Lost and found

By Gill Sherry

I was reading an article recently about the things people had left behind in hotel rooms. This included
a £5,000 bottle of whisky, a 24ct gold photo frame (complete with a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II
on her Coronation) and, most bizarrely of all, two professionally trained sheepdogs. Apparently, Hamish
and Ramsey (aka Ham and Ram) were perfectly behaved whilst waiting for their owner to return to
Fort William from Aberdeen to reclaim them. Good boys!

This got me thinking about my own misplaced possessions. Admittedly, I’ve never left my dog behind when checking out of a hotel (although, there were times I was sorely tempted), but the things I did forget were still an inconvenience. Phone chargers, for example.

I know I’m not the only one guilty of this oversight. Mr S has donated more iPhone chargers than I care to mention to various hotels around the UK, left in the plug socket beside the bed or entwined with the lead of the plastic kettle. I’d like to think they were made available to those guests who had lost or forgotten their own charging cables but I’ve yet to see this on the list of guest services in any hotel.
I once left my nightdress under the pillow of a hotel room min Preston. In this particular case, having written to the hotel asking for its safe return (email was a rare thing in the early 80s), it arrived by post two weeks later complete with marmalade stains. Well, you can’t beat breakfast in bed when you’re away for the weekend.

More recently, I left a pair of jeans hanging in the wardrobe of a hotel room in France. I remembered as soon as I stepped out of the front door. Before you ask, no I wasn’t naked from the waist down. I was actually sporting a rather fetching pair of Lycra cycling shorts. Anyway, I returned immediately to the hotel reception only to be told I wasn’t allowed access to the room because I had already checked out. Five minutes later, after telephoning the housekeeping department, the receptionist cheerily told me there was nothing in the wardrobe and that I had obviously made a mistake. Merde!

I loved those jeans. You know when you find a pair that are just right? Perfect fit, perfect rise, perfect length. But it wasn’t just the jeans I was miffed about, it was the 30 Euros in the back pocket. I was still seething as I cycled towards my next destination, picturing the housekeeper dining out on my hard-earned cash, the imaginary smell of moules-frites taunting me all the way to Reims. As for the jeans, they were the only pair I had with me, the baggage allowance on my charity cycle ride restricting my choice of attire to more essential items i.e. Lycra, Lycra and more Lycra. I tried to console myself with the thought that perhaps the jeans wouldn’t fit. Maybe the housekeeper was a size 16 or only 5ft tall. Maybe she was actually a he. All that did was conjure images of a brand new listing on Ebay: Guess jeans, size 10, excellent condition, one not very careful owner. Still, I had no-one to blame but myself.
I suppose it could have been worse. A friend of mine once left her GHD straighteners in a hotel room in Birmingham. Again, the hotel denied that anything had been left behind. She may as well have flushed a wad of £20 notes down the toilet!

Other things I’ve lost include socks, an umbrella, a hairbrush, perfume… the list is endless. I’ve also got history when it comes to sunglasses…

Mr S bought me a fab pair of designer shades for our tenth wedding anniversary. To this day, I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea to take them on a girls’ weekend to the Grand National at Aintree, but take them I did. To be fair, they looked great on the various photographs – proof that I did get to wear them at least once – but there was no sign of them when I woke up in the hotel the next morning.

Despite retracing my steps back to the racecourse, asking in every pub, looking in every toilet, under every table, behind every chair, there was no sign of my (very expensive) sunglasses. Surprise, surprise, they hadn’t been handed in at the hotel either. To be honest, I didn’t expect to find them. I already knew that some scally was parading around Liverpool doing their finest impression of Joan Collins (the Kardashians were yet to grace our TV screens at this point). I did ask a Police Officer if it was worth reporting the loss to which she replied, in a very thick Scouse accent: “If ya find them glasses I’ll eat me ‘at”.

I lost my second pair of (very expensive) sunglasses during a holiday in Dubai. They, too, were a gift from Mr S. There I was, sailing over the desert in a hot air balloon, gazing in awe at the sunrise, admiring the peaks and troughs of the dunes, marvelling at the skittish run of a lone gazelle. One minute I was peering over the side at a caravan of camels, the next I was watching, open-mouthed, as my sunglasses fell from my head and disappeared into the sandy abyss.

To this day, I remain convinced there’s a camel somewhere in the Dubai dessert, rocking a pair of Prada shades, the envy of the rest of its squinting flock.

Although Mr S vowed never again to buy me a pair of sunglasses, he’s not really in a position to criticise. In addition to the many iPhone chargers he’s guilty of losing, he once left a scarf, his favourite tie and a pair of trousers in a hotel in Edinburgh.

“Sorry, Sir,” said the staff. “There was nothing left behind in room 12.”

Yeah, right.

He did once manage to retrieve a pair of lost spectacles, though. I’m guessing the housekeeping staff at this particular budget hotel either had perfect vision or a very different optical prescription to his own. Or maybe they were just honest, we live in hope. Anyhow, having telephoned the hotel concerned as soon as he realised his mistake, they promised to rummage through the mountain of glasses in their lost property box in an attempt to identify his specific pair. Obviously, leaving glasses behind was a ‘thing’.

“Can you describe them please, Sir?”

“Well, they’ve got two arms, two lenses…”

Only once we’d paid for the postage in full, did they agree to send the glasses to our home address. I had little faith the correct pair would turn up but sure enough, there they were, none the worse for their journey from Edinburgh to Ayrshire in a padded envelope.

Which reminds me, Mr S once left an envelope full of documents (passport and birth certificate included) on a train from London to Coventry. Does that beat the sheepdogs? Probably not, but it was still hard to come-bye.

I know, don’t give up the day-job!