scribbles tagged ‘hotel’

no inn at the grain store

Saturday, February 8th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

Day 7: October 27th

This is a Texas town in the panhandle. I’d seen a couple of ghost towns so this is positively thriving with its new fangled grain store technology and a couple of big cars. But no motel. No café. I was beginning to learn that Texas towns marked on the map could be ghost towns,  a couple of shacks with no facilities for travellers, no cafés, no gas stations, no corner stores. Seems like a shack would qualify for a name on the map.

grai. store in Texas

no inn at the grain store
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Roses’ cafe – closed tonight

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

Day 7: October 27th

typical cafe and motel - that are still openThe Office to this motel was open, doors to rooms were open, guests’ SUVs showed the place had life. I was still suffering from Texas chainsaw film hangover and I was hungry but Rosie wasn’t around to fill me up for the night. Plenty more nearby towns on the map. I’ll try their facilities. I didn’t know it yet, but I was in for a long night and would soon regret not taking hospitality from this motel…

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not the Bagdad cafe

Friday, January 31st, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

Day 7: October 27th

typical cafe motel - unclear if it's still open...On my drive through the Texas panhandle, I hadn’t booked a place to stay in advance. As dusk began to fall I started pulling into the forecourt of roadside motels. This sign attracted me. As I drove closer it was difficult to tell if this place was open or not. I drove a long slow loop around it and left without getting out. I shouldn’t have watched the “Texas chainsaw massacre” it’s skewed my perception of run down, isolated places in Texas

not the Bagdad cafe
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put it in the slot on the door

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 | tags: ,  |

hotelNone Native English Speaking Receptionist: (something unintelligible)

Wendy: (frowns while trying to find intelligible words, then) I’m sorry, could you say that more slowly please?

The NNESR speaks slowly and I realise that she’s explaining how to use the hotel room plastic key card. It’s the same as every other hotel plastic key card that I’ve used before, literally hundreds of times. She’s being helpful, but I wonder what it was about me that made her think I needed an explanation. She’s giving me the impression that she thinks I’m stupid. Not a good way to make a customer feel.

PS First blog post from my ‘Surface’. Not as easy as earlier versions of Windows PC’s because of the picture handling processes, but I may yet find easier ways. Posts dedicated to the Surface experience due soon….

put it in the slot on the door
3 votes rating 3.33

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Slow down for Rockingham Arms

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Rockingham armsWentworth village is chocolate box cute

The Rockingham Arms staff are chatty and willing to help with their own quirky, non-corporate practices. There are no menus for breakfast. Another guests appears flustered, asks for the menu and the host calmly reassures her

Just ask for what you want and I’ll get it for you, we’ve got most things

Wentworth Hotel Room ViewThe staff are always busy while carrying a relaxed ambiance.

The Hotel was across the road from the pub, in cute converted cottages. My room overlooked the pub entrance. I opened the window and was lulled into a deep and dreamless sleep by the gentle chatter from people sitting outside the pub. Surprised not to be disturbed by high spirits on this warm evening.

I met other guests in the cutely cramped corridors of the hotel. One lady asked me if my radiators were working, it was so cold, “I haven’t noticed, my room is fine” Actually, I’d slept with my window open because it seemed so warm. Normally I find hotel temperatures a little stifling, this hotel seemed to have a natural temperature similar to the wendy house. Homely. I suspect that guest normally lives in a centrally heated modern house where the air doesn’t move.

Rockingham ArmsThe cars in the hotel car park suggested affluent guests, Mercedes, BMW convertibles, and of course young Thomas.

I’m building a picture of BMW and Mercedes drivers as suffering from symptoms of OCD and Autism. Maybe that’s what it takes to be successful in business, while by-passing being a successful human being. I class myself within this group. The sort of people that follow rules and expect others to do the same… “Keep off the bowling green” I obeyed.

