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Saturday, 28 April 2012

TGO Challenge: Cautionary Tales, Part 2: Hotel bathrooms

From Part 1 of this occasional series:

“There’s all manner of pitfalls to fall into: Getting lost. Getting soaking wet. Getting hungry, tired, emotional and possibly getting hurt. All these situations niggle away at the back of your mind before you set off. I just thought I would bash a few notes out on the old Remington on another of the pitfalls for the unwary.”

This particular incident took place on my TGO Challenge eleven years ago.

BEWARE OF HOTEL BATHROOMS!

It was the year of the Foot & Mouth outbreak and the “mini-Challenge,” which started on the A9 and finished on the east coast. However, our party had managed to assemble a complete crossing, helped by friendly landowners who had suggested viable routes through their estates. I was suffering my own version of “Foot and Mouth” with a very painful gouty toe; my “index toe” (the one next to my big toe) was very swollen, so it was almost the size of my big toe. All very painful and unpleasant.

Team, Crow Craigies May 2001
ME, MICK, BOB, & PHIL, ON CROW CRAIGIES MAY 2001

It had been a wonderful walk over from Braemar to Clova via Jock’s Road and by the time we arrived at the newly refurbished Clova Hotel we were bushed! The hotel foyer had newly laid cream carpets. The white paint gleamed, indeed some was still wet. But they were open for business to this ragged bunch of smelly hikers. We all agreed to meet up in the bar as soon as we were scrubbed and polished. 

My bedroom was magnificent: Large, airy, and freshly decorated, with the same sumptuous carpet as in the foyer. The bathroom glistened with polished chrome and all in a dazzling bright white with brand new fluffy white towels. In short, I felt guilty festooning the place with the smelly contents of my rucksack.

I ran a steaming hot bath to within a few inches of the sides and gingerly lowered my aching carcase towards the water. It was at this crucial moment, with my backside a foot above the bathwater, that my grip on narrow tiled shoulder of the bath slipped.

I plummeted the remaining foot or so into the water, my body whizzing down to the far end of the bath. There was a huge tidal wave of water that topped the bath and cascaded onto the bathroom floor. I banged my head on the back of the bath but there was a also stabbing pain down at the other end of my leg.

Being as blind as a bat without my spectacles, I could not work out where the pain was coming from but I could make out a nasty red blur at the other end of the bath. My gouty toe was jammed up the incredibly sharp crinkly inner of the hot tap and I was bleeding like a stuck pig! Levering myself back up to a sitting position I yanked the offending digit from the tap, only for even more blood to pour from the throbbing beast!

I felt about blindly for my wire-framed specs, which I had placed carefully on the loo seat next to the bath, but they were not there. They had been washed away by the tidal wave. Not to be caught out again by the slippery bath sides I slid my legs over the side of the bath, my body flopping out after my legs.

There was an awful lot of blood splashing about the pristine white floor tiles and so I reached for the loo roll only to grab a handful of soggy tissue. It too had been overwhelmed by the tidal wave. The fluffy white towels were forced into service and so with them acting as a monstrous white bandage, I clumped my way into my room to find the first aid kit.

***

The hotel were incredibly nice about it. The room looked as if a mad axeman had been at work, with blood spatters over the walls, floor tiles and carpets. The towels looked to be completely ruined. I patched myself up and the hotel very kindly put cleaners to work.

With my toe bandaged, I stomped off down to the bar, where the others were well into their puddings by now. They all thought it highly amusing and later on, a Swiss Army penknife was produced and a suitably anaesthetised surgeon offered to remove the offending toe whilst the rest of the team were to hold me down.

I beat a hasty retreat.

21 comments:

  1. What is it with you and Highland Hostelries Alan?!

    PS Phil looks rather like U2's The Edge!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's the rub: I hadn't even sniffed the barlady's apron!

      I had not been sure what 'The Edge' looked like. Thank you for that. I am sure he will be pleased to be compared to our Phil.
      :-)

      Delete
  2. History repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce. Is this the unintended effect of repeated crossings in The Challenge?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. There have been far sillier accidents by others on the walk... but I will let them tell their own stories.
      :-)

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  3. Alan, you just could NOT make it up. Have you recovered? ;-) I will ensure that I give you a wide berth so as not to become contaminated with your Frank Spencer-esque calamitous nature.

    Cheers!

    ps. emailed you recently - and another a while back, you getting them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have indeed recovered, physically, but the mental scars still remain. It's amazing what full strength National Health Drugs can do to a gouty toe. Allopurinol rules!

      Ah - I have your very kind email along with half a dozen other emails form kind folk to attend to! (I am really, really crap at emails!)

