It’s the early hours of Sunday morning and I’m in that half dreaming, half awake state, not sure of the time. What I do know is that I need a pee. Five minutes ago I was in a big old chateau, with a musty old four poster bed, surrounded by subfusc tapestries. For some unknown reason I needed to use the wood and iron bucket in the far corner of the room but as I stand there ready to do the business I notice somebody tending their lawns across the way and all of a sudden I am too shy to piss. That’s a good job really because it was at that precise moment that I awoke. Had I not then I may well have turned the giant airbed we were borrowing into a large but slightly shallow swimming pool.
So here comes that twilight era dilemma when one wakes needing an urgent pee – not wanting to wake anyone else from their slumber but wondering how long one can lie there slipping in and out of consciousness and bladder bloat. The second thing that keeps me lying there in obvious discomfort is the fact that I’m still really very knackered and shouldn’t be conscious at all. So I slumber on, listening to the snores and breathing of fellow slumberers.
In October 1872, Guibert, successor to Georges Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, executed by the Communards and made a martyr for the resurgent Catholic Church, climbed the Butte Montmartre and was reported to have had a vision, as clouds dispersed over the panorama: “It is here, it is here where the martyrs are, it is here that the Sacred Heart must reign so that it can beckon all to come”.
Eventually, however, necessity meant I had to make a break for it; but by now it had become a military exercise. Slip and slide out of the blow-up bed without sounding too much like you’re a giant balloon modeller practising their art at some ungodly hour. Follow this with slowly and gently easing the door handle so slickly that you imagine you should have been that ninja you always thought you would be when you grew up. Then you tip-toe across the wooden floor the way Grasshopper was taught to walk on rice paper in Kung Fu. Carefully closing the toilet door behind you before flicking on the light is an art only the best of us can master but deciding whether to flush or not is the final dilemma and one that kept me sitting there for slightly longer than normal – I am sitting by the way because I know that my pee has less distance to travel and is therefore less noisy and the rest of the household won’t begin dreaming that they’re visiting Niagra Falls. After a short delay I decide not to flush, which means instead, that one of our guests will rise to greet the colour of my pee first thing in the morning. But maybe they’ll appreciate the fact that I was so thoughtful so as to not wake them. Then again maybe they won’t realise it was me at all but think it was N and, as it’s her flat, she can do what the hell she wants.
By the way, my Eurostar carriage smells of Febreeze and fart.