Monday, 23 April 2012

Get a booth!

'Technical difficulties' with the train added an hour and a half to our journey to Bath yesterday.
During a half hour wait at Bristol Parkway station, my friend Clare bumped into 'Mr Nice' Howard Marks. I was on the toilet. I use italics because it's a joke beteen my mother and I. She once rang her hairdresser, who lived with his mum. "Is Mark there please?"
"Can you ring back in 20 minutes love?" replied his mum "he's on the toilet".

I think it took mum longer than 20 minutes to stop laughing.

After a hurried lunch involving a frustrating and fruitless effort to redeem an online code which would have cut our bill nearly in half, we went on to Thermae Spa
There, we shed several layers of skin and stress in the various steam rooms and heated outdoor pool. 
We witnessed several couples engaged in heavy petting, one female accidentally booted Clare in the back, as she clung to her partner's neck and used him as an ad-hoc float whilst she cavorted and splashed like a child. 

Our time at the spa had to be cut short, thanks to the poor train service - Sundays are 
never a good time to go anywhere on public transport in this country. 
It was, however, staying over at Clare's on Saturday night which provided the best relaxation and tonic. I was pampered by Clare;  had a 3 course dinner, my nails painted, and excellent support and advice from her.

We talked at length about prostitution, Clare recently directed a documentary in Amsterdam, which focuses on the lives of several prostitutes. Clare was keen to point out that these ladies were 'normal, everyday people'. I didn't disagree, I've learnt not to say "I could never...." because so many things have happened which I thought never would in my life.  I get very irritated when I hear 'holier than thou' types preaching their morality.

I can safely say, though, that I WILL NOT be found stroking/licking/groping anyone in a public bathing space.
Nor they me.

More about Clare's documentary here


  1. Hello Lucy:
    We absolutely despair of the rail service in England on any day of the week but, as for Sundays, well they are days of rest....for trains particularly!!

    Your spa experience sounds rather strange but we seem to have heard many strange spa stories lately as it happens. American friends of ours in Hungary recently went to a spa in the countryside and all manner of odd goings-on were reported back to us!

    As for 'ladies of the night', we can recommend a film which handles the topic in a sensitive and unusual manner. Called 'Sensation' it is a low budget Irish film which, we rather think, you would enjoy!

  2. Wayahy! Howard Marks....I met him in a pub in Newport a hundred years ago! Mind, I think most people in Newport have met him in one pub or another.
    There seem to be lots of technical difficulties with that line of late and I wish to god they's put more than three carriages on. It's like a cattle truck at peak times!
    Glad you had a good time off the train.xxxxx

  3. Eugh heavy petty anywhere public makes me cringe,when i was pregnant there was a couple with the tongues down each other throats in the waiting room for the scans - i thought they would have already learnt where that had already got them!

    I'm glad you were pampered, and your friends doc sounds really interesting. Scarlett x

  4. Ooh, I know what you mean - keep your bedroom moves for the boudoir, people! When I finally meet you, I promise there will be no tongues, though I can't be sure I won't pinch your bum after a few drinks...
    So pleased you had a good weekend with your friend, I find it does you a world of good being away once in a while, minus the family!
    I will check out Clare's film, looks good. xxx

  5. Is that you in that photo? SO nice to see what you look like. I hate public petting too. SO undignified - or maybe its just an age thing! x

    1. No, that's Clare! I have made3 an appearance on a few blog posts, but I look terrible at the moment. Hiding indoors is my best bet.

  6. I confess I had to look up Howard Marks as I had no idea who he is. We lead a very sheltered life here in The Shire, what with all the hobbits and the royalty up at Tetbury. He sounds an interesting chap. I wish I met more interesting people on my travels. Perhaps i go to the wrong places.
    Mrs E gave me a piece of paper for xmas a few years ago saying "I owe you one trip to the spa at Bath". We never really got round to it. I am not sure now whether I am glad or not.
    My old dad used to work at a dairy opposite the main red light area of Bristol. They would often observe furtive fellows in raincoats knocking on doors and disappearing within. The average time was apparently 7 minutes and the assembled staff of the dairy would be on the loading bay ready to applaud the punter's reappearance.

