Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The little book of horrors

We've just come back from a stay in a beachhouse situated at Lake Bunga. Just the name and its endless possibilities for double entendres entertained us for the 300km drive through never-ending Melbourne suburbs, the rear-end of fishing boats towed by FWDs out for their single real drive of the year and lush Gippsland farms. Lake Bunga is very close to Lakes Entrance in Victoria, and this is the view we had from the living areas and decking.....

.....with parrots (Rosellas?) arriving every evening for a handful of seeds....

...and we enjoyed balmy days, a two minute walk to the beach, seeing swans and pelicans on the lake and hearing the soft swish of the waves as we slept contentedly at night.

However, it was the guest book that provided us with hours of entertainment and a recurring theme for our Easter weekend. Every time something happened, such as Sapphire dripping melted chocolate down her front or me developing a zit on my chin so large that Bill promised he'd airbrush it out of their holiday snaps, we'd all say, "That's GOTTA GO IN THE GUEST BOOK!"

Usually, if you're ever bored enough to flip through a guest book, it's full of bland and pleasant comments: 'We enjoyed our stay', 'You've thought of everything - thanks', or 'It was so comfortable we didn't want to leave', but this book - The Big Bunga Book was a saga. A truly memorable novel contributed to by many writers with many views; some even responding to remarks made by guests who'd stayed earlier.

I'd never read a guest book like it. Here, for your edification, are comments as they appeared in the book without any creative tampering by this ere blogger.

The electricity is horrible and some of the sockets are faulty. The oven and BBQ are 'amazing'. By 'amazing' we mean HORRENDOUS. ....Overall though, we had a great time and will come back again when everything is repaired.

The only thing I missed was a box of tissues to wipe away the tears of joy that such a peaceful place has brought to me.

Okaaaaay, two rather different views there. Until the subject of the third bedroom came up. This had been advertised as The Children's Room and was the reason that we booked the place so that Sapph had space of her own. When we arrived, we discovered that it was merely the filled in area under the main house, consisting of hammered chipboard and ceilings that were five foot high with no direct access to the rest of the house. As we crouched uncertainly inside the dim cave, our feet crunching on the rather neglected carpet, Sapphire turned her frightened big blue eyes to me and said, "Do I have to stay here?"

Therefore, it was no surprise to read the following comments from other guests:

The third bedroom, located 'downstairs' is NOT good.
The third bedroom needs improvement. And cleaning. And about three extra feet in height.
Took awhile to find the third bedroom. Would the owners be prepared to live there for a week?!?
Downstairs room is not a good idea. Needs internal access to the upper floor if you're going to call it the 'Children's Bedroom'.
The kids room is cold and unsafe. Would you leave your kids (aged under 12) under there?
To call that a third bedroom is false advertising!
As parents of small children we do not believe that this place should be advertised as 'family friendly'.

We dragged a mattress and bedding upstairs for Sapphire and installed it in our room. Her shoulders visibly dropped and her smile returned.

Then, as we unpacked, we realised that the cleaner (or owner) was trying to save time and money on the basics. This also hadn't escaped the notice of our previous fellow guests:

Two rolls of toilet paper are not enough for eight people staying here for six days.
Enough toilet paper for five people staying over a long weekend would be nice!
Surely you can spare a few bog rolls and other small comforts like salt, pepper and tea bags?
Some advice: leave more than one toilet roll if you know you're having more than one person stay for more than one night; ie all the time.
If you're going to supply a salt shaker can you please put some salt in it?
As everyone else is saying, please take some time to think of the small things - who wants to spend their time 'getting away from it all' on a public holiday trying to find toilet paper and salt to buy?
Is anybody reading this guest book? We're all talking about toilet paper and salt - it's not hard - how come it hasn't been rectified yet?

And let's not forget the deck, blankets, ants and advertising:

The blanket in the bedroom smells like dog and is covered in dog hair.
I could not let my two year old out on the deck because it is an EXTREME safety hazard. The nails are raised, the boards are spongy and there's no protective wiring or netting for half of the balcony.
We had to turn the outdoor table on its side to block off the part of the balcony that doesn't have mesh or our kids would not have been about to go outside. No biggie though.
The ants were a big problem.
One towel per person for EIGHT days is not acceptable.
Please review how you advertise as this place is definitely not for families.
This is a case of false advertising because this house is NOT 'within walking distance to town.'

