That’s warm if you live down south and wet if you venture into the Penninian rain shadow that is Manchester. My arrival at the city limits triggered a downpour that if not exactly biblical certainly made you wish for rubber shoes and some anti-smiting cream. Having covered the hundred and seventy miles from home to Manchester in just over two hours, it only took me a further hour to find the hotel.

That’s the problem with technology you see. My PDA/TomTom thing reverted to the ground state of anything running WinDoze which is a blue screen, an unhelpful error message and the occasional apologetic electronic chirp. The backup plan of a printed map with detailed directions would have worked so much better had I completed the simple sequence of print, collect and carry. One out of three isn’t bad I suppose.

After attacking the city in a one man pincer movement, the Hotel appeared (well not exactly appeared as teleportation is still a young science) all concretey and welcoming out of the gloom. I then handed my car keys to a man I’d never met who aside from a Liverpool accent and a pair of Winkle Pickers looked every inch the valet parker they’d promised. I never expected to see the car again but my faith was partially restored in humanity the following morning when – aside from a tired looking interior obviously the result of a night’s hard taxi-ing – the vehicle was returned with the same number of wheels, and hardly any new “custom bodywork” as I like to think of the litany of every increasing dents.

The hotel was another one of those contemporary ones. You know, sink on the outside of the bathroom, remainder of bathroom designated a “wet zone” meaning everything you own disappears underwater and you must gain rapid surfing skills to remain upright on the way back into the bedroom. There was a mirror in the shower for shaving that had it not steamed up within one millisecond of the water being turned on may have had some possible use. The whole place was designed by a women because one of the few joys of hotel occupation was cruelly denied me.

I speak of leaving the toilet seat up. Being surrounded on three sides by women in my family, it’s a guilty pleasure not oft repeated. The sense of power being able to stumble into the bathroom unencumbered by difficult aspects of motor control involving seats and er, other things. But no, the flusher was cunningly hidden behind the seat meaning short of punching a hole in the ceramics, there was no way to have the whole seat up experience.

I will obviously be writing to the manager to complain in the strongest possible terms.

I didn’t bother with the in room dining on the grounds that there is only so much lettuce a man should see in his lifetime. And one day, I’ll rediscover the knack of sleeping in hotels. Last night failed to blaze that trail of discovery sadly.

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