She has an incredibly lovely Bed and Breakfast home in the middle of nowhere, not too far from Coventry or Stratford on Avon.
She is English to the core. I would tell you her name, but I don’t know it.
We contacted her through a booking agency. The name of her Bed and Breakfast home was mentioned. Her name was not. We wrote several emails to her which she answered promptly, politely and efficiently. But she never signed her name.
We stayed with her for 3 nights. She served our breakfasts (delicious ), cleaned our room and chatted only when forced to. But she never offered her name. Being English, we never asked for it. We left without ever knowing it. She had our names from the booking forms and emails, but she never addressed either of us by name.
She used the same English reserve in posting signs outside her establishment. There were none. It was a on a long narrow English country lane, with a few large country homes set back from the road. There were no house numbers. The English of a certain class don’t use numbers. Numbers are for the proletariat, and besides maths isn’t their strong point. They just use house names. The names may be on the house itself, usually engraved on a highly polished brass plaque, but not by the road. If you have to look for the name, you don’t belong there. This makes life a little difficult when you are running a bed and breakfast.
This is the entrance to the BandB from the leafy lane
It is next to that little patch of grass in the distance on the left. But we only knew that after we drove past. Even then we weren’t sure. But then we spotted the extremely tasteful and almost invisible name on the plaque to the right of the gates.
The English would consider that blatant advertising and rather tasteless.
It might also explain why we were the only guests staying in that beautiful house.
It gets a well deserved 9.8 score on a travel website. Our room was perfect.
But you don’t need to know that, you want the fun stuff. And there is plenty of that!
It was a typical English summer’s day on our arrival as you can see from the photos above. Cold, damp and depressingly grey. Our nameless hostess did not answer the door, leaving us standing in the drizzle. Gordon checked the back of the house to find her having tea with friends in the solarium.
“You should have banged on the door” she said.
“We did. Several times” we replied
It was then that we noticed the hearing aid.
She was somewhere between 50 and death, but it was hard to tell which she was nearest to. She was dressed for house work, although we suspected this might be her sunday best as she had friends round for tea. Both she and her clothes were completely unremarkable. She could be a farmer’s wife, with ruddy complexion, no makeup and a full head of grey and straw colored hair which needed attention and probably had for quite some time. She had an open face, a closed front door and no shoes. Her feet were flat and wide suggesting shoes were never part of her attire. Infact the entire time we were there we never saw her in shoes unless she was walking her two black labradors – then she wore wellington boots. Labradors by the way are a required accessory for people who don’t use house numbers
Our hostess with no name, no shoes and little hearing showed us to our room. It was freezing cold. It was a beautiful room with high ceilings and four oversized windows, all of which were open. We were damp from having been left standing in the drizzle on her doorstep. She must have caught the look on our faces because she said
“I thought you would like some nice fresh air”
“We like our fresh air, warm” I wanted to reply, but she wouldn’t have heard.
We noticed two radiators in the room
The moment she left we rushed to turn them on, Nothing happened. She had obviously turned the heat off. OK, it was July, but only just! How cold was it? Well, even the flies were dropping like flies
We checked the bathroom. Window open, heating off. But it had the largest heated towel rail we had ever seen. It must have been at least 7ft tall.
We would turn that on and bring two chairs and our books into the bathroom, and huddle round it. How cozy would that be? We never did find out. The towel rail wouldn’t turn on. We were beginning to suspect that it was never wired in. Just there for show and to give us somewhere to hang our towels. An idea reinforced by the fact that there was nowhere else to hang our towels. Then we discovered that there was no toilet roll holder either. The toilet roll just sat on the window sill next to the toilet. There was some seriously economising going on here. She probably never put batteries in her hearing aids either.
It was then that we noticed just how tall the windows were, and just how near to the ground the window sill was.
Sitting on the toilet was a delight as I had a beautiful view of the garden, the birds and the gardener. And if I had a beautiful view of the gardener, what sort of view did he have? The answer was made embarrasingly clear early next morning when he looked up at me and waved. That was so embarrassing I almost forgot why I was there. But at least he was friendlier than the hostess with no name and no shoes.
A little later I checked out the gardener’s view myself
Gordon seems to have everything in hand.
Our bathroom came with a tiny soap dish holding an even tinier piece of soap. Where can you buy soap that small? As far as we know they are only found in really cheap hotels. Could she possibly have “borrowed” it from such an establishment?
We were worried that the hair would cost extra. If so, we would complain that like the soap it was too small and not worth paying for.
It had to last us three days.
But we rarely washed and never took a shower. It was too cold to remove any items of clothing.