Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Mrs Whojimaflip's Norwegian Escapades 1969: 3. Dodgy Norwegian Water Works - It Reminds Me Of Italy

Mrs Whojimaflip seemed quite unfazed by her unscheduled dip into the icy Norwegian waters, when she lost her balance and fell whilst walking across a wooden plank from one boat to another. 'It was most refreshing, actually,' I remember her saying to me when she was reminiscing. 'It saved me having a bath that night as I was not very good with the hotel plumbing.' Later in the trip she managed to leave the hotel tap running and flooded the bathroom.

I felt for her - I've done it myself.

Once in Italy, when I and a girlfriend were forced to stay in a fleapit of a hotel which backed onto Platform 1 of the Stazione di Pisa Centrale (commonly known as Pisa Central Station). It was stiflingly hot, like an oven and dark as the shutters were glued shut. No one in their right mind would have wanted to open them anyway, as the commuters would have seen a sight they would rather have not.

We turned the taps in the basin but no water came out. I went down to the front desk to ask the owner for help. He was relaxed, sitting with his feet on the desk, cold beer in hand watching the football on tv.

'Non un gran problema,' he grunted. Without letting his eyes move away from the set, he reached back into the fridge and pulled out a large bottle of mineral water. 'Have a good bath.'

Dirty and tired, we left the hotel to get something to eat. Others in the group came too. When we arrived back at the hotel the owner and his wife were sitting bolt upright, their arms folded, looking furious. They started shouting at us. As we ran upstairs a trickle of water came down. The higher we went, the trickle turned into a stream then a waterfall. When we reached the top, there were an army of ladies with buckets and mops fighting a lost cause.

Of course it was my fault....and the others in the party. We had inadvertently turned the taps full on. When the city's water had been turned back on, it rushed out of the hotel's taps with gusto. I could hear the shouting behind us as the owners were climbing the stairs. There was only one course of action left. We grabbed our cases and hoofed it down the fire escape. The station platforms were crowded. It was rush hour. Descending the metal steps at speed, I saw the commuters look up above us. They were mesmerised by the screaming Italian hotel proprieters who were yelling:

'Vaffanculo! Testa di cazzo! Figlio di puttana!'

We ran. We ran in a Trainspotting sort of way. We ran past the leaning tower to a taxi rank and headed for the airport. Others in the party were not so fortunate. They could not find a taxi. They instead collared a horse drawn carriage who they instructed to go at the gallop to the airport. After a few minutes the driver slowed down, almost to a standstill. They found that the only way to get him going was to give him extra money. Every time he slowed after that, they would feed Lire notes into the carriageman's hands and the horses would gallop again.


But back to Norway. Mrs Whojimaflip escaped the ardours of the plumbing by taking a trip to the Briksdal Stryn...... she wrote...

'It had been a bad morning at the Hotel Alexandra. Whilst I was rubbing my eyes and trying to wipe the soap away, I tugged too hard at the shower handle and it came off in my hand. I was soaked again and could only stop the flow by shoving all my towells down the pipe until the Manager came.

Decided to take a £2 trip to the Glacier. At the foot I picked the only rubber wheeled cart pulled by a pony called Fluffra, with a grumpy old man pulling us and spitting in the verge as he went. There were two large Canadian women in the carriage, so I struggled to stretch out. As we got near the top, the Canadians put a plastic sheet over their heads. Strange behaviour, I thought. 'I prefer the fresh air,' I told them. 

The next thing I know is that I am drenched again. The grumpy old man has led us right under a waterfall. That was the second shower of the day. Even the grumpy man laughed.

But non of that wet as Mr Dankinwater's behaviour on the tour. Mr Dankinwater is a quiet lecherous old man who is keen to find a Norwegian maid to marry. So I thought I would help his cause and I found some postcards, like the bride above to show him what a Norwegian wedding might be like.

Mr Dankinwater did not take kindly to my gift. He was most embarrassed. I think he has gone off the whole idea, now.

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