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17 June 2016

I returned to a riotous welcome. The geese did war-dances at the gate, twelve hens and a rooster hurtled in from all directions to celebrate my return by demanding dinner, and when my friend and I walked into the house, Thunder was already on his back, paws waving wildly. Yes. I was home. I returned with a box of books to read, no award, but at least I’d been on the ballot, and the trip home was pleasant and very productive.
What wasn’t so good was the con hotel, the Cuba Street CQ, which underwhelmed me considerably. I can overlook having a blown bulb in my bed’s headboard (for three nights despite them knowing about it) I can overlook the confusion over our request for a hotel parking bay at reception and the time it took to pay for one.I can overlook what appeared to be a problem with the internal phone system so that when I phoned reception I sat there listening to the phone ring for some 3-4 minutes without response, (how fortunate no one was having a heart attack.)
What I’m not at all happy over is the standard of safety and security at the hotel! Why? Well to start with, of the three of us staying on that room, I am very moderately disabled, but another friend is very much so after a stroke some years earlier. As she found after getting into the shower, to exit that she had to stand precariously on one foot while lifting the other knee-high – WITH NO HAND GRIPS and with no safety mat to give her feet better purchase. Not good, guys. A bathroom should have hand grips by both toilet and bath (and a rubber mat) for the safety of older citizens and those who aren’t 100% fit.
But it was the (none-existant) level of security that ended up bothering me the most. Sunday late afternoon we returned to our room to find all the lights on when I opened the door. Interesting! To activate the power it requires a keycard. I checked, nope, we all had ours, so the one I then discovered in the power slot wasn’t ours. That had to have been the cleaner’s. There’s only one problem with that. It can open a lot of doors. Horrified I rushed it down and handed it back at reception where this information and the card’s receipt was shrugged off. There seemed to be no understanding of the all too real dangers of this breach of security.
On my return the hotel asked for my feedback, and I emphasized the dangers of a system where someone could leave an all access card in a room and apparently not realise what they had done, while the reception staff also seemed oblivious to the dangers. In other words, a) they have no system of checking that cards have not been left behind, and b) they don’t look to have any worries when they are. Look at a possible scenario. I found the card and returned it at once. What if it had been someone else who found it, someone who saw the potential – and acted on it? A number of guests could have discovered valuables to have been taken. Worse still, if that person had entered a room where a guest wasn’t immediately obvious, then if the intruder panicked, struck the guest out of their way as the intruder sought escape, the hotel could have ended up with an elderly person with a broken hip…and that’s by no means ALL that could occur. Possibilities range from rape to manslaughter if someone less than honest had laid hands on that forgotten keycard.
What really worried me was that I said this on hotel feedback, the manager then emailed me and stated that “in respect to the swipe card left in your room, this card is used to activate the lighting and heating. All room access cards are securely stored and accounted for at all times.” I beg your pardon. Yes, it was used to activate the lighting, but it also opens doors. And if all access cards are securely stored and accounted for at all times, how come we found one left in our room? If they’re this casual about security, one of the more dangerous scenarios is likely to happen sooner or later. I’d prefer it didn’t. I’ve asked the concomm to speak to the hotel, but considering the very brush-it-under-the-carpet attitude over this and the safety issues, I wonder how much will actually be done to improve these aspects before something happens.

Thanks to all who voted for me, but sadly this time I didn’t win. On the other hand if schedules are kept, I may have at least one eligible book again in 2018 since a fantasy novel should be out next year. Meanwhile short stories continue to sell with A FRIEND OF GRANNY NGAIRE sold to MYRIAD LANDS ANTHOLOGY.(Guardbridge Books) for mid-July.

so why, you may ask. Well, myself I prefer a hotel to be competent, and that includes getting right who your guests are. A friend of mine has been harrassed by this bunch for a month, he’s had seven emails in four weeks demanding that: he provide them with feedback on his stay with the BEST WESTERN Seven Seas, San Diego, CALIFORNIA. They also want him to buy hotel gift cards, explain how delighted they are that he’s arriving, and then that he stayed, send him an e-statement, information on other Best Western hotels, and demand again that he provide feedback. He’s had enough and emailed their tech support asking what’s going on. Because the first name they keep quoting isn’t his, he and Glen (his wife) have never been in San Diego, he’s certainly never stayed at the Best Western there, and right now if he never does so, it’ll be too soon. What he’d like to know, is where and how they got hold of his email address, why they can’t tell one customer from another (when they have a different name) and why, even if he HAD been a customer, they’d find it necessary to harrass him with so many emails in a mere four weeks? Oh, and in case this bunch thinks they should pick up my email and start making offers, forget it, I too am NOT INTERESTED!

2 June 2016

They say that nothing foolproof is so against a sufficiently talented fool. Looking at the increasingly stupid decisions on Political Correctness, I can only wonder if there’s a limit on that either – and I have a feeling there may not be.

Yes, life is good. I signed contracts for BASTET’S DAUGHTERS with Wildside April 20th. I’m delighted, they do such a great job on the Sherlock Holmes pastiches I write, that I know I’ll be happy with this fantasy book too.
Then I had acceptances for- LALLI sold to rEVOLUTION antho. (MIFI writers) and
The Story Emporium accepted FOR LOVE OF MAXIE. An annual weird western steampunk volume, edited by J.A. Campbell who has a degree in Horse management, so I enjoy trying for a horse story that fits the theme. (Must now start encouraging my subconscious to consider something for next year, it’s never too early.)

Two nights with light snowfall last week, and just under seven inches of rain over May. hens have mostly gone off the lay, sheep are muttering in the lee of the house, cat is very firmly by the fire. Winter!