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It’s a long, hard day’s night

RUNNING a small hotel is not always the fun experience the job advert claimed it to be.

The days are long and hard (and quite often boring), and being sung to by a travelling Welsh rugby team, far from brightening the day, can be an annoyance when it is done in reception when one is attempting to book in a foreign visitor who specifically asked for a quiet hotel.

It’s easy to try and pass off their vocalising as local colour, but, with the recent rash opening of European borders, I find that most foreign visitors are seasoned travellers well accustomed to the whimsicalities of their British cousins.

So claiming that a Welsh choir is standard issue to all Leicester hotels falls flat when you find that Herr Guest has had a business here for some years.

Maybe I am unreasonable in requiring at least two hours sleep every night. Perhaps I should be available for my guests 24 hours a day. In fact, my contract does state that the post may involve working some unsocial hours. But being woken in the middle of the night is not my favourite pastime and frankly I could do without it.

The range of reasons given for being dragged from one’s bed by a guest is wide. If he was unwell I wouldn’t mind the shrill ringing that issues from that hateful box on the wall. If his room was on fire and both bells were ringing I would find it in my heart to forgive him. But when he decides that 3am is a good time to tell me he requires an early morning call, I forget the well-practised air of genial benevolence that I faked beautifully when booking him in and tell him where to put his alarm call!

The early mornings could perhaps be tolerated if it wasn’t for the late nights that seem to accompany them so frequently. It seems that no matter how often I drill guests about the importance of taking keys with them when they go out, they still leave them at reception and then expect to be let back in during the small hours.

So here I am, sitting bathed in the bilious green glow of the word processor at 2am, waiting for the rugby team to return from their carousals. They all left their keys at reception when I wasn’t looking.

Now I have to wait up for them or they’ll wake everyone else with Camptown Races or Men of Harlech while they wait for me to let them in.

When I finally go to bed I may go straight to sleep – or perhaps I’ll lie there, mulling over the day. But if I can’t drop off, I’ll open the window and see if I can catch the strains of Brahms’ Lullaby coming from the top floor. n

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