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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I've probably given the impression that Lisa and I have been staying at my parents' house for the past few days. In reality, that's not true. On Christmas Eve we journeyed east to Hastings, the town of my birth, with Lisa travelling on a donkey (well, sitting on a cuddly Eeyore in the car), but sadly there was no room at the inn. Which is what happens when Big Sis gets there first and nabs the spare room. So we've actually been sleeping out the back in a stable and reliable Travelodge.

We had five nights booked, so it was a bit disconcerting when we got up this morning after night four, to the sound of the manager knocking on our door to tell us we should have vacated the room twenty minutes ago. It turned out to be some kind of administrative error. I was expecting three wise men, and I got an idiot with a clipboard. I think we got it all sorted in the end, but as we speak, it's 9pm and I'm writing this on my parents' sofa, so I'm half expecting to go back there in an hour and find all our stuff on the street.

I hope not though, because I've grown quite attached to the place. It has views of Hastings Castle...

Hastings Castle
... which are available to anyone who's willing to stand on a chair and point their camera through the four-inch gap you get when you open the window to its fullest extent.

I can't speak for other guests' facilities, but our room certainly has a unique charm. There's a relaxing ambience created by the fact that the light inside the door doesn't work, and you're really able to get away from it all during your stay because the TV only has four channels and the wi-fi costs £5 an hour, which is enough to keep anyone off the internet.

Stimulants are kept to a minimum because they only allow each guest one teabag per day, and you're encouraged not to spend too long in the bathroom by the dodgy light fitting over the mirror which threatens to electrocute you every time you clean your teeth. In addition, the bed inspires me to spend some quality time with Lisa each night because it slopes so much that I find myself rolling towards her in my sleep.

My favourite feature, however, is the ingenious repair job they've carried out on the TV stand. Left to its own devices, the swivel base of the TV tilts alarming to one side (which is actually quite helpful if you're sitting on the sloping bed), but fortunately the Travelodge staff have fixed the problem with a simple and inspired solution:

Two pots of UHT milk.

Even Poirot looks shocked by that one.