The following is a note I wrote up on my jotter while staying at the “hell hole” that was the Beechwood Hotel in Edgbaston for the Sri Lanka test match in May 2006, as written up comprehensively – click here.
It relates to a conversation I had with my next door neighbour.
The door to the next room was wide open. At first I thought my neighbour was engaged in conversation with someone – perhaps in the room but unseen by me, perhaps on his mobile phone. As I put the key into the lock of my door, he yelled out, unmistakably at me, “hello young fella. We’re neighbours, mate”.
‘Young fella’ is an endearing moniker once you get to my age. (These days only stewards at Lord’s and front of house staff at the Wigmore Hall still seem to use it for me.)
I took a couple of steps back and greeted my neighbour. He was certainly alone in the room and as far as I could tell had not been talking to anyone other than himself before I arrived.
He was bare chested – a strange sight in an old Victorian house/hotel in that Midlands City in spring – indeed I was going to my room to get an extra layer for the evening. He was drinking a can of lager.
“Sorry mate, I’m a bit pissed”, he said. It was 18:30 – probably par for his course.
“No problem”, I replied, “why not? You enjoy yourself.”
“That’s the spirit”, said my neighbour, “you going out for the evening?”
“That’s right”, I said.
“Well you have a good time, mate”, said my neighbour.
“And you have a good evening too”, I replied.
“That’s the spirit, mate”, he hollered after me as I scuttled the few steps along the corridor, quickly opened up the door to my room, grabbed my jersey, locked up again and fled for the evening.