In hotel cells listening to dial tones, remote controls and cable moans…

I’m staying in a hotel in central London right now, as I’m attending a conference. I was only planning on staying tonight but ended up travelling up last night instead due to public transport round my way shutting down for the morning while the St Jude storm passed over. I have to admit, I’m quite enjoying it.

When I first started work after graduating, I spent far too much of my life in hotels and either being bored/lonely or having to socialise with people I’d rather not. It was the itinerant nature of management consultancy life that made me leave it. Well, that and the whole culture of management consultancy but I won’t go further for fear of descending into a massive rant. Staying in decent business hotels wasn’t too shabby a life, of course, and when you’re young and living in not-so-nice shared flats in London, it can be great to live in a private room with an en-suite with no need to clean.

I reached a clear watershed in my attitude to hotels when we moved to our current home. It was the first time I lived somewhere where I felt that even a good hotel wasn’t as nice as my own home. I’m talking about the usual 4 star business hotels I stayed in when on business. Obviously somewhere like a suite at Claridge’s is pretty special, still. Add to that the desire not to be away from family for too long, since A came along, and business travel definitely became something, if not to dread, then at least not to want to do too often.

But it’s been so long since I’ve had to travel seriously on business, staying in a hotel has regained its novelty value for me. And while it was something of a pain to have to move hotels (I wasn’t able to extend my booking on the hotel I’m staying at tonight so stayed at a different one last night), I think being in a different room tonight has contributed to me not getting cabin fever. That and the fact that I’m very close to St Paul’s cathedral and so quite pleasant to have an early evening walk before dinner.

Dining alone tonight wasn’t really too much of a chore. When I first started working, there weren’t any iPhones, iPads or Kindles to keep you occupied while eating alone. It was really very much a case of reading newspapers or physical books, which were a pain to fold or keep open while eating at the same time, especially on a small restaurant table. Tonight: I had a quick check of Facebook and Twitter on the iPhone before carrying on with a book on my Kindle. And nowadays, I’m beyond being self-conscious about sitting in a restaurant on my own, especially in a restaurant in the City, which has its fair share of solo travellers.

Post title lyrics taken from Blur – Best Days

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