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There is a man in my room in the middle of the night

  Sun 24th July 2022

Back from holiday, to the din of the suburbs on a Sunday morning. The endless angle-grinding and sawing and banging deployed on houses that will never finally satisfy their owners.

My flight was from Gatwick at 0645, so I booked an airbnb within walking distance. Leaving the airport, there are signs for public footpaths which lead you over railway tracks in caged tunnels, and into a sylvan hinterland in which I ended up completely lost. Every bit of guesswork either took me further into the woods, or lead to a wire fence with barbed wire on its top.

After a long time of wandering, lugging my bag and feeling silly -- despite me seeing no-one, on account of my airport lounge dress style -- I decided to "retrace" my steps, if only I knew them. At last I came back to the terminal. I tried one more time and headed the other way, which landed me on a curving A-road where the only signs were for KFC and McDonald's. I gave up and got a big padded taxi driven by a big padded black man who was uninterested in my account of my peregrination, shouted from behind the plastic partition.

I settled into my bed. In the middle of the night, a man unlocked the door, went for a piss, then said "oh God! Sorry! Sorry!" And left.

The walk to the terminal next morning was a mystifyingly simple ten-minute walk. At 5am, the airport's bars looked like Bristol on a Saturday night. I had a pint of ale for seven pounds.

I spent a fortnight swimming, eating, drinking, playing cards with the girls, and reading -- To The Lighthouse and a witty John le Carré novel called The Naive and Sentimental Lover, which has a repugnant, bullying and vainglorious writer as its protagonist.

I bought Mel a necklace from the market, made from small tumbled semi-precious stones by someone in the next town along, who let me stumble on in my creaky French without jumping in in English. We went to a fest-noz -- a concert of Breton dancing and music accompanied by some pricey outdoor local food and drink. The cost of drinking out in France continues to soar, whereas to get sozzled at home costs next to nothing: a 25 or 33ml beer in a bar was anything from €3.50 to €5.00, whereas decent cider can be had from the supermarket for €2 a litre.

Back to work, and an online Health and Safety course, which has been adapted from an old Albanian Internal Security Department Torture Manual to see how much boredom you can stand. But then we got on to the Anti-Discrimination course, from which I learnt a great deal.

Drugs are dangerous for men. Ibuprofen can lead to brown ale and cod liver oil.

When a gay man and a black one work together, the gay man must avoid looking at the way that the black man is fiddling with his knobs, as this can lead to a nuclear explosion.

If you are accused of racial discrimination, you will be put on a very small chair at your hearing.

Ties on men can avert a nuclear explosion in a way that requiring women to wear bikinis cannot, so the requirements are different.


Comment from: 63mago [Visitor]

btw did the pisser wear a tie ?

Mon 25th July 2022 @ 16:31 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well, the lighting wasn’t very good, and I was highly alarmed by his entrance, so I don’t remember much of his cravat arrangements. It wasn’t a pleasant experience!

Tue 26th July 2022 @ 18:21 Reply to this comment
Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

You should have called me from Gatwick - I know all the paths round there e.g.

Mon 25th July 2022 @ 21:39 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Blast, of course you do! That’d have saved me getting terminally lost (wha- hey!)

Tue 26th July 2022 @ 18:22 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

From your page there: “1. If you’ve landed at South Terminal, either take the shuttle to North.”

This was the missing first step which lead to thousands of other wrong’uns that night. I’d have liked to have rung you up and said “where has it all gone wrong, MM?”

Tue 26th July 2022 @ 19:16 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Indeed, Ibuprofen is a stepping stone to all sorts of nasties - I am battling my Magnesium habit as I type.
Ancient Vermillion Proverb - Wedge a chair under the doorknob to deter random strangers from relieving themselves on your possessions.

Wed 27th July 2022 @ 14:16 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I wasn’t worried about my possessions too much, rather my integrity.

What’s a vermillion proverb? What does the colour have to do with it?

Wed 27th July 2022 @ 21:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: PendleWitch [Visitor]

Vermilion? Scarlet?

Sat 30th July 2022 @ 21:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well, that’s left me red-faced.

Mon 1st August 2022 @ 21:09 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Just catching up as i finally succumbed to the lergy… first quarantine then wandering around with a mask in my own gaff mainly to keep the boyos from catching this shite!

So did the night visitor piss on your things? or in the trash bin? you know some people pay good money to wee’d on, lol!

a fine holiday indeed it seems though i’d concur on the whole France thing, i left Paris two days early on my lone visit mainly because it was draining all my dosh… went back to South London and Kent where the beers were far more affordable. ;)

Mon 1st August 2022 @ 14:15 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

No, fortunately he waggled his appendage only in the direction of the loo.

Yes, I bet some of the less frequented parts of South London are good for a cheapish pint ( enjoyed your stories of the Crystal Palace period).

Mon 1st August 2022 @ 21:29 Reply to this comment
Comment from: exile on pain street [Visitor]

It kind of blows my mind that you could actually walk to the airport. A foreign concept.

Ale is just liquid bread, so it’s a suitable breakfast.

My daughter had to spend two weeks in a psych ward. Depression and cutting. She inherited it from her mother’s fitly gene pool. Her family has a long and glorious history with it. She’s on many meds and much, much better. My daughter, that is. Not my wife’s family.

Wed 3rd August 2022 @ 01:12 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Oh dear Exile, that must be a worry. I’m very glad she’s got the medical intervention to control it. You never know what hand you’re going to get dealt in life do you. Very best wishes to you all.

Wed 3rd August 2022 @ 22:48 Reply to this comment

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M / 60 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

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