Mad as hatters

I answer the phone. "Do you have any stuffed animals in your hotel?" "No sir, not a stuffed animal here" "Are you sure, I have been led up the garden path with this before. Hotels have assured me that they have no stuffed animals, then when I get there, I spot a stuffed bird" "Sir, if you care to book, I will personally guarantee twice your money back if you spot as much as a stuffed mouse here"

Quite bizarre really that sort of conversation, but that is one I actually got. And it is not atypical of the sort of foibles that guests come up with. It is not just guests, we had to part company with a new chambermaid who could not do rooms because of a fear of spiders - Cornwall is a particularly arachnophilic part of the world. And another budding chambermaid was allergic to dust.

Rubber pillows instead of feather ones is a common request, as is duvets instead of blankets, for those allergic to feathers. Diets can be fat free, gluten free, wheat flour free, cow's milk free, magnesium free, meat free, cholesterol free, butter free, salt free, egg free. And that is only what we have had in the last few months. Actually it is not too much of a problem, unless combinations of exclusions come into play. For example we had a vegetarian who couldn't eat eggs or wheat flour - which presented somewhat of a challenge

There are those guests that book a room, do not arrive by 11 pm or so when we are heading off to bed and have not phoned to say they are arriving late. They then turn up at 2 am and are confused as to why the hotel is locked up and they are locked out. We recently had an American couple and 11 year old daughter in this category. They had done Cambridge that morning, then Winchester, Stonehenge and all points west until they arrived at our door in the wee small hours. They thought that all hotels were open 24 hours and would be delighted to see than at any hour of the day or night, Another guest actually arrived at 4.30 am and phoned in a foul temper to complain the building was locked

There are those who produce a suitcase of laundry at 11 pm, and who are leaving the next morning after breakfast, and wonder why we cannot get it washed and ironed in that time (sorry madam, we do have to sleep sometimes)

There are alcoholics who do not want their partners to know they still drink. One couple we had in were both supposed to be on the wagon. The chap would appear furtively and order a quadruple vodka and orange (no smell on the breath). It would be downed in one, he would go and then the wife would appear, look around furtively, order a quadruple vodka, and down that in one. Ten minutes later they would come down together before dinner, and when asked if they wanted anything to drink would reply in harmony "Only an orange juice please, I do not drink"

We had a Swiss chap staying who went trout fishing every day for ten days, and every day for ten days came back with trout for his dinner. Whatever else we had on the menu, he wanted his trout. It is quite demanding finding time for last minute gutting and preparation of the trout, and also finding 10 different recipes for the fish - I discovered that, among other things, you can make a good gravad lax from trout.

Eccentricity is not confined to the English, every nation has them. Funny thing is we all think we are normal people, it is only really others who can judge us.


                            And if you want to stay in a nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall

                                                                                                       Corisande Manor Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

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