Rockingham arms across the bowling greenIn the bar, guests complaining about how long they had to wait for their food. I wasn’t in a hurry. The time let me read my paper, listen to the other guests, just slow down to the local, healthy, pace of life.

I suspect the Rockingham Arms will be pressured by guest reviews to become more and more like a blandly corporate style service rather than expecting customers to adapt to their valuable way of being.  I hope not.


Slow down for Rockingham Arms
2 votes rating 5

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beware of breakfast bouncers

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

breakfast bouncer: What room are you in?

wendy: 118

breakfast bouncer: I don’t know that room

wendy: maybe it’s floor 1 room 18? My check-in card says 118 (holds-up check-in card)

After checking my name a hefty line was drawn through the paper sheet that listed the breakfast sentences of hotel guests.

breakfast bouncer: just to let you know, the toaster’s not working, do you want white or brown toast?

wendy: (confused, pauses)

breakfast bouncer: DO you WANT white or BROWN toast?

Wendy: Brown, please?

The bouncer sent me to my seat with an instructive arm wave. Minutes later returning to tell me I could get myself tea and fruit juice. Timidly, I left my allotted cell and made myself a tea. Sometimes it can be a bit of a trial not pissing-off the British breakfast bouncers.

Today I failed.

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lost our box

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

wendy: is there a password for the hotel internet?

The staff gives me a handwritten code then adds:  we’re not sure it’s working, let me know if you can get the internet


wendy: I can connect to your wireless but your wireless hub is either not connected to the internet or your ISP isn’t giving out IP addresses because the error message I get is about the DNS server not providing IP addresses

staff: ????????

wendy: um, your internal wireless system is working ok, but the line coming in is having trouble. Maybe just turning your internet hub on and off will solve it, or you’ll have to phone your internet provider…

staff: we don’t know where the box is, we’re having building works and we’ve lost it

wendy: Oh!!!!! Probably worth looking for the box then….

3 days in the hotel and my only internet access was on my cell phone.

Hotel Internet - not working...

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Loughborough is full

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

I called 6  hotels, all fully booked, none knew of other local hotels with spaces…

In desperation I discovered that Loughborough had a tourist information centre with a telephone number!  The automated answer machine message told me that the answer machine was ‘full’ – unable to take any more messages

Apparantly, the local University’s “Freshers Week” has filled the town to bursting

A lucky call connected me to a working-mens club, converted into the sort of hotel that has permanent residents. Bargain price. Such a bargain I knew it was seedy before even seeing the place

Which of these hotel services do you think I tried out?Sunshine hotel room charges

I didn’t add any holes in the doors, judging by the holes already there – they come at a discout rate if you bulk-buy:

Sunshine hotel room

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retrospectively great expectations

Sunday, August 21st, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Great Expectation (London St)In its short lifetime of 169 years, 33 London street has hosted diverse cultural activities – institute, theatre, church then pub

Local authoress Ms Mary Russell Mitford laid the foundation stone of the “New Hall” in 1842. Contemporary writing refers to the New Hall as either the “Literary, Scientific and Mechanics Institute” or the “Theatre Royal”.  The Institute appears to be part of a social movement that started in Wales to ensure adults of all classes, probably men, had the opportunity to learn about the arts and sciences. It provided a place they could go that had useful stuff like a library and events, for example plays

At the building’s opening in 1843 Charles Dickens read from his work. Some sources say he read from “Great Expectations” and others “Pickwick papers”

The building is later refered to as “The primitive methodist chapel” I wasn’t able to find clear, confirmed dates for this, or a reason why the Institute moved out of the building

Now it’s a public house and hotel named after the Dickens’ book  “Great Expectations”. The ground floor of the pub still has a library room

