Recently, I was wandering around a French stately home – as one does. According to the brochure, this imposing building has been in the same family for over 500 years, but it seems that it hasn’t always been a private residence.
Admittedly, I shouldn’t have been handling the exhibits, but I was intrigued by an old book lying open on a desk and picked it up to examine the spine. Imagine my surprise when a faded sheet of parchment, covered in spidery writing, fell out. Of course I carefully replaced it, and the book, but not before – in true espionage style – I took a photograph.
It’s taken some time to translate, as it was written in the old Occitane language that predated French around these parts, but I’ve finally managed it. The transcript is below.
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♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
“All the conveniences of ye age”
Being a true and honest opinion of ye new hostelry at The Sign of The Boar’s Head, concerning all aspects of ye lodging experience, with divers illustrations rendered in the modern manner.
The Boar’s Head is the newest addition to ye local hostelry scene and boasteth that it offereth every modern appurtenance for ye discerning traveller or weary pilgrim. Desirably located on ye north side of Swinemarket, the address is verily one of the most exclusive in town. But doth the experience meet the match of the proffered opinion?
Ye first thing to say is that this inn is pleasing to the eye, with its gaily painted sign and fetching shutters which, when thrown open, reveal that many of the windows have that wonder of the present age, actual glass in them.
Truly, no expense has been spared, notwithstanding that one can get the same effect by consuming vast quantities of the foaming Rhenish that is here freely dispensed.
Regarding ye rooms, they are well-furnished, with exotic drapes from Barbary, although if one were to quibble it may be said that the beds are somewhat narrow, which may constrain the sauciness of the romps, if thou’st be that way inclined and it not be the Lenten period.
By far the most sensational facility at The Boar’s Head, is that which is called a ‘bath’.
The purpose of this item is to allow the entire body to be immersed in water for the purposes of cleanliness. Truly this as a wondrous thing and, having essayed it ourselves, we most heartily recommend that, should thy travel plans ever include The Boar’s Head, ye try it for yourself. Whether ye need it or not.
The Boar’s Head is also the only tavern in the town with its own privy, discreetly situated in the courtyard to the rear of the property. In truth, it may therefore be meet to request a room at the front, especially in the summer, Unless it be market day, of course.
Another thing we have never before encountered in any hostelry is something that the landlord describes as ‘WyFy’. Although we are seasoned travellers, never have we heard of such a thing. We enquired of the nature and purpose of this item – if item it even be, as we could see no physical manifestation thereof. And this despite the claim that it was free and available throughout.
Mine host, M Jacques, did but wink and say that it was “an idea ahead of its time”. For ourselves, we fear that it may be some sort of witchcraft and would not wish to be associated with anything that might attract the attention of the Spanish Inquisition. Although we do not expect that.
In conclusion, we were mightily impressed by our sojourn at The Boar’s Head and wouldst not hesitate to stay there again. Indeed, this very day we have despatched copies of this – entirely unsolicited – missive to some dozen of our closest friends.
(Jacques: will this do? – Ed)