FAWLTY TOWERS PERHAPS?
Was this visit destined to be a future episode of Fawlty Towers? I mused, reflecting on my first day back at the Argyll Hotel on Iona, where I was staying for my annual writing retreat..
It hadn’t started well. On reaching room 14 in the annexe I had endured the usual battle of fiddling repeatedly with the room key in the lock. It refused to turn easily, owing to the hefty wooden key-holder clonking against the door and the tiddly key on the end failing to fit properly into the misshapen keyhole, as a result no doubt of – well, you guessed it! – guests fiddling desperately with a clonking key holder and a tiddly key in a misshapen lock…….. . Eventually it worked. Hurrah! Entry gained.
Next to unpack and stow my belongings in the louvre-doored wardrobe. The door stuck, then shot open abruptly and I was whacked on the nose by a flying coat hanger, bearing some strange kind of blue nylon cover with an embroidered message in neon yellow letters on one side. I held it up curiously and without my specs on could just decipher the top part of the message: PLEASE DO NOT PET ME, it read. Now why would anyone want to do that? I thought. I removed the strangely shaped object from the hanger and read the remainder of the instruction.: PLEASE DO NOT PET ME OR DISTRACT ME, I AM A WORKING DOG, it read. Ok, so the previous occupant of the room obviously had a guide dog, whose overcoat had been left behind.
The next event was a power failure. Waking in the middle of the night and needing a loo visit, I tried to switch on the bedside lamp – but nothing happened. “ Oh dear, the bulb’s gone”, I said to myself, as I stumbled out of bed and crashed into the corner of the desk, bruising my shins.
Next morning I awoke feeling chilly and decided to switch on the wall heater. Nothing happened. I put on my specs to peer at the dials and switches, trying various combinations, but with no luck. Aha, perhaps there was a poltergeist in the room?
Well, a shower would certainly warm me up, I thought, so I turned on the shower and extractor fan switches and swung the shower dial to the “ go” position. No water! Nothing! Ok, so I’ll just have a wash in the basin then, I thought. I climbed carefully out of the bath but at that very moment water suddenly started to gush from the shower again and – yippee, it was hot! Great! I’ll get back in the shower. So I climbed into the bath again, being careful not to dislocate my replaced hip and lathered myself liberally with shower gel, probably more than I would normally use because – well it’s free in a hotel isn’t it? Then suddenly, pooof! The water was gone and I was left shivering and lathered in shower gel, which I now couldn’t remove. Half an hour later I emerged with chattering teeth, having managed to scrape off the gel with toilet paper and leftover water from the kettle. Not a great start to the day. Things surely had to get better?
I reflected that a hot cooked breakfast was just what I needed to warm me up and as time was now marching on I hastily threw on some clothes and shoes and left my room……..of course fiddling yet again with the clonking key holder and the tiddly key in the misshapen lock, owing to………. You get the picture!
On my way down to breakfast I bumped into a fellow writer coming up the stairs. She paused. “Is this a new trend?” she asked, barely disguising her amusement and pointing at my feet. Glancing down I realised I was wearing two different shoes – a white sandal on my right foot and a pink one on my left! We both burst out laughing and I fled back to my room in embarrassment to rectify my inappropriate sartorial dress. When I left the room again, I decided to leave the door unlocked this time, thus avoiding………., well, you know………. I won’t repeat it again!
© Margaret Royall September 2017