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worx disco

Sunday, March 6th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Captain Howey Hotel PubThe entrance guarded by portly middle-aged men, avoiding the wind while they dragged on their cigarettes

hello love
a cheerful greeting as I wove between them in search of the hotel reception. The hotel reception was the bar. Two women sat on a sofa Half a dozen toddlers cahorted around and over them. Several men lacking in cranial hair perched on bar stools watching the largescreen 6 nations play. Not an enticing first impression. A blackboard by the bar announced tonight’s Worx disco. The Worx? Dungeness power station workers, these people were dependent of the power station for their livelihood

The Romney and Hythe steam train trundled under my bedroom window. Heaven! It toot-tooted as it trundled by. I went to stand by the track and the driver smiled and waved and tooted when he drove by. At that moment I wanted to be part of a well practiced cheerleading team waving pompoms, synchronised high-kicking and singing the praise of the train line.

Over breakfast the  landlady whispered her concerns. These guys drank so much the night before a full days work at a Nuclear plant. We watched one stumble through the dining area on his way out of the building for his first fag of the day.  He grunted at the Landlady’s cheery greeting. After he’d gone

See what I mean?


worx disco
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Paris mourning

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

New year really started in the bathroom of a 3 star hotel 45 minutes walk from Notre Dame. Not midnight amongst the Europeans singing, hugging, kissing and drinking. A houseparty of strangers. A strange flavour of tonic water.

It wasn’t raining, but the clouds seemed to crowd right into the bathroom mixing with the steam where the taps ran water into the bath as quickly as it ran out the plug hole.  I’d tired of scrubbing. Red and wrinkled skin from hours of soaking, foaming.  Sometimes if was difficult to tell if this was real or a dream.

The effects of the spiked gin and salty tears were gradually wearing off, being replaced by a profound silence and a kind of numbness I’d never known before or since. I drank more water. Sometime I would have to leave this room, through the one door back to the bedroom. Have to look into his eyes and see all that had happened the night before reflected there. All his questions and apologies, all his needs and regrets had to be faced.  There wasn’t enough room for me to run with the water down the plug hole.  Watching the water spiral down I wished as hard as I could to either wake from this dream or slide out with the water.

Slowly, precisely and with the conviction normally reserved for reprimanding criminals I turned the taps off, rose, dried and dressed myself. Blew my nose. Drank more water.  Closed the window. Composed, upright, dry faced.  In the privacy of my mind I could hear the applause and cheering for a well excecuted restoration job.

 I walked out of the bathroom


Paris mourning
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suprising, sumptuous, stylish

Friday, December 25th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

The luxury 5 star  Forbury Hotel in downtown Reading went into administration this March.   Unlike many other businesses,   it  survived by new ownership.    The new owners  sent this portrait promoting seasonal greatings and special offers.  

Maybe one day we’ll meet in, or on the steps of, the Forbury.  

God Jul

Christmas card from the Forbury Hotel

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snow-stranded faerie tales

Thursday, December 24th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

At the Elephant Hotel, Pangbourne, the guests stranded by the suddent, unexpected, snowfall share stories of how they came to be at this hotel

Formerly Handsome Other Guest (FHOG): (slurred) I wanted to bring the truck out tonight,   but my wife wanted to come in the Merc

wendy: (snigger)

FHOG: So we came in the Merc because I always have to do what she says (slurred with a venemous undertone)

FHOG: but she’s admitted she was wrong this time, for the first time in 10 years marriage she’s admitted she was wrong (triumphant venemous overtones with a hint of over-exaggeration.   Yuck)

Snoqualmie Pass Lodgingswendy: I drove  my little  Honda civic automatic up the Cascade moutains in Western Washington  to a ski resort during a snow storm.   But then, my alternative was a bicycle not a truck

FHOG: this is my mother….

Reminder to self – a black polo-neck jumper,  stylish set of spectacles and slim build do not predict good-heartedness.   Sometimes I’m such a  slow learner.

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scribblers advance

Saturday, September 19th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Thatched house

Long post warning.   Plot spoiler –   ‘The Court’ is a great place to spend a relaxing break from modern city life.

