I love carpark picnics, a chance to dine from tupperware when we visit galleries for appearances but have you ever wondered why we put ourselves through it and all the extensive travelling? It’s certainly not originally out of choice, it’s more of something that has been thrust upon us over the years after experiencing varying miserable levels of service at some of the high street chains and peculiar events at hotels and in general.
So tonight I have put together some of the more ‘memorable’ events to entertain, all entirely true and some entirely left out too!
Lets start with service in establishments where we have dared to venture out of the car for something a little different…
Would you would prefer to begin in Edinburgh with a gentleman urinating on the window in front of me whilst I ate food sat on a window seat? No? Ok, lets start simply… In Milton Keynes we had a waitress that decided to memorise our entire order and came back with something completely different…three times. In Edinburgh (again) we tried to get a coffee from somewhere other than a stupid chain and ended up at what looked like a respectable place that quite candidly told us that it would take twenty minutes to bring us a coffee and a scone as they were quite busy serving real paying customers with food. In Leeds we dined at Harvey Nicks as a treat and chose the eggs Benedict which when served consisted of just half a bagel covered in a creamy mess. Two mouthfuls and it was gone, we just managed to taste it before it disappeared and was possibly one of the smallest most expensive eggs benedict we have ever had.
In Cambridge we ended up being placed on a table beside a toilet door that hit the back of our chairs repeatedly, when we asked to be moved we were told to leave as we wasn’t the usual clientele. At a boutique hotel in Birmingham we were served raw bacon. Let me say that again, RAW BACON, when we complained it was whisked away to be cremated whilst we was offered the option to return that night to dine with the promise of a £1 off. In an undisclosed location we were recommended a place that served one of the best breakfasts ever and walked in dressed up in gallery buffoonery clothes like a pair of tarts straight into a truckers greasy spoon cafe.
The list goes on, in Cardiff my coffee was the recipient of a globule of spit that had been launched from a balcony two stories up that hit with such a splash as I lifted the mug to my mouth that I was showered with scalding beverage over my crotch and whilst we were in Cardiff I got to use a public toilet filled with naked Welshmen having a rub down in the hand basins and using their towels with a little too much vigour and finally in Norwich I was asked to shake hands whilst I was urinating in a public toilet.
But lets not linger on food, lets instead look at overnight accommodation shall we and the myriad of events that made us decide that home is best…
We once stayed at a B&B that you had to fill in your breakfast requests each night and every morning without fail there was always something missing as they operated a five and out policy, if they thought you were being greedy they would just remove items on purpose. Guests were bewildered, we were bewildered until we gradually worked out that if you carefully selected just five items including toast you were fine.
We were once booked in to a budget hotel that was not only filthy but had a burger smeared over the window, which was quite strange as the hotel had no dining facilities, the room three floors up and it expected its clientele to enjoy a feast from their only vending machine. A grand time was had eating chocolate and crisps after travelling and working for twelve hours before. Talking of hotels have you ever been booked into one during a cockney wedding? We have and had to endure pearly kings and queens having a knees up until the early hours. You know in some hotels they have a connecting door between certain rooms? We didn’t realise until we pulled one open thinking it was a wardrobe only to find us looking into the preparations of a hen night next door complete with eight foot cock and balls.
The list goes on, an ancient lift broke down in Bath with us in it and the room had a double bed that had a gaping hole in the middle that slowly ate me overnight. There was a memorable breakfast the next morning too as the waiter dropped a small pot of conserve into the orange juice jug and retrieved it by rolling his sleeves up and dipping in. He then served us our breakfast which included a sausage that refused to be cut and folded in two along with beans with a crust. In London a respectable hotel booked us a taxi which we didn’t find out until we were in it was an illegal one that decided to try and ‘learn the knowledge’ with us in it. About a thousand miles later he dropped us off and guessed a price. It was the wrong location. Also in London we ended up in a hotel room with just a small window facing a hundred foot drop and was instructed on how to use the wall hook and grappling equipment in the wardrobe in case a fire occurred. In Bristol a Corby trouser press turned itself on in the night and steamed the room whilst in Chelmsford the hotel was so extensive and puzzling that the staff had to draw us a map to get to the room and in Keswick that bloody Corby trouser press again fell apart when I accidentally caught it with the suitcase and I spent two hours weeping and trying to fasten it all back together using a small travel screwdriver.
In Southampton we scrambled down the fire escape from ten floors up dressed in pyjamas after a wedding guest decided to hit the fire alarm button at 2am and in Chester we arrived at the hotel only to find that there were no rooms available as there had been a double booking and that they had secured another room for us at a different hotel. Turns out that it was next to a railway station and at that time of night was asked if I fancied a good time by a gang of varied prostitutes that plied their trade inside and outside the place whilst a drunk decided to dance on the bonnet of the car. In Leeds a wonderful night was ruined by a demonstration and a riot just outside hotel in the street complete with mounted police and in Burnley we witnessed two fights, trod on a syringe, watched a gentleman produce the biggest fart of his life and the taxi from the hotel decided to try and kill us by ramming as many cars as possible. Only two years ago we ended up at a hotel that was keen on golfing and every time I left my table at breakfast for the self service returned to find a keen golfer had taken my place and was trying to chat Jayne up over a sausage sandwich, I wouldn’t have minded but they even asked ‘who are you?’ When I returned and didn’t believe Jayne when she said I was her husband. It happened twice!
Memorable events to say the least so call me picky but I will stick with my good old carpark picnic, I just need to figure out how to stop all the staring people (Cardiff, Bristol, Sheffield and lots of other places) and the strangers that think it’s ok to bang on the window and ask to join in ( Manchester ) or people that like to lick my face (Leeds). Oh and to try and stop being threatened by a knife wielding chefs demanding a free sketch (Dorchester) and to avoid armed gangs of balaclava clad criminals (Nottingham 2007), high street heists (Nottingham 2013) whilst wriggling out of the way of people who cut out my face from brochures to stick on light switches so they can ‘turn me on’ every day (Dorchester again!) I also avoid other places due to over familiarity such as Windsor where I was expected to hold a newborn baby for a photo with lady that wanted to see if I was a suitable catch by recreating a perfect family photo and in Norwich where I was mistaken for a vagrant and told to move on whilst tying my shoes and getting in between a fight between a Scottish piper and a Peruvian Pan Pipe band that resulted in a broken bagpipe.
Sheesh, it’s all true and that’s only the start of what I remember, think what I have blanked out!
And that ladies and gentlemen is why I love carpark picnics.