With the credit-squeezed people of Homeward tightening their belts, I had great hopes for a boom in domestic tourism.
But a report from undercover hotel inspectors published today reveals a grimy reality beneath the surface of the Homeward hospitality industry.
Pretending to be ordinary guests they checked into the four star Elephant's Trunk Hotel and found mouldy mattresses, stained duvets and dirty toilets.
I was outraged! - it is one of my hotels!
"I cannot believe it!" I bellowed at the Old Monkey. "That hotel was the crown jewel of my chain!...are things really that bad?"
"It would seem so, Sir," he replied "It has had only one guest in the last three months according to the manager."
"Who is the manager there?" I demanded.
"Headman, Sir" replied the Old Monkey.
"Yes, the Headman - but whats his name?" I said in exasperation.
"As I said, Sir, Headman, Sir" replied the Old Monkey.
"You mean the Headman is called Headman?" I queried.
"Thats right, Sir, Mini Gusts Headman" retorted the Old Monkey.
"What kind of name is that? - it sounds like a coastal weather report!" I spluttered.
I decided that we would have to go down to the Elephant's Trunk Hotel and investigate ourselves.
I disguised myself as a businessman, wearing my best business suit, and the Old Monkey disguised himself as my secretary.
As we arrived a family of Beavers were storming out the door.
"I wouldn't go in there mate - it ain't fit for animals!" declared the older Beaver "Charged us £100 for one night! - that Uncle, he's just a rip off merchant!" he shouted as he stormed off.
A disturbing sight met us as we entered the reception. A rather ugly, dishevilled man with disturbingly red hair sat with his bare feet up on the desk reading The Badfort News.
I noticed that rather than wearing the regulation uniform, that I issue to all my hotel staff, he was wearing rough garments of blue sack cloth.
"We would like a room for the night, Sir" I said.
Without moving from his languorous position, the man hooked some keys from the wall and threw them at the Old Monkey.
"There you go - Room 21!" he declared.
"How much will that cost?" I inquired.
"Five shillings and sixpence - take it or leave it" he replied without even looking up.
"Will someone take our bags up?" I replied.
"Look mate - s'budget hotel innit - carry them yourself" he remarked, without even glancing up from his paper.
The room was a disgrace. It was filthy and full of fleas. I stormed back to the reception.
"Your hotel is disgusting - it is full of fleas!. I demand to see the manager" I shouted.
"I am the manager. Mister Mini Gusts Headman. You must have brought the fleas with you. Everyone knows that elephants and monkeys are riddled with 'em"!" retorted the red haired man. "You not staying then?" he asked.
"I most certainly am not!" I replied.
"Still gotta pay your bill - I booked you in!" he said scornfully, and handed me a slip of paper.
I could not believe the figure scrawled on the bill.
"One hundred pounds! - you said it would be five shillings and sixpence!" I spluttered.
"Extras innit! you must have used broadband or watched some movies" he said winking at me.
"We were only gone ten minutes - this is ridiculous!" I spluttered.
At this Headman drew a giant club from under the counter. "Look, your not going to give Mister Uncle trouble is you?" he said threateningly.
At this I whipped off my disguise.
"Oh, lummy - rumbled I fear!" cried Headman, or should I say Sigismund Hateman! For at this point the Old Monkey ripped the red wig off Headman's head revealing his true identity.
I should have realised, for, of course, Mini Gusts Headman is an anagram of Sigismund Hateman.
Sigismund jumped over the desk and ran for the door - but I was able to catch up with him at the threshold in time to administer a grand kicking up.
The Old Monkey was distraught "He seemed such a nice chap at the interview - and look, Sir - he's been cooking the books. The hotel has not only had one guest in the last three months it has had hundreds. They have all been fleeced!" he cried looking at the hotel register.
"We must contact them all and recompense them. We shall get this place cleaned up and offer them all a free holiday!" I declared.
"Oh well done, Sir, your reputation will be restored" sighed the Old Monkey.
That evening a copy of the Badfort News was put through my letterbox. "Oh I am sorry, Sir, I have asked specifically that it not be delivered here anymore," said the Old Monkey apologetically.
"Never mind - let me see what nonsense it contains" I said.
UNC SACKS HIS WORKERS
It has come to the attention of the Badfort News that the tyrant Unc will use any excuse to cut his workforce in this recession. Today he brought fleas into his own hotel in order to provide an excuse to sack a member of his hard working hotel staff.
What further depths will the Dictator of Homeward sink to, so that he is cushioned from the hard times that the rest of us must suffer?