Sunday, August 30, 2009

BnB Bollocks















Love Chunks, Sapphire, Sapphire's friend Juliet, Milly and I have just returned from a weekend away: two nights in a cosy Bed-and-Breakfast that was dog-friendly.

Actually, it was more than 'friendly', it allowed dogs inside. And no, the accommodation wasn't a one-star kennel featuring a self-serviced cement run and sackcloth hammock but a rather nice four star cottage featuring the usual floral curtains, watercolours of blue wrens, blue-and-lemon themed cushions, curtains and dinner plates as befitting the sixty-something proprietor and owner of a poodle named Pattie.

As we know, BnBs are the lifeblood of twee little country towns and villages that are fortunate enough to be located within a one or two hour drive from any big city. Stressed-out slickers arrive on a Friday night, congratulating themselves on having beaten the damn traffic and in finding the hidden key to the cottage that'll help them get away from it all. Then they lug in their fifteen overnight bags + laptops, golf buggy, K2-standard hiking boots, half-dozen bottles from the cellar and corolla-sized goretex jackets inside before struggling to get the f***ing fire lit.

Our BnB featured the deepest domestic spa bath I'd ever seen. Sure, Conde Naste travel writers might have lowered their arses into more swirling jets than I have, but this particular tub required a deep breath and a small prayer before stepping over the edge and down, down, d-o-w-n into the black, dark deepness of an abandoned well.
"Hello? Helllloooooo? Is there any bubble bath up there you can throw to me?"

The girls swam in there for two hours, even going so far as daring each other to do underwater somersaults. By bedtime, they were ready for another meal due to their exertions and Sapphire's eyes were so fogged up with lemon-myrtle moisturising bath gel she bumped into a nest of lacquered side tables.

The following morning at 6am Love Chunks and I rubbed the sleep from our eyes, wondering what lucky, innocent and clever childless yuppies were doing in our one-kilometre BnB border (sleeping in until 11am presumably), as we were jarred awake by the giggles of two 10-year old girls lumbering around the jiggling weatherboard house on stilts with all the delicacy of a dozen deranged elephants. They were accompanied by an excited a dog who'd earlier decided to drop a few fragrant butt nuggets on the carpet by the back door.

The PAL-odorous pong meant that ignoring the chaos, or shouting out, "You can put a DVD on and make yourself some hot milo" wasn't good enough. As such, we reluctantly flung back the warm, down-filled, floral-frilled quilt, flicked on the brass-edged lights and dealt with a Saturday morning start up that was most definitely anti the spirit of a BnB (Bed and Bludge). The poo was immediately exorcised, the kids fed and we adults ingested some stray grains of coffee via a dusty plunger. Three long hours later it was 9am and deemed a suitable time to leave the cottage and check out the quaint little town.

It must be a contractural obligation for main streets reliant on BnB dollars to have at least four coffee shops (all with 'cosy log fires'), a sweets shop, a chocolate and cake store, two bookshops (one catering for gay and lesbian interests), three organic bakeries, a historical society, a beautician and day spa complex, a Tarot reader and seventeen gift and curio shops. Naturally, by 11am we'd drunk three coffees (adults), two milkshakes (kids, with leftovers consumed by one adult), eaten eight hand-made chocolates each, shared two gluten-free friands, purchased several books, two hand-stitched fabric key rings with a dog and turtle motif and were looking for something to do that didn't involve hanging around outside.











.....or eating anything with cocoa, dates, toffee, caffeine, hard rock candy or lemon butter in it.

Wandering around a drafty old stable complex looking at over-priced antiques generally leaves me feeling about as fascinated as a insomniac on an anaesthetist's table but it's a hell of a lot more fun than standing outside in the street with merciless knife blades of freezing rain attacking my face from a sideways angle. Plus, in a couple of hours it would be lunchtime, and an opportunity to replace my sugars with salts, fats, starches and meats.




















