Phwaor! What a stink as you come in through the entrance of the most expensive B&B on Dartmoor.
I light a Pecksniff’s scented candle I’ve just bought from TKMaxx for £3.99, to drown the smell emerging from the washroom, but it’s so old it doesn’t smell of anything anymore.
Too late – my B&Bers are here, and the pretty young girl is immediately engulfed in such a fit of coughing that I think she can’t breathe and is going to die.
We agree that in future she and her handsome young boyfriend will use a different door, and I check out the offending wash basket.
I thought lovely young daughter, Faye, had done all hers, before setting off for the ghastly Boardmasters Festival in Newquay – the initiation ceremony of all West Country sixteen-year-olds into the world of sex and drugs and rock’n’roll and general passing out.
We had already discussed the merits of ecstasy over cider, as it contains far fewer calories; but eventually we plumped for some vodka from the larder, with “Do Not Steal” written large in indellible blank ink all over it – as every bottle I’ve ever bought seems to disappear when my beloved son Will (19) is at home.
Faye prepared for Boardmasters by carefully pouring the contents into several miniature water bottles so as to get past the festival security people. Rather than getting on with her washing.
So now I have disinterred seven damp towels from last week’s surfing holiday, as well as five sweaty pairs of jodhpurs from our break in the New Forest the week before that.
At the end of her short break, I whisper to my cherished B&Ber Caroline, “Might you dare have a sniff of the normal entrance now – it smells of Persil…”
But no – this is life-threatening stuff. She makes her way, smiling, out of the normally-locked front door. She managed a 20 mile hike yesterday, tramping in the hail across Fox Tor Mire (Grippen Mire in the Hound of the Baskervilles, in which somebody drowns in it), so she can’t have been all that close to death after all.
It would be wonderful if she and her other half (they only met five weeks ago through ‘Tinder’ – hope for us all) return soon, and he pops the question!