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A Couple Of Travelin’ Wilburys Man!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

After 475 miles of driving, 229 tracks on my shuffled iPod and 5 days of meeting up with a total of 35 friends, some old some new, our East Coast road trip is finally over.

It’s been a lot of fun. More fun than I anticipated especially given the amount of driving I had to do. Highlights include the trip to the Niddry Street Vaults in Edinburgh (see “Who You Gonna Call” in my previous blogs), what became a twelve hour pub marathon on Tuesday where we managed to catch up with 15 friends we hadn’t seen in a long time and get a sit down, table service meal at four a.m. and meeting little Charlie, the latest addition to our good friends the Hendersons.

A big thank you to you all for making our week so much fun.

It wouldn’t be a holiday for me though without some level of misadventure creeping in.

Navigation proved a bit fiddly. I zigged plenty of times when I should have zagged and while city to city was plain sailing, and even getting to people’s houses where we were staying was relatively simple, additional travel was fraught with wrong turns, dead ends and a lot of frustration.

Unbelievably the worst example of this was in Elgin. The main road through the town was closed for some reason and the authorities, obviously quick to react to whatever had required the road to close, had been somewhat slower off the mark with their diversion signs. By that I mean there weren’t any. Half an hour added to the journey. Thanks a bunch.

This was definitely nothing compared to the service provided by The Crown Hotel in Inverbervie, the accommodation we had chosen so as not to impose on our friends Scott and Jane who have two small children. The alarm bells were ringing when we got there and discovered, on a quick inspection of the room, pristine copies of what we can only assume were complimentary editions of Mayfair and Asian Babes. All very reasonable you might suppose until you realise you have been put in the family suite.

We quickly threw our bags in the room and headed for our friends in Johnshaven, just down the road, to enjoy a splendid evening of banter, one of the best takeaway curries I’ve ever had and a fine selection of whisky. Being a touch inebriated we called a cab and headed back to our hotel.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered our hotel had been locked up for the night. Despite having a front door key on the set of keys we had been given the door would not budge, clearly having been locked from the inside. We tried the doorbell and we tried phoning but to no avail. In the end we had to call the cab back and make an emergency landing on our friends floor. I was not amused.

In the morning I retrieved our bags from the room and tracked down the proprieter to explain why I wasn’t going to be paying for it. “We never lock the door” she said. The conversation that followed was a little bizarre. “You just turn the handle and push” she told me. No? Really? Is that how doors work round here? I was expecting a Star Trek style automatic door that makes a swooshy noise. If only I’d tried that when I was stood out in the cold at half one in the morning.

“I’m not bothered that you couldn’t use the room, I’m worried my door’s not working properly” was another gem. She didn’t have to sleep on a floor the previous night!
My suggestion that perhaps another guest might have put the catch on the lock was met by “everyone was bedded down by that time” despite the fact I hadn’t told her what time we had come back. At that point I began to smell a rat, handed her the keys and left.

As redundant as it seems to say it I heartily recommend you never stay at The Crown Hotel Inverbervie!

That was the worst mishap that befell us this time in an otherwise fantastic week. Now it’s a weekend of putting up shelves (thanks Ikea) and then back to work. Boo.

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