20060703

Day 2

Since I travel so much, I knew exactly how to deal with the jet lag: take a short nap in the afternoon for an hour or so, and then go to bed reasonably early (say, 10ish), and sleep for 10 hours or so. It was somewhat to my surprise that I followed this plan, and then woke up sharp at 1am. More sleep, then again awake at 5am. This corresponds to waking up at midnight "back home". I think it might be to do with the fact that I'm staying in student accommodation. The curtains are so thin that the dribble of sunlight around dawn is enough to illuminate the whole room.

I've stayed in Student accommodation for conferences before. It tends to be quite well suited to the task. I cannot possibly imagine trying to live there for more than the three days though, without going quite screamingly insane after about a week. The rooms are just large enough to put a small travelling case in and spread one's stuff around. Fine for three days, unimaginable conditions for a year. The beds are special editions, barely large enough to sleep one, let alone the two or three that students regular get up to (or so I am informed). Walls are wafer thin, and doors are all fire doors on aggressive auto-closing mechanisms that mean that they slam with a reassuringly loud bang at the slightest provocation. Just to make sure that this causes the maximum amount of disruption, they are slightly too large for the frames, and so will not close and lock unless they are slammed shut with considerable force.

The highlight has to be the ensuite bathrooms, and in particular, the shower. It is actually quite a good shower, by UK standards, and has quite a decent pressure as opposed to the pathetic dribble of water that most UK residents seem content to describe as a shower (I've never had a good a shower in private UK accommodation). The shower tray is obtained by taking a regular shower tray and slicing it in half diagonally. The door opens into the shower, so that getting in and out requires you to inhale deeply and hold yuor breath as you edge around the door. The best part is the shower control mechanism: I'm not sure who thought of this, but it's a work of genius. You know those taps (hard-core Americans: faucets) that you get in public toilets (h-c As: bathrooms) that you push on and they squirt for an inadequate amount of time before switching themselves off again? This is how the shower works. You press a big silver button, which slowly pushes itself out again causing the shower to cut out every 45 seconds (I timed it). This means that for someone like me who enjoys relatively long five minute showers, you need to press the button something of the order of 10 times.

It's hard to imagine exactly what behaviour prompted this design decision. Perhaps the students were of the habit of getting out of the shower and wandering off while forgetting to turn it off. It is starting to become intensely annoying, and I've only taking two showers so far. I'd imagine that after a week or so, one would start coming up with countermeasures, such as trying to wedge the thing in place, or using duct tape to hold it in. It's just possible that this has the effect of reducing usage, since after pressing the button a half dozen times or so, you get pretty tired of the whole affair, and the next time it cuts out, you give up and get out. I'm just not sure that the corresponding increase in violent tendencies in a population subjected to this kind of cruel and unusual interior design is worth the reduction in cost.

Expect more thrilling updates from 5 hours in the future as the week progresses.

2 comments:

Trixie said...

Ha. You so didn't live in Cryfield did you.

Anonymous said...

cryfield showers were pretty good. Despite being shared. But the rooms were indeed small.

David