Sunday, 10 July 2011

Read the small print

The hotel seemed very nice.  The staff were friendly and the room, once I found it after negotiating several up-and-down flights of wooden hills, was clean and adequately equipped.  And the view across the harbour was delightful.  'This will do me for three nights,' I thought.

As I looked more closely at the facilities, I noticed this, printed on the outside of an envelope on the bedside table:

'I wonder what that means?', I thought, and forgot about it.

When I made my way to bed, much later, I found out.  The hotel was adjoined to a popular pub, which had an outside terrace for admirers of the view, and for smokers.  Smokers seem to talk much louder than non-smokers, to make more bad jokes and to laugh a lot.  I say smokers, because there were no view-admirers - it was dark - and the rain was falling steadily.  Smokers are also desperately resilient.

But the noise ended at about 11.15, I got a good night's sleep and forgot about it again.

Next night, the same thing happened, but I was wise to it by then.  Come 11.30, they'll be away.  And they were.  But then, the pub staff decided to have a chat, out on the terrace.  This was worse, because the conversation was inaudible most of the time, but then, just as I was slipping away, someone would make a good joke.  I don't know if you've ever been in a similar situation, but the worst of it is that you lie there wondering if that was the last one, or if not when the next one will be along.

It was time for the earplugs.  Here are the instructions for installing them:

Try that at midnight.  They sort of work, but they're uncomfortable enough to keep you awake.

By 1.30, I'd had enough.  I opened the window and had a word.  I was very polite.  "I say, would you be so kind as to put a focken sock in it?  Some people up here are trying to get some bleeping sleep!  Thank you SOO much."

That did the trick. 

By the final evening, the word had obviously gone out that there was a Scillonian demon residing up there.  The revellers meekly let themselves be shepherded off the terrace, at eleven sharp, by the ferocious landlady, and I slept soundly until five-thirty, when the seagulls started their dawn chorus.


  1. That roundy-round bit with the earplugs looks complicated--specially if half your face has been cut away.

  2. Yes, agreed, and what about your left ear?

  3. You sleep on your left side, Chris, so that the pillow muffles the sound.

    My daughter always takes earplugs away with her in case of a noisy hotel. I can't imagine how she sleeps in them, I couldn't.

  4. I went to Tresco once and it was the quietest place in the Universe. Once the helicopter had left.

  5. ElizT - yes, it took me a while to realise I was meant to be twisting it before inserting it rather than after.
    Christopher and Z - it's straightforward, just view the instructions in the mirror. Or, easier, drink three large brandies before bed.
    Rog - you couldn't hear the punters from St Mary's?