I was tired. I struggled to find my hotel, it being some distance away up by the Motorway
Eventually I staggered to my bed about 2.30am, some 20 hours after I woke up.
I settled to sleep
Some time later, I woke. Or at least I thought I did. I was woken by the sound of a dog barking, repeatedly. I settled back to sleep. Wondering why I was dreaming about a dog barking.
Ten minutes later, according to my phone, the dog barked again. Louder. It was 5am
This carried on for another 25 minutes.
I decided that I would have to do something
I consulted the Premier Inn manual in my room. There, on Page Six, in capital letters
NO PETS. MANAGEMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REFUSE GUESTS WHO BRING PETS A ROOM
Aha! Emboldened by my discovery and in high dudgeon I decided to make my way to hotel reception, pausing only to note which room the barking was coming from
Room 105, next door to my room 103
I made my way to reception, dawn breaking behind me over the front car park
I pressed the buzzer and in front of me appeared a large Caribbean Woman with I was soon to discover a Welsh accent
The woman looked me up and down. I looked me up and down. I was in a T-Shirt and my boxers. Such was my dudgeon that I had forgot to get dressed.
Composing myself I forumlated my complaint. She listened respectfully and agreed that no, pets were not allowed.
She said she would deal with it, put the "back in five minutes" sign in reception and strode off, nay waddled off, in the direction of room 105 with me waddling behind in my boxers
She knocked at the door, the cacophony of barking a tumult from behind the wall
After a short wait, a large man opened the door
"Yes?" he said in a gruff cockney action
"Do you have a dog in here?" said the Caribbean Taffy.
Rather a stupid question, but I suppose you need to start somewhere
"Yes" said Ray Winston.
At least we had established the facts
At this point he spotted me behind the lady
When in high dudgeon I have an embarrassing habit of complaining in a voice resembling a WW2 Fighter pilot. I go posher and higher pitched. Think Armstrong and Miller.
"Sorry" it also being a sad habit of mine to always complain with an apology first
"Your dog is keeping me awake, and its no dogs in the hotel"
"Yes" said Caribbean lady with an emphatic nod
"Hold on a minute" he said and went back into his room
Sadly he forgot to put his door on the latch and out into the hallway leapt an enormous German Shepherd, shiny coat, lustrous in the artificial light
I leapt back, suddenly worried about my crown jewels. I may not have been cowering behind the Caribbean lady, but I might as well have been
"ZEUS!" screamed Cockney man "BACK IN!"
and meek as a doormouse Zeus went back into the hotel room
Cockney man introduced himself as a Sergeant from the Met and produced a piece of headed notepaper. I craned to read it, but with a frustrating air of authority Caribbean lady shielded it for me and read slowly.
"OK" she said eventually "I needed to check, because it is no pets"
"Yes", said Sergeant Cockney "but this is urgent business, at short notice"
He said his goodbyes, shut the door and Zeus let out enormous barks, no doubt frustrated that his breakfast was delayed by a clown in boxers
I accompanied the lady back to reception
"Urgent police business, permission to stay given by head office, short notice, ongoing case, uniquely skilled dog"
She paused. We both considered what a Uniquely skilled dog was.
Neither of us seemed to have any clue as the pause hung in the air
"Sorry to bother you" I said, once again apologising for MY inconvenience. So British
I went back to bed. About 20 minutes later the door to room 105 seemed to open, and Zeus must have gone out for his morning walk.
Sleep returned only fitfully