I've stayed in a lot of bed and breakfast accommodation in my time, most of it in the countryside within a day's drive from Melbourne. Much of it has been very pleasant, with friendly owners and atmospheric decor.
But there are some undoubted quirks - you could even call them frustrations - which pop up again and again in B&B accommodation. Here are ten perennial B&B problems I could live without:
1. Hard Pillows. With a minimum of four pillows being provided at the average B&B, why must they all be rock hard? It'd make more sense to provide four pillows of completely different softness levels.
2. Hidden Kettle. Why is the electric kettle always hidden away at the back of the lowest cupboard? Leave it out so we don't have to crawl around on the kitchen floor, looking for it.
3. No Footstools. There's rarely anything to put your feet on in the living room while reading or watching TV. Don't the owners have footstools in their own homes?
4. Inaccessible Power Points. C'mon folks, you must know that people nowadays travel with multiple items that require recharging - camera batteries, MP3 players, PDAs etc. Why are there hardly any power points, and why is it so hard to get at them?
5. Kitschy Decor. OK it's a cottage, that's great, but does it absolutely need rickety wooden furniture and bright floral curtains before we'll accept it as our home from home?
6. Crazy Light Switches. You can spend ages at night trying to figure out how to turn off (and on) various lights before heading to bed. Also, bedside lamps are often those little shaded types that cast a minimal pool of light that's almost impossible to read by.
7. Too Many Towels. OK, those are regular bath towels, and those must be hand towels, and I guess that's a bath mat - so what the hell are all those other towels of varying shapes and sizes for?
8. Redundant Bed Cushions. Those multitudinous cushions scattered across the bed certainly look decorative during the day - but where are you supposed to put them at night? Onto the floor they go again (sigh).
9. Audiovisual Gear with Incorrect Settings. If you've provided a 16:9 ratio widescreen TV, make sure the various connected devices (DVD player, set-top box etc) are also set to that screen ratio.
10. Tiny Bathroom Ledge. Has it occurred to you that I might have more than a toothbrush to lay out in the bathroom?
Like I said, I enjoy most B&B accommodation, but there are times I wish owners would ask themselves the simple question "If I lived here, what would I want in the place?". It'd make country breaks a lot less quirky but a lot more comfortable.