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Further Writing by Swan Morrison

Souvenirs From Amsterdam

I sat on the bed in my Amsterdam hotel room and leafed through the hotel information folder.

Page one began with a room inventory that also included the price of each listed item.

I read the text below this inventory:
Please note that all rooms will be inspected after checkout. If items are missing, we will assume that you wish to purchase these products and the above costs will be added to your bill.

How thoughtful, I reflected, that they offer the option to buy particularly appreciated elements of the room’s contents.

I looked around with renewed interest. The television was very nice, and the quoted price of €500 seemed fair. The value of €20 placed on a hand towel, however, and €25 for the waste paper basket appeared rather pricy given that both items could be purchased for considerably less at a nearby shop.

On further inspection, I realised that some items did not appear on the inventory. I concluded that these products must be included within the room rate and would not incur any additional charge if removed. These were things such as coffee sachets, tea bags, sugar, soap, shampoo, the carpet and the curtains.

I stood up, walked to the window and examined the drapes. They were of good quality, but the colour and length would have made them unsuited to my home.

As I stood holding the curtain material, I glanced from the window. The sign that announced the name of the hotel was mounted horizontally across building’s façade – along a line that ran just below my window. Each letter was written on an individual, illuminated cube. The edges of each cube were around half a metre in length.

The letter “H” (for Hotel) was directly underneath the opening section of my window, and I noted that the screws which secured it to its bracket looked as if they had slots that would fit a screwdriver on my Swiss army penknife.

I returned to the bed and picked up the hotel information folder once more. There was no mention of the hotel sign on the inventory price list.

Glancing once more around me, I recalled that I needed a small piece of carpet – around two metres square – to cover the floor in my downstairs bathroom. The hotel room carpet was of exactly the right quality, style and colour.

I carefully checked the inventory once again and was delighted to confirm that the carpet was not listed – it must have thus been complementary. Removing the whole carpet, however, when I needed just one small section, seemed something of an abuse of the hotel’s kindness. In particular, the management would be put to the trouble of ordering and installing a replacement before the next guest arrived.

I sat once more upon the bed and pondered this dilemma.

I then had an inspiration: the area of carpet that I required was about the same size as the room’s double bed. Removing just the section beneath the bed, therefore, would allow me to take my complementary gift without causing any obvious impact upon the room’s décor.

Back at home I was delighted to confirm that the carpet was indeed ideal for my downstairs bathroom – just as I had envisaged.

In addition, the “H” cube made a very fine coffee table.

On the next occasion that I visit Amsterdam, I plan to stay at the same -otel. It is in a very convenient location, the facilities are just what I need, and the type of radiator in the rooms would be perfect for my conservatory.