Hotelee

You may recall that in late 2014 I wrote and performed a series of sixteen podcasts and hosted them here on WordPress, which were also accessible via Apple iTunes.  The podcasts took a considerable amount of my time to write, record and publish, which I was doing on a weekly basis as I understood that other successful podcasts only remained so because of their regularity.

iTunes should have been the way for an audience to build but I received no indication that my work had found an audience and Apple do not publish views.  The files were never promoted by Apple and despite my own encouragement via various posts via my Social Media I received no feedback nor comments, positive or negative so I stopped production.  I needed to use the time saved to continue development of my web site and associated WordPress content.  Furthermore the additional costs I was having to pay WordPress to allow audio uploads to ‘host’ the content seemed to be throwing good money after bad.

At the time I had already written ‘Podcast 17’ which stayed in my filing system with a thought that I may adapt it to a video format and add it to my YouTube channel.  After all YouTube do not charge for hosting content [at the moment] and you can get a real time record of views.  However, the work on my web site dominated and I never found the time to adapt, learn and film the content.

However, I did eventually record and publish my seventeenth podcast, which I hosted on my web site on 21 February 2020.  This is the only place you can go to listen to this as I cannot get iTunes to recognise my site as a legitimate feed source.  But for those who don’t like clicking about the web on links I have extracted the transcript below.

This is a vinceunlimited podcast, back with a new episode, where I start with a confession about the way I live, carefully explaining my reasonings and some of the advantages and pitfalls of living such a life.  As usual, remember this is entertainment not Reuters so you may spot the odd porky.


Pod 017 Hotelee

Hi, my name is Vince and I live in a hotel.  And it’s not just because they won’t let me know the car park barrier code to get out.

That’s right.  You heard me correct.  Not, I stay in a hotel.  No, no, loads of you do that.  That isn’t weird at all.  No, I’m actually a bit weird as I do live in one.  Every day.  And all day of those every days.  And nights as well.  Well, it would seem futile to live in a hotel during the day and then go home at night, just when a hotel would prove its most worth.  That would just be weird.

And it’s not one of those little red ones you’ll find on a Monopoly board.  They are far too small.  And if you check you’ll see they do lack basic facilities.  No, I live in a full scale, genuine real life hotel.

The story starts a couple of years ago.  We, and by which I mean my wife and I, did something really radical and we sold our house.  It’s alright.  Don’t panic.  We did actually own it.  It’s not like it was just being rented and we sold up on the quiet when the landlord wasn’t looking.  We couldn’t get away with that.  Well, not a second time.

We put our most valuable possession in the hands of others to sell.  A delicatessen in East Dulwich.  Then we thought we might have more luck if we tried a more recognised route and decided to use one of those pillocks of the community, the oh so trustworthy Estate Agents.  You know the sort.  Kind of like serial killers without the strict moral codes.

Yes, we were not going to be dictated to by an immoral classic convention.  We sold up to spurn the traditional, capitalist ownership for a more care-free and liberal existence.  Plus, we didn’t want to bother with hoovering any more.

Naturally, when we moved into the hotel we had to get rid of all the things from the house, the furniture, the hi-fi, the cutlery, the mice.  That was an intensive afternoon on eBay, I’ll tell you.

The twins weren’t at all pleased.  Well, we told them, you’re five now, take the canoe and the Labrador and make something of yourselves in this world.

No, I jest.  We don’t have kids.  It’s so sad, we lost them, you see.  About two years before we moved into the hotel as it happens.  Those supermarkets are getting bigger every year.

And when I say a hotel, it’s not perhaps quite what you imagine.  Please do not formulate the opinion that we enjoy the delightful opulence in The Dorchester.  Or the life of Riley in The Burj Al Arab.  Or even swanning it round in The Savoy.  No, our hotel is far more modest.  And certainly more purple.

Now, I’m not here to promote one particular brand but here everything is premier but the irritating celebrity.  The man who most fears the bedroom tax.  And apart from that we’re not quite in commuting distance of the Burj Al Arab.

“So, what’s it like living in a hotel?”  I hear you ask.  I do, your equipment is leakier than a Russian hacked webcam.  I hear everything you say.  So be careful.

Well, there are both upsides and downsides.  For example, one obvious hotel upside is that you get a willing room service team which will look after your every need all down to wiping the toilet seat daily for you.  Oh yes.  Mmmm.  Fresh.  The downside to this is that they have just wiped every other toilet seat in the building with the same cloth.

