IN previous years when I have mentioned that many self-catering properties in the United Kingdom leave something to be desired in their standards, holiday companies have waxed wrathful.

Frank W Fawcett, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, writes to confirm my anxieties with a brief list of some of the hazards he has recently encountered in self-catering properties:

Having to clean the cooker and fridge on arrival

Sagging 'easy' chairs which have been thrown out of somewhere else

Ancient clapped-out television ('nobody else has complained')

Cheap indoor aerials which cannot pick up a decent picture from anything except a station on the doorstep

Crockery/glassware 'half of which I would have sent to the local jumble sale or more likely binned'

Electric cookers that have seen better days. In a recent case, one cooker had been fitted with knobs from another cooker which did not correctly relate to temperatures ('new knobs have been on order for weeks').

At one time it could all be treated with amusement, says Mr Fawcett. 'But the increase in rents over the past two or three years has made us say enough is enough. Perhaps this year's low bookings will bring them all to their senses.'

Sadly, the truth is that self- catering companies can get away with sub-standard properties because we do not complain. If people loudly protested about poor quality and vigorously pressed their complaints, standards would improve - it's up to all of us to do something about it.