Write side with hotelier Francis Brennan
Hotelier Francis Brennan on talking too much - and what to do with a lemon, apart from putting it in a gin and tonic.
Is it time for Mrs Beeton to move over, now Mr Brennan has arrived with a Book of Household Management?
I wouldn't have been a great reader growing up, but when I was a student, I came across Mrs Beeton's Guide to Household Management in Greene's bookshop in Dublin. I was interested in that.
So how well qualified are you to give household tips in your book?
I learned a lot from my mother and I was always orientated towards the house. When I chose my industry, it was hotel management. A hotel is like a house on a big scale. I have great experience because I have 47 bedrooms in my house.
So do you know how to deal with most situations?
Yes, I don't panic. If room 214 has a flooded bath, we just have to go and deal with it. We don't get madly excited.
Are many young people nowadays clueless when it comes to managing a home?
Yes. I know an 18-year-old who is sharing a house with four others and a lady comes in to clean the house for them. They wouldn't know what to do with window-cleaner. I want to preserve some of the old cleaning skills, using things, like baking soda, salt, vinegar and lemon.
So what can you do with a lemon, apart from putting it in a gin and tonic?
You quarter a lemon. Stick it in a bowl of water and put it in the microwave for two minutes. Leave it for a minute before you open the door. All the grunge and dirt will fall to the bottom and you can wipe it with a cloth.
This really has been an education. Do you ever relax?
I am not good at relaxing. I am at home now and I feel guilty that I am not in the hotel. I love working. Sometimes I want to stop talking. It's talk, talk, talk. I get throat strain when I have talked too much and I have to stop for a day.
Francis Brennan stops talking for a day. I don't believe it.