THE HOTEL INSPECTOR: The Nurse (Part Two)

I had intended to post the follow up to The Nurse a little earlier. Unfortunately for us, whenever it rains (and by the way, it’s currently winter here in Australia) we lose our phone line. Because of Telstra’s impeccable service (for those of you who haven’t guessed, I’m being overly sarcastic here) we were only without phone, and therefore internet service, for a little over a week. So given we were without rain today, I thought I better hurry up and post the conclusion to The Nurse!

For Part One, click HERE

PART TWO

It took me a moment or two to work out what Nurse Anne had said. ‘You what?’

‘My husband,’ Anne said pleasantly. I heard a clink and saw that she had produced a tiny pair of scissors. She moved to the back of the bed, leaning over and snipped twice, freeing my bonds.

‘Wow, that is a coincidence.’

‘Yes, he’s been there about a month, I think, with this trial,’ Anne said, now tugging at my sutures with what I could only guess was a pair of tweezers. ‘I guess this incident occurred at the hotel?’

‘Ah ha, yep,‘ I replied, wincing as she pulled at the first barbed thread. Was it really this painful, getting stitches removed, or was this a different kind of pain I was feeling?

‘I feel so bad for him,‘ Anne said as she worked. ‘Spending all that time in hotels. He’s been so busy over there.’

‘Mmm-mmm, yep,’ I replied, wincing again as the last of the threads was removed.

Something was wiped over my wound, and then Anne told me I could sit up.

I rose from the bed as she deposited her equipment on the trolley. ‘He’s quite handsome, my husband, isn’t he?’ She declared, spinning around to fix me with a determined glare.

‘Um, yeah, I suppose, if you like that big man thing he has going on.’ What do you say to a woman who asks what you think of her husband? What?

‘So he took you to the hospital?’ She asked, eyelids flickering.

‘Well, I think he felt bad.’

‘How extraordinary that you came here to get your stitches removed?’

I swallowed. ‘Oh, it’s ironic all right.’

Anne stepped forward. ‘Is it?’ She demanded. Her features suddenly changed. Anne wasn’t so pretty anymore; now she looked demonic.

‘Well anyway, thanks for taking those out for me,’ I said, jumping off the bed and grabbing my bag.

‘Did he send you here?’ She screeched at me. I was already at the door.

I rushed through the waiting room, desperate to get away. I couldn’t believe the turn of events. As I reached the door of the clinic I heard Anne’s high-pitched voice from behind me: ‘What the hell did he say about me?’

I didn’t bother turning around.

The Hotel Inspector: The Nurse (PART ONE)

Photo courtesy of rest relax.com
Photo courtesy of rest relax.com

PART ONE

I look like I’ve barbed wire sticking out of my eye. Stitches are gross when they’ve been in a while. Hardened black things that have no place in human skin. And itchy as all hell. Itchy!! They’ve also been in a little too long.

Also, sadly, they’re a constant reminder of Ewan. Every time I look in the mirror, other than shuddering at my appearance (which, after two weeks, admittedly, is getting better) I have a constant reminder of how I got the stitches in the first place.

Thankfully, I’m getting them out.

It was all too difficult to do so while in London. What with the re-arranging of hotel bookings and having to book myself into two simultaneously to get my schedule back on track. I had the reports from my Cardiff stay to file and then – and why I’m annoyed at this I don’t know, as it always happens – I had to deal with the constant phone calls from one hotel manager as to why I gave his hotel such low scores.

Oh, I don’t know, maybe is because his hotel (small, privately owned one in Bristol) was deplorable? The bloke is losing money fast and thought it must have had something to do with his service. I have tried to put it as politely as I can that it has nothing to do with his service, but to do with the state of his hotel.

Like the options between a room that doesn’t have a bathroom door versus one that doesn’t have a toilet seat. Seriously. Then there was the room with the uneven floor, where I felt I was suffering from permanent vertigo. In one of the other rooms I viewed (and seriously, I felt like I was some kind of manic goldilocks going into that place) it appeared that the wallpaper was the only thing holding up the wall.

Yes, deplorable. But this bloke was having none of it. Has some strange attachment to the place and believes it ‘quaint’. Notice that’s how he describes it on his so-called website. Note to all: any hotel described as ‘quaint’ is probably shit. Shit, with a deranged owner who doesn’t believe having a toilet seat is necessary.

So with all that going on I’ve not been able to get my stitches out.

I’m in Brighton, ready to give my verdict on two hotels owned by the same franchise. There’s a medical clinic nearby the first, which is where I decided to go to have the stitches removed.

You would think I was asking for a nuclear weapon. I was met at reception by one of those types you only find in medical clinics. You know the ones. Those middle-aged women who for some reason believe their job is one of extreme importance. Like they’re the keeper of the keys in the medical world. To get to the doctor, you need to get past them. And oh, the doctor is soooo important and soooo busy.

I was trying to explain to the receptionist (High Priestess, Lady of the manor whatever it is she thinks she is) that all I needed was to have my stitches removed. That no, I did not have an appointment. That no, I was not from the area. That no, I could not see my own GP because firstly, I didn’t have one and secondly, goodness knows when I’d be in Manchester next.

That’s when I got the look. The ‘look’ that southerners give you whenever you let slip you’re ‘from the north.’ My accent, thankfully, hardly gives me away, because I wouldn’t want to be met with such discrimination on a daily basis.

There’s a lip curl and a set of the eyes when you say you’re from the north. A peering kind of ‘you can’t be trusted’ look. A slight move backwards in case being northern is ‘catching.’

What is this? In all the years I’ve been here and decided to set up shop in Manchester (I was there, it was cheap) I’ve not been able to understand this northern dislike. Does this harp back to some civil war or something? Is it a social economical thing? Sometimes I hardly understand this country. And I live here.

The receptionist gave me a roll of the eyes (while surreptitiously rolling her chair back from the desk) and stated that I couldn’t be helped.

‘It’ll take five seconds,’ I told her.

‘Seriously, Cynthia, I can do it,’ came a voice.

I turned to my left and saw a tall blonde specimen coming towards me. Slender legs, even tan, nurses uniform. She approached me with a smile.

‘Anne, we don’t have the time,’ Cynthia replied with a clipped voice. ‘Dr Gilbert doesn’t have a free appointment today, and she’s not a patient.’

Anne gave a chuckle. ‘A couple of stitches? I can do it. Do you want to come with me?’ Nurse Anne asked.

