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Strange nights spent away from where you normally sleep (usually no beds involved)

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    Strange nights spent away from where you normally sleep (usually no beds involved)

    Many of us will have had to spend various nights sleeping in places which weren't our homes, or others' homes, or hotels etc. I've slept in a few railway stations (Köln, Liverpool Street) as well as bus stations (Bristol, for example). Airports as well (Heathrow, Gatwick). Nothing unusual in these, I suppose, There are some other nights I've spent which may or may not be odd, but as Ray de Galles invited me on a different thread to have first slog at this here goes. Excuse me for copying and pasting from stuff I've written before.

    1978: outside a house in Dover, after a ferry trip from Calais which arrived at 2 o’clock in the morning. I met a lad from Leeds and a girl from California. We pitched his fly sheet in the front garden of a deserted house, after a ferry trip from Calais, before catching the train to London in the morning.

    [This one is cheating a bit since it did involve a bed but for me at least it's memorable.] 1978: a house somewhere in Anglesey following a party which had something to do with staff and students at Bangor University. When I woke up, hungover, in the morning, I discovered that the only exit from my room was through another bedroom in which the two occupants (probably the tenants or owners of the house) were busy making love. It took a long time, even though I was desperate for a piss, to pluck up the courage to open my door and make a run for it through their room.

    Early 1983: a ditch somewhere in Essex. I'd gone to a party in a village by the art teacher in the school where I was teaching, but I couldn't find the house and the telephone number I had didn't work. With night falling, no public transport, no taxis around, this was the only option. Though it was cold in the ditch, at least it was dry. The morning after, I hitched back to Witham – from ditch to dull as ditchwater in one car ride.

    1991: railway sidings in Gijón. This was after our English Language School Christmas do. I got a bit too drunk before the meal, more so during it, wondered off sometime between the main course and the dessert, and woke up the following morning with a couple of broken teeth and a bloody nose not knowing what the hell had happened.

    1993: sleeping rough in Oviedo. I went by train with my friend Dani to the south of Asturias, in Spain. The intention had been to camp outside around the small town of Campomanes, but I forgot to bring the map which a friend had provided us with, we got lost, wandered around the countryside a bit (which was lovely: cherry trees, chestnuts, beautiful fresh water). We ended up in Campomanes itself, where we visited four of the five bars we saw; then went to the town of Mieres where we played pool in a bar called El Mineru (full of heroin addicts) where he pretended to be Dutch (which actually put a lot of pressure on yours truly to keep up the joke), ended up in Oviedo where we discovered we'd missed the last train home to Gijón, and so finally we crashed out on a traffic island on the Oviedo-Gijón road, having failed miserably to hitch a lift.

    There are more but that's enough for now, How about you?



    #2
    When I had to apply for my Top Secret clearance for State, I needed to account for everywhere I had spent the night outside the US up to that point (and all of my US addresses going back to my birth).

    It was a major ordeal, but it is now quite obvious to me that you would have a more challenging time.

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      #3
      I once slept on top of a grave in a churchyard in Southampton. Woke up, flicked the slugs off myself and stood up, much to the varied horror and bemusement of the assorted congregation waiting to enter for a service.

      I also once, after a row with the first Signora Rogin, grabbed a bottle of sherry and stormed up to Trent Park golf club and kipped by one of their fairways. (A long uphill par five, as I recall, with out of bounds on the right). Woke up in glorious sunshine the following morning, way before anyone was on the course. I went home, we made up (this was long before the Roginettes came along) and a couple of weeks later when it was the next nice night we went back there with a picnic and blanket and ... well, you know.
      Last edited by Rogin the Armchair fan; 09-07-2019, 19:00.

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        #4
        Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
        When I had to apply for my Top Secret clearance for State, I needed to account for everywhere I had spent the night outside the US up to that point (and all of my US addresses going back to my birth).

        It was a major ordeal, but it is now quite obvious to me that you would have a more challenging time.
        I used to keep diaries and letters and stuff...my life is sadly archived!

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          #5
          That's essentially how I reconstructed the timeline, too.

          I was thinking more about how my security interview lasted more than four hours without any entries that were close to as intriguing as yours.

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            #6
            I am wondering now how and why Ray asked you to start this thread.

