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This is a question Hotel Splendido

Enzyme writes, "what about awful hotels, B&Bs, or friends' houses where you've had no choice but to stay the night?"

What, the place in Oxford that had the mattresses encased in plastic (crinkly noises all night), the place in Blackpool where the night manager would drum to the music on his ipod on the corridor walls as he did his rounds, or the place in Lancaster where the two single beds(!) collapsed through metal fatigue?

Add your crappy hotel experiences to our list.

(, Thu 17 Jan 2008, 16:05)
Pages: Latest, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Marseille, circa 84
Mum sister and me have to fly down to Marseille to meet dad on the ship he is working on. Flight is delayed, last one into airport. Ship no where to be seen (storm in the med i suppose). Football match or something in town, all hotels full. Taxi driver takes pity on the wife with two kids and finds us room and lodging - the buy the hour kind. Mum seemed worried, but i thought it was fun with all the scantily clad ladies roaming round.

The madam of the house made a mean cup of hot chocolate though.

Length? not arf.
(, Wed 23 Jan 2008, 3:02, Reply)
more from student accomodation
im just going to wheel back a bit in my chair and look up at the crack in my ceiling which has begun to bulge a bit. my friend in the neighbouring room has a leak. both are because of our boiler which has had this problem for months without the plumber coming. occasionally, the boiler stops working altogether and its cold showers / no heating all around. whenever the fire alarm is set off, the boiler immediately shuts down and isnt reset until the next day so no showers then.

we're being charged £20 for a vandalised mail box. we went and checked this out and all that's happened is the lock is jammed. bah!
(, Wed 23 Jan 2008, 1:35, 1 reply)
Well, here's my story (or two)
1). Picture the scene, if you can. I'm six years old, and most definitely looking forward to my first proper holiday with my parents, down in Devon (Torquay, I think, but I could be wrong). Anyway, we turn up, and the hotel's lovely. all the mod cons, nice beds, good food, etc- of course, to my very little self, it could have been Heaven. Except for the third night there, where I woke up all itchy. Try as I might, I just couldn't sleep again- and so I woke up my mum. Who turned on the light, took one look at me, and swore.

I'd only gone and got chickenpox. spent the rest of the week slathered in Calomine lotion, looking like I was covered in cream, or serm, or something.

2). This one's short and sweet. Hotel in the French Alps. Wallpaper that was about five inches out from the wall. Beds that had you rolling to one side or the other, or swallowed you up like some kind of carniverous marshmallow. A bathroom that had no window- which isn't too bad, except the light switch was on the outside; cue mates 'hilariously' turning the light off at odd intervals. A toilet that kept breaking- either wouldn't flush, or it kept on flushing and didn't stop.

And those are my stories. Nothing compared to most of the stories on here, but hey, just thought you'd want to read 'em anyway.
(, Wed 23 Jan 2008, 0:38, Reply)
There's this hotel in Lourdes
Well, all I'll say is, it's used as a French army brothel during the winter.

They're shipped in, do their dirty, frenchie business, and are shipped out again.

That's a really difficult image to block from your mind when sleeping on the soiled matresses.
(, Wed 23 Jan 2008, 0:22, 4 replies)
I'd like to say I went to Skegness, too
Butlins, of course. See, the chavlet wasn't TOO bad, but several things about skegness itself I hated.

1) My cousin accidentally broke my hearing aid when drunk. When I asked where the nearest hospital was, it was a shocking distance considering. I had to go a fucking week with no hearing.

2) There's fucking ROCKS sticking out at odd angles in the concentration camp. Cue seven year old nephew cutting his fucking eyebrow wide open.

3) The chavviness. On the way home one night, I found not one, but TWO people tied to lamposts bollock naked.

4) It's about as clean as the fucking Thames.

5) The shops didn't ID me for fags. I was 15 at the time, so fair enough. We decided to test it. Yes, my SEVEN year old nephew went and bought 20 Lambert. My sis went in there and booted right off.

