Time to travel again….
First there is the worry of whether the taxi will turn up. And, if it turns up at all , will it be on time. And, if it turns up on time, will it be able to find us – our house is not visible from the roadside and, consequently, is hard to find.
Thankfully it turned up on time and the drive phoned when he couldn’t find us. Phew.
Then there is the Russian Roulette which is the M25. The journey to Heathrow Terminal 5 should take 35 minutes. But, given the vagaries of the M25 it is best to allow at least 2 hours. The traffic flowed pretty well. Phew.
The plane was only delayed for 30 minutes. I was served a “delicious value for money”meal (not) of a packet of crisps with a can of lumpy orange juice; I flew through passport control (I think they’ve given up since Brexit); and, jumped into a Parisien cab which both a) knew where the hotel was and b) didn’t try to rip me off. Even the Periphique was free flowing. Phew. Result. Pinched myself just to make sure.
The hotel was expecting me which is always a good thing and they even had actioned my request for an iron and ironing board to be placed in my room.
Well, I say an iron. There was this thing which any electrician in the world would have condemned. It heated up sporadically while fizzing somewhat and had the residue of the previous user’s garment coating the bottom like a film of tar. And, I say a board. It was just two foot long and 4 inches high, designed to sit on the desk. It is like ironing a shirt on a body board. It also had the residue of the previous user’s garment coating it and some child’s doodling in biro.
The hotel has had a makeover shell since my last visit. On the surface all was good – new carpets, fresh paint, new doors, etc. but upon closer investigation my irritation at hotel design in general quickly surfaced…..
A strip mirror, about 4 inches high, had been placed along the wall opposite the bed, beneath the rather small flat screen TV which was alien to English-speaking channels, and on the walls either side of the bed, at exactly the height of the bed.
So, when lying on the bed I found myself looking at myself from all angles. It was not pretty and had me checking the walls and ceilings for hidden cameras. I can only assume that Novotel is pitching its newly refurbished rooms at people wanting to make amateur porn films of themselves on their iPhones. Which I do not.
As ever, despite taking the trouble to liberally scatter USB charging points around the room (so that my phone/alarm could rest next to me rather than across the room on the desk),the master switch for the lights was only on one side of the bed. The wrong side. Which meant that I either had to plunge the room into darkness and run a naked obstacle course between the bed, miniature ironing board, cooling iron, mini bar and desk to get to my side of the bed or risk putting my back out stretching across several superfluous pillows and cushions.
The mini bar was empty and, therefore, also superfluous.
In the bathroom the sink and mirror instead of being positioned centrally were off to one side against one wall. The sink was misnamed, being one of those modern square, shallow jobs – more of a damp tray upon which you can spread your toothpaste and shaving detritus rather than a basin you could fill with water. And, no plug!
Shaving in the mirror meant resting one shoulder against the wall while tilting your head at an angle likely to cause a crick. And, of course, the cable on the hairdryer was so short that I was forced to crouch precariously in a yoga-like / torture position resting one of my chins on the edge of the sink so that only the top of my head was visible in the lob-sided mirror.
And, don’t even start me on the hotel food….but look what greeted me at the airport Starbucks:
Well at least, BA, French air-traffic control and the M25 allowing, I will be at home tonight with a reheated chilli (the oven is broken), and my own inadequate bathroom to look forward to – the joys of renting. At least the mirror is in the right place!
It is stressful, renting.
Entry filed under: middleman.