‘Um, yeah, sure,’ I replied. Giving the receptionist a mental ‘fuck you,’ I followed the nurse into a room just off the waiting area.

‘I’m Anne,’ the nurse said as we entered the room.

‘Molly,’ I replied.

‘Okay, Molly, just lie down on the bed there,’ the nurse told me, moving over to collect the equipment needed from a trolley.

‘Thanks for this,’ I told her, dumping my bag on the floor and settling down on the bed.

‘Not at all,’ she replied breezily. ‘So how did this happen?’

I looked up to see her staring down at me. I noticed that her face was heavily made up with the kind of precision you only get from doing a makeup course. She was certainly pretty, with her big eyes, high cheekbones and full lips, but I wondered how much of it was due to the makeup rather than actual beauty.

‘I got a heavy door opened into my face.’

‘Oh, that’s terrible! I hope the person apologised!’

‘Yeah, he did. Actually, he was pretty good about everything. He took me to the hospital and put my stitches in himself and made sure I was okay.’ I didn’t want to speak ill of Ewan, even to a stranger.

‘He put the stitches in?’ She asked.

‘Yeah, he’s a doctor. Well, not a medical doctor but he’s a psychiatrist and is doing some clinical study over there, so he knew the people at the hospital. Apparently he does medical training with the army, or so he says. I don’t know, did he do a good job? I’ve never had stitches before so can’t tell.’

Anne’s face changed. Her inquisitive pleasant expression slowly turned to a curious frown. She glanced at my stitches, inching closer to my eye, before moving back. ‘He did a wonderful job,’ she said with a croaked voice. ‘Tell me, just out of interest, because I can’t believe the world is this small, but what was the name of this doctor?’

‘Ewan,’ I told her. ‘Ewan Baker.’

‘Well, how interesting,’ Anne replied with a false chuckle. ‘It appears your run-in was with my husband. Small world indeed.’

Response From Campbelltown City Council (Oh Yes!)

Oh no! After my ‘humorous’ open letter to the Campbelltown City Council (read here) the council have sent me a serious reply!

You can see it in the comments on the post. Some poor bugger took the time to explain the idea behind the Pizza Festival.

Kudos for Campbelltown – they’re not going to let any snide comments pass them by. Even in a satirical letter.

As you can see by their comment, the pizza festival is more than just ‘advertising eateries.’ Apparently, people are coming from the other side of town to enjoy our pizzas.

What? Non-locals in Campbelltown? What an outrage! They’d be the ones who know how to navigate a roundabout. Who, when putting on their left indicator, actually turn left instead of right. I’m not sure if I want these uppity folks in my neighbourhood.

Also, when at said pizzerias, one can make their own pizza. Good idea, Campbelltown but Kramer got their first.

Having said all that, at no point did Campbelltown actually say my pizza frisbee idea was a good one.

I so hate when my genius is overlooked.

Thank you Campbelltown for still being the best council district I’ve ever lived in!!

An Open Letter to Campbelltown City Council

Courtesy of goodfood.com

Courtesy of goodfood.com

Dear Campbelltown Council

I have lived in your district for nine and a half years and this is the first time I have had just cause to be annoyed with you.

Which is disappointing, because up until now, I thought you’ve been doing a great job. It’s much easier to hand over my council rates when I appreciate what is being done with my hard-earned money.

You’ve given me a lot, Campbelltown. Living in this area is a daily trip down memory lane, reminding of my childhood spent in Murray Bridge’s Italian community. This is mainly due to the fact that the children of the Murray Bridge Italians all moved to this area, I grant you. Yet the Italianness of this community made me feel immediately at home. No where else in Adelaide can you drive down a road and see a poorly written sign advertising rape for two dollars. Anywhere else and there would be outcry, but here, in this Italian smelting pot, we all know that the rape they are talking about is of the broccoli variety (di rape).

I love that in the summer months you hold ‘Moonlit Markets’ at Thorndon Park. I love that you have movie nights there, also. I’ve never been to either, but it’s good to know I have the option.

I love that you built that migrant monument at Glynde Corner, even though everyone from outside our area mistakes it for a weird asymmetrical church and us Campbelltown folk have to explain that no, it’s a monument, not a building of any kind, and yes, it lights up at night.

I love that you celebrate Christmas by having a pageant where Father Christmas rides in the back of an industrial crane, probably supplied by Bianco’s. I love that Bianco himself is something of a celebrity in the area, and that Gorge Road is shut down when they have their yearly sale.

So yes, I love a lot about this council district. What I don’t love is this so-called pizza festival.

When I first saw the signs, I got excited. A pizza festival! Of course! We have more pizza places than pubs in this area. More pizza places than churches; quite a feat in an area heavily populated with Catholics. Pizza and Campbelltown go hand in hand. So when I heard about the festival, my imagination started running wild.

I wondered how you would do it. Some big celebration in Thornton Park where you could buy pizzas from hundreds of stall holders? Or maybe a running-of-the-pizza, much like that tomato festival they have in Spain. We’d all run down Newton Road while being pelted with margherita pizzas.

Or – and this was my most outlandish thought, but I really hoped you’d do it – you’d drive a truck down every street in Campbelltown, giving out free pizza. It’d be like an ice cream truck but instead of the usual greensleves being played, ‘Shut Uppa Your Face’ would be blaring. And the pizzas wouldn’t be handed out, but thrown from the road like a frisbee which residents had to catch at their doorstep. If you caught it, you got to eat your pizza. If you didn’t, you had the task of cleaning oily tomatoes from your doorstep. If you weren’t home? They pizzas were tossed anyway; an Italian version of getting egged.

So have you done any of this? No. The extent of your so called pizza festival is to simply notify us on your website of when local eateries are having specials. No running with the pizzas, no pizza festival in the park, no pizza tossing at the doorstep.

And for this reason, I’m annoyed with you, Campbelltown.

My hope is that next year, if you decide to continue with the farce that is the pizza festival, you employ at least one of my suggestions. Otherwise, it is nothing more than a pizza marketing campaign. Redundant, given us locals know where to get the best pizzas.

From your rate-payer,

Giorge Thomas

The Hotel Inspector: The Doctor and the Door (Final)

Read in full and catch up here

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Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die…*

The Charge of the Light Brigade was in my head, this verse particularly. Why the hell was I thinking of going into battle, into certain death, when thinking of spending the day alone with Ewan?

The thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever consciously avoided being alone with anyone these last years, it’s just kind of happened. I took jobs that put me around lots of people, usually in hotels. I travelled alone. When I started up my business, it was alone. When I’ve needed contact with another human being, as often happens – I have all the right urges, despite everything that has happened to me – I do find myself with another man, secluded for a little while at least. But the length was no longer than a couple of hours at least, and there was always that relief, that sweet relief, when whoever it was I had blindly chosen left me at peace.

This wasn’t a battle, being here with Ewan. It wasn’t something I’d have to fight through. He was here to make sure I was okay. Whatever had happened in his life previously, maybe something to do with the war (which war?) I don’t know, something in his life made him want to take care of me. Or at least, made him want to insure I would be safe. We’re all governed by our past, whether we like it or not. His made him want to stay and secure, mine made me want to flee.

My whole body tensed as Ewan settled himself on the bed next to me. It’s the issue of your average hotel room. Unless you are somewhere fancy, unless you are in a suite, the chairs provided in the room are practically redundant. Useless, uncomfortable vessels which are only good for storing luggage or strewing your clothes over. It wouldn’t be appropriate in any other situation to sit on a bed next to someone you hardly know; but in a hotel it seems the only option.

I wasn’t worried about Ewan’s intentions. Although, maybe I was. If he was here for other reasons, sexual reasons, I would have been fine. Happier, even. Because my goodness, he smelt good. And he was handsome and well built and had those lovely blue eyes. Yes, I would have been much happier if it was for sex. I think knowing it wasn’t on the cards heightened my feelings of awkwardness.

‘You all right?’ Ewan asked, perhaps sensing or seeing me become a stiff plank.

‘Um, yeah, yeah, I’m fine,’ I lied.

‘Can I just check-’

Ewan left the sentence unfinished, and before I knew it he was over me, his large hands eclipsing the light. Gently he prodded the gauze covering my stitches.

‘They should be fine,’ he said. Examination over, he settled back to his side of the bed.

I fanned my wet hair over the pillow, and concentrated on the television screen, trying to find something worthy to watch.

‘Should we dry your hair?’

‘No, it’ll be fine.’

I spend my life with wet hair, never being bothered to do anything with it. Usually, it ended up being wrapped in a bun which I would take out in the evening to find my hair still wet. Even if I wanted to do anything remotely stylish with my mane, I never had the available equipment with me. No matter what the star rating of a hotel, it was rare to have one with a hair dryer that gave out anything stronger than a slight drizzle of warm air.

‘If you want to rest, you can, I’ll just wake you up every so often,’ Ewan said gently.

‘Um, yeah, okay,’ I said uncertainly.

I didn’t think it would be possible for me to sleep, feeling as I did. Yet the moment I did, sleep found me, despite the throbbing pain in my head.

Throughout the day, I wasn’t really aware of the times Ewan woke me up. I didn’t stay awake for long, anyhow. Just enough to feel his hands on my shoulder, see his blue eyes looking wistfully down at me while I opened mine.

A day of dreams, mostly. Different fragments of my life floating in and out, of Ewan’s blue eyes, constantly there, something of a token for which I didn’t know the meaning.

At some point when I was woken, the light in the room had changed. Dimmer, less harsh. Ewan wondered if I wanted something to eat, that he was ordering room service. I ordered the club sandwich.

I always order the club sandwich. It’s that one standard meal which all hotels should have on their menu, and is the measure for the rest of it. I’d already had the club sandwich the night before, and knew it to be good. Crispy bacon. Seasoned chicken. Perfectly cooked fries. I looked forward to another.

Ewan ordered, and I heard him ask for our meals to be charged to his room. I didn’t object as I couldn’t be bothered. We ate on the bed, as you do when you’re staying in a hotel, regretting it as always later on when you spend the night rolling around in crumbs.

One of the TV channels was having a Gavin and Stacey-a-thon. Wonder how much of a coincidence that was, given we were in Cardiff. I love Gavin and Stacey, so was happy to watch it. Incredibly, Ewan said he’d never seen it. The guy surely must have been living under a rock or something.

When Ewan laughed, his body shook the whole bed. I think that’s when I first realised that, fuck me, I’m lying on a bed next to this gorgeous man. Everything felt a bit different after that. Like I was conscious that he was there. I could practically feel the heat of his body next to mine, even though our outstretched legs were at least ten centimetres apart.

I had to find myself a different kind of strength after that. The don’t-try-and-jump-the-good-samaritan-doctor strength. I began feeling turned on by absolutely everything. Even scenes of Smithy and Nessa doing it. I know. Disgusting.

Despite having slept in hourly bursts throughout the day, as midnight neared I figured I’d sleep again. This time I folded myself under the covers, glad that I’d have something, at least, between me and Ewan. But then I wondered:

‘How are you going to stay awake?’

‘I’m not,’ he said, pulling out his phone. ‘I’m gong to set an alarm for every two hours. I think we can safely stretch it out now.’

‘Oh, right, cool.’

‘I can lie here or I can go on the floor,’ Ewan said, his face stiff.

‘No, no, here’s fine,’ I said, mouth foaming. Holy shit.

Two things of note happened through the night. Firstly, I woke up of my own accord, dying for a pee. I looked over to Ewan, sleeping on top of the bed covers. A film of moonlight was illuminating his face and I found myself just staring at him. In sleep he looked peaceful and manly and strong. The kind of face you know is attractive, even with eyes closed. The kind of face you’d be pleased to see when waking up in a foreign room after a drunken, blanked-out night. For as long as my bladder would allow I stared at his face, thinking. I thought of his beauty and how it could be so easily tainted by whatever it is I am. I thought of his character, seemingly pure, and how it would definitely be bruised by mine; already damaged.

It made me see that Ewan Baker and me are not compatible. Not that I was thinking of us in any way. Not that there’d be a chance.

The second thing that happened was slightly embarrassing. Early morning, too early to get up, but the light through the curtains had me opening my eyes. Ewan hadn’t bothered setting another ‘wakeup’ alarm given I seemed to be in the clear.

When I woke I was on my side, my hand outstretched over a lump in the bed. My face and torso were warm, as if whatever it was surrounding me was emitting heat. Because, I soon realised, my arm was around and my face against Ewan’s torso. Discretely I tried to pull away, but the movement had Ewan opening his eyes, too.

