B & B

August 30, 2010

Have you ever stayed in a B&B? Do you know what it stands for? Bed and Breakfast? Well, yes. But a more appropriate abbreviation would be B&BISEH- That’s Bed and Breakfast in Someone Else’s House.

We’ve just come back from Claire and Sean’s wedding in Norfolk. The wedding was lovely, we had a great time, and we send a big Thank You to Claire and Sean for inviting us. And we both wish you a long and happy marriage. But back to B&B’s. No! Wait! I’ll have to divert for a moment.

Those Broads. Those Broads are crazily scary. I’m not talking about the Norfolk women here (though American tourists must get seriously confused when they travel all that way just because they’ve been told the Norfolk Broads are a must see). No, not the women. They’re all lovely. The other Broads. The watery ones: flat and wet, though capable of an almost Escherian mind-mess.

You can drive around all day, even with Sat Nav, and I guarantee you will drive past the same shop (perhaps Hairmageddon or  Dave’s DVD rentals) at least seven times.  Every 47 minutes you will find yourself in Norwich.

It is, truly, sincerely, like being In the Mouth of Madness.

There’s a scene later in the film where they drive and drive and keep coming back to the same place. They just can’t escape.

In Las Vegas, in the hotels, on the gaming floor, there are no clocks. This is to encourage you to lose all sense of time; to keep you there, gambling, through the night, through the day. In the Broads there are no calendars.

But back to the B&B. Or rather the B&BISEH. Or B&BWAM&AD. That’s Bed and Breakfast with a Mum and a Dad. Not your mum and dad. Or mine. Just a mum and a dad. Who metaphorically tell you what time to be back by.

Our room was lovely. Like a hotel room. We had a huge bedroom, a dressing room, and a nice big bathroom. It was like a 4 star hotel bedroom. Tidy, clean, tasteful. Like a 4 star hotel bedroom, but not in a hotel.

On arrival on Friday afternoon we were made a cup of tea and we sat with our ‘just for the weekend’ mum and dad. Our plan was to head out for the evening, find a local pub and enjoy beer, wine and food. And our ‘mum and dad’ were very helpful there. They offered great advice on all the local pubs, even going so far as having homemade laminated maps for us to take and use. ‘Mum’ was unhappy with one though. She told us they offered far too big portions. The portions were so big ‘mum’ had even written to the local newspaper to complain. ‘Dad’ kept quiet on this one. I suspect he thought ‘mum’ was giving us information that wasn’t needed; perhaps information that might just, possibly, scare us a little. Writing to newspapers to complain can be a great art, also a noble endeavour. But to complain about large portions? It’s a hard sell.

Breakfast is early in B&B land isn’t it? The wedding was on Saturday at 2pm. Only 3 miles away. Lots of time for a nice Saturday morning lie-in. As we sat having our tea, ‘mum and dad’ asked us what time we would like breakfast. Well, not quite like that. They asked us if 8.30am would be ok. I was shocked. Picking up on my shock they came back with “8.45?”. I asked what time they did breakfast till. 9. Oh, ok, let’s go for 8.45 then. (I could have settled for a lie-in and breakfast somewhere else a little later, but I couldn’t bear to disappoint ‘mum and dad’; to turn their B&B into just a B.)

But back to Friday night. We were back and in bed before midnight. Fooling around a little; you know the kind of thing. I was doing impressions of Rolf Harris and Zoe was laughing at them.

I ended up doing a surreal take on your bog-standard impression from the 70’s. Instead of saying “Can you tell what it is yet?” I was saying “Can you tell me what it is yet?”, as if Rolf himself had no idea what he was painting. It’s not funny to read now, but you should hear my impressions. Every one sounds like a high-pitched leprechaun (apart from my impression of a high-pitched leprechaun, which sounds more like Al pacino in Scent of a Woman).

It’s just a bit of late night fun, no big whoop. Just two folks on holiday making each other laugh. And we laughed and laughed, until, at midnight, the knock knock knock knock came through the wall. We were mortified. I know I have a big loud voice, but my Rolf impression is normally so soft and delicate.

And whoever was knocking would be glaring the following morning over breakfast.

The breakfast was all local produce; perfect and just the right portions.

Despite getting quite drunk at the wedding (surely obligatory) we were back at the B&B by bedtime. We even managed breakfast the next day (a Sunday!) at 8.45am. ‘Dad’ did, however, comment on us having being out a long time.

Checking out time was 10am. Being a Sunday, and being the day after the wedding, we did our best. We were out of there by 10.10am.

As we loaded up the car I realised I wasn’t sure where my coach ticket home was. Then ‘mum and dad’ came out and got into their car. I caught ‘dad’ and asked him if I could just nip back and check the room. ‘Of course’ as he got out of the car. ‘Mum’ called after him, loud enough for us kids to hear; “Do hurry up!”

I’d wasted his time. My ticket was in my bag, slipped between the pages of the guardian G2 supplement from Friday. He smiled and explained the hurry. Church. You don’t get that in hotels.


One Response to “B & B”

  1. Rachel Green said

    Haha! So well written and so true.
    All b&b’s are run by bossy judgemental nosey parkers. Possibly not all, but all the one I’ve ever stayed at was, and that was enough for me.
    Travelodge is £19 if you book ahead. They might be horrible, but at least you’ve got your freedom.

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