6) Even though our chalet wasn't too bad, it seemed that the idea of CLEAN bedding was too much. Thankfully, we had brought our own just in case. Good job I didn't go there when I was recovering from surgery.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 23:42, Reply)
A double birthday trip to blackpool I won't soon forget.
Ah, Cesspool, a horrible place to visit but we thought hey, its 2 mate's birthdays this weekend so lets go and get some strippers and whatever else comes our way in the women department. To facilitate our stay we opted for The Priory, it sounded nice on the website but what we got was the biggest pile of crap i had ever seen:

Arrival: Checked in, Landlady looked like a complete dog's dinner. Her kids were both lying around in their underwear and her "friend" (male) was also there, no sight of the husband. Parking was £11 a DAY!!!!! The room was tiny, a single and a bunk for me and the birthday boys. I picked up the mirror on the sink, which fell apart in my hands. I tried the sink and it came off the wall. Great start.

First night: Strip club and excessive alcohol. Got back to the hotel and found a bachelor party was also staying there. Went up to bed and found out that the door had no locks, one guy came into our room and asked us for some crack, to which we politely said No to. After 4 hours of them breaking down doors and smashing lamps they all finally passed out and we got some sleep but not before the window collapsed into the room, just as my mate put his head out of the gaping hole in our wall, a guy upstairs was sick, almost all over said mate's head.

Second day: Dropped another 11 notes into the parking meter (ouch) had breakfast while the landlady and her "friend" gave the lads from the bachelor group a good thrashing, they still got a fry up though, lucky sods. Tried to have a shower only to be confronted by a large group of naked lads conversing outside our door. Finally got into the shower only for the thing to collapse and fall off the wall. The naked bachelors also left the other shower running which leaked all over downstairs.

Second night: Pretty much the same as the first except no bachelors and a good night's sleep.

Third day: Yet more breakages and random stuff falling off walls, by the end of it we must have amassed over a hundred quids worth of damage just from touching stuff, who knows what would of happened if we had been trying to break things.

We checked out in a hurry before the parking ran out and went to the beach followed by Blackpool pleasure beach.

HINT: Don't EVER go the The Priory, its on Yorkshire Street. Its a dump, it smells and stuff breaks.

Finally, this is my first post so please be nice. I can't think of a decent length gag so i will just end on a side note: my cock is massive!!!!!!!!
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 23:12, Reply)
Oh shit yeah, Butlins...
I'm told we went to Butlins-type concentration camps when I was very small, but I was either too young to remember or the experience was so scarring it's been locked away in my memory somewhere.

But this isn't when I was a kid - I was about 22 at this time when we went to a years-derelict holiday camp where a (legal) weekender was being staged. Two carfuls of us showed up for it. The tunes were okay if not spectacular, and we knew one of the security guys as a clubber from a place we went often, and he was enormously helpful in bolstering our stock of substances from what he'd confiscated from a number of, as he put it, 'poor unfortunate fuckers'. Helped to compensate for the tunes a great deal :)

But the place. Oh my. Being a holiday camp, it was near-cardboard-walled chalets which would be bad enough, but remember I said 'years-derelict'? At least ten. You could tell that the front doors had been hung, the windows unboarded and the plumbing and electricity reactivated in less than a week. All over the area of chalets which had been deemed safe for habitation and refurbishment, doors fell off, windows fell out and very, very few were fortunate enough for their plumbing or power to continue working past just getting ready. And the beds? Old stuffy mattresses on uncarpeted, damp, ten-years-unlived-on lino floors. Good job that sleeping bags were advised on the flyer.

But we were curious about one thing at first - this place was huge and right on the coast, but had been apparently dropped as a dead loss by the look of it. Yeah, lots more people went abroad, but this place could still do some trade, surely? So we had a look around. After a little exploring we discovered that we were free to roam the living area and the clubhouses where the DJ's were playing, but the rest of it was taped off. If there'd been security about we may not have crossed it, but there weren't so we did. There were more chalets that made us acutely aware of what ours must have looked like very recently, half-dismantled playgrounds, a drained swimming pool or two - but for those assembled here that night, this place was stone dead. It was getting dark and just a little spooky (Scooby Doo style rather than Friday 13th lol) when we reached the edge. We could see the coast and a mile or so along it we could also see, standing or more accurately squatting proud in the late summer twilight, the familiar yet innately disturbing giant spherical-ish shape of a nuclear power station.

