Today, I am at a research away-day at Slaley Hall. This is a De Vere hotel, which I am sure is the name of Peter Bowles’ character. The whole place has a wildly expensive feel to it. Internet access is 15 quid for a 24 hour period, which is probably about a markup up of about four orders of magnitude.

When I was younger, I thought that the difference between an expensive hotel and a cheap one would be the basic quality of the experience; better beds, nicer food and so on. It’s not really true though. Expensive hotels have exactly the same problems as cheap ones: soft beds, bad food, light pollution from the corridor, noisy mini-bar and air con and, worst, people having sex upstairs. The difference is that the add-ons, that you don’t use anyway, are better. The free biscuits are nicer, the grounds are better (Slaley Halls are very nice, but water-logged at the moment) and the naff art-work on the wall is a cut above.

Okay, so I’m grumpy, but the air-con kept me awake all night. Air-con. In Northumbria. In winter.

Originally published on my old blog site.