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A week at Fawlty Towers

After three weeks away in Wiltshire preparing for the first equipment trial, I was contracted to spend the last week in June running another equipment trial for my other customer, this time at our Hampshire HQ. The actual work was much easier than the first trial – I’ve been working on this project for two years, the kit and experimental procedures are pretty mature, and we’re a tight-knit team who work very well together. But the downside was that I had to spend a week at Fawlty Towers. And that was very wearing.

The contrast between the two hotels could not have been greater. In the first, the staff were extremely helpful and couldn’t do enough for us. One of the waiters even did my ironing for me one week! There was a maintenance man on permanent call, and any little problems with one’s room were put right that same day.

At Fawlty Towers, the staff seemed completely uninterested in their guests, and the maintenance standards were pretty shocking. Almost literally – one of my colleagues who was also staying there during the trial pulled a plug out of a socket in his room, and the socket came away from the wall! He’s an engineer too, and got very annoyed about multiple blatant violations of the IEE Wiring Regulations. The head waiter greeted me by name on the first night (I’ve clearly spent far too long there!), but then proceeded to charge my meal to a complete stranger in a random room. And in order to get to my room after dark I needed a torch, as it was on the far side of the conference suite which was not lit at night! Fortunately I keep a mini-maglite torch in my work bag in case of emergencies……. It’s such a shame – it ought to be a really nice hotel, but every day there was evidence of staff not caring, or not paying attention to details, or not thinking about things from the point of view of their guests.

So all in all, it’s good to be home. I’m absolutely shattered – four weeks living out of a suitcase from Sunday to Friday has been very tiring, and I’ve been working extremely hard. I’ve done a huge Waitrose shop to restock the fridge and larder, and I’m going to take next week off on leave to catch up on my sleep and recharge my batteries.