Curiosity satisfied.

We stayed until just after noon the next day - the event was winding down early and an exodus had begun, partly because of the not-especially brilliant tunes, partly the accommodation/needing a shower and I've no doubt partly the close proximity of a fucking nuclear fission reactor. Yeah, true, mostly harmless but even knowing that as fact tell me; how much time could you comfortably spend next to one? Eh?
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 22:56, 1 reply)
Slightly shabby
My story starts, as the majority of awful stories do, with a lack of money. It was due to this lack of money that I was forced to go to what can only be described as the worst guest house in history.

Once I had eventually dragged myself up there, and past the horrible, filth spewing nuclear power station situated opposite, I had to contend with the ridiculous staff. Not only were they completely incompetent, it appeared that they could not go five seconds without throwing punches that landed at least 3 metres away from either nose, chin or bollocks.

I had almost had enough already but one of the guests truly took the biscuit. This old woman (Bearfur or Wolffur... something along those lines, Foxfur perhaps) could not see that she was being simultaneously robbed, and kept intoxicated at the same time with sherry.

The line finally came when a famous Italian actress showed up, proclaiming to be running from an abusive groom. I thought this was fair enough, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. The real problem stemmed when, not only did my underwear go missing, I was given radioactive fish for dinner.

I left shortly thereafter, and I think its safe to say I shall not be returning. It might not be open anymore, as I left it looked as if the Health Inspectors were coming to close it down. I think the name of it was Guest House Paradiso, avoid it at all costs.

Apologies for length, but the QOTW was just crying out for it be done.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 22:20, 2 replies)
two friends of mine
the ubiquitous sam and another girl, ginger, were travelling around the world after uni. they had the usual shit with bed bugs in america; concrete sheets for beds in electricity free cabins in india; guinea pig for dinner in columbia and spat at for being blonde in argentina. but when they got to bolivia, the hostel was the most horrendous thing they had ever seen.

to make matters worse, sam fell really ill with what turned out to be parasites. from the guinea pig. she was in so much pain that she actually thought she was dying.

after 2 weeks of vomiting and worse, she had lost pounds of weight and was very shaky on her feet. nonetheless, she felt the need to celebrate being alive after all, and went out and got truly hammered on the first night she could. which took about 1 shot in her newly scrawny state.

she woke up the next morning to see that the room was even worse than before - the sink had fallen off the wall, making a huge hole in the floor, and everything was inches deep in brown water. oh, and ginger was scowling at her. then she realised her pants were also swimming in a different sort of brown water.

apparently she had staggered in, fallen over the sink, knocked it off the wall, and promptly shat herself. she had no choice but to squeal and handwash her trousers, stuffing them, still damp, into the top section of her rucksack. then they legged it for the bus before the hostel found out.

when they got to the next town, some thieving pikey had whipped the trousers out of the top of the rucksack. oh how sam wished she hadn't washed them.

two days later she had her bag stolen. they trekked to the police station to report it, only to find an aussie girl sobbing on the steps. turned out she had also been raped of her bag, but when she had told a nearby policeman and pointed out the fleeing thief, he had simply raised his gun, squinted, and shot the bastard on the spot....

i'd love to go, but for some reason my friends think i wouldn't handle the rougher side of travelling very well. so long as i can plug in my GHDs and the hotel has satin sheets, what's the problem?!
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 22:04, 7 replies)
my_cat_has_no_shoes has reminded me of **shudder** a Butlins stay. It might have been burnt-tampon bad, but my brain has actually supressed most of the memories of the stay....

Incidentally, does Butlins count as a hotel?

Anyhoo, it was a New Years and I had nothing better to do, I was 18, not long at Uni and hadn't established myself properly with my friends (I'd only known them for 3 months) and my (lesbian ex-) girlfriend was, well, who the hell cares where she was. Anyway, I agreed in a fit of stupidity to spend new years with my Mum and Sister at Butlins in Skegness.

Typically, that would be where the story should end as, if you've been there, you'll know that the winner of this QOTW would begin and end with "I went to Butlins in Skegness". Actually, it'd begin and end with "I went to Skegness".

We got there and I, instantly, hated it - I was sharing with my sister. I was 18, she 19. The room was, well, a chalet/cum-shithole. The bed was, er, a thin single, opposite my sister. The bathroom was more akin to a catholic boarding school circa 1983 (porcelain, cold, medical and a bit serial-killer esque - and I speak from experience.... Shrink on line 1....)

We were there for 3 days, I think, I spent the whole time drunk to suppress the shitness of the whole Butlins experience - the cold, the wet, the forced happiness of the staff, the sheer fakeness of it all.

I'd like to say that the upside was the barmaid I chatted up and got the number of - but she was an ugly hippo-dilly-troll from Barnsley (Beer goggles)....

I was in therapy recently (really) and this has actually left a permanent scar on my psyche....

Note that I'd like to observe that I've stayed in some very, very nice hotels - including a 5 star hotel in Amsterdam in which I (allegedly) killed the goldfish and the country house hotel I'm currently staying in :-)
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 22:00, Reply)
short and sweet
Staying in an awfully nice B&B with me mate Jon. We had trouble finding a place, so were more than happy to share a double bed when they offered us their last room. Until the following conversation...

Jon: Hey! ROF!
ROF: What?
Jon: I just shit me self.


And given we're in the same bed I think 'I just shit ourseleves' would be more accurate.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 21:29, Reply)
hotel margarit girona spain

what a poo hole i couldn't even close the door to have a shit in the "en-suite" (I use that term lightly think more along the lines of the bog of eternal stench) because the door would hit my knee due to the toilet being stratigically placed so near to the door and a bath that was like a bath but not a bath just a giant bidet complete with broken shower. Also no carpet just industrial tiles in the actual room. Also my window complete with bars looked out onto some one elses balcony so i couldn't really open my window for fear of spainish miscreants/bogey men. I didn't last that long in that room and upgraded.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 20:59, 1 reply)
Truly splendido
The Pelican Motel in Timperley thoughtfully left a scud mag in the wardrobe for me. Unfortunately it was Escort (low-rent readers' wives spangle fodder) but one shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 20:10, Reply)
More of a pissy one...
We were staying in a Hostel in Wellington, New Zealand. It had a bar on the roof, and we were, unsurprisingly, quite trollied on cheap beer.

It was time for bed, but farmerboy Richard, needs a wee first. "Good idea", thinks I, "I'll have one too" and off we trot.

He weaves down the hall towards the communal lav, then through a door. Although I am seeing in triplo-vision, I'm sure that he's a door too soon (perhaps like Jim Morrison?). My suspicions are confirmed by the cry

"Vat?, Vat are you doink? Vy are you pissink on my rucksack??!?!".

Sure enough, he's weeing over a room full of sleeping Germans.

(Insert porcelain/Meissen/Dresden joke here)
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 20:01, Reply)
*insert Diana joke here*
*insert length joke here*
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 19:48, 3 replies)
*insert Maddie joke here*

(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 18:12, 3 replies)
i dont bloody digress!
this is straight to the point
what is it with people on here and their fondness of digressing?!
every feckin week a plethora of stories begin with a digression and each and every digresser is compelled to point out that they have digressed.
half the time the stated digression is nothing of the sort. it seems to be trendy or even cool to digress on QOW.
perhaps more b3tans should read books to expand their vocabulary rather copying each other's 'cool' looking words...

feck, maybe im just getting old
rant over - im off to get a horlicks and calm down
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 18:05, 2 replies)
Simply put, a load of us went on a boys weekend. We found a cheap B+B. We came down for breakfast the next morning and found the dog wandering in and out from he kitchen. A dog that could not have looked more rabid even if it had been salivating at the anus.

As we're going back upstairs my mate steps into something soft. Poo. He was barefoot. It squidged inbetween his toes like a child squishing play doh. We told the lady in charge, she wetn quiet and shuffled away, mumbling apologies.

