Friday, 6 September 2019
I guess in August is when the city's population grows twice the size with all the tourists that flock there from all over the world.
Which explains why I could not find a hotel room anywhere and ended up in a small dingy bed and breakfast at the edge of town. I'd arrived late and despite spending hours on the internet searching there was no where to stay. The taxi driver suggested a B&B which as it turned out it was not a B&B at all. All it was is a house where the owners, (or tenants), were hiring out a spare bedroom during the festival to make a fast buck.
Beggars can't be choosers, they say. I paid a deposit of £25 and went out looking for a place to eat in the surrounding area. Fat chance. No restaurants in this part of town.
I ended up eating fish and chips with "broon sauce" and a Scotch pie. A small, double-crust meat pie filled with minced mutton or other meat, (don't ask!). It is often highly spiced with pepper and other ingredients, (I said don't ask). The soft top "crust" is a little lower than the rim to make space for adding accompaniments such as mashed potatoes, (I chose chips), baked beans, (I resisted the temptation), or "broon sauce" or gravy, (I chose the brown sauce).
I got back to my B&B by 10:00pm because the "landlady" had said her husband needed his sleep because he gets up early to go to work.
I rang the doorbell and she let me in. I walked up the stairs to my room and when I got in I found a young lady there getting ready for bed.
"Qui es-tu?" she said covering herself in her peignoir. (That's a negligent made in France. If it's made in the UK we call it a dressing gown. Hers was definitely French).
"Eh ..." I said in English, not knowing where to look.
"Que fais-tu ici?" she asked trying her best to cover her assets.
"Hein hein hein ... pardon!" I said in a French accent this time. It's amazing how when you meet a foreign person you end up talking in English but in their accent. It's as if it makes them feel more at home.
I remember once to impress my friends I ordered a whole meal in a restaurant in Italian. The waiter did not understand me - it was a Greek restaurant.
Anyway, I tried to mumble incomprehensibly when the landlady came in. She looked at me, and the young lady and said, "Hey ... yer not alood to bring girles 'ere ye ken? Wot sort of a hoose ye think this is?"
"I didna bring 'er 'ere" I replied in a Scottish accent, (quick change there), "I foond 'er 'ere!"
"You foond 'er 'ere?" she repeated, and then she bellowed, "Angus ... Angus ... did ya dobley booked the room agin, ye idiot?"
Her husband, Angus, came in the room. He looked at me, looked at the French young lady and said to me, "Hey ... who are ye? What ye doing ere?" Then turning to the young lady he added, "yer not alood to bring men 'ere ye ken? Wot sort of a hoose ye think this is?"
"Je ne comprends pas!" said the young lady who did not understand a Scottish accent.
The landlord then turned to me and said, "I asked ye ... what ye doing ere?"
"That's exactly what she asked," I answered pointing to the young lady, "only she said it in French!"
"I rented the room to 'im!" said the landlady, "what 'ave you done you numb head?"
"Don't ye call me numb head in front of guests," he growled, "especially foreign ones from France. I rented the room to 'er!"
The young lady understood English, un petit peu, and said, "Zis eez ze double book ... eez eet?"
"I am sorry, Miss," said the landlady, "t'is late in the night. Would ye two mind sharing ... half-price?"
The French lady looked puzzled, so I stepped in with a line I have always wanted to say, "Voulez vous couche avec moi?"
(NOTE: I wonder how many of my readers understand the origin of this line).
The young lady hesitated a little, looked at me up and down, then said, " Oui ... eet eez OK ... zee half zee price ... I stay ... e go away sleeping down zee stairs ..."
"We 'ave the dog downstairs ... he disnae like strangers and sometimes gets a bit too friendly, if ye ken wot I mean," said the landlady, "wot if we hang a blanket from 'ere to 'ere ... a curtain like ... and 'e sleeps on the floor? Would that suit ye? And it's for half-price!"
"OK! for half zee price e sleeps on zee floor here!" said the young lady.
The landlady looked at me. I did not know what to say. There is nothing in my Catholic Catechism for situations such as this. I smiled feebly.
The landlady and her husband went away. They never returned with the promised blanket or curtain. I went downstairs and slept on the armchair with the dog.