  7. I have to join you in my distaste for displays of passion in public places - very off- putting, especially in restaurants. Glad to hear you were at the receiving end of some pampering.

  8. I have no idea who Howard Marks is but my kids are always telling people who call "mum's on the toilet, I'll get her to call you back when she's finished" Nice. Better than when they were little though and said "mum's doing a poo"

  9. Years ago I was friendly with the features editor of 'More' magazine - who later went on to carve a less than successful career on shopping TV channels, however - much of his work at the time was based on telephone interviews with upcoming celebrities etc. I was at his house one day and the phone rang, he was busy 'upstairs' and shouted down that I should answer. It went like this -

    "Hi is Nigel there, I'm by the pool and waiting for his questions?"
    "well, I'm sorry - he can't come to the phone, he's on the toilet"
    "oh, well - I guess that's OK, can you tell him Christine Aguleria rang"

  10. Why does "on the toilet" sound so much more basic than "in the toilet"? Does one pertain more the the act rather than the location. Always puzzled me that.

    1. Often thought the same with this. I suppose that "on the toilet", when referring to a gentleman, would be the former. Whereas for a lady it could be either. Of course that theory becomes a little muddied if you're the kind of chap who likes to take a 'rest' whilst pointing Percy at the porcelain.

  11. Great news that you've had some wonderful pampering and time with your friend. There's nothing like girl friends to keep you sane.

    I'm always worried about arriving in the UK at the weekend because of work on the tube. After several hours on the train and Eurostar the last thing we need with heavy suitcases is trouble on the tube. In the past it's taken almost as long to cross London as get there from Paris!

  12. a spa and bath, you'd be quite clean now then?!
    sounds just what you needed, minus all the agro ideally but hey what would you write about if there was no agro aye?! now did you go see/do any of the austen stuff?

  13. How long overdue was this girls day and night out!!! I am so happy to hear you got a little time away from all your responsibilities at home. I hate PDA, get a friggin room people! I would have started making out with you to top them all :))))) Take that, give em' something to stare at! Bath is one of the places I want to visit when I'm over there, is it worth it my dear?!
    I don't know who this guy is but he does look familiar, I'll have a look round and see. Clare sounds like a good friend, a keeper for sure and also a very interesting woman. I agree with you, I have no place in my vocab for, well I never, next thing you know I'd be stripping to support a heroin habit. I must check out her documentary. I'm glad you have someone like her to spend time with.

  14. I hate 'on the toilet' because it's common and although my family are all working class, we always made an effort not to be vulgar (my parents didn't call me 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' for nothing). If you're in the toilet, you might be reading a book, decorating, washing your hands or studying Spanish, but if you're on the toilet, then there's only one thing you can be doing.

    I'd love to see your friend's documentary. I've just read a brilliant novel by Amanda Craig - 'Hearts and Minds' - which describes the ordeals of Eastern European women who are forced into prostitution and it was harrowing but compelling.

    My only encounter with Howard Marks was during a gangster (not gangsta) book-related evening in some God-forsaken part of East London. Dave Courtney was there too. It wasn't your normal book launch. Marks was DJ-ing, although he was so stoned that he was struggling to stand up.

    1. I'm now reminded of a story my father told me about. When he was a teenager, he and his friend Rich went to help a neighbour move some furniture. The neighbour went into the bathroom, and Rich gazed out at the lawn, which was full of bric a brac. When she came out, Rich looked out of the window again, and said "you've had a good clear out then?"

      "No, I only washed my hands" she replied.

  15. oooh how interesting, Clare sounds like a really interesting person! And lucky Clare for meeting Howard too. You needed spoiling!!

  16. It's so good to spend time with a friend in a setting that actually allows proper conversation rather than shouting over the sound of music!! Nice to be pampered once in a while too - even for not-so-girly people like you and I! :-)

    Your friend Clare sounds as though she'd have a tale or two to tell!

    Jem xXx

  17. I am glad that you got some pampering time.
    What a great and interesting friend you got there.
    That toilet comment had me chuckling away.

  18. Get you missy! All this time you've been pretending that you're just like the rest of us and NOW you let slip that you're friends with documentary makers! Next thing you'll be telling us you really live in Notting Hill!

    K xx


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