Deborah: Wendy?   Would you like a glass of wine,   a cup of tea?

Wendy:   Yes!   both please

Sunday early evening, I’ve just stepped into the Court,   a large thatched cottage in the heart of Sheepwash, North Devon.   What a wonderful welcome.   Deborah takes my bag and gives me a tour of her home while making tea, pouring two glasses of wine and finishing the ironing.

Dining roomDeborah Dooley and her family have  opened their home  to paying guests. Deborah gives subtle and caring attention  to all her guests,  making sure they have what they need, keeping the atmosphere welcoming. Guests might come to write, to hike, to take time-out from being a mum.

Sheepwash bustles at 8am in the morning.  The local shop opens it’s doors, literally.  School children chatter and scream  as they wait for the bus.  Milk is delivered,  tractors roll by and I wake from a deep sleep amidst thick white cotton sheets.

When I wander downstairs in the morning a mug of tea soon finds me.   Fresh fruit salad, cereals and  a full cooked breakfast with eggs from the hens in the garden  are served on the visitors’ book,  a table with messages scrawled from past guests.  Packed lunches are prepared for guests’ planning day trips.

My mornings are filled with workshop activities designed to improve my writing.  Whether my writing improves is up to me,  Deborah’s workshops  give fun, tactful, feedback and encouragement.

Cottage fireplaceEvenings are warmed by  a real crackling and hissing fire.    Guests recline and share stories from huge embracing sofas.  The pub across the tiny town square feels like an extension of the house, not that I’ve spent much time there because the hospitality in the Court is magnetic.

I stayed with 3 other guests,  an  Essex accountant with a detailed colourful story on any topic your care to mention and a Cambridge couple taking a Hiking holiday.  We share breakfast, dinner and evenings and mainly do our own thing during the day.  Deborah listens, thinks, then uses what she’s learned. A simple but rare combination.  An excellent combination for a hostess.

Our roomThis is not the sort of place to stay if you like all the modern conveniences available in a  multi-star  Hotel.   The Court provides a  different kind of luxury, not one that is packaged with the check-list criteria of hotel stars.

The bathroom is shared by all the guests.    None of the modern trendy en-suite nonsense.  The bath is BIG,   deep and long, surrounded by a wide selection of dissolving things that you might want to soak in.  You need to check if there is enough hot water in the tank for a bath before taking a bath.  This reminds me of  living in a house with a hotwater tank and 4 other adults, my family, coordinating use of the bath was something we learned to do without giving it a second thought.  There is an electric shower with always available hot water.  If this  breaks your idea of a cosey retreat  then maybe this isn’t the place for you.

There is a TV in one of the rooms, I have not used it.  There are no TV’s or phones in the guest bedrooms. There is a  wireless base-station hidden in the lounge which provides internet  connections. I couldn’t get cellular reception from either T-Mobile or Orange services.  If this type of thing will be a problem for you, the Court is not the place for you.  Lack of cellular service was a bonus for me.  The Court has a landline number that I gave  to the  neighbour looking after my fluffballs and thankfully  she had no reason to call.

My experience is a warm friendly, active, family home full of people that respect each other.  The atmosphere and attitude of  the place and people made my stay interesting and welcoming. This is a very pleasant change from the benefits of living alone. I’ll definitley be visiting again.

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branding #5: chic boutique

Monday, August 11th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

The Great Western Hotel in Reading has been re-branded to a Malmaison Hotel.  This style appears to be referred to as ‘chic boutique’.    Judging by the internal decor boutique chic  means purple velvet furnishings,   lashings of pink,   large-swirly-print dark-wallpaper and an angular-geometric floor covering all held together with elevator music and a hint of stale cigarette smoke.

According to the Malmaison-branded paper-wrappers on the Napkins:   Malmaison. Eats. Drinks. Sleeps.

