I'm in downtown Newton Stewart in a somewhat unprepossessing Nameless Hotel* ( big sign outside beside the dumpster in the litter-strewn car-park telling all and sundry that the Nameless is under new management - doesn't that just make your heart sink?) and as I checked in, I noticed a sheet of laminated A4 stuck to the reception desk ( probably with the effluvia of guests gone by) bearing the fateful words
Binky and Charlene invite you and your colleagues to celebrate our Grand Opening Night. Dress informal. Party starts at 9.00 p.m.
That, my dears, is tomorrow night. Tomorrow brings two events each with 250 children, followed by the firework opening of the Wigtown Book Festival, followed by what I fervently hoped was dinner and an early night before getting up on Saturday morning to do another event in a tent and then driving 189 miles back home.
Instead...Oh. My. God. The part of me that is forever teenage wishes I'd bought my fiddle and had the cojones to drink several large shots and then join in with the Nameless Opening Party, and another part of me ( the crusty old fart) envisages a night of stomping downstairs in my PJs to demand a little bit of consideration for those of us blah de blah de blah zzzz.
Problem is - I forgot my PJs. Just how steely are my cojones, anyhoo? Have I got what it takes to stomp downstairs in the altogether and demand a little hush? Somehow, I suspect I wouldn't have to be too strident. The Shock and Awe caused by my naked arrival in the public bar would ensure that silence fell with an all-too audible thud. Eughhhhhhhh. Doesn't bear thinking about. Ladies of my age are invisible, mostly, and if rash enough to bare anything, are the subject of public ridicule.
So. Earplugs it will have to be. But the Nameless is too raw to be called a hotel. My room was recently painted - yesterday? This afternoon? The fumes are evil. I have no table to work at, no wardrobe, no drawers, no chair - just a bed with a stack of puffy pilloids which will ensure that I sleep for approximately ten minutes before waking in the Human Pretzel Position. I am shortly going to venture downstairs to brave the dining room, driven more by a desperate need for G&T rather than any appetite, since the paint fumes appear to have put paid to that. Have I unwittingly stumbled upon the secret of effortless weight loss? I'm trying to find the positive in this situation, but heck, it's a bit of an upward struggle.
Back later with an update from your own correspondent in Newton Stewart.
*I wouldn't dare name it while I'm staying in it. I choose life.