‘Hey, you okay?’ he asked. This is when I realised that his arm was around me. Ewan pulled me in just as I was trying to pull away. With his other hand he wiped a strand of hair from my face. ‘How’s your head?’

‘Not as headachy,’ I admitted.

‘Good,’ Ewan replied, soothing my hair again.

He seemed quite comfortable with the arrangement.

‘Is this you?’ I asked him.

‘What do you mean?’

‘This,’ I indicated our bodies with the hand that had been draped over Ewan’s torso.

‘I thought it was you,’ he replied.

‘But your arm is around me, so I figured you’d kind of locked me in here.’

‘Where else am I supposed to put it with you jammed up next to me?’ Ewan asked, the corners of his mouth twitching.

‘Yes, well, I was trying to move before you woke up.’

‘Don’t,’ Ewan replied softly, tightening his arm around me. ‘It’s nice, just being able to be close to someone.’

I couldn’t disagree.

So we stayed like that until it was time to wake up; wrapped in one another’s arms.

The spell had been broken. They’re right about the ‘cold light of day.’ It is cold. You see things with cold calculation, with precision. The mind takes over from the heart.

Work was my priority. Ewan was still asleep while I showered, dressed, and packed my case. A reminder of the previous day’s activities occurred every time I bent over: momentarily I’d be sent into a dizzying state combined with a slight throbbing of the skull. I reminded myself to stay as upright as possible on the train journey to London.

‘Are you off then?’

I turned to the bed to see Ewan awake and sitting up. I nodded at him. ‘I’ve got to get to London.’

‘More hotels to inspect?’

I smiled. ‘It never ends. Thankfully. It’s what pays my bills.’

‘Are you often in London?’ Ewan wondered.

‘Well, yeah. More hotels than any other city. I’m probably there every few months.’

‘We should catch up the next time you’re there.’

‘Yeah, maybe.’

Tension was swirling into the room like a fog, choking me. I had to get out of there.

So began the awkward ‘it was nice to meet you’ routine that happens at the end of a one night stand when your escape is foiled by the bloke waking up. It was different this time because I actually liked the said bloke. And I hadn’t fucked him. And he’d opened a door into my face. So awkward for a completely different reason.

Ewan insisted on walking me down which was just elongating the process. It’s like when your family insists on coming into the airport with you to say goodbye. No one wants extend any emotionally difficult process. Except, it seems, parents and doctors-slash-army blokes from London.

Ewan waited in the foyer while I settled my bill, all the while making mental notes on how the staff treated me. Out in the street, the good doctor hailed me a taxi. As it pulled up, Ewan opened the door for me, stowing in my luggage. His mouth pressed into a hard line as he faced me; the final goodbye.

‘I am sorry for hitting you in the face.’

‘You’re forgiven.’

‘Maybe it’d be nice for us to meet on terms that don’t involve face bruising, sutures and concussion.’

‘Well, that would be nice, but I’m pretty sure we don’t move in the same circles, so I think it unlikely,’ I admitted.

Ewan tilted his head to the side. ‘Well, see, I was thinking of forcing it.’ He produced a card from his wallet, holding it out to me. ‘My mobile is on there. Give me a call when you’re next in London.’

I thought of making some quip about how I’d be in London later on that morning, would that suit? But it wasn’t a time for jokes. As soon as the card was between my fingers, I moved my hand back towards Ewan, giving it back.

‘Thank you for all that you’ve done,’ I said politely, ‘but let’s just leave it at that.’

I hopped into the taxi, not wanting to look back at Ewan; knowing it would break my resolve. I told the driver to go, but he hesitated, and in that time the door opened. I turned to see Ewan’s stern face.

‘Those sutures will need to come out in ten days,’ he said with a dull voice. The door was slammed, rattling the whole cab.

‘Go,’ I commanded the driver, feeling my eyes prick.
*
Later that morning I checked into my next hotel. I was relieved to arrive; escaping the looks of disgust and concern I’d seen on those around me since Cardiff Station. It was a boutique, upmarket hotel where actual art hung on the walls instead of the usual abstract work a five year old could do. It’s the kind of place celebrities would come to for a quiet drink when they don’t want to be seen by the photographers. Or where politicians discreetly met with their mistresses.

The hotel only had six floors and my room was on the third. With only my small, overnight bag, I wasn’t offered a bell hop, and so walked alone to the lifts and stairs at the back of the building.

Ordinarily, with just three floors, I would have taken the stairs. Yet as my hand grasped the door handle of the stairwell, the memories of what had last happened to me, just the day before, came flooding back. There would be no Ewan Baker in this stairwell.

The inevitable had happened. Something had occurred that was substantial enough to eclipse my hatred of lifts. Who knew it would be a man?

With a sigh, I moved over to the lifts, hitting the call button. The doors opened in an instant and I walked in to the tiny space. As I hit the button for the third floor, a large hand came out of nowhere, stopping the doors from closing. I saw the face, and body, of a very large man as he entered the small lift, immediately filling up the majority of space. He was followed in soon after by an equally large wife and three close-to-needing-child-services-due-to-their-size children.

I spent three floors with my face pressed in against the control panel of the lifts and with the arse of the wife squashed next to mine. When we reached the third floor it was like a human-sized game of Jenga, trying to arrange the large family so I could get out. I took three calming breaths once on my own, cursing Ewan with each of them.

He’d got to me.
The End (?)
* The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

The Hotel Inspector – The Doctor and the Door can be viewed in full here

The Hotel Inspector: The Doctor and The Door (Part Five)

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Read PART ONE here
Read PART TWO here
Read PART THREE here
Read PART FOUR here

PART FIVE

I believe I was having a dream of sorts. A lovely dream where everything was white and fluffy. I had a feeling of peace, certainly. I was in a hotel, but everything in it was white. My room was on the top floor and to get there I had to ascend this really grand staircase that seemed to rise into the clouds.

It was all very calming, all very relaxing. Actually felt like I was floating. Floating up the stairs and feeling serene. Yes, that’s the word I’m looking for – serene. To get an idea of how I felt, just imagine I’m using that soft, calming, elongated tone they use when you’re having a massage (‘and hooowe is that pressuuurreee?’) You may be thinking I’m one of those ‘entitled’ types that has massages all the time. Am not. Have to have them. For my work. Hotel massage therapists need inspecting, too.

I was floating up the stairs and suddenly the doctor’s face appeared before me. Kind of floating. Looking all serious, so not everything was off.

