My work as an actor, writer and creative engagement consultant has regularly deposited me in a range of hotels around the world. I used to be a bit depressed by the fact that you can soon lose track of where in the world you are once you walk throught the doors - the same TV channels, the same room layout, the same belief that £14.50 is a reasonable price for a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee at breakfast.
And then one day I beheld a wondrous sight. It was in Portugal, and unfortunately I didn't think to take a photograph.
Halfway down a long corridor was a baroque table with two elegant chairs either side of it. It started me thinking. Has anyone, ever, in the history of the world ever been so overcome by the sudden urgent need to write a letter, draw a picture of a zebra or fill in a housing benefit form that they have stopped on their way to or from their room and looked about them for a convenient place to satisfy that urge? Do hotel designers live in fear of customer feedback forms that bemoan the lack of occasional tables?
A passion was born. Now all my colleagues respect my need to stop and photograph these magnificent oddities when they occur. Where once I could not tell if I was in Scunthorpe or Bratislava now I can look through my pictures and be comforted by the knowledge that hoteliers everywhere express their individuality by leaving chairs, tables and sofas in infinite beautifully useless variations so that the weary traveller or jet-lagged businessman can have a bit of a sit-down whenever they feel like it...