Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Doss House.

“I might as well go into the back-packing business”, I said to Mags through a haze of duvet dust, “I mean I’m starting to lose count of the number of kids staying here. There were seven last time I looked”.
“Is there any call for back-packing in the UK then?” asked Mags fighting with aforementioned duvet, now recalcitrant in any attempt to be put it into its casing.
“Bloody thing”, she said, now taking one wayward corner firmly in her grasp before plunging head first into the duvet cover.
“Well, I think so”, I pondered, helping her valiant efforts by seizing the outside corners as she let go, lest the duvet once more emancipate itself.
“Look at this gorgeous bedding though Alice and the lovely shower room these teenagers have got? Cor, remember some of those places we stayed in? Our bedding was whatever we were wearing and our en-suite facilities was a hole in the floor!”.
“All that squatting gave us toned thigh muscles though”, I laughed, “There was no way we were going to fall butt first into a pile of poo”.
“Oh yes”, Mags said, herself laughing at the memory, “And what about that place way off the beaten track in Thailand?”
“You mean the one where someone had just been murdered and they gave us his room. The place was crawling with police..”
“And cockroaches”, Mags added. We smoothed out the bed and lay on it and for the next half an hour were transported back to when we were two 21 year olds, hell bent on adventure in South East Asia.
“What about that amorous elephant driver?” I reminded her, “The one who kept swigging the local whisky in one hand and stroking your knee with the other?”
“How could I forget? We were stuck in a bloody wicker basket on the elephant’s neck in some remote Thai jungle with a ravine on one side of us”. Mags shuddered.
“No emails then Mags, nor texting. If our mothers never heard from us they just assumed we were alive. Nowadays they’d be picking hymns”.
“Back-packing in Britain can’t have the same exotic feel to it though as, Bali say, or Singapore?” asked Mags.
“Oh, I don’t know”, I replied, “The women turn quite a few tricks in the back streets of Millbay”.
“Yeah but the sailors won’t have quite the same surprise as many a Jack Tar has had on Bougis Street. I’d imagine the working girls in Plymouth are, well, at the very least, girls”.
At that instant Hubby came looking for us in the basement.
“Back breaking work eh girls?”, he said facetiously.
“We were just maligning your sort”, said Mags swinging her legs off the sofa bed, and taking a duster with her.
“Now how on earth could I be maligned? I am, as Mary Poppins would have it, practically perfect in every way”.
“Never known Vietnamese Rose then?”, asked Mags teasingly.
“You cheeky cow”, said Hubby, swiping her with a freshly plumped pillow, “I’ll have you know that when I was a lad I was back up that gangway before you could say, ‘Dose of penicillin leading caterer’”
Fooling around and generally casting insults at one another we were unaware that Pia was standing in the doorway, drumming her foot.
“Ja. Hi”, she said, stonily, “Just to let you know. My friends have arrived in London and are getting on their bus soon. They will be here at 5am”. I was about to give her the number of a taxi firm, when Hubby, no doubt buoyed by the boyish exhortations of a pillow fight, said, somewhat breathlessly and not at all wisely, “I’ll give you a lift to Bretonside. I don’t want you hanging around there at that time of day”.
“Jamie too?”, asked Pia. By now Hubby was committed, he could hardly back out, even though she wouldn’t be on her own after all.
“What could I say?” he said to me afterwards, “It would have looked as though I was disappointed that I wasn’t alone with her”.
“And are you?” I asked coyly. He snorted.
“Are you kidding? If I were to have an affair with a younger woman, let me tell you that it wouldn’t be with someone who is even more domestically challenged that my own wife.”
“Yes but you don’t look for domestic when having an affair”, I replied sulkily, “It’s more about unbridled, abandoned passion”.
“You seem to know rather a lot about this Alice, but let me reassure you that unless she was to fold her clothes neatly at the end of the bed, I, for one, wouldn’t go any further”.
At four am the following morning his alarm went off. At 6.50 he was back in our bedroom.
“Alice”, he whispered, shaking my shoulder, “I’m off out again. Gitte has left her handbag with purse and passport on the bus. I might intercept it at Newquay”. Did he think he was James bloody Bond?
He rang me an hour later. “Hello 007”, I yawned, “Mission accomplished?”
“No bus, no human being in fact. Not a sausage. I’ll try Truro”.
I, unable to sleep by now, got online and wondered if I could help him, but he was right, no human beings seem to work for National Express out of office hours. It was hopeless. Finally at a minute to midday, Hubby walked through the front door triumphant, a very fetching pink suede bag adorning his shoulder.
“Well I went to Truro where”, he explained, “I was redirected to Penzance, there a woman informed me that the London bus, was a ‘Different bus me ‘ansome’. She contacted Truro again, located the bag, I drove back there, found the depot and hey presto!”
When Gitte squeezed his chest and looked up at him with admiring eyes and told him he was “the greatest”, it had no doubt, all been worth it.

2 comments:

Alice Band said...

Hellooooo? Anybody there? It's a bit echoey out there in cyberspace.

Sally said...

What a lot of miles! There is a number that you can call out of hours apparently... but they don't seem to make it very visible. It's on the tickets. Fine if you have them. I found that out when I had hassles with National Express...

BTW... You haven't visited my blog for AGES!!!!