Bed & breakfasts are back in fashion

When was the last time you stayed at a bed and breakfast? Are you planning to do it again soon? Or are you one of those travelers who have become so addicted to collecting points for “free” stays through hotel loyalty programs that you’d rather put up with monotonous chain hotels than visit smaller but more original properties?

If you are, then we are very much alike. The last B&B I stayed at was up in the Shetland Islands, in the very north of Scotland, 14 years ago. During the past decade, I’ve convinced myself that monotonous is not necessarily bad — in fact, although one could hardly distinguish hotels from the same chain in different cities or even countries, one always knows what to expect…

‘It’s not how old you are’

Helen Thomas hoped in vain that her 80th birthday on August 4 — a date she shares with the British Queen Mother and Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader — would pass unnoticed. “I don’t want anyone to know,” she said. “I don’t see why people have to be stamped by their age — that’s prejudice.”

But nothing made her angrier than the “congratulations” she received on her “retirement”, when she announced in May that she was leaving her front-row seat in the White House press room, where she had reported on eight presidents for United Press International (UPI) over four decades. She was simply changing jobs, and is now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, the US chain that owns dozens of publications, including the Houston Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner…