After consulting various electronic GPS devices we found it just outside the town centre, from the outside it looked ok, well, so long as you didn’t look too closely. We all piled up the stairs to the second floor reception to find the door locked, a sign however invited us to press the bell which we did. Some time later a man appeared, I say appeared, I think its fair to say (and its hard for me to actually pull my punches here) we were all alerted to his impending arrival by the smell that preceded him, when he came past us, the odour that assailed our noses has to be experienced to be believed; he was the smelliest man, well, ever. I mean, I think we all tried to cover up our revulsion, but it was really hard to do. As you can imagine, having a significant body odour problem (and this wasn’t cooking smells or old clothes, this was an out-and-out case of not having washed at all for quite some time) is not a trait suited to a person whose work involves greeting the public in a place where they are going to sleep and possibly prepare food.
Booking in was interesting, I know some hotels insist on taking your passport but generally, if you haven’t actually left your own country, its not really necessary, he was quite confused about that. He then became more confused about the group; he wanted home & email addresses, phone numbers and since we had no passports, driving licence numbers from everyone. I explained that only four of us had driving licences and none of us were keen to part with the information, he became confused again. I thought we were booking into a hostel in
Inverness, not applying for access to official state secrets. I suggested since I was paying, I give him my details, he agreed. For the purposes of veracity, my name isn’t Barry Soap nor do I live in or any where near Chipping Norton and my driving licence number looks nothing like what I provided on his booking in slip, apart from the truly awful smell the idea of identity theft was also going through my head.
With booking in sorted, we followed him back down to the first floor (breathing as shallowly as possible) to where our room was and declined his offer of being shown were the common sitting room and kitchen was, he also offered to show us where the showers were, we nearly took him up on that, we could have pushed him into one but we spotted them ourselves on our way in.
Once we’d opened all the windows we took the time to have a good look at our surroundings, something about the place looked familiar, small shelves in random places, overly elaborate Asian looking light fittings, then on each window a flamboyant Z with other wording half heartedly removed.
The place used to be an Indian Restaurant. In fact, the only reason it was no longer an Indian restaurant is because someone had removed the chairs and tables and replaced them with children’s bunk beds. The reception desk was still outside our room, the kitchen was also still there although it looked like they were replacing the heavy duty restaurant equipment with more domestic looking appliances.
Even the carpet looked like the kind you find in an Indian restaurant; I have no idea what it’s called, ‘Tiled Taj Mahal Dome’ perhaps? But there it was, in burgundy and black.
The room had four bunk beds so Finlay opted for the floor, which was probably only marginally less clean than the beds themselves. We did venture up the stairs to the communal areas, the delightfully fragrant receptionist was cooking his dinner (having a bath might be more useful chum) and the communal sitting-cum-dining room was empty. We hadn’t seen any other inmates around.
We decided to have a look around town and by a weird form of mutual mind reading, we all bought presents for each other, this probably sounds more grand than it actually was, the presents mostly came from the many pound shops on Eastgate High Street, Michael got some children’s underwear (he works with young children and often tells stories involving toilet based failures with the kids, not him obviously, he’s 23.) Lewis got a lovely new case for his phone, I think it had a pink pony on it, I got a charming T shirt with a message about Scottish Independence with the word freedom emblazoned under a picture of William Wallace or Mel Gibson, (the two are now interchangeable.) Ross (not a leader per se but an ex-member who is now a doctor - we turn out quality people you know…) was given a toy doctor’s set, useful in this age of NHS cuts. There were also red horns and a tail kicking around, I assume they were available for purchase because Halloween would soon be upon us and
Inverness must have its fair share of drunken slappers prepared to don such attire. Equally they may have been left in the room by the previous incumbents, something tells me the hostel’s chambermaids aren’t as conscientious as they could be, or that they even exist.
When ever we see a pound shop we can’t walk by with out seeing who can buy the most useless artefact for a quid, it’s become a bit of a habit, so this is what we did, I managed to find some arm tattoos, like tights with a pattern on and about as convincing as Jimmy Saville claiming he actually was in Mothercare for some baby powder. Michael went one better and bought an East 17 CD (I know…) Lewis on the other hand bought a pack of tin foil containers of the kind Chinese and indeed, Indian Takeaways use for food. I like to think we left them at the hostel, if ever it reverts back to an Indian Restaurant, they can hit the ground running.
While the younger crowd returned to the hostel we went to the pub, Hootenanny’s has live music on every night, this evening a three piece band was in residence playing mostly rock, last time I was here it was the Rooty-ma-toot Big Band which if I’m being honest, I preferred. The main guy in the three-piece could certainly play his guitar but after a while it got a bit samey and overly loud, he really put his heart into it although the bass player looked on the brink of suicide, which I understand is normal for them. By far though, it was the drummer who seemed to be having the most fun.
We came away from there and had a drink in a Karaoke bar called ‘Gun Smiths’ which was rubbish, at that we decided to return to the Hostel, we were all feeling peckish and wondered if they could still rustle up a curry.
Go to Pt 9
Go to Pt 9