Bathroom chronicles, Part 6.
It has begun.
In an exercise that had the military precision of a Dad’s Army assault gone slightly awry, we rounded up our cats and decanted from our flat on Sunday, across the road to a nearby hotel which has several pet-friendly suites.
Unfortunately, as we discovered, our cats are not hotel-friendly pets. On arrival, one of them, the large ginger tom, managed to squeeze himself behind the room safe.
He could only reverse out of the narrow space so efforts to entice him out with cat treats had us appealing to his wrong end. Now, if only they had … no, cancel that thought.
The female tortoiseshell refused to come out of her basket – the one she hides from when she hears it being opened – until we took her home in it.
Our thinking (if you can call it that) had been that, because the cats would be freaked out by having noisy work being carried out by strange people in the vicinity of their “safe place” (under our bed), and they would be just as traumatised by being put in a cat motel for four nights while the noisiest work was being done, we would all move into a hotel room together.
On reflection, it would have been easier to put them in cat boarding and let them deal with one major upset while we gallivanted off to a seaside gin palace, rather thanhave them spooked by the series of disturbing noises that are part of the day-today of hotel life.
Voices in the corridor, a door slams shut, the cleaners decide to polish the only section of timber flooring on our level – which just happens to be outside our door – any of which sent them scurrying to their hideyholes.
It got worse on the second day. The hotel decided to carry out major repairs – more of a renovation really – in the room next door. Seriously.
Now, not only am I dealing with two cats with PTSD, this is my busiest day of the week when I have to prepare this website, the podcast and the newsletter, ready to go out the next morning. And I haven’t got away from building noise. Aaaargh!
I call reception. “We have no maintenance scheduled for today,” the young woman says, as if the hammering and drilling are figments of my imagination. To be fair, after two nights of cat-panic interrupted sleep, it was possible.
But no, the noise starts up and she hears it over the phone. “OK, I check with maintenance.”
I decide to make sure it is, in fact, the room next door and step out into the corridor as a young man with keys and a lanyard steps out of a door marked “Staff Only”. Using my skills honed over years of reading crime novels, I quickly deduce that he is a staff member.
“That was quick,” I say.
“What was?” he replies.
“You getting here,” I say.
“I work here,” he says.
‘I know,” I reply smugly. “I worked that out for myself.”
“I just came out to find out what the bloody noise is,” he says. “I can hear it in my office. Probably maintenance.”
“I don’t think so,” I reply.
“It’s not scheduled,” I say.
“How do you know that?” he says.
“I never reveal my sources,” I reply, as mysteriously as I can muster, and retreat to the room where I am met by the accusing stares of two cats.
“You’ve been talking to the Lobby Monsters,” their eyes say, narrowed by betrayal. I try to squeeze in behind the room safe.
As for the renovation, if you knew how flimsy the walls of a modern bathroom were, you would never again lock yourself in to escape from an angry spouse. Or is that just me?
Most of the tiles have gone because Chris the Builder has decided to rip them out, shift the plumbing around and put up gyprock before plastering, rather than fiddle around with the cuts and channels we had planned.
The result you can see at the head of this article. I only hope he can reinstate one of the WCs, otherwise I am going to need to learn how to use a cat litter tray over the next three weeks.