            I went to the South of France after my O-levels with some mates and ended up spending many different nights in Toulouse station - once having hame sandwiches thrown at us by French on a train down to Algeria - which ended up with me hating it and the city. I was pleasantly surprised, when I went back in 2016 for the Wales game, at how much they had done improve the city in the intervening 36 years but I didn't risk the flashbacks of visiting the train station.

            Around the same time, I went on an adventure holiday that included a walk in the mountains in West Wales that meant sleeping in a derelict sheep-shearing shed for a coulee of nights. There was also a competition where you had to win a day's team building activities to get first pick on varying equipment for using for shelter - polythene sheet, rope etc. My team won and through we had struck lucky with an old trailer, some foam for a mattress and some plastic sheeting. It pissed down and our rope-tying expertise was not what it should be so we got drenched and cold, huddled together smoking fags. The next morning, one of the lads got picked up really early by someone that was fairly obviously wasn't his parents. We then found out that it was his probation worker and the lad - whose lighter we had been cadging lights off - was a young pyromaniac who they thought would benefit from the experience. We regarded anew our highly flammable shelter.

            I have slept in my car on many occasions - sometimes choosing to - and it is almost always unsatisfactory. The most comfortable was when I had a massive Peugeot estate that had seats that lay completely flat and enough room in the back for me to stretch my 6ft+ frame. However, one night at a festival, I came up with the great idea of putting some milk for the morning in a plastic bag full of ice that I had, I think, taken from a bar ice bucket. I woke up in the morning with my feet absolutely saturated from the leaked bag. I am still in the habit of getting to wherever I am working nice and early so that I am there and then having a half hour nap in the car. I don't know why I bother really as I rarely have a proper nap. However, I often feel that I need to, at least, close my eye for a bit.

            I once got back to my wife's flat - where I was an unofficial lodger - and couldn't wake her so ended up sleeping the night in a deckchair in the back garden. Luckily, it was summer but it was still cold and uncomfortable.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Bordeaux Education View Post
              I am wondering now how and why Ray asked you to start this thread.
              https://www.onetouchfootball.com/for...and-rock/page2

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                #8
                Sorry, just one more from me:

                1984: a house in Khartoum. This was one of the oddest nights. I was with a colleague, a half-Lebanese girl called Giz, short for Gisianne, and we were befriended by a rich Sudanese businessman who we afterwards nicknamed Buddha. The short version of the story is that after an evening of whisky and chat, and a fleeting visit from the then Governor of Equitoria Province, Joseph James Tombura (dropping by for a spot of whisky after a boring parliamentary session) I fell asleep – naked, I admit, on cushions on his lawn and Giz in one of the interior rooms. During the night I was awoken by the heavy weight of Buddha attempting to do something sexual to me; I managed to persuade him that I wasn't interested. In the morning, Giz told me that he'd also entered her room trying to do something similar to her. We clambered over his wall and scarpered as quickly as we could.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Bordeaux Education View Post
                  I am wondering now how and why Ray asked you to start this thread.
                  Twas me not Ray. (Though in poor light we're easily mistaken for each other.)

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                    #10
                    Sorry

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                      #11
                      No problem.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Rogin the Armchair fan View Post
                        I once slept on top of a grave in a churchyard in Southampton. Woke up, flicked the slugs off myself and stood up, much to the varied horror and bemusement of the assorted congregation waiting to enter for a service.

                        I also once, after a row with the first Signora Rogin, grabbed a bottle of sherry and stormed up to Trent Park golf club and kipped by one of their fairways. (A long uphill par five, as I recall, with out of bounds on the right). Woke up in glorious sunshine the following morning, way before anyone was on the course. I went home, we made up (this was long before the Roginettes came along) and a couple of weeks later when it was the next nice night we went back there with a picnic and blanket and ... well, you know.
                        Clever of you to remember the sherry.

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                          #13
                          Erm, sleeping on transportation doesn't really count for this, does it? Because that would be the sum total for me. And it's always been planned, i.e. overnight flights/ferries or sleeper trains (with a berth booked rather than just a seat somewhere)/buses or minibuses. And those have only ever been for one night with a proper bed a certainty the following evening.

