Saturday 21st November. Day off. Travel to Lowestoft. Accommodation: The Hotel Hatfield.
It took a good three and a half hours on the road before the bus pulled up outside the Hotel Hatfield in Lowestoft. We were greeted by that ominous sight of a hotel surrounded by scaffolding, and a sign reading, ‘building work being carried out’. Not sure why it needs a sign to tell us that; it’s possibly there to eliminate any idea we might have that the builder, on his weekend off, might be erecting scaffolding for purely recreational purposes.
I know there’s a somewhat sarcastic tone to what I’m writing, but this is one of the all-time-most-dreadful-excuses-for-a-hotel-I’ve-ever-ever-had-the-terrible-misfortune-to-lay-my-eyes-on-and-set-foot-in.
Look, I don’t want to get overly negative, so I’ll begin with the good points. It’s on the sea front; that’s nice, especially on a day such as this (Sunday morning) with the sun in the sky.
The breakfast was good, also; and, one more thing - the staff seem pleasant.
Now, onto some of the other features here: the heating seems to be set to ‘full’, regardless of the outside temperature. I was first put into room 114; it had that slightly old and tacky feel that one comes to expect in many of these seaside resort hotels, and although I’d been struck be the heat in the corridors, it hadn’t as yet fully worked its way into my room.
I took it easy in the afternoon, and caught up on a little sleep, but intermittently I took note of an irritating underlying sound, that of a constant bass drum beat, the kind you hear in dance music. The noise was there, occupying a ‘space’ if you will, the kind of space or place that makes it hard to decide whether it’s subliminal or not; whether it’s annoying or not, and if it is, whether its annoyance is more volume related or persistence related.
I wondered, because of the constancy of it if indeed it was an idiosyncrasy of the hotel’s heating system, or some such thing.
Still, I did manage to largely switch off the attention I was paying it and consequently get some rest on my day off.
In the evening I met up with Liam, Pete and Jackie at an Indian restaurant called the Red Rose in the town centre. By the time we rendezvoused, they, the three of them had already been enjoying the pub life here in Lowestoft for quite some time, and so our coherence levels were not . . . how can I put it, ‘aligned’ maybe?
I did my best to catch up though.
Just for the record, the food was incredibly good. I’d recommend the Red Rose.
So, back home I go, my home being the Hotel Hatfield, room 114. And after watching a little footy I switched on my DAB radio, and drifted off to the sound of Radio Four.
01:30. I’m awake. I’m sweating; the heat of the corridor has finally and fully worked its way into my room. I take off my pyjamas, and lie on top of the bed; the bass drum beat is still, unmercifully, continuing, and now it’s louder - this, as well as laughter, shouts, car doors slamming, engines revving, etc.
Looking out of my window, it becomes clear; there’s a night club adjacent to the hotel, and it’s on my side. Despite this, I try and open my window; my logic being that I didn’t know at this point which was worse, the heat or the noise.
At least if I could get cool I did have ear plugs.
The window was in quite an awkward position, and half awake I reached over beyond the television and my suitcase (the floor area was so small that the only place I could open my case was on the shelf next to the TV), and I tried to turn the handles, three of them, that would allow some air into the room.
Each handle was securely locked in place; there was no way I could open anything. I guess the logic is - who would want to have an open window on the side of the hotel next to a dance club!?
I phoned reception; I’d had enough. The man came to my door, and gave me the key to room 109. At 2 a.m. I was now dressed and transferring all belongings to this new location.
Room 109: the first thing I noticed was the Bell 40W light bulb packaging on my bed. I guessed someone had changed one of the lights, and neglected to clear up properly after themselves. At this point I wasn’t going to worry too much about that.
Then there was the empty biscuit wrapper under the desk.
I ‘part-opened’ the window, I had no choice, every time I tried to open it any wider, as I let go, its own weight returned it back to a partly opened position again.
So, as with room 114, my sleeping was carried out pyjama-less and on top of the bed, but at least it was marginally more comfortable - and quieter.
The bathroom had no bath, just a shower, one of those with a plastic tray that you stand in. My plastic tray was cracked; you could see that someone had attempted a repair job - to glue / tape it back together; maybe the shower tray repair man had been temporarily successful, or had failed from the outset, I don’t know, however, when it came time for my morning shower it felt like the ground was moving under my feet, and my sense of balance was, not in-substantially, put to the test.
There comes a point when I start suspending my emotions, a point where I live with the knowledge that all things must pass, and that before-I-know-it I’ll be in the next town, the next hotel, the next shower tray.
And speaking of suspended emotions, there are things happening presently within the band, things that at some time soon I could possibly write about. Certainly from my position, and from a cathartic point of view, I’d find that helpful.