Next day, we come down again, there's no dog walking in and out of the food preparation area. Bizarre. we found out why. as we're leaving the dining room the old dear corners my mate and whispers quite sinisterly 'just thought you would like to know, I've put the dog down because of your complaint'

Nutty bitch.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 17:33, 1 reply)
Student flat
as part of a house divided up into flats, seemingly with sheets of cardboard. I appreciate this may not be that unusual, but anyway.

As you may have seen coming, the people upstairs had a tendency to play loud dance music at godawful times in the morning. However, this wasn't the end of their twuntiness. To give an example of a typical night:
4:30am: Loud dance music turned on.
4:45am: Having decided they're not going to bed and time soon, I ask them to turn it off. Which, after a bit of whinging, they do.
5:15am: After (correctly) assuming I'm asleep again, they (very incorrectly) seem to think loud music won't wake me up again, and turn it back on.

And they did this every. single. fucking. night. Repeatedly forgetting (I give people the benifit of the doubt far too often) that this woke me up every. single. fucking. night.

Truely cunts of the highest order.

Although the happy ending is that they did eventually get evicted, although I suspect it was only when the people next door complained as well that the landlord (one of those that makes sypathetic noises and then does fuck all) felt he had to actually do something.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 16:35, 1 reply)
World Cup
Not really a hotel but I digress. For the last World cup me and 3 friends of various ages went to Amsterdam with the intention of jumping across the border for the England Sweden game. We stayed in a hostel in Amsterdam smack bang in the middle of the Red Light district. We booked one of those fancy 4 man rooms cos we didn't fancy sharing with stinking penniless backpackers and the like. On reporting to the reception we were told our room was double booked and we would not be getting it tomorrow but we can stay for free in on of the large dorm rooms, with the stinky penniless backpackers, FUCK! So we did what any normal English lads would do we threw our bags in and got straight out on the piss. That night I arrived at the hostel 2 mates light and attempted to find my bed in this massive hall of stench weed and dreadlocks. I fell asleep and was woken later by my mate who thought my bed was his and proceeded to push me out oblivious to my presence, this was bad enough, but the fact he was in his 50's, ginger and was naked was also pretty bad, however, along with being old and naked from his legs to his stomach he was covered in shit. I ran a fucking mile and spent the rest of the night rocking back and forth in the bar until the morning. Turned out he scored big time with some cheap fat prozzie and did her up the dirtpipe bearback and caught some kind of backsplash from her after some sort of backpussy fanny fart. On the plus side I did see a Aussies fanny when she was getting changed in the morning. Due to this and that film Hostel I'm never staying in a Hostel again.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 15:20, 5 replies)
Shitting myself
I'm a little preturbed with all the stories relating to Amsterdam. I've been twice with the missus, but since she considers 4* 'budget' and 3* 'slumming it', I've merrily avoided any unpleasant experiences thus far. Instead I've enjoyed my psychotropic 'highs and lows' in the lap of luxury with gourmet room service on tap.

In March, I'm going back with my brother (first trip together since childhood) for a couple of days. Obviously, the budget is of the shoestring variety so the only pre-requisite was that we wouldn't share our bedroom or bathroom with anyone else. I fear that *if* our room is in reasonable condition my brother may be the sort previous occupant I'm currently reading of here.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 15:00, Reply)
Student Digs
in Handsworth, Birmingham. The old Irish biddy that ran the place was OK, but clueless when it came to making breakfast for students.

For a start, she got up at 6 every morning, and that's when she made breakfast: it was kept warm in her Aga until it was student breakfast-time, 3 hours later on a good day. Breakfast would be any one of:

Soggy toast and a rubbery poached egg with a crunchy topping of burnt baked beans.

Fork-proof scrambled eggs and strips of bacon jerky, again with specialté du maison, soggy toast.

Some kind of freakish, wrinkled sausage with mushrooms - 'mush' being the bit to dwell on - & soggy toast.

One glorious day she announced she was off for a few days to the old country (presumably Ireland), and that we'd have to 'make do' with her husband's cooking.

Well, he liked drinking. A lot. Which meant he didn't get up until we did. Which meant brekkies was freshly cooked! Crispy toast! Non-bouncy eggs! Baked beans that could be moved individually instead of en masse! It wasn't all good, the sausages and bacon tasted like they'd been fried in Brylcreem, but a refreshing change nonetheless.

