Follow the brown signs
The main event today was caving. I know I know, I’ve already done a cave, but sadly I don’t mean caving as in going underground and chatting to a miner about his work, I mean caving as in giving up, throwing the towel in, getting too hacked off for words and coming home. Technically I was supposed to be coming home on Friday for my pal Lau’s big 3 0, but I was tipped over the edge this morning and it all got too much.
I did end up having a dorm to myself again, in fact I got the whole hostel to myself. I took the chance to talk all night on the phone and not do very much blogging or planning. Thus when I woke up this morning at 6.30 I had to get stuff done.
Now youth hostels give you until 10am to have your bed stripped and get out, reasonable. So at 9.30 when I was still blogging away I was surprised to hear a knock on my door from the hostel volunteer informing me of the time I needed to be out by. I told her I was aware and that I would be out, not to worry sweetums, be right with you. As I was hauling all my stuff (suitcase, laptop, boots, maps, leaflets, sat nav, highlighters and various other bits and pieces which fall off my struggling self constantly) out of the door, I asked the the Hostel Cow (as she has come to be known) if she wouldn’t mind if I sat in the living room for 10 minutes so I could book another hostel for tonight. At first I thought she was joking when she said “no, you have to be out by 10”, I half laughed but realised that her stony face meant she was serious. Hostel Cow then went on to add “you really are taking advantage now”. I was close to punching the woman and said “really, what’s the time?” she took a while to look at her watch and said “ten to ten”. I frowned as big a frown as I could muster and she stalked off.
Since leaving the happy company of Andy and doing eveything alone again once more I was in no state really to deal with the fact it was even raining, let alone someone telling me I was taking advantage when I wasn’t. I left the hostel, trying hard to whack Hostel Cow in the face with my laptop as I left. With no accomodation booked (again) and the sorry prospect of sitting in the car in the rain in the middle of nowhere trying to book something and plan a route I quite frankly couldn’t deal with it.
The only thing to do in this situation is phone your twin and scream the whole story of Hostel Cow, including as many terribly offensive swear words as possible, then let it all get to you and burst out crying while pulled up in small village in the middle of Rutland, I find. And so this is what I did. In her wisdom my sister listened for a while, adding appropriately offensive insults where I left gaps in my monologue and when I’d finished said “get on the A1 and come home”.
I’ve realised that as much as I love doing all these brown signs and the whole trip in general, the times when I’ve loved it most is when I’m sitting on U-boat torpedos talking about what it would be like to be torpedoed and laughing so much in bird hides that I scare off all the birds I’m supposed to be watching. Doing it alone is a lonely pursuit and sharing the experience is what matters. Maybe it’s because I’m a twin, I don’t quite know what it is, but what I did know was that another 4 days doing stuff alone and dealing with more potential Hostel Cows was something I simply wasn’t up for. So I turned right on out of that little village and got myself firmly onto the A1 and felt immediately better.
As luck would have it I spotted this sign (taken after about 8 rounds of the roundabout when I deemed it to be the least dangerous time to take a photo)