Whilst on a lovely mini-break in deepest darkest Devon (it was actually very sunny and picturesque), I stayed in a very quaint B&B. Upon arriving I was overpowered by a smell not dissimilar to Philip Morris’s cremation, and was informed by the charming but rather bronchial landlady “your room is up here and as I’m sure you’ll understand the rooms are non-smoking”.
She waved me into the room and I noticed she had nails like one of my grandmothers. I had two grandmothers (like most people I assume), one a lovely little Irish lady with a heart of gold and the other who was a living embodiment of the phrase “evil will prevail”. I’m supposing you can guess which one had nails like the Mary Rose.
The landlady’s talons at that point were more of a observation than a concern until she don’t-mind-me-fingers’d the bacon onto my plate in the morning. At which point I heard in my mind’s ear the immortal response Bad Nan uttered one morning, on a rare occasion that she stayed over, when my mother asked: “would you like a shower or a bath?” – “Oh no dear that’s quite alright. I gave meself a wipe with a flannel earlier”.
We burnt the flannel in a bath of hydrogen peroxide and scattered the ashes in the Mariana Trench.
The room was like your grandmother’s spare room (I haven’t seen it, I’m just guessing) and as I noticed there was no lock on the door I asked “what’s the deal with the keys for the front door and the room?”. The silence was deafening and she looked at me as though I’d said “what’s the deal with sticking bangers up Ringo’s arse so he runs into that electric fence?”. Ringo incidentally was her horse that lived in a field out the back and contributed to the room smelling like Doncaster in the Middle Ages.
After the long drive I decided to have a shower in the toilet-cum-shower-cum-ex-wardrobe en-suite. Having disrobed, I realised I’d left my shower gel in the car (it was actually shampoo but it’s all the same shit isn’t it). But, I thought, never mind, I’ll use the soap provided as I actually quite like the deserty, astringenty, tuggy feeling it gives your skin afterwards. I looked at the soap and despite being so well used that it was more cracked than Raoul Moat and rougher than Gordon Ramsey’s scrotum, I decided I’d give it a bit of a rinse and then get amongst it. I picked it up and noticed that countless previous guests before me had unknowingly cooperated and created a chimera’s merkin on its underside. So I decided to pop it back in the dish and headed for the car.
Over breakfast, which I was enjoying, I remembered the soap and suffered the feeling I usually get when I’m eating pâté or taramosalata – I like this. Oh no I don’t I’ve just remembered it’s made of the inside bits. So when getting back to the room I wrapped my hand in the amount of toilet roll an Andrex puppy would jauntily run down the corridor with, picked up the soap, and popped it in the bin.
When leaving the room, which looked like Visigoths had been looking for pepper, I thought to myself “she won’t tidy the room, it’s not a hotel”, inevitably returning to a pristine turned-over room several hours later. She collared me in the doorway and we had a lovely chat that lasted geological timescales about Ringo, her, the village, her granddaughter, the B&B, “you’re normal which is good, not those veggies”, the village, her granddaughter riding Ringo, the B&B ‘game’, her granddaughter riding Ringo through the village whilst talking about the B&B ‘game’….
After 3 ice ages had passed I eventually retired to the ex-wardrobe to back out a troublesome 18-wheeler I had fought with all day, because I didn’t want to “make toilet” in the ones at the beach given they were like a pressure cooker full of sulphur and bin juice. Just as I managed to ease off the hydraulic footbrake and unleash the dirty pantechnicon I looked up and saw the puby soap sitting in the dish, staring back at me. I’m convinced it barked.