Never have two hours passed so entertainingly. The girls were fascinated with the jewellery, books, 1980s fashions, toys and games on display and Love Chunks and I punctuated our fascinated strolls with "You've got to be kidding" or "Eighty dollars for pink trousers that my Dad rejected in the seventies? They're dreamin'!"

We felt sorry for the poor model who had to pose - nude and frozen, at an angle that surely would only excite a Chiropractor setting up their business in the town:




















We wondered if this author - and the featured knitter - was sober when this book was dreamed up and why the RSPCA merely stood idly by and allowed the poor little creature to suffer so cruelly:




















.......and questioned how bored, stoned, lonely or public toilet door head-buttingly bonkers you'd have to be to find this one a fascinating read:




















No matter. It was time for our wood-oven-fired pizza lunch with the ubiquitous wedges, rocket salad and another gallon of coffee for us and lime spiders for the girls.

Naturally, no trip to BnB land would be complete without a visit to the local chocolatier. The first one - a gorgeous little shop that also sold coffee and cakes - was friendly, affordable and enthusiastic.

The second one, located out of town and after our antiques entertainment and lunch was a tad more Nazi-ish:
"We don't give out free samples because we get over 14,000 visitors a year."
Yeah well I bet most of those visitors bought at least a $5 hot chocolate or one of your $2-a-piece 'hand made' chocolates made in moulds on a factory floor using premade chocolate but you can't spare a half-gram sized bud in a dish by your cash register!

"Please buy bottled water. We are unable to give you water to drink because we are only on rainwater and health restrictions do not permit us."
So, while we're reading the wall displays about how you made our straw-bale house with your bare hands and lined it with mud and put in solar power panels and windmills, we have to purchase a plastic bottle of water from you for for three times the price of the supermarket down the road?

"RACV Top 101 Tourism Experiences in Victoria" screamed their brochure.
I'm not sure what their postcards or stickers said because they were two bucks each, but I didn't realise that this state had 101 tourist spots, let alone top ones.

'Not just a shop in town.'
Ooooherr, are you referring to the other chocolate shop, in town? The one with FREE samples, cheaper product, Australian-made chocolate and staff willing to chat, help and show you around and give you free water to drink? That's pretty a bitchy approach for the so-called laid back, get-away-from-it-all BnB land!

But yes, I bought some chocolate. And ate it.
But I'll have youse all know - I didn't sign the guestbook or buy a dumb drink but returned to their "Fifty-Plus Carpark!" (aged a mere forty years old) sticklerless and thirsty. That'll teach em.

18 comments:

River said...

Fifteen overnight bags? FIFTEEN??
Oh, I get it, ten of them were for souveniers and chocolate to take home.......
B'n'B is something I keep telling myself I'll do one day. Like everything else I'm gonna do "one day".

Cat J B said...

6am?? That's when my 4 yr old and 16 month old pop their heads up for the day, muuuuch too early. I'm hoping they're way over that by 10....is that too much to ask?

Anonymous said...

If you are lucky by the time they get to 12 and starting to turn into teenagers they may lay in but then most things are boring!!

Glad you enjoyed your break it makes it all worthwhile and dont you just hate those tourist places that rip you off!

nuttynotons

Baino said...

Since when was water in a rainwater tank undrinkable! Pretentious wankers,prolly city folk capitalising on the tourist dollar. Glad you had a good weekend. Sleeping in isn't an issue for me, I just can't do it. No matter how hard I try, I'm up by 6 every morning.

Kath Lockett said...

River, somehow the girls needed a 'fun bag' with their knitting, books and nintendos, we had a bag just for our winter coats (which we desperately needed), a bag shared by LC and myself, a bag for our collective bathroom bags, a bag of 'snacks' just in case a BnB town didn't have any (!!!!), a bag for Milly's doggie stuff....

Yep, Cat, 6am. Normally Sapphire's not up on school days unil 7:45 or 8:30on weekends, but the combination of a friend sharing her room and in a *new and exciting location* was clearly too thrilling to waste sleeping.

Nuttynotons - usually I don't mind the BnB stuff but the second chocolate place made me see red because it was so specifically designed to strip the wallet and the soul....

