Wednesday 20 June 2012

Wet What?

So, I arrive at the Travelodge - the motel of choice for the discerning guest lecturer on a budget - to find I'm booked into a room subtly different from every other Travelodge room I've ever stayed in. At first I can't quite put my finger on it, but then, using the 'facilities' I notice how spacious everything is... and that there isn't a bath... and the shower area has a seat in it. Wait a minute... shower 'area'?

It's a disabled wet room, clearly designed for a wheelchair user. But why no shelves or towel rails? Why no place for soap? Why no shower curtain? I eye the set-up with a certain degree of disdain and suspicion.

In the bedroom everything is at a convenient height - if you're in a wheelchair. Being able-bodied and reasonably tall, everything is at a slightly inconvenient height. I crick my back while hanging my clothes on the low, low rail and decide to have a lie down. Instead of the usual double bed there are two exceptionally narrow twin beds. I'm not at all sure how this stacks up against any disabled needs checklist but, predictably enough, I roll over while having a nap, fall out of my bed and bash my shoulder against the twin.

Time for a shower. Its a wet room for heaven's sake...which means that EVERYTHING gets wet. (The clue is in the name, I guess.) The floor, the walls, the sink (in which sits my toilet bag - no shelves, remember) the towels and of course the toilet - all soaking wet. The toilet paper is now not so much tissue as papier maché. Merde.

I once saw an under-stair wet room conversion which involved a shower head placed directly above the toilet bowl, the owner of which could not see that this was functional under no objective criteria whatsoever. This room is not so far different from that - yes, there's plenty of space, lots of floor area, but every square inch of that floor is now covered in wet. The shower seat is directly beneath the nozzle and yes, of course I bash my shin on it as I juggle with the shower gel in the shelf-free zone.

Damn you, Changing Rooms! A pox on your house DIY S.O.S! Wet rooms? In houses? What were you thinking? What is wrong with you people?

Curse you, Nick Knowles!

Leaving the wet room to attempt to air-dry, I trap my hand as the over-width door swings wide and meets the opposite wall. For a moment I am in 127 Hours movie hell, as I realise I may need to amputate a finger or two if I am ever to be able to leave this room. Is this where I die?

Finally freed, I dress, have coffee - the makings are conveniently placed at knee height and I scald my eyebrows leaning over to free the fiddly kettle from its tricky base - and prepare for my day at the chalk face. I just have to clean my teeth and get the hell out..

Like a car smash, everything goes into slow-motion. Stepping into the bathroom the soapy, wet floor gives me no traction at all and my feet slide in opposite directions. I can feel a hernia erupting as the angle between my legs exceeds its last-known limit, doing the splits as I crash towards the hard porcelain basin. I wake into water-boarding nightmare as the dripping shower bathes my bleeding forehead and jerks me back into consciousness.

Through my blurred vision I can see a red cord - the emergency pull - and with my last ounce of strength I summon help, thanking the lord for my good fortune in finding myself in a disabled suite.


  1. I didn't want to laugh at your pain but couldn't help it! :-). I do hope you have recovered!