      Delete
  4. You haven't changed old fruit, don't recognise the middle two, but whatever happened to Phil! He seems to be younger now ;-D

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    1. Hi Louise
      Very sweet of you.
      :-)
      The other two are Fenboy Mick (he lives below sea-level) and my old school mate Bob (who had also walked with me in '95 and '97 on the Challenge.)
      Phil has one of those pictures in the attic, but he rubs out the dark shadows under his eyes and smooths out the wrinkles in the picture: So much cheaper than a face-lift.

      Delete
  5. Should a man with a gouty toe really be brandishing what looks like a half empty bottle of red wine? or is that why you've got a gouty toe? Don't forget to pack your suncream with your iceaxe for this years challenge. Gloriously sunny day here today....did somebody mention snow? In April? Don't be silly.

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    1. Hi Janet
      That was indeed a very good "Drinking Red" purchased that very day in Braemar. The others had similar bottles. The photographer, Michael Gray from NornIron, had a bottle of Poteen, that was like rocket fuel. It certainly got us to the top of Crow Craigies fast enough. However, Michael, who was a fit young bloke back then, declared that it had been the slowest three miles he had ever walked in his life!
      Phil remarked that if he was to continue walking with us he had every chance of improving on that record.

      Delete
  6. Tell me.

    Is it wise to regale me with these tales 10 days before we board the train?
    A wiser person would think he was getting himself into a potential cauldron of trouble.
    Luckily I have cast aside my sage like tendencies, for a life of ignorance and adventure.

    Now, that photo

    Such Boots, an entire calf on each foot.

    And as for Dorian Lambert (that is scary) .... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every walker should ritually slaughter a calf or two before any great undertaking. Is this not on your "To Do" list for the Challenge, then?

      Them ol' boots were reert comfy, they were... They were also a bit heavy, but no blisters!

      A "life of ignorance and adventure". That's sums up my life, that does!

      Delete
  7. Alan, The laundry room at the Newtonmore campsite is a laugh a minute too as my pal Titaniumdude and I once discovered. You stand an equal chance of being scalded, drowned, or crushed. It's a bit like being on the surface of Venus.

    Also the truckstop/diner there has a deliberate policy of serving obese prostitute-murderers (aka lorry drivers) ahead of 'normals'. Have a good TGO.

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    1. Very Clarksonesque, there Peter

      I feel I should divert our route to investigate. How exciting! Thanks for the good wishes. Looking at the weather forecast, we might need them.

      Delete
  8. The usual fivers will be handed over, Louise ;-) Did you know that I was once mistaken for Alan's son? He's never been the same since.

    @ David - The Edge? Noooooooo! After Jamiroquai, Mr E is the ultimate 'prat in a hat'. I suspect that he may be follically challenged, as well as musically.

    As it happens chaps, I DO have a portrait in the attic (yes, really!). It was painted by an impoverished screever in Montmartre many moons ago - at least he looked impoverished ... apart from the Tag Heur watch that I spotted peeping out from under the ragged sleeve :-D

    Ah, the stories are coming out now. I'm so glad that you have finally listened to your therapist, Al. The flashbacks will be so much less troubling if you confront the past, however traumatic - do you recall waking up wearing other people's clothes in a bunkhouse in Braemar? No? Probably just as well for your peace of mind.

    Oh dear, I've probably triggered another one ... sorry!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. " Did you know that I was once mistaken for Alan's son? He's never been the same since."
      How could I ever forget... It had been a gruelling day in the stormlets coming up the Feshie and down the Geldie all the way to the Fife...
      I put it down to the eyesight of the chap at the bar - more decrepit than me... Ooh - It still smarts...

      As for the "clothes" incident, I think we can say that that case is well and truly closed. No one ever pressed charges.... did they?

      With all these revelations the years are falling away and I am once more a callow youth...
      :-)

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  9. Neither pt1 or 2 bears thinking about. Although one year i did take a tick out from the groan area of a very good looking young lady!

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    1. "...I did take a tick out from the groan area of a very good looking young lady..."
      I am sure that was an accidental mis-speling there, Alan? Freudian slip perhaps?
      :-)

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  10. I think the groan area sounds better don’t you? lol
    I will blame it on the wine.

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  11. 11 years since the compotation atop of crow craigies. I just remember taking the picture. Probably because my trekking poles are in it!

    I must I admire your candour, no mention of incident, gambrinous or otherwise. With the story of the picnic-table, the ditch and certain esteemed vetters, being better left unsaid. Never mind the walk up to Loch Brandy, the following morning!

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    1. Ah, Michael, Yes. The Ditch.
      Phil & I found out that the Scots are parsimonious when it comes to issues of macadam. If they had invested slightly more in the road and increased its width, everything would have been fine.
      They do dig rather fine ditches though. No expense is spared there.

      Delete

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