I had the dubious of pleasure of being in London the last couple of days with work and randomly ended up on Oxford Street. It's not my favourite place on earth by a long shot, its too noisy, to busy and too many people but I had something to buy while I was there so along I went.
Now for once I just happened to look up a bit from where I was going and what struck me was that while there are an awful lot of modern and pretty faceless buildings along there, there are also an awful ot very old and in some places quite grand buildings as well. Some of the architechture is beautiful and the decoration ornate and just very pleasent to look at. Yet in the vast majority, in fact I think every case, the front of the ground floor has had some dreadful shop front put in that quite simply ruins it. I know that they are trying to bring in the punters and wantto show off what they are selling, that's quite obvious, but surely there is more to our environment, and I include our urban environment, than the ability to sell stuff more effectively?
Maybe something to debate another day.
While in London I had the horror of staying at the Ibis Hotel in Euston. Thankfully I wasn't paying, HM Government was footing the bill, £135 a night for 47 people. And HM Government has been soundly ripped off.
Lets start with the room. It was meant to be a double bed, actually it was two single beds pushed together. The window over looked the railway line into Euston. It was meant to have a bath, actually it did have a bath but it was 4 feet long. I am 6 foot 2. Need I say more? The towels were the size of postage stamps and the sink took at least 15 minutes to empty. There was perhaps 9 inches space between the bed and the wall it was that small. The loo roll was like sand paper.
Then there were the staff. Most of them couldn't speak English to an acceptable standard for a customer service position and the bar staff were rude and distinterested and didn't know how to pour beer.
And then the food, are yes the food. The starter that we all got was apparently salad. What it consisted of was one limp lettuce leaf, 2 slices of cucumber, 2 small gerkins and a pile of tinned sweet corn. It was revolting.
The main course was a choice, not that we had any kind of waiter service, this £135 a night hotel, yes remember that, £135 a night, could not even serve us at our tables. I ended up with veggie lasagna. It was luke warm, greasy, tasteless and the vegetables were watery. It was pretty grim.
Pudding was fuit salad, that I strongly suspect was tinned, and it took the skin off the inside of my mouth.
All in all the Ibis Euston is an absolute disgrace.