Baino if you're up at 6am now, wait until you're retired - you'll be waking up the bakers! I read somewhere that as you age, you wake up earlier - something to do with circadian rhythms and stuff. Not that I'm saying you're old *now* of course (blush blush)....

drb said...

Luckily, i did not recommend any chcoloate place.....

Helen said...

ok, so you know those red/purple shoes? people here WEAR them! Not so much in Joburg, but in the smaller towns they're almsot as popular as crocs...

I want a copy of "Men Who Knit"!

Benjamin Solah said...

Just to rub it in, we slept in until 1am...

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

"Men Who Knit and The Dogs Who Love Them" ...

I swear I am laughing my head off at that. Who would write such a book? And that poor dog on the front - he's almost saying: "My life is over - somebody put me out my misery".

Perhaps the author could knit a butt-sack to catch all those butt-nuggets.

:0)

Cheers

PM

franzy said...

G-G-G-G-GOLD!!!!

That's the adventures of Kath that I know and love.
I think you've nailed the BnB experience in that first bag-laden paragraph - phukkn fires indeed!
Although, I must confess to one more item: the espresso machine.
If it's got a power point, I'll be pressure-extruding my beans, thanks.

Remind me to tell you/blog about the Skellig Chocolate Factory one day ...

Kath Lockett said...

Dr B, you didn't need to recommend any choccy places, I was always going to find them! :)

Helen, I have a feeling that knitting book is going to get a lot of ironic google searches now.

Benjamin, dearest, 1am is five hours earlier than when Sapphire and Juliet woke up..... ??

Plasman - a knitted nugget catcher? YESSSSS! Remember those old ladies who'd crochet hats out of bread bags - this could be their next project! I'll contact my Mum at the Country Women's Association....

Franzy, for a moment we actually considered packing our own coffee machine, but thought with the fifteen bags and the dog, it might be a bit much. Wish we had now. And yes, blog about Skelligs!

The Man at the Pub said...

Daylesford hey. My sister used to work at the Chocolate Mill for a bit. Management wouldn't even let the staff taste the wares they were selling unless they paid for it. So as a protest against her nasty bosses she vowed to eat sneaky choccys on the job until she was fired...which she soon was. Sounds like a great way to get fired.

Kath Lockett said...

Man at the Pub - your sister sounds like a very wise woman to me!

Benjamin Solah said...

Ugh, I meant PM :P

TamvdK said...

And hey how much were they charging for The Bare Winter book?? I bought it in Hobart a few weeks ago, from the actual photographer. It's a wedding present for a couple of artistic dykes.
Head down to Phillip Island for an ice cream and stop in at the chocolate factory - they have some great creations. I swear by the dark chocolate and SPEARMINT!

redcap said...

Oh, I hope you bought that book on knitting men and loving pooches. I can't tell whether it's about handicrafts or bestiality >:)

The Scotsman and I went to a B&B a few weeks ago with a waratah theme. And I don't just mean a waratah on the cottage name plate, even though there was one. Oh no. I'm talking at least eight to 10 waratah items per room: paintings, tiles, tapestries, coasters, trivets, pot holders, fridge magnets, you name it, they had it. I bet the local artists opened up an I Saw You Coming Shop full of bloody waratahs! That said, it was a really nice place and the owners had thought of absolutely everything. And I poked through every cupboard, box, shelf and container, so I know ;) Need a corn plaster? Oh, we've got one. Want to play Scrabble? Yep. Copy of the Joy of Sex? Yep (euww - I had a horrible feeling the pages would be stuck together). ABBA music? Check. DVD copy of Love Actually. Check. Bidet? Wouldn't have a clue how to use the thing apart from as a foot washer a la Crocodile Dundee, but there was one in the corner. But the best bit was the can of birdseed on the back verandah - rosellas, superb fairy wrens, red-browed finches, galahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos... we got the lot!


Ooh, that made me sound like a serious nerd, didn't it?

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