                          I have a vast antipathy to 'roughing it'. I don't see any excitement therein, just unpleasantness. I'm pretty opposed even to camping as an idea. But I'm a light sleeper who struggles to fall asleep even in a proper bed if it's new to me, and am suspectible to insomnia even at home. I know how badly an episode of that knocks me back. I'm consequently very organised about where I'm going to sleep. There is no chance of me ever turning up in a city or heading off on a journey with a plan just to wing it.

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                            #14
                            Many times on trains, ranging from couchettes to sleeping on the floor of an aisle - never a proper sleeper. Obviously many times on planes, and a few times on boats (once in "deck class" where I wasn't allowed inside except to buy food and drink). A few times in the car - Death Valley one christmas where my parents didn't realise everything would be booked in advance springs to mind particularly.

                            I think I've only slept "rough" once, though. A friend and I were going to gigs at the Glasgow Jazz Festival, and heading back to Edinburgh and back to his place way outside to sleep. It may have been the night we saw Miles Davis on one of his last ever tours when we got back to Edinburgh and all public transport had stopped. We tried sleeping in Waverley station, trying to find a spot to doss down - I think I tried a photo booth at one point - but got kicked out by security. We climbed into a park by the station but could hardly sleep because of the sounds of trains shunting back and forth, and were pretty damned cold, so we moved on and climbed over some fences into a different park. I did not sleep well, and enjoyed it sufficiently little that I've not done it again.

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                              #15
                              The creepiest night I spent was a hitch from Cornwall to London. A frequent journey back in the day, rides were usually plentiful and traveling companions often congenial. This one, not so much. Dave and I reached Exeter at around 6.00pm. We got picked up by this old guy in a Morris Minor. Dave sat in the front as it was his turn to be conversationalist, me in the back. We were going round the ring road when the driver said, "It's getting near dinner time, do you want to come back to my place?" Immediately bells went off in my head. It seemed odd, plus we needed a ride before dark. Dave OTOH, clearly felt differently. "Great! Thanks." So there we were an hour later eating bacon and eggs in a terraced house somewhere in Exeter. We finished and I was almost out the door, when another proposition was offered, "Look, it's getting on, you probably won't get another ride tonight. I've got a spare room upstairs If you like?" I froze. Dave, not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth said "Well if it's not too much trouble..." So there we were sharing a double bed in some old Devonish geezer's gaff and enjoying a furiously whispered argument. "I'm not happy!" "He's OK." "How do you know? Why was he cruising the ring road at six o'clock? "He's just a lonely old bloke who wants company." "He seems well dodgy to me." "Look, he's old and there are two of us, we've got it covered, alright?" A pause then 'click.' Another pause. "Dave, he's locked the bedroom door." "I know."

                              Neither of us slept much that night. In the morning our good Samaritan brought us tea and toast then drove us out of town to the main road where we soon got a ride. Dave was right, he probably was just a lonely old guy and, retrospectively, I felt guilty for imagining the worst, even if wasn't quite sure what it might be. I've tried to be more generous regarding people's motives ever since, but I do still wonder, why did he lock us in?

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                                #16
                                In case you decided to nick some of his stuff and scarper?

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                                  #17
                                  That seems to be the most likely reason yes. But if he was worried about that why invite us in at all?

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                                    #18
                                    Good idea for a thread. This could take me some time to answer. What I do know is that there is no way in hell that I could pass the type of security clearance test described by ursus arctos.

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                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post
                                      That seems to be the most likely reason yes. But if he was worried about that why invite us in at all?

                                      Took a chance but decided to apply a little insurance policy during the night, perhaps.

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                                        #20
                                        Maybe. IIRC he didn't talk much at all, he didn't really seem the gregarious type, which is why I got an uncomfortable vibe from the get go. Then again perhaps he was just very shy.

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                                          #21
                                          Pre-1997. Lots of camping / caravanning holidays with family, but none of it particularly unscheduled.

                                          1997: youth hostel holiday with friends. We decided to stay up all night and go climb a hill to watch the dawn break. It was misty, we couldn't see anything, very anti-climactic. All exhausted, we got halfway down the hill and curled up in a layby for a two hour power snooze.