There were 8 students in this place, 2 to a room. I moved out after my room-mate had a psychotic episode. Part of this involved wetting the bed: mine, not his. He denied everything, I looked like a twat.

Happy days!
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 14:47, Reply)
Of course, being a prominent city, A'dam has some rather nice hotels. Then again, it has... others. Such as that hotel, the name of which I can't remember [thankfully], which is about a stone's throw away from all manner of debauchery. Okay, that may sound fine if you're a tourist at the time booking it, but what if you're a bit ill, or fancy an early-ish night as you actually plan on doing something a bit cultural the next day? That's when it starts to get interesting; a hotel full of foreigners (many Brits) who, if they're not pissed, are doped up on substances they have little experience with, this is of course coupled with desperate women trying to earn a few bob on the streets and desperate men trying to be desperate women also trying to get by.

It's about then that the seediness of the residence begins to sink in, the slightly crusty carpet with god knows what in it, the bed you feel dirty to sleep in and the heckling of the weeded Londoners.

Now you may be wondering what part yours truly plays in this. Well, I've just spend a weekend in A'dam, flew in to R'dam with Transavia: we crash, you die! and with a lovely 4 hour delay, when I shoulda just gone with Easyjet to Schiphol. And so when I arrive at A'dam where do I find to stay? Oh, that's right, none other than a bed in an A'dam apartment in which the most beautiful girl I know sleeps for much of the year.

God, those hotels looked crap.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 14:40, Reply)
Many years ago, we took a friend of ours on holiday. Just a word of advice - just don't... you'll end up hating each other by the end...

...Anyhew, the idea was to take a tour around Ireland, visiting my relations and showing our 'friend' the real Ireland - (not the fake experience the Americans enjoy). At each stop we booked into a hotel or B&B for a night. We found some excellent places, including the B&B where, if you wanted an egg for breakfast, you went outside to choose your own from the coop. However, it soon became apparent that our choices of establishment were well thought out, researched decisions - Corinna just picked the first place in the phonebook. I particularly enjoyed the hotel in Dublin where the promised swimming pool was a patch of mud outside - the website showed a pool, they just hadn't got around to build it yet. The B&B in Co.Clare was another 'find' - the bedding, curtains and wallpaper matched exactly. If you stared at one point in the room for too long you developed this odd sea-sick sensation as you couldn't tell which way was up. The owner also had a tendency to drink, and swear - alot - while serving breakfast. Not surprisingly the cooked breakfast was burnt to a crisp and tasted awfully like it was fried in Stella.

My absolute favourite had to be the farmhouse B&B in Kerry, where the owner walked out in full view of the breakfast room and shot a horse, because it was lame, aparently. Thankfully my 6 year old daughter wasn't there to see it happen - I had enough problems explaining the whole 'eggs from a chickens bum concept'.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 14:10, 3 replies)
not me, not a hotel, but raising the bar for slum landlords everywhere
ok, wasn't going to post on this QOTW, as it's nomally just a load of moaning, but I thought I'd mention this for you.

I live in Kuwait, one of the most openly racist societies on earth. I have a friend who is something of a slum landlord; a lot of his buildings are let out to Philipinos (about a third of the way from the bottom of the scale; you can gang rape your flip housemaid and leave her naked to die in the desert, and they'll just deport her, but if you throw her from your balcony, the police might investigate. Koreans you can shoot though...)

Anyway. My Kuwaiti friend has a zoo, and in this zoo, he has a pair of Cheetahs, only he brought them indoors for the winter. Into a small apartment on the 6th floor.

Yes, two cheetahs, wild cats used to running round at 70mph.

He invited me round to see them before they went back to the farm (it being slightly warmer now) so of course I jumped at the chance, and we popped up to the 6th floor.

Not only the spiritual depravity, but the misery, the indignity of these wonderful animals eating KFC and living on a clawed apart mattress in a concrete box, but the smell will stay with me for some time. Wild cats have quite startlingly powerful urine, and these beasts had been in the apartment for a month....

