8 Strange Things About Our Summer Holiday Cottage
Over the years we have stayed in many rented holiday properties for various holidays and breaks. Caravans in France. Several houses and cottages in the Lake District. A former Methodist chapel in Wales. And once, a huge manor house that had a huge room you could blow up a bouncy castle in. Although the bouncy castle had a slow puncture.
Of them, there has only been one that was truly terrible. A four bed cottage near Keswick that may have had space for four people to sleep in, but certainly didn’t have space for four people to live in. The sofa only accommodated three, and whilst there were four dining chairs, there wasn’t actually room to use them. About the only redeeming feature was that it was 20 seconds walk to the pub.
But the holiday place we stayed in this year at Tenby, in Pembrokeshire, certainly wasn’t the finest.
We knew it wouldn’t be perfect. It didn’t have an outdoor area for example. And we were aware it was up a very narrow lane and hand only limited parking. Although I didn’t expect it to be quite so tight that I’d take a good chunk of paintwork off the car trying to get out of the parking space.
The whole place looked like it needed a good refurbishment. And a deep clean. And new carpets. And someone to do the whole lot who had an eye for detail, and way of making things look nice. But there were eight things in particular that really made me just stare at them and go “Why? For goodness sake, why?”
1. The award
Most holiday rentals have some clutter and oddities floating around. After all, most holiday rentals are owned by someone who uses the property part of the year themselves. They decorate the place to their taste. They have their keepsakes and things. But they’re usually kept to a minimum. Certainly for a place like this that’s a dedicated holiday let, rather than someone’s home put on AirBnB and rented out for short periods.
Not this place. There was clutter everywhere. Not nice ornaments. But clutter.
For example, the fridge had a ‘Save the date’ postcard for someone’s wedding. A wedding that took place in 2017. A kitchen drawer had a collection of used bottle corks in it. And in the cupboards I found multiple McDonalds coffee cups. Not re-usable cups. Just standard paper takeaway cups. Cups someone had washed and put away for future use.
But never have I come across anything like what took pride of place on the mantelpiece of in the kitchen. An award. A “Five Star Award” given to Natwest in 2002 for ‘Best Overall Lender”.
If you can tell me why, as a holiday property owner, you think that this would make for tasteful decor, then you’re a better person than me.
2. The NatWest Notepads
Clearly someone used to work for Natwest. Or perhaps still does. In the cupboard was a glass tumbler with a NatWest logo on it. This was a sharp contrast from the collection of branded pint glasses that looked like they’d been pilfered from pubs.
But it wasn’t on display. The NatWest Mortgate Services notepad block thing was. Tastefully placed not far from the award. Handy if you wanted to make notes, I guess.
3. The bit of the staircase post in the ceiling
The house we stayed in was reasonably old. And presumably had been divided into two at some point. There was a flat on the ground floor, and a bigger place – that we were in – on the first and second floors. It looked like the first floor had undergone some re-organisation over the years, and a small bedroom created out of a bit of the hallway.
Which is fine. But if you’d gone to the hassle of putting in a new room that enclosed part of a staircase, wouldn’t you tidy things up a little so that there wasn’t an old bit of staircase post sticking down from the ceiling? Or am I just being crazy here?
4. The mirrored bathroom cabinet above the staircase
No, seriously. There was a mirrored bathroom cabinet above the staircase between the first and second floors. Perfectly positioned so that when you were going downstairs, you could stop, open the cabinet and reach inside.
I have no idea how many houses I’ve been in my life, but I’ve never, ever seen a bathroom cabinet placed above the stairs.
What was inside? Well I had to find out didn’t I? And I did. Inside were boxes and boxes of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Just in case.
5. The ladders
The observant will already have spotted something curious about that cabinet photo. Yes, next to the cabinet, a set of ladders. Ladders hooked on the wall. Ladders splattered with dried paint and plaster.
Everyone needs space to put their ladders I suppose. But there was a whole room of the house that was padlocked and off limits that the ladder could have been kept in.
Keeping your ladders out on full view on your staircase would be odd enough in a normal house. But in somewhere you’re renting out to the public? For money?!
Mind you, if you fancied doing a spot of DIY and decorating during your stay, you would be sorted.
6. The bathroom door you don’t know whether to push or slide
It took me a while to spot this. It was too subtle. But that bathroom door? Am I supposed to turn the knob on the left, or side the door open using the handle on the right?
7. The desk chair at the top of the staircase
Just plonked there at the top of the staircase. No good reason for it to be there.
Indeed, the house didn’t even have a desk to sit at.
8. The tumble drier at the top of the stairs
No, that’s not a mistake. The final item is using the same photograph of that chair. Because it’s also a photograph of what’s behind the chair.
It’s a tumble drier. A tumble drier plonked at the top of the staircase. There was space for it in the kitchen. With a little thought, it could easily have gone there. But no. They’d put it at the top of the stairs.
Although here’s the real kicker. There was a tumble drier. But there was no washing machine.
I repeat that. There was no washing machine. You could dry your washed clothes. But not wash them.
Given we were there for two weeks, this was quite an omission.
Tenby itself, it must be said, is a lovely place. The town’s pleasant (although perhaps best avoided on a Saturday evening as the pubs get extremely busy). There’s some great beaches. There is beautiful countryside nearby.
But when it comes to accommodation, needless to say if we ever go back, we’ll be finding somewhere a little less eclectic in its presentation and provision of facilities.
One that hopefully won’t inspire me to write 1,166 words about it.