It was the early 90s and there was a group of us working on a project in Milton Keynes who were all staying in the same hotel in the old town. We would spend all day at the coalface – if programming synthesisers falls into that category and then we'd eat together and consume vast quantities of beer. I think this was the second night so the die had been cast. The hotel was an old pub and I was sleeping in the annexe which was probably originally the stable block. I returned to my room and fell soundly asleep, or at least totally unconscious, without any problem. The problem began when I woke and found myself standing in the corridor wearing only my underwear. I’d clearly got up in the middle of the night to rid myself of some excess fluid and turned the wrong way - so that instead of entering the bathroom, I exited the bedroom.
Now in any other circumstances I would have simply, though extremely self-consciously gone to reception to get a spare key. This was not going to be so easy as it was not a matter of going down a few floors to reception. In this case, the reception was in a different building. And it was 3 a.m., in November and it was raining.
I remembered that one of the guys on the course was in the room opposite and so I thought maybe he could call reception for me. I was about to knock when I had second thoughts, on the basis that being woken up in the middle of the night to find a nearly nude male at your bedroom door might be giving off the wrong signals. So time for Plan B.I went to the door of the annexe and searched for something to keep the fire door open after I'd exited, just in case I couldn’t get any help. With my failsafe plan in place, I ran to the main building – bare-footed, virtually starkers in the cold November rain.In these sort of ridiculous situations, I often think 'they'll get even better in the telling' whilst mentally rehearsing how to recount the tale. Strangely on this occasion, it never crossed my mind – not even when I reached the main building to find it locked which would obviously be a strong point in the story. Neither did it cross my mind as I made the return journey in the rain, though when I found that I could get back into the annexe, in comparison to the garden it seemed like a safe haven. Time for Plan C.
Now in hotel rooms especially in November, I am more likely to sleep in a warm fug than fresh air. I’m not one of those fresh air fiends who throws windows open and caution to the wind. So I doubted that the bedroom window would be open, though seeing as my room was on the ground floor it was clearly worth a shot. Checking that the exterior door was firmly wedged open, I headed for the outdoors again. I counted the windows carefully twice, not wishing to exacerbate the situation by climbing into someone else's room. When I was absolutely positive that I was outside my room and no one else's, I looked and was relieved to discover that the window was open far enough for me to open it fully and climb in. Of course, being a community minded soul, after firmly wedging my bedroom door open, I went and removed the wedge from the exterior door. After all I didn’t want this happy ending to be ruined by a headline which ran 'Several perish as early morning streaker flouts fire regulations.'