The day the cats moved out, a philipino family moved in. I honestly can't begin to imagine what the smell, and the knowledge that their perceived value in society is less than an animal's, will do to that family's mental health.

A robin readbreast in a cage, puts all heaven in a rage...
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 13:43, Reply)
Oh well, it's only for one night
About 12 years ago, there I was in the arse end of nowehere in Kenya with ex-MrsPunch, ex Mother-in-Law and a couple of her relatives, attending a wedding on New Years Day. Had driven there from the other side of Kenya after 2 hours' sleep, to be treated to a 'feast' of unidentifiable glop and a four-hour wedding service conducted in an obscure languange in a corrugated iron church in the middle of the day not very far from the equator (= very very very very hot and very very very very boring).

Thanks to my mad skillz driving the 4x4 through the bush I was nominated to ferry people hither and yon. Eventually I joined MrsPunch and the rest at the 'hotel' that they'd booked us in to. It looked... primitive. Yet the the proud owner clearly thought it was of the same ilk as the fancy lodges in the touristy bits.

The fateful words, so popular in this QOTW, popped into my head: "Oh well, it's only for one night".

Our party of five were the only guests, so we spent a thrilling (?) 5 minutes deciding which of the dozen or so little bungalow-shack things we'd occupy overnight. They were all about the same: they looked OK, clean enough and all, very basic and simple, but as if no-one had been in them for a while. This turned out to be the case: we were the first overnight guests for 18 months.

The evening meal didn't go well. We ordered from the menu, and then waited. And waited. And waited. After an hour we were quite pissed after sinking several bottles of South African Red wine, and were ready to kill; but then we found out that, as one of us had ordered steak with peppercorn sauce and the kitchen had no peppercorns, they'd sent 'the boy' to the nearest town - on foot - to get some. This was 15 minutes each way in the car! But we started to see the funny side, ordered more wine, and eventually the grub turned up.

Time to turn in. No electricity in the shacks, so gas lanterns were used. There was something about the shacks, and the beds especially, that made you feel itchy. Into bed, lights out. I turned to Mrs Punch. "First one to scratch is a sissy," I whispered. A terrible night's sleep ensued - remember we're in equatorial Africa in a basic wooden shack the middle of the bush - but even so the amount of creaking, tapping, scratching, buzzing and so on is incredible. And you'd swear the bed was alive with ants / bugs / beetles / spiders / rats / lizards etc., until you got the lantern going and saw.... nothing (except Mrs Punch scratching herself).

At long last it was morning, and time for a shower. This was not a simple matter: it involved the hotel staff filling a huge metal tank, situated on top of a low hill, with water. Then they got a lot of fire wood which was placed under the tank and set alight. After about an hour the water was deemed to be hot enough to let loose onto our itchy bodies. A system of pipes took the hot water from the tank to the shower in each cabin: there was no way to mix in any cold water. Luckily I jumped back after opening the industrial valve for the shower. There was a lot of grunting, gurgling and rattling, then jets of scalding hot filth leapt out. At least this killed the little beasties that had made a comfy home in the pipes for the last 18 months. Once the water ran clear, by jumping into the excruciatingly hot shower and then splashing ourselves with cold water from the sink, we sort of got ourselves ready for... gasp.... breakfast.

Coffee: fine. Eggs: fine. Toast: fine - in fact could we have some more toast? Ooh, err.... we'll just send the boy into town for some more bread...

We decided not to bother. The best bit of this was getting the bill. It totalled up to something like 1,000 K Shillings, which sounds like a lot, but which was then equivalent to something like £18. Worth every penny, I've been dining out on this anecdote for years.