And, I don’t know why, but do they have to leave a pubic hair in the sink afterwards?  Is this some bye-law?  And I know they are pubic hairs?  More curly for one thing.  And they don’t break when you floss.

Another cleaning upside is that if you eat chocolate in the bed and spill it on the sheets, you need not worry at all.  Someone else will come along and change the bedsheets for you.  Here, the downside is that you don’t get the chance to explain it was only chocolate.  You just know you are being judged.

Another upside is the constant stream of potential new friends coming through your front door but this is a real downside when you think of the cost of being sociable and going round with a bottle of wine to every new neighbour each night.

All in all I like the upsides.  But there are a few things that confuse me.  Firstly, I always wonder why they call it housekeeping, when it clearly says hotel on the brochure.

And why does the fire safety signs insist I make myself familiar with all means of escape.  How will it help if I offer to befriend the fire exit stairs or suggest taking the emergency ladders out for a romantic dinner for two?

And I am a little annoyed about the non-smoking signs.  Why on earth do we need this?  We know we can’t smoke in the hotel.  There’s no sign up that says ‘Do not dip puppies in acid’.  Which is just as well after last Thursday’s little incident.

Plus it took me quite a while to learn that you don’t have to creep downstairs to investigate every time you hear a noise.  But if you do its best to put your pyjamas on first.  That evening certainly made those cruise line guests think again about staying that extra night.

Naturally hotel living is not suitable for all.  Particularly for those who like to get all passionate and make love on the staircase.

And it certainly isn’t for those with a love of stuff.  There is not much room for all your possessions, particularly if you are the sort who wants a vast collection of gnomes, several pets or a walk in wardrobe full of shoes.

And don’t go expecting to nick a towel each day.  Staying at a hotel every day for years meant that if I had regularly taken the fluffy towels I would’ve needed suitcases like a Tardis in Narnia.

Thankfully my misses is a bit of of jeans and tee shirt kind of woman.  Not into all those florals and lace.  She doesn’t own a skirt or a ballgown.  She has no make up nor any jewellery.  Just keeps it simple.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  After all, you don’t need a fancy frame to know the value of the Mona Lisa.  But in a hotel I do worry about how this is seen by the room staff.  Here they only see what must come across as a guy with enough rail space to call his own.  And a varied collection of woman’s underwear.

Of course, as we have been in this place for quite some time now there are a few little extra things we have accumulated that aren’t in all the other rooms.  For instance we have a headboard.  All the other boards have to do as it says.  Just joking.  Our headboard is no different from all the others.  Apart from the handcuff marks of course.

No, our main indulgence is our TV.  When we first came to stay we asked if they could activate the lame USB on the back of the midget TV they supplied.  We figured we could use this to stream some PC content onto the screen.  I suggested film downloads to impress the misses.  She just didn’t realise I meant 1970s classics featuring ladies with more hair than clothing.

But despite having several thousand buttons on the unsurprisingly sticky remote not one could activate the TV auxiliary connections.  So the hotel suggested we could bring our own tele in.  Well, when I say the hotel suggested, I meant the managerial staff suggested this.  If the actual hotel could speak you would’ve probably heard about it by now.

Now I’m sure you’ll have loads of questions and you are free to ask via the comments reply system.  But let me first try to anticipate a few that might arise, based on questions put to us so far.

The first question was – “When are you going to buy a house again like a normal human being and stop pretending you’re a homeless tramp?”  My thanks go to my late mother for that one.  Well to be honest this nomadic lifestyle suits us at the moment so we have absolutely no plans to move on.  Ironically.

Secondly people ask how we eat?  So after I offer the usual glib answer of via the mouth, I answer the question meant, which is, did we consider equipping ourselves with a device or two to allow in room catering?  Well, no.  If you start thinking toaster it soon degenerates to mini fridge, then on to slow cooker, perhaps coffee maker, a Kenwood Chefette, a Lazy Susan, wine chiller, Bain Marie, Sous Chef, candelabras and an officious Maitre’d.  So we settled on just eating out and having the occasional sandwich and cold snacks in.

Anyway, I must check out now.  Well, until I check back in again straight away.

For now you have been staying at a vinceunlimited chain, where the welcome is as warm as the beer and the stay as enjoyable as shingles.  Remember you can check out any time you like but before you go you are invited to add your name to our guest book by subscribing so you are all set for a return one day in the future.

