I think I know where my dislike for quick changes in plans comes from. My poor mother. She had booked us in this bed and breakfast that was written up as the home of a woman who had raised her five children in the house, then converted it to a B&B that she ran with one of her daughters. It was described as "a Rosamunde Pilcher novel come to life." (Rosamunde Pilcher writes epic romances that inevitably take place on a heath flecked with gorse somewhere.) However, it became clear as Mom and I read the email confirmation that the hotel had been bought by Ron and Evan, which forshadowed an entirely different experinece altogether since they had also changed the name from Labranum Cottage to The innPenzance, as in "Pirates of." After two rounds of bad directions from Evan, we found the place tucked into a classic suburban subdivision. What wasn't classic was the garish Caribbean-style sign at the foot of the driveway, complete with palm tree. As we pulled up to the house and were ushered in by both Ron and Evan, it became obvious that they had bought the business and had immediately begun slapping paint anywhere they could. (Although we didn't see Evan much after this, Ron turned out to be a very gracious and intuitive host.) On the first floor, primary colors were edging in on the living room slowly, like the gentrification of a city neighborhood. The trim, fireplace bricks and mouldings were bright yellow, while the rest of the room maintained its original design of pale yellow, lush with crystal, velvet and lace. Florals abounded. The hallway going up the stairs was royal blue and my parents' room, dubbed The Silk Room, had been almost entirely transitioned over to an oriental theme. Satiny material in pearl grey with mandalas covered the bed and a life's accumulation of oriental knick-knacks covered the walls. Fans, children's "traditional" outfits, bullet hats with attached black single pigtail braids, fancy small swords and various pastoral interpretations of the Chinese countryside were tacked up around the room. Red cushions were dispersed liberally throughout the room. They were decorating as they got the money, though, because floral flannel sheets were hiding under the material that was acting as a coverlet. I think it was the exact opposite of a Rosamunde Pilcher novel. My poor mother. To have spent the early part of the day and the entire day before putting up a strong front while touring my life and trailer, all the time thinking that she would be able to rest in gracious, floral settings at the end of the day. Instead she arrives in the dark to two men and their schitzophrenic house in the dark. I'm not sure why she didn't cry. I would have. The nice part of our arrival is that Evan offered me my own room once he saw that I was an adult daughter and probably would only barely fit on the twin bed that was in my parents' room, for which I was very grateful. It was a really nice gesture on their part since my dad snores. It was unnamed, although there was a bare spot on the door where a plaque once hung. I imagine I was in the Babbling Brook Room or the Victoria Regina Room. I do not think they use it very much, since it still looked like one of the rooms in the Danville Historical Society. As I poked around in the closet, though, I did find some thigh-high red fishnet stockings. Those Victorians! So conflicted about the sexuality!
After the disappointing arrival, our reaction to the place did improve. Fantastic beds certianly helped. As we compared notes in the morning, we all slept like very heavy things. As I said before, Ron was a good host and good baker and we developed a sense of humor about the decor, especially as we got into our car and saw that the exterior of the house had been painted royal blue and bright orange. Another family came in as we were leaving. I have never stayed in a bed and breakfast before but I remember an episode of the Gilmore Girls when they did under similar bait and switch circumstances. All of the people there wanted to get to know the girls, much to their chagrin. Thinking this might be true of most B&Bers, and having reached an impasse with the hat I was making, I asked the mother of the family if she knitted. When my own mother found out about this, she was aghast. It just goes against all of her personal social sensibilities to engage a stranger in conversation although it is very much in line with general Murphy characteristics. I was rewarded for my tactics since she turned out to be a Home Ec. teacher (she had a updated term for it) and reminded me how to purl brilliantly, even correcting me when I called the yarn string.
So, another adventure was had, this time into the world of bed and breakfasts. And now I truly can say that I am the very model of a modern major general.
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