My mate took me to see Yorkshire play some southern puftas from Kent at Cricket last Monday.
We stayed in a ‘traditional Victorian seaside hotel’. That’s what it said in the web entry and that’s what we were told when we booked it by phone. The lady on the line was asked “Is there a swimming pool or spa?”.
Pause……..”it’s a traditional Victorian seaside hotel” Mmm…that’s a no then.
When we arrived we were directed to the forth floor. Which turned out to be a dormer floor added on top of an original three storey building and could be reached by switching the stairs at second floor level, walking down a corridor and using another ‘secret’ staircase to get higher. It could also be reached by a fantastic lift though, with a real sliding gate type internal door, through which you could see the concrete and frayed carpets at each floor pass by. If you were a kid you could probably poke your arm through too and have a go at tapping the glass in the outer door at each floor level, being careful not to get your hand ripped off, obviously.
The double glazing in our ‘family’ room had lost it’s seal so we couldn’t see through the mould and dew coated glass. The bathroom was clean and full of fittings installed in the seventies, when I first went in I had a flash of a dingy motel in mind, like the one in the film, No World for Old Men, which is quite apt, as it happens.
Anyway, the lady in reception worked the typical long hours common in the hotel trade, she was always there. Her jacket was smart, but too big for her, with eighties power shoulders and a pin stripe. I think that the long hours had taken their toll. She had no colour at all; not white skin, but translucent skin – sort of like Gollum, but without the wrinkles and facial expressions. Whenever I saw her she looked over and her mouth smiled at me. Not her face or her eyes, just the mouth.
We stayed Sunday night and being British, got a bit drunk in the bar. Robin Williams was on the telly in the background gurning “Good Morning Vietnhaaaaaaammmm. Forest Whitaker gets to say one of the most memorable insults ever delivered in a film. When asked by his commander to read out some of the complaints soldiers are making about the new army DJ, Lieutenant Steven Hauk (Bruno Kirby), Forest turns and says (reading), “Lieutenant Hauk, licks the sweat from dead men’s balls”, he looks to the commander “I don’t rightly know what that means Sir, but it sound pretty negative to me”.
Being fairly tanked by then, I made sure nobody missed that bit, and just in case they did I balled it out again. The shame lasted for all of a moment, or two.
I couldn’t have the traditional Victorian fry up at breakfast because my mid-life crisis has me pumping iron three times a week and gasping through an hours bike riding too. This meant I had to force down the ash-like Muesli, which had sugar already mixed in by the nice eastern Europeans at the cereal factory. If I’m going to eat muesli it needs to be really tasteless, and gritty, with no sugar, otherwise what’s the point?
We went for a lovely walk up the north promenade Monday morning prior to The big fixture at the cricket ground. It was windy and this old bloke stumbled by looking like death – think vampire receptionist’s grandad. Turned out to be Dicky Bird. Dick is a famous cricket umpire. DICKY BIRD! How do you recover from a name like that? No wonder he looked sick.
Mmm…cricket, now there’s a game.