Crikey! It was comforting to see that there were a few guests that were firmly on the side of the beach house:

FANTASTIC holiday house. Hint to everyone else: go to Safeway and buy what you need. Don't let a toilet roll ruin your holiday!
Very comfortable for four people upstairs. It may not be five-star, however for us it was heaven on a stick.
How could anyone complain about this place? Views of the lake, views of rolling waves, swans, beautiful birds on the verandah, a two minute walk to the beach - COME ON, this place is fantastic.
Oh my gosh - visitors that come and want to enjoy this areas natural beauty - and not whinge about salt shakers - must be from another planet!
We needed a break - two hard working adults and their dogs and that's exactly what we got here. The lake! The beach! The birds! What a beautiful part of the world, I would live here all year and never share it with anyone but it's our good luck that you do.

"On arrival, all I could do was stare at the amazing view.... on that HD channel you guys have down here. Awesome! Then the sun came up and I was like 'Sweeeeeet'! And then we went fishing......a pelican came swooping down gracefully and took my dog. I miss him. Take it easy!"

Best guestbook comment ever.


Pandora Behr said...

Wow - that sounds fantastic. My Mum's B&B never got comments like that in the guest book - only interesting thing was where people had come from,.

Sounds like you had a great break.

Lidian said...

I love those guest books. My husband once found his and his parents' comments from 30+ years before, in one where we were staying in England while visiting his parents. I wish I could remember where but am drawing a blank and I don't think he'll appreciate me phoning him up in the middle of A Meeting at work to ask (though now it is driving me mad and I sort of want to)

Baino said...

Most excellent. Sounds a bit like our recent holiday house. The house itself and the deck and the view were fabulous but they advertiseda 'ping pong table for hours of family fun' it too was wedged into a makeshift damp smelling room under the house. My son couldn't stand up straight! They were a little light on bog roll too but I've learned through years of camping to take the essentials with me! It's all about the location for me and as long as there's a flushing toilet and a hot shower, I'm a happy camper!

Rowe said...

It's always interesting discovering the quirks of holiday accommodation in places you've never stayed before. I tend to put it in the get what you pay for perspective when breaking it all down, even comparing to being in a tent or a van.

R.H. said...

I always expected holiday accomodation to be better than where I lived, and it usually was.

Jilly said...

I still cringe and blush thinking of some of the comments my husband wrote in guest books while we were on honeymoon in Tasmania! I had a little panic attack when friends of ours not long after travelled in Tassie and said they were staying in cute little BnBs - the thought of them reading the comments.... Hopefully now, 15 years later the books have long gone! xxx Jilly xxx

River said...

Well thanks for the heads up; if I ever book a holiday in an out of the way place I'll take two "green" bags along with my suitcases. One with toilet paper and one with other small essentials. Like salt, teabags and Baygon. That third "bedroom" sounds like a nightmare. Should it be reported to some local B&B authority?

drb said...

what did you write in the guest book?

Kath Lockett said...

I've been *waiting* for someone to ask that very question, DrB!

...anyone care to hazard a guess?

Christine said...

I loved this comment: 'We needed a break - two hard working adults and their dogs and that's exactly what we got here. '

Now we know who left the dog hair on the blankets! :)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Great comments! I'm always tempted to write stupid comments in guest books but Mrs PM usually stops me

"I'll write it," she'll say. "We may want to come back here!"




Rowe said...

Not usually good at guessing on behalf of others, Kath, but look forward to finding out what you wrote in that there book...

delamare said...

Now that is the funniest guest book I've heard of. Makes me want to book a holiday there immediately, although I hope that all three of my kids can fit into the second bedroom. I'll also pack my own salt and loo paper...

Helen said...

I love the comment about the guy's dog being snapped up by a pelican!

Nicole said...

Sounds like the place to go! I'd like to know what you wrote too!