Headland heat

I’m back in The Headland Hotel in Newquay. It’s a big chunk of a building, squaring off against the Atlantic wind, custom built as a hotel in 1900. The interior brings incredible panoramic views of the ocean where you can sip your eight pound glass of wine in peace as the sun sets over the ocean. The bedrooms are well appointed. Last week I had a pretend four poster bed with no curtains or runners for curtains, located on the ground floor. Old couples in the car park were likely delighted and astonished as I proudly threw open the curtains in the morning wearing the clothes I was born in. Perhaps for that reason this week I’m in a turret room at the very top. I’m happiest here, in the wind overlooking the sea.

Nothing is ever simple though. They ask me for a £150 deposit when I check in, and right now there isn’t a single one of my cards that can take that much. They don’t seem to understand that truth, considering the price of my room. Eventually they overlook it, but as soon as I put a glass of red wine on the room they’re phoning up and panicking. “I’ll pay it when I go. I just can’t do the whole deposit!” I assure them. Thankfully the duty manager trusts that I’m worth my word. So I wander up to my room at the top of the house, I put on my gown and slippers, and I switch on the hot water to enjoy my long undeserved luxurious bath with my hard won glass of red wine.

*plip* *plip* *plip*

Nothing. Nothing at all from the tap. A whole extraordinary pile of nothing. Bugger. I’m not filming tomorrow, so grooming isn’t quite as crucial as it might be normally. But the production company have definitely paid for hot water.

The thinking behind booking us into these extraordinary places is so that we look and feel our best on set. Filming is about illusion, but there’s only so much you can do. Tweezers in the face and pain completes illusion. I had brought up all sorts of instruments with me. I was going to craft something of myself for Trinny and Susannah to retire over weeping. I had a whole day and in my familiar partitiony way tomorrow was earmarked for making myself feel and look great.

I’m not doing a porn shoot by the way. Nobody is going to see my topiary apart from Pickle. Cold water is helpful with grooming, I guess. Etc. But no. I WANT HOT WATER TOO! I might look like a caveman sometimes but I’m not. It’s just nice to feel good. For me. And to take this opportunity in a lovely hotel with a spa.

If someone hits on me in a bar tomorrow and I fancy them I’m still going to find the first exit from the conversation I can and then run until I get to John O’Groats and only then throw my clothes aside to reveal my magnificent caveman pelt as I swiftly dance into the waves like a seal and swim and swim and swim until I know she’s lost the thread.

Maybe the hotel has done me a favour by making it impossible for me to wash and groom in my own room. But fucking hell, Headland Hotel! I know how much the production company have spent on this room with no hot water because the receptionist that wanted the £150 tried to hit me for it and I was almost sick. I love this place too. I thought I was going to be writing a happy blog because it’s great here. But it changes live, this blog, cos I’m writing a bit – living a bit – writing a bit.

Meanwhile I’ll go tell reception to make sure there’s a note of it, as the night porter is mostly busy moving fake walls and I don’t want them to look at me blankly tomorrow. I’ll shower downstairs in the spa. There’s a spa. Oh yes. There’s a spa. Maybe I should leave hairs all over it out of spite.

If I could get into the spa with my key. Which I can’t. Even though apparently I should be able to…

Right. The night porter is a dude. Solutions over problems. He can’t fix the water. He can’t move my room. But he’s thinking. He opens a room downstairs for me to wash in, right at the top of the service elevator, almost certainly where all the staff wash if they must. It’s about the same size as my room but with a better view. “Mate, if you could just move me here?” “No, they’d kill me.”

Ach. So I can’t leave it full of hairs. I splosh about carefully in the bath, an impostor in an empty room. Nobody will sleep in these sheets. Absurd. Although Geoff from maintenance might show up at 6 am with “I’ve had literally no sleep cos fucking hell what a night and suddenly some bastard needs that hot water pump fixed again and I’m still up sweating pigs help me out here I need a shower in the emergency room by the service elevator…”

I slink back up, still pelted and proud, into my tower room with no hot water that isn’t quite so special anymore. But hell – It’s brilliant this job. This crew. This momentary existence. Hot water or no hot water.

I’m thrilled with my wonderful agent, and all the connections and moments through my life that have made this sort of workthing possible for me after nearly 20 years at the grindstone. No hot water in the posh hotel? Bah. I remember when there were three of us sharing a double bed for two weeks and I was happy as a clam.



Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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