This sounded uninspiringly basic

I tried the eggs  benedict,   or rather egg benedict,   just the one egg and half a muffin.    The ‘eats’ were not impressing me,   the ‘drinks’ didn’t include any real ales.    Apart from  myself the only other customers  in the bar on this Saturday afternoon were a  couple of Hotel guests from the romantic together while speaking in Dutch.   After trying the ‘sleeps’ while waiting about 15 minutes for any member of the Bar staff to actually come into the bar I   gave-up on the ambition of eating a pudding and walked into the boutique  reception area  to ask if they could arrange to bring me my bill (US = check).

It was unisnpiringly  basic

However,   all of that said, I do have it on good authority that they have a fabulous suite with an en-suite train-set that is mumzie-impressingly-good.   I may have to get a second, mumzie, opinion on this.   Certainly I can see how a train-set is in keeping with the original,   pre-boutique, Great Western Railway (GWR) branding…

Luckily,   the chic boutique rebranding hasn’t yet spread to the external original architecture that conveys something of the original standing of the GWR.


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alan’s tips

Sunday, August 10th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Words of wisdom from my outrageously expensive  and  handsome, former professional-brick-layer, young product-dispensing hairdresser:

treat your mum to a night in the Mallard suite at the Malmaison,   it has a ground floor patio,   an en-suite train-set and wooden sinks which look like you can pick them up and walk away with them

As usual,   I’ll be taking Alan’s tip very seriously and following up on this gem of wisdom

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alan’s tips

Saturday, May 10th, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Words of wisdom from my outrageously expensive and  handsome young product-dispensing hairdresser:

If you’re looking for a good winebar the best place in Reading is the Forbury Hotel restaurant bar

As usual,   I’ll be taking Alan’s tip very seriously and following up on this gem of wisdom

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red and yellow

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

Contrast.   Less than 20 yards apart,   an empty Hotel foyer with ample seating and the busy street across the road where the pavement provides seating.  Shuffling through the   slowly revolving, silent, automatic Hotel doors onto Friary street the chilly night air, scent, and sounds of Reading nightlife slap you sharply on the cheek.   Especially if you sit down suddenly.  On the pavement (US = sidewalk) as I am wont to do occassionally.

Oddly enough I didn’t fall-over on my recent trip to Reading.   Is this portentous?  

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Tea in Panama

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 | tags: , , , , ,  |

fifthteenth in a  series of  Thursday posts about taking tiffin with  (black) tea  and milk in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #15 Tea in Panama

Panama:  The Panama canal was a significant engineering achievement sponsored by the Americans and French prior to WW1.   The Panama Hotel dates back to the 1920’s and is based in what has become Seattle’s ‘International’ district.   The Hotel’s Tea rooms provide a pleasant mix between oriental and English tea customs.   The tea was well made, not stewed, plentiful and upon request an appropriate jug of milk was supplied.

Goodnesses:   I had advertised that I would be loitering in this Tea house on a Sunday afternoon at 3pm to 12 or so favourite people.   To my enthusiastic suprize 8 people* turned up to join in.   We were able to arrange to sit around one ‘coffee’ table and share conversation.   This made the afternoon really enjoyable.     The tea prices were reasonable at  $6.00 for a pot of at least 6 cups of tea and some classic (Darjeeling) and interesting (lavendar flavoured) choices.   Yummy,   naturally I finnished off one pot of Darjeeling  all on my own and managed to scrounge cups from friends’ pots!   The Tea house provides free wireless access,   there were groups of people with Tea and Laptops opened on long tables.   The rest rooms were very stylish,   though difficult to spot from the outside,   not labelled.   I accidentally walked into the broom cupboard,   perversely this was actually a highlight for me,   giggling in the broom-cupboard bought back lots of fun memories.   The clientelle looked mainly,   but not solely, Asian and of varied age maybe 20 through to my 43yrs.   Girls and ….boys….   and sometimes it was difficult to guess….


