Ah yes! My powers of deduction are marvellous; Himself decided last yesterday that it would be too cold to travel to Galway and has decided two weeks time would be ideal. I am positive the fact that he bought a new lawnmower had absolutely nothing to do with this decision, equally I am positive that there are pigs flying in the sky overhead. Hmmmm!
So, over breakfast this morning, and a plate of the full Irish breakfast and a large cup or three of tea, we reminisced on our three day sojourn in Galway in March and the excitement of our second night. Before you get carried away in your imagination, grab a cup of something, pull up a chair and hear how it went.
Every now and again Himself and I take ourselves off for a couple of nights away. Our favourite is Galway which is a mere two hours down a very boring motorway to heaven. We usually arrive around two in the afternoon, throw our bags in our room and head out for Lettermullen, which we love, or maybe on out to Clifden. This year, being early March, we wandered around Bearna which is not too far from the city. Neither of us feel the pull to wander around cities, preferring the call of the seagull and the feel of the breeze from the Atlantic on our faces.
On Wednesday night, after a day touring around to Maam Cross, Oughterard, Oranmore, and a gorgeous meal in Blazers restaurant in the hotel, we retired around eleven to the biggest bed I have ever seen, it was more like the pitch at Old Trafford.
Two hours after mid-night and we are sleeping the sleep of the contented when an almighty wail raises us from our slumber. Himself hopped out of the bed with an alacrity in a late 60 year old that was worthy of a fifteen year old. I sat up, swept my watch and phone into my handbag, grabbed my coat and we headed for the meeting point as advised in a notice on the back of the bedroom door.
As we headed out into the corridor the door of the room across from us opened a little and a lady put her head out as asked us what was all the caterwauling about. "It's the fire alarm" I explained, "we have to go to the rally-point downstairs, so don't take the lift". The lift only holds about five comfortably anyway, so that's a no go for a start in an emergency.
We were quite cool, calm and collected in ourselves. One American gentleman was seriously disgruntled, complaining that he had seen a note in the lift about a "practice emergency exit in case of fire" and he was "damwell gonna ring someone" to complain about the hour chosen for a practice emergency exit. However, as we got further down the stairs, the smell of smoke got stronger and by now some people were starting to panic and try to race down the stairs.
Outside the wind was howling and the rain was lashing against the doors of the hotel. The night manager, Franz, met us in the foyer and advised that "there has been a small fire in the laundry which is now out. The fire brigade are here, they have it under control, and as soon as they are satisfied that everything is safe and well, you will be free to return to your rooms. In the meantime, please remain here in the foyer and I will keep you advised on what is the current situation".
There was a babble of excited conversation in the hall, Mr "Damwell" was huffing and puffing that we should all be outside and the French lady from the room across from us was telling everyone that "I thought those people in the room across from me were going out for a walk, she had her coat and shoes on".
Of course I had my coat and shoes on, and a very snazzy set of tartan pyjama's [if I do say so myself] underneath the coat. No self respecting Irishwoman would forget her handbag and good coat no matter what the emergency was. Besides, no self respecting Irishwoman would risk death by pneumonia standing outside in the cold while the hotel burned down. Priorities, as my Grandmother used to say, must be observed, and a good coat is a good coat.
An English couple from Shropshire were sitting beside us, as well as a couple from Cork. The lady from Cork cornered the night manager and asked him would it be possible to get a pot of tea for six while we were waiting to go back to our room. Understandably he asked if we would mind waiting until things were a little less frenetic for him, and he would look after us then. Mme. Across-The-Hall's jaw dropped and she turned to the woman beside her and said "I have always heard the Irish were mad, now I know they are". As the lady from Shropshire said, with a huge grin on her face, "tea is always appropriate on occasions like this". Mme A-T-H was left speechless.
An hour later, the Fire Chief came into the foyer to tell us that all was well, the fire was completely out and that a dryer had overheated thus causing the fire. We were good to go if we wanted to return to our rooms. Mr Damwell decided to give Franz a piece of his mind, but the rest of the guests wandered slowly back upstairs to their beds. Few took the lift. The Shropshire lady and I chatted as we strolled along the corridor to our respective rooms, and she was full of praise for how quickly the Fire Brigade had arrived. As I pointed out to her, the Fire Station was, luckily, only down the road. Mme Across-the-Hall was asking someone "what sort of trousers are those on the lady with her coat and shoes on" Apparently she didn't think they were very chique. Tell that, Madame, to my daughter who gave them to me for Christmas...
Breakfast, the next morning, was abuzz with greetings amongst the guests and chatter about the night's excitement.
There's nothing like a good old fire alarm to enliven up your night.