Friday, September 14, 2007

A kind of crazy night

Posted by Raquelle

You'll recall, if you dutifully read through the last post to the very end (you did, didn't you?....right?......RIGHT?????.....) that we left you after telling you about Dumferline Abbey. Incidentally, it's pronounced dum-FIRM-lin.

We came back and took naps. My nap wasn't a very good one because I forgot to take the bun out of my hair, but was too sleepy to fix the problem. Imagine sleeping on a very large mushroom and you'll get the idea. Gives you a crick in your neck.

Dad and Mom went to Tesco, the local grocery, for another food foray. No one wanted to cook in the apartments again but we wanted even less to go on another long trek to a restaurant. True, we had cars, but the only eensy weensy problem with that is that there is no place to park them in town. Sad, but true. You never, ever see parking garages over here. An occasional car park (parking lot) but most people just take the bus, the train, the tube, or walk. What's also interesting is that there are very, VERY few fat people here. That's because they walk all the time. :D

Anyway, they returned from their food foray with cans of soup and some breaded chicken strips. This meant that we had to figure out how to turn on the oven. Hmmm. Ah. Well. Let's see if we can find the user's manual. No? Um..............DAD! Will you come look at this? After some pushing of switches and turning of dials, the oven came on with a vengeance. I think it was maybe a convection oven. It heated the chicken very rapidly. Good thing we decided to check it halfway through, or we'd be eating burnt bird. :D

(Another thing over here is that plugs have to be turned on, usually with a small switch next to the plug. You have to remember that, or else you can merrily plug something in, like a curling iron, and then come back to discover that it's NOT on after all. This, friends, is Very Vexing.)

So we had a merry meal of chicken and soup and some rolls and the assorted drib-drabs of apples, carrot sticks, coleslaw, potato salad, and good stuff like that.

Dinner ended up being fairly late, as we had napped late. So soon it was time for bed. And that was when my troubles began.

(Do you know, we've been riding on the tube a lot today and I feel like the smell is clinging to me. It's driving me nuts. The underground smells....well, I can't describe. It's not exactly diesel...more like an acrid, dirty electrical smell. Ugh.)

So, my troubles. First, I had taken a nap so I wasn't very sleepy. Second, the walls in the apartment were not soundproof and I could here Mom and Dad bumping around in their room as they got ready for bed, and could eventually hear Dad snoring. I can NOT sleep with noise.

However, I was PREPARED. I, ladies and gentlemen, after many months of laboriously agonizing over various models, had become the possessor of a battery-operated noise maker to drown out noises. It came with a variety of sounds, including ocean waves, waterfalls, birds chirping, and all that schweet stuff. Since it was the cheaper model, it sounded pathetically fakey and a trifle static-ish, but at least it worked. I'd rather listen to a crackling waterfall than snoring. :D So I cranked it on and laid back (this time with my bun taken down) on my pillow, ready for a nice, quiet snooze.

That was when I discovered that my super-awesome-waycool noisemaker was super-awesomely-waycoolly ANNOYING to my sister, who shared the room. She had endured if for several nights but tonight she demanded a compromise and asked that we leave it off, at least for awhile.

Hmmph. I felt that this was very high-handed and desperately obnoxious. The very idea!!! However, I trust that I will always do my duty....noble sigh! I turned it off and felt like a heroic martyr. Our window was open, by way of ventilation, which created another problem.

We were staying in a nice area of town, but it was near a bus stop. And, if you don't know, a favorite pastime among Europeans is drinking wine or beer. Some of a little too much. So, regardless of how nice the area is (because the rich people do it too), it is not uncommon to hear people walking home late at night talking loudly, laughing loudly, or sometimes singing at the top of their lungs, having had a leetle too much to drink. Sigh. So I began to hear people's mood-elevated voices as they walked down the street nearby from the bus station.

Are you keeping track of all these noises---the bumping, talking, snoring, hollering, singing? Well, it got worse.

Heather finally said I could turn my noisemaker on. This I did. However, the nice little thing did not drown out the bumping that came from the upper story. It sounded like someone was tap dancing or else whumping heavy suitcases all about the floor. (Maybe they were.) This went on for some time.

By now it was quite late and creeping into the wee hours of the morning. I had ceased to feel like a noble martyr and was getting just plain cranky. I sneakily turned my noisemaker up a little bit.

Then I heard the most frightful noise of alarm sounding in the story above us. It sounded like a smoke alarm and went on and on and ON. Now, a smoke alarm is never relaxing but it is even less so when you can't go personally investigate it. I sat up, adrenaline coursing through me. Heather half woke up and told me it was no big deal, if there was a problem our alarm would go off too. That sounds reasonable, but not at 2:00 in the morning. I sat there rigidly, debating whether to go wake up Dad, who was most unaccountably snoring. How could one snore through something like that!!!

Thankfully, the alarm finally shut off. And I finally, after irritably making a tally of ALL the noises and feeling quite persecuted, reached a point of exhaustion and fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning we found out (by overhearing someone talking to the receptionist) what had happened. One of the other ladies in the apartment complex had had a leetle too much to drink. So when she came back to the apartments, she went to the wrong one. Her key, of course, wouldn't unlock it. Blaming this problem on the key (oh sure, that's brilliant), she effortlessly solved the problem by, y'know, breaking in. This happened to be the apartment above us and was in fact occupied by other people. Some kind of alarm went off, but she was undisturbed and happily meandered into the apartment, ambled into the restroom, and then went to sleep on the couch. The folks in the apartment had to call the police to come get her out. :D

So all in all, it was a bad night's sleep but it could have been worse. :D I think I would have absolutely freaked out if she had broken into OUR apartment. :D :D :D

Stay tuned for what happened the next day.......driving from Edinburgh to Bath! Will they make it unscathed? Will they get lost in the dark on the way? And WHAT about the mysterious lasagna??? We'll be back with more, ladies and gentlemen, right after this break!

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