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Pleasure and frustration: a weekend at the Umpire Inn

The first hotel in the world to cater specifically to the needs of cricket umpires has received mixed reviews from a group of elite umpires.

Up until last month, when cricket entrepreneur Sir Christopher Hogg bought and refurbished Fish Sands Lunatic Asylum, the newest jewel in Hoggshire's ever expanding tourist industry had been a provider of radical treatment for the medically insane since 1872.

These days the site is a modern twelve-bedroom hotel which boasts a range of features including a communal shoe-horn, gramophone, three toilets, two gas rings, and a public telephone.

Ten of the finest umpires in all of Hoggshire assembled at the Umpire Inn last weekend to enjoy some free post-season rest and recreation. Their verdicts were mostly positive.

"The sick bag under the pillow was a nice touch," said Clive Priddy.

Redfern Quigg commended the Inn's domestic workers for helping him address painful domestic short-comings:

"The scullery and chamber maids equipped Mrs. Quigg with the skills needed to be a better wife and homemaker."

Larry Tugg's sister developed talents of a very different kind at the nightly cabaret act:

"Thanks to 'No Balls' the Clown, Betty can catch and throw a ball with her nose just like a seal."

Strict rules and regulations appealed to Bill Shackleton:

"The 'no-talking' in the bar rule is brilliant."

But not everyone enjoyed their stay quite so much.

"I was really looking forward to some communal pampering but hardly anyone used the wart and bunion clinic," complained Troy Fantoni.

An uneven approach to lifestyle advice irked Randolph Plugg:

"The debt consolidation lecture was informative but the personal injury claims adviser failed to reveal his much promised secrets to hassle free success."

"I found the running water difficult to use," said Reg Tinkler. "Why don't they just give you a bowl and a jug of water like you get at home?"