Crazy Nights

How much is too much to spend on something? I only ask because the other day me and my girlfriend spent quite a bit of money on a brand-spanking, state-of-the-art, self-inflating air bed. It just felt a bit extravagant, that’s all. Especially considering that five minutes before we’d shared a Gregg’s value baguette to avoid any unnecessary spending. When you’re being thrifty with a Coronation chicken sandwich, spending any money on a plastic mattress that fills with air just seems a bit daft. I think we made the right choice though, the only other alternative was a lilo and a quilt.

The mattress isn’t for us. We’re not die hard campers. My girlfriend’s only been camping once – with my family – and that was enough to scar her for life. If the late night, Walton-like ‘good night ma, good night pa’s’ didn’t do it, then hearing my uncle wee into a plastic bucket surely did. There were other facilities available but he chose the bucket. Anyway, the mattress is for any guests we have in Edinburgh (yes, we’re still at the festival (midday, everyday at Jekyll and Hyde)), so it will definitely come in handy. It’s either that or stay at a B&B, but then you run the risk of meeting someone like Sheila.

Sheila was the woman who ran the B&B we stayed at, last time we came to Edinburgh. She was a lovely woman but it’s fair to say she had her own way of doing things, and those ways were pretty strange. For a start, the inside of her house looked like the setting for Psycho, which is not something you want to be reminded of every time you cross the hallway to have a shower in your ‘en suite’ bathroom. Sheila herself was pretty friendly, if your definition ‘friendly’ is someone who rubs your leg after having only just met you and then spends the rest of the evening plying you with rudely-named homemade cocktails with bits in. She seemed to take a shine to me, which was nice, but less so to my girlfriend, who she saw less as a guest and more of an obstacle. Night times were terrifying, like being in an episode of Scooby Doo. We used the check the eyes of every painting before falling asleep.

It’s very hard to accurately describe what was so unsettling about Sheila. It could have been the fact she knocked on your door late at night, or the fact we never saw any other guests even though she always talked about them, or it could be the fact that she danced with her dog. She had a lovely dog whose name I have omitted for protection – a dalmatian; kind and gentle but massive. Sheila would make him dance for guest’s amusement, although I doubt anyone actually requested it. She would stick on some loud, hideous Scottish-type music that was inexplicably sung with an American accent and then grab the dog’s front legs, lift him to full height and perform a foxtrot around the kitchen. She did this five minutes after we got there and I have to say, out of the four of us, the dog was the most embarrassed.

It was little things like that and the fact that she came to see my show and refused to believe I was in it. But I have to say, it was mainly the canine tango that did it. We contemplated leaving but everywhere else was too expensive so we stuck it out. Refusing the breakfast option, we only had bread and jam for sustenance. We didn’t even have cutlery, we had to spread the jam with an old library card. So yes, this time we’ve splashed out on a flat and an inflatable mattress which would be fine if it wasn’t for my uncle weeing in his bucket.

From 15th August, 2012


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