B&B

If you’re visiting the UK and want to investigate some of the quirkier aspects of life on this great island, I would warmly recommend checking into a traditional B&B. I don’t mean one of the modern ones with Wi-Fi and espresso machines in the rooms. I mean one where time has stood still since the landlady last splashed out on a new carpet in the downstairs loo to celebrate the safe landing of Apollo 11. These establishments serve not only to put a roof over your head and a large portion of heart-arresting, fried goods on your breakfast plate, they are also a window into a time where it was rude not to cover your toilet roll in a crocheted rag. Expect to have your morals inspected. These are not hotels, these are the homes of landladies and landlords prone to questioning your choice in marital status, diet, reason for visiting and – most importantly – the time you creep in at night after you’ve taken yourself off for a few glasses of wine to try to soften the effect of the brutally sagging mattress in your room. If you’re particularly late back, don’t expect the hot water to be turned on as you crouch in the bathtub attempting to rinse your hair with a limescale-encrusted rubber hose in the morning. My other half doesn’t see a problem with any of this. To him, being able to sink his toes into thick shag pile while peeing really is true luxury. Only once, when presented with a particularly unrelenting duck-theme, did he briefly pause with wonder. This was only to assess the breed of the stuffed specimen mounted above the front door. Dust, moths and decade of sun-bleaching made it an impossible task and he left none the wiser.

b&b