Length? I can spin it out for hours.
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 13:40, Reply)
Halls of residence 1987 - 1988: A tale of boy meets girl, loses girl, and jumps out of window
School French trip, 1984. Ah, the memories. I’d got talking to a girl sat in front of me on the bus, and instantly felt an attraction to her. It was her eyes, I think – deep, dark, mysterious, exotic. I was intoxicated by her. However, being a painfully shy, skinny adolescent, I didn’t do anything about it. Plus, it appeared she was more interested in my mate. Anyway, after a week, we got back to the old homestead, she moved away a couple of weeks later due to her dad relocating, and that was that.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I’m off to college. A last minute decision (even though I’d been accepted months before), my dithering indecisiveness being based on the fact that none of my mates were going (having all opted to stay on in sixth form and do A levels). I think I made the decision on the Friday before I was due to start, buoyed slightly by my mum giving me an encouraging push. “Don’t be such a fucking idiot” I think were her exact words. Anyway, off I went, and because of the travelling distance involved, I stayed in halls Monday – Friday and went home at weekends.

The halls of residence were a slightly daunting experience at first, and certainly not what I was expecting. You could, I suppose, call it quaint in this day and age. Whilst it wasn’t desperately crappy, it was ruled with a rod of iron. Almost like being in public school in the 1920s, one would imagine. The first night pep talk from the halls overlords was like a lecture on the perils of male/female social interaction. Indeed, even though the halls were mixed, there was clear segregation of the sexes, both wings of the four story block being sealed off on each floor by a locked door. You could play pool or watch TV with each other, even sit NEXT to members of the opposite sex at breakfast and dinner, but post watershed relations were strictly forbidden. The rooms themselves were little more than a 10 by 10 box, the visible breezeblocks covered in very thin Happy Shopper whitewash bought as a job lot from the council, offset by a basic bed with the loudest springs and stiffest blankets imaginable. Alongside the bed was an MDF construct masquerading as a bedside table / drawers combination, plus a built in lockable wardrobe and a sink unit with mirror. Toilets and bathrooms were along the corridor next to the communal kitchen. Curfew was strictly 10:30pm, at which point the main doors to the outside world were locked and bolted, and it was lights out at 11 (yeah, right).

Despite these restrictions, and despite not really knowing anyone, I soon struck up some friendships outside of the initial body of people with whom I’d been at school but hadn’t really kicked around with. It was the usual scenario really – anyone who seemed to have vaguely the same tastes as you (often identified by what was blaring from their stereos), and you would strike up conversation. Within a week I had established a new circle of friends to go to the pub with. Until 10:20 at any rate – we did, after all, have to get back to our POW camp before the overlords meted out a severe punishment (usually by not leaving biscuits out in the kitchen to go with our milky drinks).

One acquaintance, though, was totally unexpected. The object of my desire in France all those years ago was also residing in the halls, and pretty soon we struck up a friendship, followed by more. My first love. And it was shackled somewhat by the overly security conscious hall overlords. Damn them and their keys and their curfews. Damn them all to… What’s that? One of the lads doing a building course has his own toolbag, you say? With a screwdriver that fits the mechanism of the doors of chastity? Well, get to work loosening the mechanism so that the cover can be moved and the catch released then…

So that’s what happened. And every night, we’d go trooping off upstairs, have our biscuits and milky drinks, then wait until after 11 when we were sure that the overlords were settled in for the night. At which point, the doors of chastity would be sneakily opened and bodies would disappear into realms where they quite frankly shouldn’t have been…

And thus started 9 months of almost nightly bucking the system and getting one over on the adults in charge. Until one of the cleaners noticed that cover on the locking mechanism wobbled slightly as she let herself through and reported it to the powers that be, who struck us down with great vengeance and furious anger. By securing the mechanism again.

Ah well. It was discovered only a few weeks before the summer break, so it wasn’t so bad in the end. After the summer, on return to college we broke up (more her decision than mine) and I began to question my decision to move back into halls. I made one last ditch attempt to speak to her (if only to find out why she had ended things between us), which rather daringly involved me following her up to her room to try and talk and resulted in my jumping out of a second story window after she stormed off the get the overlord… I still don’t know to this day what happened. However, I do know that she took up with a bloke who used to regularly thrash her, and who she subsequently married and had kids with. Haven’t seen her in nearly 20 years.

I moved out after two weeks and into a shared house with a couple of mates I’d been in the halls with the previous year. That’s where my education really started, and where the quality of accommodation really went down the pan…
(, Tue 22 Jan 2008, 13:32, 1 reply)

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