Instead of Oban.
The good people of Mull are safe from disease & disaster (if not from NHS malpractice.) This time its Aberdeen's Emergency Care Centre, seven floors (eight if you count the labyrinthine basement) of medical wonder, the latest addition to the hospital complex at Foresterhill and at £115 million, you'd be right in expecting the best of equipment.
One of the things they didn't spend any of that money on was my hotel room, in Oban I had a suite of rooms, I know I'm a tiny cog but if I'm to be away from home for long periods (not really true this time, I'm away only for a couple of nights each week for the next few weeks) I expect to be housed appropriately. I'm staying in the Atholl Hotel, its actually quite posh, lots of blue rinsers in the bar and men with copious amounts of satiny grey hair, they'd be smoking cigars and the women would be in another room if this was fifty odd years ago.
My room on the other hand isn't posh, its tiny, I feel like an eight year old all over again. I want to put Indiana Jones posters on the wall or put on a gimp suit and grow a humped back. I could lurch and frolic for the entertainment of the lords and ladies in the parlour downstairs.
It comes with only a single bed, no seriously, a single bed, what if I pull tonight, I mean they'll probably not manage the stairs (I'm on the second floor and I haven't seen a lift) but I might attract the attentions of someone much younger, say, in their 60's.
I was going to say I've seen nothing of Aberdeen but that isn't true, there are three of us working up here and we went out for dinner. We did attempt to find somewhere in the town centre but my work colleague who was driving got lost, he said he wanted to find the sea, a pretty big target but he kept driving in the opposite direction. Still, he'd have found it eventually, it just wouldn't have been the North Sea.
We drove along Union Street, saw the Union Terrace Gardens (which looked perfectly fine in the evening as they were.) We then drove all over the place, up and down, along and back. Eventually deciding on a Beef Eater Toby Brewer's Carvery or some such place, it was nice enough and really very cheap, which is good given the stingy amount we are allowed to claim for sustenance while away.
I had a good look around the new hospital building and it looks very swish, more importantly it has many, many buttons and things to push, pull, raise, lower and otherwise be made to make noises they may or may not be meant to make. I found the roof via the mysterious eighth floor, the entire top floor of the building is given over to shiny 'plant' machinery, something to do with heating or cooling or perhaps disposal of bodies, I'm not sure but it was very shiny and hummed in an efficient and productive fashion.
The new hospital has a High Dependency or Critical Care Unit (the same thing really.) Ten bays where the unfortunate patient is surrounded by medical equipment that hangs from the ceiling on pneumatic pendants. At the push of a button they can be swung round closer or further away from the bedside, these moving workstations have power sockets, oxygen and suction plus other things I couldn't identify, its all very modern.
One thing I did do which earned me some frowns was walk into the x-ray rooms while they were being tested. The warning light outside the door was on but at this stage of the development that doesn't really mean anything, so in I walked. Two men (wearing owl-like glasses and beards) were sitting behind the lead screening, I said hello, they frowned. I pointed to the x-ray machine and asked, 'is that switched on?' They said, 'yes it is.' I said, 'I'd better go then.' They nodded and frowned some more.
Now, if I was sitting there testing the machine and some arse came sauntering in, I wouldn't frown, I'd do this and in the following order:
1. Leap up screaming and hammering on the lead glass screen.
2. Shout NO! NO! You'll be killed. NO! Stay there, its too late...
3. Then I'd start sobbing about 'losing my job over this'.
Imagine the look on the person's face. I know walking into an x-ray room once* (assuming you don't actually work in one every day) isn't going to do any harm, but they'd shit themselves, it would be hilarious. Instead, I was allowed to leave, my dignity intact if not my ability to procreate (which doesn't really matter if the person I'm engaged in sexual congress with in my attic bedroom, is sixty or more years old and in all probability not female in any case.)
Beyond that, Aberdeen is not a city I'm overly familiar with, I've spent no time here at all, it certainly looks handsome and you can see why it gets the Granite City name, the buildings are really very grey indeed. My colleagues have retired for the evening and I'm sitting in my room typing and listening to the radio. I've opened and closed all the drawers, found the Gideon's bible, the kettle and the hair dryer. The trouser press is also present, all is well in my hotel room world, except of course for that bloody single bed.
I think I might put my gimp suit on and nip down stairs, I might be able to lure an eager sixty year old to my room in the building's eaves, if they can't manage the stairs, I can always balance them on my hump.
* There was another x-ray room being tested by two similar gentlement, I wandered into that one too. I had no plans for children anyway.