The Loneliness of the Long Distance Worker

fawlty-towersI have been on the road with Learning Pool for almost 6 months now and it has been a real change from my life in the public sector. 

There are so many things that are new to me and every day on the road is an adventure.  I hadn’t realised how naïve I was in the ways of travel and hotel life.

Last month I found myself booked into a hotel at the Basildon Festival Leisure Park.  It sounds, great doesn’t it ?  Well it wasn’t.

Picture a very large car park surrounded by a couple of hotels, a bowling alley, a cinema, a night club (known locally as Baz Vegas) and lots of eateries that would love to be classed as restaurants but are just food chain outlets.   Those Essex youths love the sound of their big exhaust pipes.

I foolishly ate at a Chinese buffet.  Now, in my humble opinion, Chinese food should be fresh, hot from a wok and subtly flavoured not left sitting in big vats under electric warming lights, getting  gloopier by the second.  And this delicate food deserves to be eaten in more sedate surroundings than something that resembles an aircraft hanger and sounds like a school canteen.

The service was good, too good.  When I asked how the buffet process worked, my waitress who had just showed me to a table told me to get up and go help myself.  What she actually said was “Get a plate and eat as much as you can.”  It felt like a challenge but I didn’t take her up on it.

Whilst on the subject of food on the road I must mention the glory that is hot sausage sandwiches available at some train stations.  Never, never be tempted by a hot sausage sandwich at a train station.  I did and have fortunately lived to tell the tale. 

I just didn’t expect the woman behind the counter to take a cellophane wrapped breadbun that contained already cooked sausages and stick it in the microwave  for 2 minutes.  This cookery method results in a chewy, steamed bread roll that rubberized sausage –not for the faint hearted.

Something else I have found out about whilst hotel hopping down the east of England is bed scarves.  Seriously, bed scarves.

I don’t know when it started and I don’t know what they are for but often I walk into a hotel room to find someone has draped a large piece of shiny material across the bottom of the bed.   Occasionnaly this “scarf” is accompanied by matching bed cushions too. 

Why?  Surely cushions are for sofas and chairs, scarves are for necks?

All I need on my bed are covers and pillows.  What I don’t need are bed accessories that I have to remove at night before I get into bed and that I feel obliged to put back tidily in the morning so the maid doesn’t think bad of me.

Finally, to close this ramble I must mention last week’s hotel.

I turned up at reception and gave my name and the receptionist said “Ah yes, Learning Tool.”  We laughed at the typing error when I worked out that she wasn’t  being rude.

There are other stories, some not fit for this blog, so this may not be the last you hear of my Learning Pool travels. 



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5 Responses to “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Worker”

  1. Mary McKenna Says:

    Oh Chris – just imagine what it would be like working in the same place, day after day, same old journey, same old faces – always knowing what the rest of the week or month holds in store…

  2. Andy Houghton Says:

    Chris I told you – try the North Hill Hotel in Colchester – best breakast I’ve had in a long time! Maison Renough in Rochford was fun too.

  3. Paul McElvaney Says:

    Glad you’re getting into the swing of it Chris… There are many, many legendary stories about Learning Pool travel but the all time best is still the Wentworth ‘hotel’ in Birmigham. Ben Jones will never live that one down.

    Just be glad that Breda and Clare do such a great job of looking after you these days… trust me, it could be much worse… of course there are no guarantees that it won’t be again!

  4. Emily Says:

    Bed Scarves Chris! What are you going on about.

    I’m guessing that those pieces of material are to save the hotel’s bedding getting too worn from people putting their feet up. I haven’t done a national survey but perhaps more people lie on the bed with their shoes on in the East of England!

  5. Breda Doherty Says:

    Chris, i’m aghast at your travel experiences and there was me thinking the worse people off in the world were those in the third world!

    At least it gives you plenty of material (outside of bed scarves!) for writing blogs!

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