(Not) sweet home

Today’s post is about what gets on my nerves when I visit other people’s homes, in particular when I stay overnight. It’s been ages since I did so. If my memory serves me well, I stayed in a friend’s house over Easter 2019, I stayed in a friend’s apartment later the same year, I stayed in a few Airbnbs as well, then there was Christmas and then Covid happened, so no travel since – not counting another Christmas trip. I am not going to write about things beyond our control, the quality of housing, bad room layout, or individual taste. I’ll focus more on these little quirks that are normal and acceptable for owners but awkward and incomprehensible for guests.

My pet hate number one is a poorly flusing toilet. There is nothing more embarassing for a guest. Funnily enough, owners often don’t seem to notice a problem which shocks me, especially when there is no window in a bathroom and/or poor ventilation. They just live with it, or blame low water pressure. I am no plumber but I know there are showers dedicated to lower pressure, so surely there must be a solution for toilets. I beg everyone with a similar issue, please, please, please fix it. This one not a luxury, it’s a basic human right to have a well flushing toilet. For yourself and others.

Since we are in a bathroom…A fairly common sight in the UK is a shower installed over bath – often a cheap setup in rental properties, where landlords don’t feel a need to provide a modern walk in shower. This is accompanied by a shower curtain or a bath screen. A friend of mine has such a screen, it is difficult to fold and unfold and it only covers a third of a bath’s length. Result: her whole bathroom is flooded after a shower. They have a power-shower which only adds insult to injury: it’s impossible NOT to have water all over the floor and the mess, as Arthur Weasley would put it, is unbelievable 😀 I also remember Airbnb in Germany where there was no bath screen or curtain at all. What were they thinking ???

Smell. I am used to all sorts of usual and unusual odours, thanks to my job. I once stayed in a private room on the outskirts of the Lake District National Park. First thing I noticed was a musty, damp smell which lingered everywhere, especially downstairs. No doubt the owners had a mould problem and were doing absolutely nothing about it. There was also a wet dog smell, I tolerated it because I like dogs and that big fella would spend hours each day in the surrounding hills and brought all the smells with him. Fair enough. If people choose to live with mould and suffer health problems, that’s up to them, but they should think twice before listing their spare bedroom on Airbnb. I left a good review after all, because I only spent one night and it didn’t bother me too much, but I certainly wouldn’t want to share that house with them.

Mould, damp etc lead me to the next problem, that is cold. One goes hand in hand with another. My indoors (and outdoors) temperature goldilocks zone is something between 18 and 22 degrees. My Polish relatives have, just like almost everyone there who lives in a block of flats, a communal heating so how much warmth they get is controlled by the energy provider and the power station. Typically, the heating starts in October and is switched off some time after Easter. They have it warm. Very warm. None of that programmable heat nonsense, an hour in the morning, a few hours in the evening, cold at night. It’s 24/7 heating and anything else would be deemed third world living conditions. Although the radiators can be turned down, they rarely are and it tends to be really hot in those apartments. One can literally walk around in shorts and a T-shirt. I always suffer from dry throat when staying there, and my skin gets so dehydrated it’s unbearable. The only thing worse is the opposite of non stop heating: zero heating. It’s like being in a bloody fridge 😉 I know that in the middle of winter the temperature in my flat drops to 14-15 degrees and I don’t believe anyone who tells me they never have a heating on but feel warm. Rubbish 🙂 By all means sleep in a freezer and admire ice flowers on your windows if it makes you happy, but switch that electric panel on when you have guests over. By the way, I sleep in an unheated bedroom and look what happened: it took me all day to remove and treat what was hidden behind the blinds.

Moving on…I remember when I was asked to help prepare a fruit salad in someone’s kitchen. I asked for a knife and was handed some sad excuse for a knife, a tiny and unsharp one. ‘It is my favourite and sharpest knife’ said the host. I spent the next three hours struggling to deseed and cut everything from apples to melon. While everyone has got that favourite, old mug or a pan that dates back to student days, a kitchen without proper utensils is a bit pathetic 😉 I learned my lesson and next time I made sure I descended on my hosts right before the meal was ready, avoiding helping them again.

What else annoys me in other people homes…Heaps of shoes in a hallway and nowhere to hang a coat. Nowhere to hang a guest towel in a bathroom, or to put aside clothes, pyjamas, robes etc, so we end up throwing it on the floor (mind you, my own bathroom is exactly like this and I must sort it out!). A roaring TV with either news or shite music permanently on. I don’t like sitting in complete silence but it is preferable to the above. Another good one: no waste bin in a bathroom, very inconvenient for female guests (what do female owners do with their used tampons??? march all the way to the kitchen bin ???). No waste bin in Airbnb bedroom – a carrier bag for all our rubbish is a must.

As I said before, it’s not about one’s taste – apart from a hallway situation, get a shoe cabinet for heaven’s sake…It’s not about statement cushions, accent walls etc. It’s about practicality or the lack of it, or should I say, especially the lack of it.

I am looking forward to receiving similar feedback from my future guests when our lives are back to normal. I am toying with an idea of becoming Airbnb host myself so any comments on how livable and guest – friendly my place is are greatly appreciated 🙂 I did listen to your thoughts on my bathroom door and here it is 🙂

2 thoughts on “(Not) sweet home

  1. irolka April 18, 2021 / 15:31

    Yeah, smell is the first thing you notice when coming into the house! Even now when staying with my parents and grandma, every time they cook I open the kitchen window and close the door, and in response I hear – what’s the problem, it smells lovely! No, fried onion smell does not belong in the bedroom/ sitting room… Musty smell is disgusting, nothing worse when coming to a hotel or B&B, this and a coldness/ dampness, brrrrrr!

    Liked by 1 person

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