So all that remains is the settlement of the bill.  Hello.  Hello.  Oh you’ve gone.  And you didn’t even wait for the ‘Goodbye and press pause’

Author: Vince Poynter

Originally posted within the Podcasts section of my web site, vinceunlimited.co.uk/podcasts.htm, as Version 5.287 on 21 Feb 2020
The photograph was taken on 9 Feb 2016 by the author

Friends Reunited

Friends Reunited was a Social Media site launched in the UK in June 2000 aiming to reunite old school friends.  I joined at a fairly early stage and soon became bored with the short descriptions that people were posting.  I thought that I could do better and wanted to encourage others to follow suit.  My entry, unedited and copied below dates from around 2002.


Hi everyone.  Having checked out a few of the other messages and been bored by their simplicity I figured that there needs to be an antidote to all the brevity around.  After all that’s what this site is all about.  We all love to find out who’s doing what.  And to whom.

I considered making up some story of how I’m a leading figure in the financial world, or a big Hollywood player or a tramp but in the end figured reality was what we all want.  So here goes.  Warts and all.

I can’t remember a lot about the Infants School and noticed that no-one else could.  It’s not listed.  The part now known as Shirley Warren Primary used to be the Junior school when we were there.  I recall many things from here and visited the place during a weekend a couple of years back.  Seeing the weeds growing up through the boy’s playground seemed rather sad.  Is it used now, I wondered?  I remember the place being quite noisy and vibrant.  Usually with massive games of football using a tiny tennis ball.  I was always the last to be picked, all say ahh!, sport not being my speciality.

I preferred playing with the girls.  Not considered to be the correct thing in those days.  I was always ahead of my time!  I particularly recall a fondness for Jean Brewer and will embarrass her now by reminding her of that.  How sweet.  I noticed that she’s still around.  Not that her message gives much away.  Like so many others.  Mind you she had to share her affections from me with Miss Osman, our teacher.  I can almost hear the nods of approval from the other guys on reading the name.

I remember a few other names from my time at Shirley Warren but more are missing than are listed.  I guess they never learnt to write!  Some could barely communicate.  It would be fun to find out what happened to everyone though.  The two I would be most interested to hear about would be Kevin Jukes and Debra Wyatt . Many may not recall Kevin because he wasn’t there for long.  He left to go to Leicester, I believe, after about a year in the Junior school.  I can’t blame him for that.  His parents moved and he was only about nine at the time.  I am interested because he and I were ‘best friends’ for a short time.  I mentioned Debra because I had a good deal of respect for her.  If I were American I would have voted her as ‘the kid most likely to achieve.’  But I’m not.  So I didn’t.

Being a bit of a school swot meant that I gained a place in King Edward VI Grammar School.  Either that or the fact that my father was a labour councillor at the time and they wanted to stop the state funding of grammar schools.  I wasn’t the only one in my year.  I recall at least three others in this category!  I changed a bit and concentrated on being a layabout and drifted gradually to the back row of the class.  Until my eyesight started changing and I drifted to the front again, not realising that I needed glasses.

Not that being one of the lads made up for still being a kid at school.  The best thing about the Junior school wasn’t at King Edwards.  Girls.  And no Miss Osman either, although I vaguely recall an attractive Biology teacher.  The female one you numbnut.  To this day I advocate that single sex schools with too much homework should be outlawed.  Freud would have a heyday with the misconceptions I grew up with at the time.  Women were either my sister, my mum or Valerie Singleton.  I didn’t even have a chance to meet my mates’ girlfriends as they were also my sister, Hi Dawn.  Why didn’t they have sisters?  Or mums?

The other main trouble was location.  I lived a few miles away from the school, which in turn was a few miles away from the guys I considered my friends at the time.  But I had no push-bike, too little bus fare and hours of homework.  So Ady and Mick, that’s why I never got to join the band.  And the fact I couldn’t sing or play an instrument of course.

This new found slightly yobbo role meant not trying very hard at school so inevitably the mock exams suffered.  I spent too much time dreaming about my girlfriends at the time.  My first – Ruth Lugton, yes, I’ve still got the letters you sent, and Debbie Picano to whom I send deep apologies for Christmas, because I was an arse.  So my dreams of becoming a vet had dissipated.  Ady was right.  I would never be a ‘ten thousand a year’ vet.  Mind you, after six extensive weeks of knuckling down I nabbed ninety percent of my qualifications.  And after all, who needs French?