I said hello, being very pleased to see him. After all, he is very handsome in a large, public school boy kind of way.

Thing is, Ewan was quite angry. Neck stretched out in rage. Could see the tendons rippling on either side of his throat. What on earth could make him so angry?

Then remembered – I’d left the hospital, hadn’t I? Which had clearly upset Ewan. He was yelling and everything. Yelling, but making no sound. Odd. I mean, his mouth was open and his eyes were bulging, so yelling, yes. But there was silence.

Thought it was a bit odd that I couldn’t hear him. Although… Wasn’t I dreaming?

Wasn’t I? If I was dreaming, how come I couldn’t wake up? Don’t you wake up the moment you realise you were dreaming? And I’d definitely realised I was dreaming.

There was something else, too. A horrible, constricting pain in my chest.

Obviously, I was awake now, being able to feel pain. Why was it so cold? I opened my eyes, became aware of all of my sense. I was cold because I was on the bathroom floor. Naked.

Why was I on the cold, tiled floor naked?

And why was my chest being thumped again and again and…

I coughed, and a cascade of water escaped my throat.

‘Gee. Molly,’ came a low, grateful and slightly out of breath voice. The chest-beating stopped.

I looked up to see Ewan kneeling over me.

‘Why are you…’ I began, but then realised my nakedness. ‘Why are you here and why am I naked?’

Ewan nodded, disappeared for a moment and then returned, draping a towel lengthways over me.

‘Molly, if I weren’t here you would be dead,’ Ewan said calmly.

‘What?’ I tried to sit up. I kept the towel pressed to my chest and Ewan placed large hands on my back to propel me into an upright position.

We were eye to eye. ‘I found you here, in the bath, completely immersed.’

‘Immersed? Makes me sound like a chicken you’re dunking in gravy or something.’ Humour. Trying to digest what was happening and masking the thought processes with humour. Classic.

Ewan didn’t even smile. ‘Why on earth did you think it was a good idea to have a bath when you were concussed?‘ He demanded.

I replied with a blank look.

‘More importantly, why the hell did you leave the hospital?’

‘Can you just give me a minute?’ I asked. I hate being bombarded, which is exactly what this felt like. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t work at McDonald’s growing up, when pretty much everyone else at my school did. I couldn’t deal with all the shouting of orders, the constant refrain of ‘more fries please!’ shouted in the tone that meant the ‘please’ was a facetious addition. I couldn’t deal with the pressure of McDonald’s, of having to deliver a meal to someone (probably drunk) waiting right in front of me, double-barreling me with their eyes. I don’t do well under pressure.

People will probably think this is a massive personality fault – the inability to handle pressure. It’s often said in the same breath as ‘lazy.’ But they are not the same. You can be busy and hardworking but not handle pressure well. It doesn’t make you (me) a sub-standard human being, just one that cannot process things simultaneously. I need to have a moment for me, in my own head, to process.

I asked, as kindly as I could through gritted teeth, for Ewan to hand me another towel. I wrapped it around my torso and obligingly allowed the good doctor to pull me into a standing position. There is no way I would be able to do it on my own and keep my dignity. Not that my dignity mattered. He’d already seen everything.

Ewan held me for a moment or two in the standing position. ‘You okay?’ he asked.

I nodded. Ewan let go of me but held his hands a few inches from my body, in case I fell.

‘Can I just… Can you stay in here while I go and get dressed?’

I received a frown in return.

‘I’m not going to run off,’ I told him with a roll of the eye.

I dressed in my pyjamas as they were the only comfort clothing I had, but I included the addition of a bra, given I was in company. While I downed two miniature bottles of whisky I glanced at myself in the mirror hanging over the bed. I looked horrid. My hair, as always when wet, looked brown rather than auburn, and the part of my face that wasn’t swollen was far paler than normal; almost translucent in colour. My left eye was practically closed, shiny and red, while my right cheek reminded me of the time I’d had my wisdom teeth out and got an infection. Basically, I was hideous.

‘Molly?’ I heard Ewan call from the bathroom.

‘Yeah, I’m dressed,’ I told him. I threw the empty bottles in the bin.

Ewan opened the bathroom door and looked from me to the bedside table, where one lone bottle of gin now sat. ‘Where are the rest?’

‘The rest of what?’ I asked, annoyed, before laying down on the bed, remote in hand.

‘There were three bottles on there when I entered the room.’

‘How exactly did you enter the room?’ I wondered, switching on the TV. The hotel’s promotional channel came to life, telling me of their many franchises around the world.

‘I explained to the manager that you had just discharged yourself from hospital after suffering a bad concussion.’

‘What, and they just let you in and walked away?’

‘Well I saw that you were in the bath, and thought you were fine. So yes, he left. But when you didn’t answer me I took a closer look and realised you were under water.’ Ewan shuddered visibly at the memory. ‘And there were three bottles there when I came in.’

I suppose it’s his military training that makes him so perceptive. Like being able to recall everything about the goings-on at breakfast. Sighing, I said, ‘I drank them just now.’

‘You have a concussion and you drank two bottles?’

‘Three,’ I told him. ‘I had a vodka before the bath.’

Ewan groaned.

I, meanwhile, had just thought of something. I leapt of the bed and headed to the minibar, taking hold of the menu. ‘Why would they have only one bottle of vodka but two bottles of whiskey?’ I wondered. ‘Shouldn’t there be too of each? It’s a bit odd, don’t you think? Are they just assuming folks prefer whiskey to vodka?’

‘What I think is odd is you having three bottles of liquor while you are concussed! Now get dressed, we’re going back to the hospital.’

‘Yeah, that’s not going to happen,’ I said, returning to the bed. I had to change the channel. The hotel’s promotional channel was beginning to grate at me.

‘Fine,’ Ewan said, holding up his hands. ‘If you won’t go back to the hospital than I’m staying here.’

‘You what?’ I turned from the television where one of those morning shows were on. From what I could gather, some welfare mother was being interviewed, talking about how difficult her life was living on benefits.

Ewan sat on the bed next to me in what I can only describe as an act of defiance. ‘You heard me. You need to be monitored in case you fall unconscious again. So I’ll monitor you.’

I tried to convince him that I could get the hotel to monitor me. Give me a wake up call every hour, on the hour, but Ewan wouldn’t buy it. What’s more, he explained that he would be staying until the following day.

I was bereft with fear. That would mean I would be spending an entire day in the presence of another person. A man. Something which I hadn’t done in almost ten years.

