The Holiday from Hell
You remember the Christmas disaster story, right? Well, if not, you can read it here. Yes, it is well known amongst our friends and family that the exploits which my fiance and I embark on don’t often end well. Or begin well, for that matter. Well, our recent excursion to the lovely town of Berwick was absolutely no different.
Setting off straight off the plane from my recent work trip, we loaded our bags into Millie and set off on a Mini adventure. It was a long drive but I decided to step up to the plate, given my fiance’s recent record with cars, and drove up the A1 for three and a half hours towards our destination.
Arriving at 10.20pm, we were astonished, and then distressed, to find that our hotel was locked with no one in sight. After banging on the door, walking round the building, and swearing, more than a few times, an icy cold fear took over me – were we to spend the night in the Mini with the seats reclined?
Trying to keep our heads level, we decided to try to find another hotel to spend the night. After traipsing round a deserted Berwick, we found one that was open AND had vacancies (a more difficult task than you would imagine for a random February Tuesday night in Berwick) and checked in.
Famished after all this stress, I decided to break the wedding diet (ha!) and take a trip to McDonalds. After assurances from the manager of the hotel that he would be there for at least another hour, we tucked into chicken nuggets without a care in the world.
We drove back to our new hotel and left the car parked in a space outside. My fiance reached the door first and turned to look at me, “It’s locked,” he said, a slight tremble to his voice. As he is known as a bit of a joker, I, at first, didn’t believe him until I reached for the handle myself and felt my blood run cold. It was, indeed, locked.
After a few minutes of knocking and ringing the bell and generally praying to whichever god would listen, our prayers were answered and the Geordie manager who was, let’s face it, a few sandwiches short of a picnic, made his way over to let us in. “Good job I checked,” he said. Yes, yes it was a good job, wasn’t it?
Feeling my stress levels returning to some resemblance of normality, we ascended the golden ladder and tucked ourselves into bed. I’d love to say that I slept really well that night, especially as I was exhausted, but that, dear readers, would be a complete lie. The room was absolutely boiling and, in my half asleep state, I preferred to just lay there in a pool of my own sweat rather than trying to locate the radiator and turn it down or, god forbid, open a window.
So after our night in the furnace that was room 12, we skipped out to the car, whereupon my fiance came out with what I assumed was another joke, “You’ve got a parking ticket.” Yes, somebody had slapped a bright yellow (I mean YELLOW – ew!) parking violation right in the middle of the windscreen of my lovely black Mini. I’m not going to lie, my resolve was really being tested now and I pleaded to just go home.
Not to be deterred and very determined to enjoy our “relaxing mini break”, my fiance suggested we “make the most of it” and take a day trip to Edinburgh, about an hour’s drive away. Unwilling to subject myself to any further stress by driving around an unfamiliar city centre, I suggested we try out the Park and Ride.
Thanks to Google Maps, the Park and Ride proved rather easy to find and it was then that my suspicions kicked in. This had been too easy, could it be that we were going to start, dare I say it, enjoying ourselves? Well, the short answer is no. Dizzy with the excitement of everything going according to plan, we hopped, skipped and jumped our way onto the next bus.
After a couple of grunts from the very rude East Lothian Buses driver, we settled in our seats and prepared to watch the world go by. After driving through numerous housing estates, something started to feel quite wrong. And even more so when the driver pulled to a stop and begain to talk on the phone to his wife. For ten whole minutes. Yes, we had got on the right bus, but instead of getting it towards Edinburgh, we got the opposite one.
And here is where the waterworks started. I’m a sensitive girl and, given the right mood, even tiny things can set me off – a poorly child on television, somebody telling my I’ve put on a few pounds, you get the picture. But this, this was more than I could take. Fat tears rolled down my face, my face turned bright red and all my make-up seemed to instantaneously disappear. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be at home, in my apartment surrounded by fluffy things. The fear had taken over me, I was scared we would end up completely lost in Scotland with no hope of getting back to the car.
After a particularly embarassing moment where the bus arrived back at the Park and Ride where this whole sorry affair started, we were finally on our way to Edinburgh! A rather enjoyable and drama free afternoon followed which involved plenty of mooching about, a large glass of rose (don’t judge me – I needed it!) and a ghost/history walk through the underground vaults of the city.
The final twist in this sorry tale occurs as we arrived back at our original hotel. Having checked in in the morning, we decided to have a nap and get ready to go out for dinner in the evening. After using the “facilities”, we noticed that the water in the toilet was unusally high. Debating whether to raise the alarm or just leave it and just hope for the best, we realised we would have to get help when the water in the sink also began to rise. We were moved to a new room and with that the drama was over.
We had a lovely meal, an early night and a great day exploring Berwick and Alnwick gardens before an uneventful drive home. I definitely need another holiday to recover from this one!