But by then the future was forever changed.  I figured I never had a chance to go to university and left school at sixteen.  That’s why I’m listed in 1978 as opposed to most of my school mates in 1980.  Best move I ever made.  Except that in 1979 they allowed girls in.

Generally my time at King Edwards was tolerable rather than exceptional but I would be happy to join any reunion that was organised.

Anyway time had moved on and I was forced to make a career choice which would shape the work for the rest of my life.  Not easy when your first 16 year’s dreams are smashed.  I opted to do work involved with drawing and somehow ended up with an apprenticeship with a heating company.  Three years out of the five later I resigned.  You may remember the week.  The government announced unemployment to be a million for the first time.  Top move.  But I had missed out on the gap year all my old school mates were having.  And partying with my biker friends.  Jeff Bull on his Yamaha Fizzy with sexy girlfriend Jackie.  Dave Bareham on his Honda SS50, who was sadly killed later in his early twenties.  Mark with his Strange Heath Robinson Machine.  John Crook on another Honda SS50.  Dave ‘Spike’ Reeves, strangely in his Dad’s big Vauxhall VX490.  And me, on Mark’s Gilera.  Brother Mark.  No not a monk.  My Brother.  Not forgetting the girlfriends of course.  Hi to Theresa, Sue, Inger, Fiona, Susan, Karen and Yvette.  Busy days indeed.

I preferred anything to work and wanted to be a writer.  So I left for Hollywood.  Unfortunately I got to Boyatt Wood.  I had met my wife, Lynda.  Well, obviously she wasn’t my wife at the time, but you know what I mean.  Before that we spent some good and bad times at Arthur Road, in Shirley.  Outdoor fireworks indoors anyone?  The place was a bit like the house in the young ones.  A few guys from King Edwards were there.  Keith Gunston was one.  Tim was another new friend.  He claimed to be prospecting for the Angels so we had a few colourful guests.  Not to mention the rat.  Which ate the mice.  I also recall Lee, who I ask to say hello to Marion and Jackie for me, plus Heather.  And burning the furniture.  And servicing the bikes indoors.  And the telly repossession.  And the electrics, which started the fire which nearly poached Tim’s fish.

Anyway, Lynda steered me back on the straight and narrow.  Technically, I still owe her fifty quid!  I started work again.  Temporary work led to a builder’s merchants which led back to the same heating company.  Eight years seemed to pass quickly.  Although we did move to our present house in Bishops Waltham.  But eight years is a long time in one job, unless you are my wife when nothing short of 30 is a career.  So I resigned.  You may recall the week.  Unemployment was announced again.  Three million.  Great move.  Seriously.  They went bust shortly afterwards.  So I worked for a small time with a national services company then joined a Southampton plumbing outfit.  One of the Directors invited me to start a Mechanical Services division.  Things were going well at first but the other Director was scared by the changes.  We parted company in 1997.  They went bust in 1998.

I moved to a company in Fareham then resigned two years later, my timing slightly amiss.  They were just going bust.  Pattern of the industry I’m afraid.  I became self employed.

Now I work mainly for a London based company, working all over the South, in London and wherever the work takes me.  It’s a good life, always moving around with no time to get bored and contemplate resigning.  My earliest school reports, and most of the subsequent ones, read me well.  Can do anything – if only he bothered to concentrate.  8 out of 10 must try harder.

So what of the future?  I guess when people read this there could be changes.  In your own poor submissions if nothing else.  Perhaps Debra will contact me then introduce me to Jean, with whom I’ll fulfil a life long ambition.  Lynda will find out and kick me out.  Thankfully Kevin will have contacted me and I’ll move to Leicester.  Only he’ll be a drug dealer.  And a woman since the change.  In a landmark European Court rights case we’ll marry and have children.  But it won’t work out because without Lynda I will have stopped working again.  And I’ll end up on the streets.  A tramp.  With warts.  C’est la vie.

Author: Vince Poynter

Originally posted on my Friends Reunited page around 2002 then republished recently within the Social Media section of my web site, vinceunlimited.co.uk/socialmedia.htm, as Version 5.288 on 5 Mar 2020
Friends Reunited was a UK based social media site launched in June 2000 aiming to reunite old school friends.  FaceBook, a similar Social Media site was launched globally in 2004 and proved very popular which squeezed the more focussed and geographically independent nature of Friends Reunited which closed in February 2016