I can’t believe I’m writing about Ann Coulter

So I just read the article Ann Coulter wrote about soccer (or Football for the puritans). I really, really didn’t want to write about this because this woman doesn’t need any more publicity. But cripes alive, she’s driven me mad.

Amongst other things Coulter said that ‘no American whose great-grandfather who was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.’

Obviously, this Ann Coulter bird is a racist. Understandably, therefore, she hates soccer because it wasn’t conceived in the US and therefore is ‘un-American.’ Many of her arguments against soccer (the growing interest of which can ‘only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay’ what?) has to do with race.

Reason number seven on Coulter’s hate list is that the sport is ‘foreign.’ She then mentions her dislike of the French for some reason.

She actually mentions the French a couple of times. She goes of on some tangent about the metric system (perhaps love of soccer means the metric system will overtake the world? And in what reason is that a bad thing? Is it because Americans can’t spell centimetre? They don’t use the metric system and yet we’re bombarded by their spelling thanks to American-English software on all computers we own) and blames this on the French Revolution.

(Holy shit. I’ve just gone on my own tangent about the metric system. Who knew it was such a hot-bed topic? And I’ve offended my American friends in the process! But seriously. It’s centimetre. Not centimeter. Just so you know.)

I’m trying to understand the French thing. Is this still because the French would not join the war on terror? ‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us.’ To which the French shrugged and got on with their lives. Call them what you will, but those poor bastards have probably had enough of being on the wrong side of wars. Who can blame them for wanting to have a little peace? And, I don’t know, save their country millions of dollars, and countless lives?

Anyway, and cripes alive if I’m not disgusted with myself, but Ann Coulter’s throw-down on soccer was bizarre enough for me to head on over to her website to see what the hell is up with her.

If her soccer article didn’t convince me, seeing a list of journalists that are ‘allowed’ to interview her again certainly did. This chick’s got issues. Is this because Coulter doesn’t want to be interviewed with anyone who objects to her views? Anyone who, I don’t know, actually confront her on her steadfast beliefs?

I started reading some of Coulter’s articles, but was getting a little too angry for a Tuesday morning. She seems to have a hatred of immigrants, and calls mentally ill people ‘crazy’ on many, many occasions.

I then made the mistake of You Tubing Ann Coulter. (Why?) The woman is argumentative and disrespectful to her hosts. But, you know, entertaining. Here’s a few gems:

- Coulter stated that Jews need to be ‘perfected.’ (What ever that means. I think it has reference to the fact that Jews are not ‘perfect’ because they didn’t become Christians?) After the interviewer, who is Jewish, got offended by the statement, Coulter stated: ‘I don’t want you to be offended by that.’ As in, people can only be offended by statements you deem that are allowed to be offended by?

- In another segment, Coulter could not get her point across and then had what can only
be described as a tantrum. ‘Ah, well, goodnight!’ she declared, before turning to the director and asking whether she could leave and speaking over the host.

- ‘Liberals want to destroy the family so you will have only one loyalty and that is to the government.’ A direct quote. This was stated after Coulter was asked why she is against gay marriage. She believes that the libertarians support of gay marriage is for the reason above. I’m sorry. What?

The woman, clearly, enjoys being a sensationalist. I guess that’s why she decided to have a dig at soccer in the middle of the world cup.

I guess all of this has taught me a very important lesson. That freedom of speech isn’t such a great thing. Because it means people like Ann Coulter have a voice.

The Hotel Inspector: The Doctor and the Door

Read PART ONE here
Read PART TWO here
Read PART THREE here

PART FOUR

Courtesy of news olio.com

Courtesy of news olio.com

So I left. I just couldn’t deal with the idea of staying overnight in a hospital. If I’m ever required to be in a hospital, again, than I hope I’m in some deep-coma state so I don’t know where I am. Anything other than on-life’s-brink is not enough for me to stay in hospital.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. Are hotels not just plush versions of hospitals? No. No, no, no, no. They can jazz up hospitals all they like. They can put fancy wall treatments in the private rooms and put actual fabric on the chairs rather than plastic. They’re still hospitals. In hotels, you can tell people to leave you the fuck alone. You’re not checked every hour by people doing a shitty job for a shitty wage. You don’t have the indecency of a group of white-coated people standing to have a good gawk at your vag. This allowed, because they’ve all been to university. You tell me in what other situation this would be acceptable? None.

The only people in hotels allowed to see my vag are the odd bell hops I ‘welcome’ into my room. If you know what I mean.

Ewan had to leave to go and speak with admissions. I took my chance. Sneaking down corridors like I was in some spy mystery. Practically leapt into one of the waiting taxis out the front, ordering the driver to go, go!

As the cab pulled away, the driver looked at me in his revision mirror. Getting a good look at the bossy little bitch in the back of his taxi. I saw his eyes widen as he took in full view of me. I hadn’t really seen myself at this point. It wasn’t good, from what I could see in the mirror. A red line running diagonally across the left side of my face, a swollen, purple eye, a line of gauze above it, protecting the stitches beneath.

‘You look like you’ve been in the wars!’

‘Yeah, yeah,’ I replied.

‘What occurred there?’

‘Gang fight,’ I said.

The driver glanced at me again; face suspicious. ‘Gang fight?’

‘Yes, a gang, fight,’ I replied, affronted.

‘Sorry, love, is just that you don’t look like the type to be in a gang.’

‘What, ‘cause I’m ginger and little?’ I wondered.

‘Well, yeah.’

‘I think that’s called discrimination.’

‘Fair play, you’re probably right.’

Thank goodness the conversation ended there. I’m guessing the driver didn’t want to say anything to offend me in anyway, not wanting the wrath of my gang and all. With the silence I was able to rest my head against the door frame and close my eyes for the remainder of the journey. My head felt like the worst hangover imaginable. The morning after when you wake up with absolute no knowledge of the night before, in a house you’ve never set eyes on before. When you have to ask someone who you find asleep in the bath where exactly it is that you are.

That kind of pain.

I had no money to pay the driver, and couldn’t imagine the journey all the way to my room and all the way down again. I offered the driver ten quid to come up to my room with me in order to pay him, and with a shrug he agreed.

Once alone, my first stop was the mini bar, taking out all of the baby bottles of liquor and transferring them to the bedside table. Medicine. Anything Panadol can do, alcohol can do better.

