"WELCOME to the plant hotel. Can I help you check in? I've taken the liberty of pre-upgrading you to one of our larger suites where you can stretch out those pot-bound limbs in comfort.

"Perhaps I could make a spa appointment on your behalf? If you don't mind me saying, you do look a little wilted in places. One of our hydration treatments should perk you right up. How about a bite to eat? Today's special is a seaweed-infused tomato feed …"

Plants, you see, are all the rage. To clarify, I'm not talking about the sort that you – allegedly – get in the audience on BBC Question Time. Nor the kind used by TV evangelists, psychics and other charlatans of that ilk. I mean the botanical variety with roots, stems, leaves and flowers.

The world's first plant hotel opened its doors last week with the idea likened to taking a dog or cat to a boarding kennel when you head off on holiday. Except at the Patch Plant Hotel in London, general manager Rose Grower (yup, really) promises that your beloved houseplants will be well cared for.

I don't speak fluent millennial, but it seems plants are the new pugs. For a start, they are photogenic which means they look good on Instagram. Also, when you are struggling to get on the property ladder and your landlord says no to pets, you can always assemble a jungle of houseplants instead.

If you happen to be a plant reading this (perhaps someone has placed the newspaper under your pot which is infinitely better than when my face is beaming up from a cat litter tray or the bottom of some budgie's cage), it does sound like you are in for a treat.

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I would, however, urge caution. Perhaps akin to the Hotel California, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. You wait patiently but your owner fails to return and collect you. Were they in a terrible potting shed accident? Kidnapped by Alan Titchmarsh? Eaten by an overzealous Venus flytrap?

Or did they visit Patch – the online plant retailer which coined the idea for the hotel – and pick out a funkier replacement? Which is a roundabout way of saying: nice PR gimmick.

Back ache in the skies

AIR travel has its challenges at the best of times. From playing check-in roulette with the luggage scales to the woes of navigating security (the undressing, the juggling of electrical items into trays, the person in front who, without fail, is still wearing shoes, a belt and has change in their pocket).

Then there's duty free where you feel like Indiana Jones rolling under the closing door in the Temple of Doom as you attempt to dodge fragrance spritzers, trays piled high with samples of expensive chocolates and racks of tourist tat such as gaudy tea towels and thimbles.

Next, you must schlep for miles to reach the gate. The distance from check-in to the gate is always inversely proportional to the time available to get there. If you are five hours early, you will be at gate one. Only 35 minutes until the flight departs? You'll be at gate 97.

Finally, once on board the plane, all you want to do is sink into your seat and decompress. Spare a thought, then, for the passenger taking an easyJet flight from Luton to Geneva last week who found her seat had no back upon which to rest her weary, airport-beleaguered shoulders.

The airline insists that the broken seat was not in use and waiting to be repaired (the woman was reallocated another seat before take-off), yet one can't help but fear a seed has been planted. Ryanair must be furious they didn't think of it first.

Love thy neighbour?

EVERYBODY needs good neighbours – or so the Australian television soap opera theme tune goes. But what about "text door" neighbours?

In the latest chapter of an evermore unwieldy tome titled The Internet: Daft Things Sheeple Do, folk are sending text messages to mobile phone numbers with the last digit one numeral higher or lower than their own.

The idea is that if your phone number ends in 1234, then your so-called text door neighbour's number ends in 1235 or 1233. In a nutshell: people are initiating conversations with strangers based on the random allocation of a series of numbers.

The viral trend started in 2016 and has seen a resurgence recently, with users sharing their exchanges on Twitter. Results range from striking up a friendly rapport to being told in no uncertain terms to get lost.

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Granted, some of the interactions are funny but I don't see the appeal. If you have that much time on your hands, why not put it to good use by popping in to visit an elderly neighbour or volunteering at a community project? Forge a real human connection with those around you. Imagine that.