Bleakly Californian

OK. Bear with me. This all started when I saw this photo posted on Facebook:

Look, it’s a good photo. There’s drama, there’s atmosphere, there’s strong contrast; you’re drawn into the image. What’s the story here? Who is the girl? Why is she there? I like it.

Immediately, I had other questions though.

Firstly, WHO ON EARTH names their hotel Bleak House? Do they know what “bleak” means?

a bird’s horny projecting jaws; a bill.

I’m sorry. I have to press really hard to get the L key to work sometimes. So et’s try that again.

I am aware that in the Dickens novel of the same name, the Bleak House is actually far from bleak, but firstly, this isn’t that house, and secondly, how many people have read that much Dickens?

Can you imagine telling your friends that you’ve got two weeks booked in Ramsey (which is surely bad enough, anyway), before then elaborating and telling them that you chose to stay at a place called “Bleak House”.

Really? Were Superb Hotel, Lovely B&B and Entirely Pleasant Lodgings all booked up then?

No. Given the huge – near infinite – range of potential, positive-angled guest house nomenclature available to the proprietors, this seems like a bit of an own goal.

And then there’s the caption. That’s a misquoted lyric from The Eagles’ Hotel California, isn’t it?

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
‘Relax’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!

I know I’m being a bit picky here, but wouldn’t a line from… well… Bleak House be rather more appropriate here?

And I am bored to death with it. Bored to death with this place, bored to death with my life, bored to death with myself.

OK. Perhaps not that one.

Fairy-land to visit, but a desert to live in

Better. Very Ramsey. Apart from the fairy-land bit.
But this one fits perfectly, I think.

As all partings foreshadow the great final one, – so, empty rooms, bereft of a familiar presence, mournfully whisper what your room and what mine must one day be.

In fact, I’m reliably informed that this was exactly what many paying visitors muttered on those very steps, when Bleak House was still an operating business.