve had?
– If you liked this story, Tim Ross also laments the fact ‘everyone is a food blogger‘.
– This post first appeared in The (Sydney) Magazine.
Tim Ross is one of Australia’s best known comedians. He is currently a contributor to Men’s Style Australia, Rolling Stone and writes a monthly column Rosso’s Sydney for The (Sydney) Magazine in the Sydney Morning Herald. You can find him on Twitter here.