So this is once more the time of Christmas past. Past, again, after weeks of anticipation it seemed to vanish in a whirl of relatives, Turkey and wrapping paper. But was always that in my home growing up so considering that the tradition is maintained at least. Thankfully for me the Lovely wife and I go away for New Year every year with friends and then my Dad has his birthday so that kind of helps eke out some kind of holiday feeling until at least mid- January.
So here we are in Wales in a rather nice cottage with a wood burning fire and most of the same delightful flourishes that tell you no one really lives here (because while one or two of them you might be able to bear, the combination would drive you nuts). Any of us that have stayed in such places can probably name our own favourites, but here are the few we came up with this morning over the coco pops.
Drop Latches on doors. They may look old world and attractive, but it is impossible to open and close them without making a racket that would wake the dead – or indeed the Lovely Wife, which is quite annoying if you want to sneak off to the bathroom, or bring her a cup of tea without waking her. Accept progress and have doors that close quietly and easily.
This place and several others we have been to have had lovely large roll top baths, with shiny spray attachments in the middle of spacious bathrooms. This is all very lovely except… What about all the water that is going to be sprayed around with the absence of shower curtain. They should start saving for the ceiling repairs now, I think.
Many of these cottages were never meant to sleep comfortably the number people they are advertised for and it shows. So let us face reality. Please avoid bedrooms where you have to have to walk through someone else’s to get through. Even more important please avoid family bathrooms which are actually an en suite. These things are bad enough for a family but have the potential to damage friendships.
Do not child theme anything. A single friend of ours is still traumatised by the Minnie Mouse bedspread and associated décor he had to cope with for a week. Single people do not equal children.
What is it with the cushions? In many places we have been there are so many cushions you have to excavate the bed to find it and then the damn things fill up the bedroom floor. And pillows? How many do you really need?
The complete lack of anything approaching a sharp knife is a constant. Also, usually the oven does not work properly. Odd really, when I go self-catering, generally I feel the expectation should be that I will be cooking at least a few nights a week so why to cottage kitchens usually so poor?
Over decoration is also common. We left the Victorian era some time ago, so filling the place and every wall with tat is not actually required anymore. The owner of the current cottage is especially bad on this and we cannot move for inspirational/sweet messages and jugs.
Finally, with an observation rather than a rant, there is the fascinating and entirely random collection of DVDs and CDs that appear. Particular gems this time around are a weird combination of Bryan Adams and the Lighthouse family (there are two Lighthouse family albums, which fascinates me. Wasn’t one enough?). Are they the rejects from the owner’s collections? Random picks from the local charity shop bought to fill a space not occupied by jugs? Or castaways from previous occupants, forming a weird rejected collective, huddling together for warmth and the hope someone, anyone, might play them again? Discuss.
But never mind the moaning. In the end we love it as in the end we do not have to worry about all the things that are wrong as we are only here for a week. So let’s just open another bottle and throw a log on the fire.
It’s still kind of Christmas here.