I didn’t sleep very well last night. I’d read a beach book in one sitting and bawled through it… you know, the usual story: wife dies, dad takes kids and moves home, runs for judge, solves a murder, stands up to the bigots and racists and falls in love with the local lesbian. It was way too much emotion for my little mind at that hour of the night. So, instead of counting sheep, I tried counting my visitors. Since I moved to the Ghetto in November last year, this little room has seen 11 sets of visitors. That is the collective word for visitors, isn’t it? Set? Or is it ‘lot’? mmmm…..
Anyway, 17 people have stayed with me in the last 7 months. In all my travels and all the flats I’ve had, this has to be a record. Ok, so visiting Alaska would have involved a little bit of planning, California ain’t to everyone’s taste and Chichester… well, enough said! Safe to say, though, that Budapest is proving to be extremely popular. I even have some visitors on their second or third go around. Not bad at all! On at least two occasions, I dropped someone off at Terminal 1 to take the Ryan Air flight to Dublin and then bussed to Terminal 2A to meeting another lot coming in from London. Talk about revolving doors! Am sure my neighbours are wondering what’s going on. It’s not like they can even put an ‘average’ age to the faces… it runs the full gamut from 17 to 70 but they all have one thing in common – they love life!
Mind you, if my visitors show up in pairs, then I’m a little less inclined to do a full guided weekend – I figure a quick whip around on the first night so that they can get their bearings and find their way home is grand. Then it’s map, keys, catchyalater. I mean, ‘cmon, if I’d had to walk through the marzipan museum 11 times, or had to spend a total of 27.5 hours in the House of Terror, I’d be suicidal by now. Wining and dining I can find time for… then I get to try something new, too. I’ve even suggested on two occasions that they fly into Bratislava and out of Budapest. I catch the train to Slovakia and we stay over one night before coming back to Budapest.
Guest bedrooms are always a difficult one – striking that balance between oestrogen and testosterone when it comes to colour, style and taste can be challenging. I found the duvet cover in Chichester and it tied in so nicely with the slates (bought in Co Clare years ago on a road trip with Macker) and my Celtic cross (a rather odd find in Valdez, Ak) that it had to be the feature for the room. Everything else was built around it. It’s my homage to home – two homes actually, Alaska and Ireland. My gran’s graduating certificate from Oxford, the deed to my little plot of land in Kennicott, Alaska, a picture of the house my mum grew up in that was used by British Airways in an ad campaign…. stuff I’ve been carting around for years! The chairs I found in a second-hand shop at the back of the Grand Market. A good find. The cushions came from parna, a treasure trove of great vintage linens, and are hand-embroidered here. So intricate and yet so simple.
If you look really closely, you’ll see my window box. For weeks I was the only one on my emelet (floor) without flowers on my sills. I didn’t want to give in to peer pressure, albeit silent, but I was beginning to think I was living in the valley of the squinting windows. So I compromised. Boxes yes, flowers no. Trees and shrubs instead. That’s conforming with a lowercase ‘c’!