On Tuesday night the peeps stood at the bedroom window of The Royal Hotel in Ross-On-Wye.
Earlier in the evening I had heard the rain but that had stopped. The peeps said that it was snowing and snow is always silent but once it has fallen creates its own type of muffled silence.
‘We might have to stay here tomorrow’ one of the peeps said.
‘I don’t think so’ the other one answered ‘look, there isn’t even an inch of snow yet and it has nearly stopped’.
I sat up in my window all night wondering if we were going to be moving on or staying.
After breakfast the next morning I heard the peeps being very busy packing their things away. One of them even mentioned that they seemed to be leaving with more luggage than they had arrived with. The other agreed and seemed to think that it had all been put in the case they were carrying. As long as they do not forget me, that is all I am concerned with.
It sounded like everything was packed.
‘What about Brown Bear?’ one peep asked.
‘I’ll look after him’.
I felt myself being picked up and sort of pushed into the pocket of a jacket. Not entirely dignified but better than being next to a wash bag as when we all checked in. I was smuggled past the reception desk in the pocket surrounded by tea bags from the room.
Outside the peeps had to clean the snow off the car which by the sounds I could hear involved much scraping of snow and ice. Once this had been done I was removed from the dark pocket and placed on my usual seat in the back of the car just as the church clock struck nine. We were on our way to Chippenham and another hotel.
The peeps gave their usual commentary of places we went through which as far as Gloucester was a repeat in reverse order of the commentary on Monday. The place names were interspersed with comments on the snow covering the hills and how bright the sun was reflecting off of the wet road. I could hear the car making its way through the wet road surface for most of the way to Gloucester.
Past Cheltenham where there was still snow on the surrounding hills and then on to Chippenham.
The three of us checked in to The Compass Inn near Badminton House where the big horse trials takes place annually. Once again I was hidden in a jacket pocket. The receptionist sounded very polite as we checked in. Once in the room I heard the peeps talk about the hotel.
‘It looks a bit like Crossroads’.
Their choice of decade was accurate. After dinner they came back up to the room and talked about their meal. One had a jacket potato with some sort of filling and the other had scampi and chips. Straight off of a menu from that decade.
During the night a storm raged with strong winds and rain beating against the window. The bedroom door was loose fitting so every time a gust of wind hit the side of the building it would bump back and forth in its frame. It kept me awake and I am sure it kept the peeps awake too. One of the peeps had to wedge the complementary shower cap in the door to stop its repeated efforts to leave its hinges.
The next morning when the peeps came back from breakfast they packed up their things again. This always makes me anxious as I feel I might be forgotten but they remembered me and I was placed back in a pocket.
They talked about breakfast.
The head waiter, they suggested, was moonlighting from a funeral directors as he had the demeanour of an undertaker. Breakfast was served in a conservatory and the peeps sat near a radiator to keep warm. To their disappointment the radiator was not working so they moved into the bar next to a radiator. One of the peeps had poached smoked haddock and hoped that at least one of the staff had been trained to use the Heimlich Manoeuvre as they kept coming across pin bones in the fish.
Home to Ringwood by three and my mileage to date is now 360, including extra miles for a short cut in Salisbury and a couple of navigation errors on the way home.
If the peeps were asked ‘would you stay again?’ their combined and emphatic answer would be ‘No’.
The cover picture is of me on the day of departure.