July 20, 2012

Photography Road Trip

Photography Project in London and a Very Dodgy Hotel

Phew, I have just got back from a rather intensive, two day photography road trip around London. I have been busy working on a new photography project.

Whilst away, I met some very cool and inspirational people so thank you to everyone who took part. After day one, I stayed in what was possibly the worst hotel I have ever seen…really! I have stayed in some pretty basic accommodation before including "skid row" at Headcorn Parachute club. This was basically a bunch of bunk beds, an old heater and one dim bulb surrounded by countless, hungover skydivers. At least it was this way back in the late 1990's…great days.

When I called to make the reservation (Essex Hotel The Oasis in Harlow), the girl speaking to me was all over the place. She said she was having a bad day and didn't know what she was doing today…nice. When I got to the hotel, the reception stank of a mixture of fresh and stale smoke.

The woman showed me to a room by entering the fire doors outside in the car park.

Welcome to the Hotel California

In the hallway were two or three old beds and mattresses leaning up against the wall and the atmosphere was a little "Hotel California". The room she gave me was in fairness, quite big with two double beds and a single. The bed she assumed I would be using had just one small pillow so she just took one from another bed and threw it on mine. No tip for that service I'm afraid.

Paint hanging off the walls, a TV that didn't work at all, sticky coffee sachets, no toilet roll in the bathroom. Luckily I took my own. Maybe I had a premonition but I always do when staying somewhere new. There was no plug in the sink, two very old and clearly used bars of soap and a dodgy shower. One very small towel with stains on it and ants on the floor.

Oh, and the tap-water smelt really musty so I used bottled water for brushing teeth etc.

I thought I was back in Ibiza in 1993! All for £40 for the night...

Here is my (clean) towel:

Photography Road Towel

…and here is a short video of the room:

I woke up early as the traffic was buzzing past my windows that weren't exactly sound proofed. Then I made my way to the restaurant for breakfast…it was in their "Indian restaurant".

Breakfast...Sort Of

When I went into the dark room (with doors that still said "closed"), I saw the girl from reception in the corner. She looked and dressed like a goth. There was just one red light on in the far corner and I asked if this is where we have breakfast.

She said "Eh? What time did you say you would be here"? I said, 7.00am. She said "What time is it"? I said "7am". She asked if I could come back in 5 minutes.

When I went back, the room was still dark and the single red light in the corner was where I was to sit. There was a table with two old boxes of horrible cereal and a jug of milk. Also, a tray of jams and butter.

She eventually brought me out my continental breakfast of 2 slices of white toast and I mean white. Even though they were crispy, there was no indication of a toaster as the bread was still pure white. I hate white bread.

This is what my breakfast looked like and no exaggeration re the lighting…

Photography Road Trip Breakfast

I sank my teeth into the croissant and could only get half way through, it was solid! Drank my coffee, left, packed my bags and got out of there. Please do not ever use this hotel.

The Sniffles are Coming

What also didn't help was the fact that during my second day (after the night from hell), a nasty cold exploded my nose. This made life pretty tough to complete what I wanted to do but got through it eventually.

The funny thing was that my wife had this cold for a few days prior to this and I was adamant that I wouldn't get it. I have been taking natural apple cider vinegar and raw 15+ Manuka honey for a couple of months now and generally feel fantastic.

The strange thing was that I didn't take it the night before I left and woke up feeling rubbish the next morning. I also didn't take it with me for the two days away and on day two felt worse than ever.

On my return (last night), I felt awful but refused to take any form of medicine. However, I did load up with the vinegar and a huge teaspoon of Manuka honey. This morning? I woke up feeling brilliant again, right as rain, and more than well enough to get out on my bike and get some exercise.

Manuka Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar

If you don't know the benefits of Manuka Honey of Apple Cider Vinegar, I suggest you look them up and check it out yourself! Amazing stuff and totally natural. The honey has to be pure and RAW Manuka honey (I use 15+ strength) and the apple cider vinegar has to be RAW.

It needs to have what they call "The Mother" in it. Strands of fermented cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits (Great for stopping and preventing colds but best taken diluted down with the honey and warm water and with a healthy diet)

Manuka Raw Honey Benefits (Manuka Honey has natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties so it is even used effectively to heal wounds)!

Back to Work

Oh well, there ends my photography road trip so back to work editing and so on plus a shoot on Sunday for the wonderful Julia's House.

P.s. The physio and stretching seems to be working on my damaged ankle (from a wedding in 2006). We think it is a small bursa on the Achilles Heel and has been there for around 6 years now.

Last week I played an intensive game of football (me versus three young kids) and I won 30-27 after one and a half hours!!! Just bought some running shoes so that is my next "thing"...the Couch to 5K plan!

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