Discomforts:   these were miner,   I feel a bit churlish even mentioning them.  The shiney wood floors and some of the hardwood seats gave the place aslightly cold, uncomfortable edge.   I kept my coat on to stay warm and was lucky enough to find a seat on a soft sofa.

Panama Hotel Tea rooms are  a  good place  for a reasonably priced and brewed hot tea in a relaxing environment conducive to good conversation irrespective of age and gender

* People included:   LaCroix, Raymond, NitwitOddment, Mark, The CultFigurine, the DevilsGulch.   No-one was a post-menopausal woman (not even me!) consequently several people risked taking milk in our tea,   Hoorah!   I even put milk in my Darjeeling….   just a comforting ‘dash’…

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clark chambers farm

Saturday, January 6th, 2007 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Recommended for an informal friendly bed and breakfast in Dungeness 🙂 🙂

ratings explained

Glenda Clark (ne Chambers)  explains that the farm is the oldest family run farm in Washington state.   She is thinking about trying to get it ‘registered’,   the UK equivalent of ‘listed’.  It is no coincidence that  Clark Chambers farm is the first building on ‘Clark road’.   Bob Clark is a never ending source of stories about farm life and the social history of the Dungeness region of the Olympic peninsular.   A chirpy cheerful couple,   they remind me of cockneys,   with a different accent.

All American accessories included a white picket fence, a porch that surrounded the whole house and warm friendly owners.   Spectacular accessories included a view of the Olympic mountains to the south and a huge bath en-suite.

The bedrooms are named after their original occupants,   mom and dad’s room,   Bob’s room, the guest room.   I stayed in mom and dad’s room with a big en-suite bath.    I miss the decent sized British baths made for lounging in.    Being a person of aquadexterous talents  I could adjust the waterfolw with my tootsies.   I sloshed in the outstanding luxury of  two baths per day.


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soul mining showers

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Mining:   turn of the century miners needed powerful water-pressure to blast the grime out of all known and unknown orifices.  knock-you-over, spray-everything in the room,  water-jets produce a numbing, heavenly, massage that pummels dead surface skin from your body and down the plug-hole.   It’s the kind of shower you take when you’re actually clean for the sheer pleasure of it.   These showers covered three states:

  • Idaho (Silver)  
  • Montana (copper, silver, gold, zinc, lead, manganese, cadmium, bismuth, selenium)  
  • Black hills of South Dakota (Silver, Gold,   Gems)

In blast-you-away soul cleansing priority order these were our top shower experiences:

Cowboy: As we moved into the flatlands of the high plains showers lost their skin-stripping power becoming merely powerful.   Shower spray lost some breadth.   Still superior to the average city shower they surely worked to strip  the dust and pollen from a cowboy’s thighs.   This thought alone inspired a sufficiently pleasant experience to keep me lingering in the shower  beyond mere physical cleanliness.

Trucking:   these showers are located in low-cost motels placed by the Interstate in areas that are not set-up to blast miners clean or strip the dust  from cowboys.   Sweat removing  showers.   They are pleasant.   A good shower in a city normally meets trucking shower quality.

Tourist: got some mucky children?   Then just chuck them in this nice little shower with a pretend-bath at the bottom and use our pretty motel supplied soap to foam-up and splish-splash away the dirt.   A basic satisficing experience.   All the sensual pleasure replaced by eye-candy accessories.

Toy:   now these showers in a gas-station restroom baffled the socks off me.   They were only good for washing feet,   or maybe they are b-day’s?    Waste of space unless you’ve got smelly feet or a squitty bum.

 shorty by the door

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karaoke cling

Sunday, August 27th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

World Traveller took a fancy to reviving  her Japan developed Karaoke skills in some small town with no chance of repercussions during our road trip.    Friday,   Saturday night on the road came and went without a nearby Karaoke event.   Then.   Sunday.   The motel was attached to a restaurant-bar advertising karaoke on Sunday.  Tonight.  While carrying our stuff to our room a permanent guest briefly told us her life story and introduced us to Zack*, the bar chef who ran the Karaoke, as clients for his evening’s entertainment.   While we ate our meal a puppy-like Zack kept popping into the restaurant to check if we were ready.   He couldn’t wait.   He started singing several songs.   We heard the singing,   ordered another pint of the local brew Yuengling, and wandered into the bar.