I then got out my Filofax, and called the next two hotels I was due to stay at. Whenever I inspect a hotel, I’m required to inspect every aspect of their service, which includes booking. No-one at the actual hotel are aware of who I am or what I do. So I had to put on my heaviest New Zealand accent and pretend whatever tour I was currently on was delayed. Two hotel stays I’ll have to make up on my weekend off. Looks like I won’t be getting back to Manchester any time soon.

With work taken care of, I decided to run the bath. It’s the best thing about hotels; baths. It’s not like at home where to have a bath means spending half an hour cleaning out the hair and thick layer of dust that always seems to gather on the surface. After all the scrubbing, polishing and rinsing, you then run the bath to find at least six errant hairs floating on the surface. At hotels there’s someone else doing that backbreaking work, and if you do see a hair, you’ve at least got someone other than you to blame.

I added a full bottle of the complimentary bubble bath. The smell of frangipanis filled the air, and a cloud of foam rose high above the rim of the bath. I undressed and stepped into the bath. It was hotted than I expected, and I walked back and forth, trying to acclimatize myself to the heat. But my legs were burning and I was required to run the cold tap for a minute before I could settle myself in. Once immersed, I decided the water was too cold. For five minutes I adjusted the hot and cold taps, trying to find the ‘just right’ Goldilocks temperature. With that done, I finally relaxed.

What I didn’t know was that I had relaxed too much.

THE HOTEL INSPECTOR: The Doctor and the Door (Part Three)

Read Part One here
Read Part Two here

 

PART THREE

images-1

 

Perhaps it was foolish to expect Ewan would be willing to let me go off on my own. I suspect it’s a doctor thing. Something to do with the oath they make when becoming a doctor? Always helping others or some shit? Regardless, I found that I couldn’t fight Ewan’s resolve. By the time we left the lobby for the dull Cardiff sunshine, I was feeling so peaky I wouldn’t have cared who accompanied me to the hospital.

The valet attendant flagged down a cab, and as it pulled up, I found myself bending over and vomiting into the curb. This is never a good sign for cabbies. It wasn’t even Friday night.

‘She’s not getting in my cab like that,’ the driver yelled through his open window.

‘She needs the hospital,’ Ewan told him calmly as I vomited once more.

‘She can call a bloody ambulance!’

‘Can’t,’ I managed in between heaves. ‘Don’t have insurance.’

The valet attendant came to the rescue, producing a plastic shopping bag for the journey. Points for the hotel.

We were required to drive with the windows open given the vomiting did not cease once we were mobile. Ewan directed the cabbie to Saint something, a nearby hospital. I realised too late that I didn’t have my bag with me, and we were about to enter the NHS abyss with no formal identification.

‘Don’t worry about that,’ Ewan said, his arm around me.

‘They won’t see me.’

‘I’ll look after you once we’re there. We’ll deal with the formalities later.’

‘Wait, you work at this hospital?’ I asked.

‘No, my practice is in London. But I’ve been working on a trial here for the last couple of weeks.’

‘Like a clinical trial?’ I wondered.

‘Yes.’

‘On what?’ I was finding talking beneficial. Talking meant I didn’t have to think of the throbbing pain in my head and the now utterly-soaked handkerchief I was finding more difficult by the minute to keep pressed to my eye.

‘Post Traumatic Stress.’

‘But that’s a psychiatry problem.’

‘Well, I’m a psychiatrist,’ Ewan replied.

‘Hang on. You said you’d look after me when we got there. What do you know about stitches and head trauma? You’re not that kind of doctor!’ Panic began rising. I didn’t want some amateur stitching up my skin. The resultant scars would have me looking like Gordon Ramsay!

‘I assure you, Molly, my medical training is quite up-to-date.’

‘So you say,’ I muttered.

We arrived at the hospital, Ewan paying the cabbie given I had no wallet.

As we walked through the hospital entrance, me still clutching my vomit-filled shopping bag, women seem to appear out of nowhere to say good morning to ‘Dr Baker’.

Was like an episode of Mad Men, with Don Draper striding down the halls. Though Ewan looks nothing like Don Draper, he seems to have the same gravity-affect on women. Women who seem to be dressed in 1960’s getup. Short, tight dresses. Bosom-displaying shirts. What kind of a hospital have we walked into?

I was found a wheelchair and my shopping bag of vomit was replaced with a hospital-issue vomit bag. I was wheeled down corridors, taking little in or perhaps my memory was fading me. Everything seemed to be at a distance – voices sounded like they were coming from the end of a long tunnel, objects around me were a blur. The only thing in sharp focus was the overhead fluorescent lights which felt as if they were burning my retinas, giving my head a new, dizzying pain.

Every now and then Ewan stopped to talk in gracious tones to a member of the staff, and I began to get the sense that favours were being done. Rooms being found, x-ray services given. We finally came to a halt in a small treatment room where Ewan helped me up onto the examination table. The sodden hanky was finally removed, and as I lay with my head on a stiff, plastic pillow, Ewan began gently washing my face.

He leant over the back of my head and began pressing my skin together with his thumb and forefinger. ‘I would say… three stitches will do the trick.’

‘You will say? That sounds like you’re not certain!’ I looked up to see the upside down face of Ewan staring down at me. There was a mischievous glint in his eyes.

‘I’m kind of certain,’ he replied with a wink. His face disappeared and I heard him opening cupboards behind me.

‘I want a proper doctor,’ I said, sitting up.

‘I am a proper doctor,’ Ewan replied. He came over and sat on the edge of the bed, patting my knee. ‘I have to keep up with my medical training in case I’m called up.’

‘Called up?’ I asked, interrupting.

Ewan nodded. ‘I’m with the Army,’ Ewan said. ‘So my medical training has to be up-to-date. Believe me, I’m quite capable of attending to a couple of sutures.’

I laid back down, mainly because my head was spinning. ‘You’re one of those types, aren’t you?’ I asked.

‘What types?’

‘The do-anything types. The do-everything types. I bet you know how to play the piano.’

‘Well, yes, a little.’

‘And at school you were the sport champion?’ Rugby, I was thinking. That kind of physique stays with you.

‘Well, I wasn’t the champion…’

‘You know a language?’

‘A little French…’

‘And let me guess, your ideal holiday is to go climb a mountain somewhere?’

Ewan was silent. I tilted my head back to see him with a kidney bowel of equipment in his hands, leaning against the counter. ‘What’s your point?’ He asked, miffed.

‘You one of those types.’

