Friday 26th March 2010, 14:38

R&R at a B&B

Why do I always feel guilted into having breakfast at the crack of just after the crack of dawn, whenever I use a B&B? I check in at 6, some kindly old woman shows me my room and how to use the long-broken shower without scolding my skin, and then she says, "You will have breakfast from 7am till 9am." Even though a two-hour breakfast was clearly not what she had in mind, I still felt bad this morning when I was woken at 7:10 by the sound of her coughing loudly and jangling keys outside of my room. By 7:20 I walked into the breakfast room to find her patiently (no, impatiently) standing there with a teapot in one hand and the other raised to her face so she can look at her watch.

I know these times suit businessmen, but I'm not a businessman. I didn't get to sleep till 3am thanks to gig-time then writing-time then a teeny bit of watching-Lost-time. A 7am breakfast is not convenient for me. Given that I'm the only guest, why not treat yourself, dear landlady, and let's all have a lie-in.

Hotels suit me better. Far less pressure. Over time as we age, our goalposts are narrowed ever so slightly year on year as to what accommodation we'll put up with and put up cash for. When I began stand-up, I'd stay on friends' floors. This stopped when one friend put me on the kitchen floor, with my head staring underneath the fridge. I was woken that morning not by a landlady coughing, but by his flatmate reaching over me to bread from the freezer. If the cold blast of air didn't wake me, the freezer door crashing into my skull did.

So then I'd still stay on sofas. Until you realise that one man's sofa is another man's armchair, and you end up with curvature of the spine by morning, plus being forced to watch whatever the last person in the house wants to watch on TV before they go to bed, and whatever the first person in the house wants to watch in the morning. In busy houses, this could only be separated by a few short minutes.

Then there are spare rooms. I still do this, but am choosy. Many promoters offer spare rooms, but not all are worth the gamble. One promoter offered me a spare room, and I took it, not knowing he was a student, and that the spare room would be whichever room wasn't occupied by his rutting housemates ("There's always at least one room free if they stay at their girlfriends..."). So that night I had the choice between two rooms - both rank - one with a Student Health Service Guide To Chlamydia by the bed, the other with a Student Health Service Guide To Herpes. It's rare in life you get a choice like that. So I read both booklets, and chose the one least likely to catch from a duvet. I chose chlamydia.

This B&B's ok. In trying to save money by going for a B&B, I've probably cost myself more as I'll have to get another hotel tonight rather than push on home, thanks to the very few hours of sleep. But at least on, when comparing B&B facilities, I didn't click on this one with the thought: yes, I'll choose chlamydia.

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