... and facing the other direction, this is the ashtray for those who enjoy a breath of fresh air between courses.
It's the incongruity that I like - I wonder what other products this company makes for the hotel industry? We all remember the 'Goblin Teas-Maid' (fnarr fnarr), but I haven't seen - or used - one of those for a long time. They've probably been outlawed by Health and Safety rules, but I find nothing so invigorating than being woken up at 7.00 am in the morning by an exploding kettle-full of boiling water right next to one's sleepy head.
I can feel myself going off on a tangent now. When I was a kid, I had one of those alarm-clocks with a flipping great double bell on the top. It would go off like a bomb, and there was no volume control, so was usually punched a few times before being silenced. The crazy thing was that I didn't need an alarm of any kind because - though I slept well - I could wake up on demand, so to speak. I just liked the clock because it was a Beano Comic book classic, and I believed I needed one in my life. After a while, the mere ticking of it kept me awake, so I stopped using it and just left a wrist-watch on the bedside table to confirm my intuitive belief about the right time to get up.
My father always maintained that you could tell the quality of a watch by the quietness of it's tick, so this must have been a good one, because you had to press your ear hard against it to hear it at all. Then, one night, it stopped abruptly, and the cessation of ticking had the same effect on me as if someone had fired a gun in the room. I sat bolt upright, trying to work out what catastrophic event had taken place before I remembered that I had forgotten to wind up the watch. I certainly did not need an alarm clock.
Equally, I cannot abide sleeping in blacked-out rooms. I must have access to what ever ambient light is shining outside, even if it is street lamps. I have slept with people in the past (females) who cannot sleep at all without almost total sensory deprivation, and this is my idea of hell. I lie there, blind and awake, listening to my own heart-beat and wondering if morning will ever come again.
When I was younger, I simply could not understand why married couples would want to sleep in separate rooms like the Queen and Prince Phillip, despite all the suffering I had endured to maintain instant access, 24 hours a day, to the woman of my choice.
These days, I would advocate sleeping in different wings of the house for those who are fortunate enough to actually be able to divide their living quarters according to the points of the compass, but I suppose one grows inward with age. Pretty soon I will do nothing but stare out of the window all day, but today I'm off to the pub garden by the Royal Crescent to meet up with our friend, Bev. Happy egg-hunting.