World traveller helped me choose a relatively easy song.   “Crazy little thing called love” by Queen.   After 3 pints (one more than my usual) I levered the microphone off Zack (not an easy task) and sang.   The Bar manager commented on how my accent disappeared when I sang.  “He’s English too” I weakly protested.

World traveller picked “Me and Bobby Magee” by Janis Joplin.   Zack was on a roll,   getting the microphone from him was no mean feat.   Finally she managed it and produced a fine rendering though not to her own high standard.   Having given-up smoking constrained her ability to really scream the lyrics to her satisfaction.   The bar seemed impressed,   a school teacher,   a single mother, a tractor designer and assorted others, mainly staff at the motel-bar-restaurant,   like Zack.

As a compromise to ease removing the microphone from Zack World Traveller sang a duet with him,   “Don’t go breaking my heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee.   He explained the lyric colour-coding to World traveller once,   twice, three times.   As they started singing he said “this is you” then “this is all me“.   Clearly the whole event was all about Zack.   I learned that the Karaoke machine only cost $30.   The school teacher asked me to make requests for songs she wanted to sing “He’ll do it if you ask,   he’ll ignore us” she explained.   Single mom helped me sing “don’t speak” by No Doubt and commented that I had a talent for picking songs with difficult timing.   School teacher went home to pick-up her child (another single mom) then came back to finish the evening with us.

Other songs covered:   New York New York (Franky),   Saturday night’s alright for fighting,   Candle in the wind (Elton John),   Yellow (Coldplay),   Let me sleep on it (Meatloaf)  and some American classics I barely recall in the ilk of Hotel California.   At midnight the bar manager threw us all out.   For $2 a beer World Traveller and I had a spanking good time only totalling $12.   Bargain!  As we ambled back to our Motel room and hugged goodbye’s one of the people at the bar,   that neither of us recall having spoken to, gave us his email address commenting that he would be hunting Bear in Montana soon,   out our way.  



*names have been changed to protect the singers

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Charlotte chat

Saturday, June 17th, 2006 | tags: , , , ,  |

wendy:   goodmorning

Latino lady emptying the bin outside the hotel:   goodmorning (big smile)


Wendy:   I’ll take the stairs, we wont all fit in the lift

2 Latino ladies with room cleaning trolleys:   (giggles)

In Seattle when I greet or talk to the Latino people emptying the bins or cleaning the rooms at work they rarely reply, I’ve never seen them smile.   I’ve learned to treat them as if they aren’t there.   It makes me feel uncomfortable.     I don’t know any Latino people.   The only places I see them are on the streets or in support roles like gardeners or cleaners.   Here in Charlotte the Hotel staff appear more open to sharing superficial niceties.   I feel less akward  being me.

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hotel US suburb

Friday, June 16th, 2006 | tags: , , , ,  |

No pedestrian crossing’s or sidewalks in this district.   Everyone drives.   I just wanted to pick up some supplies from a store near my hotel without getting into the car.    A low slung car pulled up as  I looked for a gap in traffic to cross the road

shiny black man:   wanna ride?   white-toothy-grin

Wendy “thanks,   but no thanks” yellow-toothy-grin

He pulled away.   A helpful native?    A guy with a thing about skinny older white chicks?   Someone surrupticiously working out whether I was a street walker? A budding serial killer?   I’ll never know.