The rich types. The one that had a cherished upbringing, with everything laid out before them. With parents that could afford to send them to music lessons, language lessons. That could afford the sports equipment. That could holiday in exotic locations. There’s probably pictures on Ewan’s mantel of him, a brother and sister possibly, together with energetic, loving parents, all smiling happily at the top of Kilimanjaro. As if what they’d just done (ie, climbing up a treacherous mountain causing blisters and callouses on their feet, chilblains on their fingers and windburn on their faces) was ‘fun.’ God I hated those types.

‘I’m just going to inject some local anaesthetic,’ Ewan said, in a sudden pseudo-professional manner.

‘Go for it,’ I replied. Clearly, I was angry.

We remained silent as Ewan stitched the fold of skin above my eye. So silent that I could hear every breath that escaped his mouth. I could even hear the threads being stitched into my skin.

I heard the light clang of something hit the kidney bowl, and then the ripping of plastic. Something was pressed onto the wound. Gauze, I presumed.

Ewan bent over my face so I could see his. He prodded my cheek with his fingers, which hurt. I was instructed to open my mouth wide, to smile, all while he felt along the bone. ‘I don’t think it’s broken,’ he finally said.

‘No, it’s because I’ve got so much padding there,’ I told him. Cheeky, they called me at school. Two round pillows on either side of my nose. Mum always said it was baby-fat, but here I am, almost thirty, with massive cheeks. A bullet wouldn’t get through those babies.

Ewan smiled at me. ‘So I don’t think we need to x-ray you, but they may want to do so once you’re admitted.’

‘Admitted? No, I’ve got a train to catch.’

‘You need observation. I’ll go back to your hotel room and grab some things for you, your identification, and the nurses will find you a bed.’

‘No, no, no.’ I rose from the bed, my head swaying. ‘I’ve got to be in London.’

‘You have to take some time off.’

I shook my head.

‘I’ll let you rearrange your schedule, but that’s all.’

I found myself sighing because I knew Ewan was right. There was no way I could handle being on a train feeling the way I was. All I wanted to do was sleep, which I knew wasn’t such a good thing when you have concussion.

Finally, I nodded. ‘I have some calls to make.’

THE HOTEL INSPECTOR: The Doctor and the Door (Part Two)

To read Part One, click HERE
Photo courtesy of darwinfoodies.com

Photo courtesy of darwinfoodies.com

I walked across the foyer of the hotel and felt the floor tilting in a peculiar manner. For a moment I thought about taking out my phone and recording the horrid state of the hotel’s uneven floor, but then realised it must be my head that was making everything askew. Just as this thought entered my mind the floor seem to slip from beneath my feet and I was floating in mid-air.

Strong arms caught me. I knew who they belonged to.

‘For fuck’s sake,’ I swore at him.

The doctor didn’t say a word, guiding me to a nearby chair. Perhaps he carried me. I’m not sure. Everything was fuzzy and clouded, like I’d suddenly walked into a dense fog. For a moment I was taken home and had a brief moment of nostalgia before realising I wasn’t surrounded by mountains.

The doctor was kneeling before me, hands on my knees. ‘Now, can you?’ He paused, peering into my eyes. ‘Look, what’s your name.’

‘Molly,’ I told him.

‘Molly.’ He nodded. ‘I’m Ewan.’

‘What kind of a name is that?’

‘Mine.’ He rolled his eyes. ‘Now, look at me.’

‘I am.’

‘Look at my finger,’ he said with the patience of someone talking to a toddler.

I stared at the forefinger he held in front of me. ‘Well, yes, it’s slightly crooked,’ I admitted, wondering what it was I was supposed to see.

‘No, I need you to…’ Ewan sighed in a grunty, annoyed kind of way. ‘Follow my finger.’

‘Why?’

‘It’s a test for concussion!’ He practically screamed.

‘Cripes, man, you’ve a anger problem.’

‘You’ve a stubborn problem,’ he replied. ‘Just do as I say.’

So I watched his finger as he moved it from side to side. But I got distracted. I saw past his finger to his blue eyes, which really are this extraordinary shade of blue. Quite soothing. Quite sexy. Something about the set of his brow. Brooding. Serious. Cripes: gorgeous.

‘Why are you looking at me, look at my finger!’

‘Are you this rude to all of your patients?’ I asked him. ‘Because I’m beginning to understand why you’d be in want of a new one.’

Ewan hung his head and I could tell by the movement of his shoulders that he was taking several steadying breaths. Finally he looked up, those blue eyes clear, but slightly aggrieved. ‘Here’s what we’re going to do. You’re going to be pleasant and compliant and come with me to the hospital.’

‘I’ve told you already, I have to go to breakfast.’

Ewan’s eyes widened. ‘Didn’t I just say for you to be compliant?’

‘Yeah, but I didn’t agree, did I?’

‘Look. That handkerchief is already soaked with blood. We need to get you stitched up. We need to check for concussion.’

I leaned forward and put my hand on Ewan’s shoulder. ‘I. Need. To. Go. To. Break. Fast.’

‘No. You. Don’t.’

‘It’s. My. Job.’

‘Can. We. Stop. Talking. This. Way?’ Ewan widened his eyes. ‘What’s so important with breakfast?’

‘I told you, it’s my job. I’m a hotel inspector. I have to inspect the service in the Bistro.’

‘Then go tomorrow,’ Ewan said easily.

‘Tomorrow, I’ll be in London, inspecting another hotel. It has to be today.’

‘I was just there, okay? What do you want to know?’

‘What was the bacon like?’

‘Shit. Greasy.’

‘Was the juice fresh?’

Ewan shook his head. ‘Bottled juice. Eggs were hard. Took fifteen minutes to get them. Coffee was cold and bitter. Three members of the waiting staff stood around chatting and giggling instead of serving. They didn’t refill the croissants the entire time I was there. The cereal station was filthy, bits of cornflakes littering the place. Anything else?’

‘Man, I could give you a job,’ I stated, impressed.

Ewan nodded in return. ‘You might need to. Apparently I’m a shit doctor.’

I took a moment to think of my options. I really was feeling like shit. My job at this particular hotel was no longer my concern. It was my afternoon train to London in time for check-in at the next job that I was thinking about.

‘Okay,’ I said. ‘I’ll go to the hospital.’

Ewan looked relieved. ‘Good.’ He held out his hand.

I shook my head. ‘No. I’ll go to the hospital alone.’