Outside the deserted suburbian strip mall Hotel  a group of men loiter, smoking.   No-one is white.    The Hotel provides free  ‘beer’  (lager) to residents between 4 and 5pm.   This fills the lobby with the elegantly labelled  ‘business men’.   The mature manageress proudly referred to the hotel’s 20yrs history and recent renovations to suit  it’s business clientelle.    It certainly meets basic needs.    It is in some taste of finery that doesn’t permeate my senses.   It feels bland.   Only the people make it special.   She complimented me on my ‘cute accent’.     I returned the compliment.   Her drawl is kind to the listener and speaker.   No hurry,   think before you speak,   its ok to ponder.  Even the lifts are slow.  I like it.   She giggled as if no-one had ever told her she sounded cute.   Her cell phone rang,   she left…

In the foyer an attractive 44yr old black man talked about his business.   He’s  training chef’s  across the east coast.    He pondered on  how he came to this point in his life.    An easily shared  story of  college and job  changes.  He has a  french speaking friend  from the Ivory coast who now owns a cafe somewhere in Paris.    He commented that I looked European.   I giggled.   Can he not hear my accent? Is this a subtle form of politeness?   He asked if I can spot Americans.   I looked at his faded,   XL t-shirt and khaki cut-off cargo pants while pondering telling the truth.  I told the truth without citing khaki cargo pants or t-shirts.   Then my colleague arrived wearing khaki cargo pants and a t-shirt and we left to meet 3 more American people,   all of whom wore khaki cargo pants and t-shirts.

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why have you come to Spokane?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 | tags: , , , , ,  |

I asked the other guests at the Stoltz House.

Click here for flick-r photographs of inside Stoltz house

Edmonton  couple: for a vacation

Banff  couple: we’ve just bought an apartment here

The couple from Edmonton continued with the story of their son’s recent wedding in the Ukraine.

Edmonton couple:   there are no fat people in the Ukraine; everyone has wonderful figures, even the old people.

We shared a complimentary bottle of red wine supplied by Phyllis,   the outstanding landlady of Stoltz House for that last 14yrs,   Phyllis is incomparable,   a pure diamond.  I learned that Banff is lacking for cultural entertainment in the summer and is within driving distance of the happening city of Spokane.   A pleasant drive.  I learned  about ‘King Ralph’,   a radio and TV personality with a drinking problem that is currently the premier of Alberta, not  the film starring John Goodman.

I managed not to giggle at multiple uses of the word  ‘a boooooot’.

It was a tough challenge after two glasses of wine.   I sat in my corner,   nodded occassionaly and laughed at the genuinely funny stories.

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NOT a Wendy House #2

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

This is not a Wendy House:

Lyle Hotel, Lyle, WA

It’s  the  gorgeous old (circa 1900) WILD WEST  Lyle Hotel on the Columbia river gorge.   It was built as an hotel when its main clientelle arrived as traffic on the Columbia river, about 200 yards away.   Then nearby (100yards) train tracks bought more custom.    The building has been used for many things in its lifetime  including a Doctors surgery.   Now it is an Hotel again.   More photographs of the hotel on flickr.   Very cute and wild west.   The modern slant provided by the hotel included a very impressive and reasonably priced  wine list and restaurant menu.   The restaurant had white table-clothes and a live flamenco guitar player.   It felt very classy.   It even had vegetarian menu items!   The foyer felt like a lounge with a large leather sofa and multiple books to please wine connoisseurs seeking information about wines and local wineries.  

The staff were friendly, cheerful and totally unpretentious.   For example,   one server dripped red wine on the white table clother after pouring my glass.   I winced,   poor girl.   She continued,   easily, without making a fuss.   Another cautiously admitted it was her first day with a big winning smile.   She looked happy to be starting work there.   For me,   this made the place feel homely and friendly, a place I’d want to  visit again.    People expecting the kind of souless highly professional presentation you find in city centre establishments with a similar high quality  menu might be disappointed.

i’m planning to take my biddies there next time they visit the US.

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