                                          1998: my friend was moving city and it was her birthday. She held a party in the woods outside town. We built fires. My friend burnt her hand so she spent the rest of the evening with it in a pringles tin full of river water. Me and my boyfriend slept in the nearby cornfield while the boy who previously thought he was my boyfriend (I thought he was just a good friend) climbed up a tree and sulked.

                                          1999: interrailing round France with my boyfriend. Ran out of money a few days before we were booked to go home on the ferry. So we just turned up at train stations, read the timetable and went wherever took 8 hours to get to so we could sleep on the trains, then walked around for the day eating bread and cheese and repeated the next night. Saw Paris and Amsterdam that way.

                                          1999: school exchange trip to Moscow. The family I was placed with lived in a tiny flat so I was on a pull-out sofa bed in the lounge. It was the February before Putin first came to power, the parents were history professors who were terrified of the possibility. The flat had a massive bomb-proof security door with a scary number of locks.

                                          2000: Milan. Holiday with 7 friends. We were meant to be catching the train to the flat we were staying in just north of the Cinqueterra, but our flight was delayed and we missed the last train. We tried sleeping in Milan train station but the police moved us on. We had no idea where to go and the area seemed very dodgy. My boyfriend phoned his mum, who put us in contact with one of her graduate students who'd moved to Milan. He said he'd be delighted to host us. I don't remember how we got to his flat, but it turned out that he was a new dad and his wife and baby had coincidentally gone away to her mother's that weekend. He was wildly excited to have adult company and we all stayed up chatting and drinking wine before passing out on his lounge floor.

                                          I think I'm gonna have to do this in three year chunks.

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                                            #22
                                            Originally posted by Balderdasha View Post
                                            What I do know is that there is no way in hell that I could pass the type of security clearance test described by ursus arctos.
                                            That's quite all right. I sincerely doubt that many of the "senior administration officials" who were granted similar (or higher) clearances since 2017 could either.

                                            There was another night that I ended up at Milano Centrale after midnight with the idea that I would be heading north to Switzerland early in the morning. Rather than pay for a hotel near the station (that area being perhaps even dodgier in the mid-80s then it is now), I managed to get five or six hours sleep by finding compartments in empty carriages that had been left in the station overnight, while being sure to vacate them in advance of their scheduled departure.

                                            When I got on the train to Lugano at about 7, I was surprised to see that many of my fellow travelers had large mail sacks with them, as the first thing they did every workday morning was mail their employers' bills out from the post office in Chiasso, just across the border. I later learned that the standard operating procedure for Roman businesses was to use the Vatican Post Office for the same purpose. No one ever undertook any special measures when mailing their payments, of course.

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                                              #23
                                              2001: trip to Barcelona. Foolishly didn't book a hotel before we arrived and it was some sort of national holiday. We phoned every hotel in our guide book, no luck. Then we got hold of a tourist map and phoned half of those hotels from a pay phone. Still no luck. We decided to take a break and get some food. Sat in a pizza restaurant discussing our plight when the waiter overheard us. He offered to carry on phoning hotels for us while we ate. At the end of our meal, he'd gone through all the hotels without success, so he offered to let us crash at his. We accepted. Spent the evening with him (Argentinian), and his Colombian flatmate, drinking, smoking weed, and slept in the lounge. Next day we found a hotel no problem.

                                              2002: first experience sleeping on a plane. London to La Paz with a brief stopover in Brazil. Plane was virtually empty so we took a row each and stretched out in comfort. This luxury has never again been repeated.

                                              2002: several nights hotboxing tents in the Inca trail. Ran out of money in Tulum in Mexico so paid 2 dollars a night to sleep on a slice of foam in a concrete breeze block shell. Walked a mile down the beach each morning to hang out in the nicer resorts. Nearly camped in the jungle near Palenque but got stung by a scorpion so hitched a ride back to town with the kitchen staff in a van with a bikini full of ice strapped round my armpit (where I got stung).

                                              Late 2002: Fabric 3rd birthday in London. Worked a full day shift at the bank, then stayed up all night, chatted at a friend's after, went back to university dorm, tried to buy pesto because I hadn't eaten all day, smashed it on the garage forecourt because I was too shaky, realised I should sleep. Unfortunately then my boyfriend's mum rang to say he'd gone in for his expected surgery early and had just come round from the anaesthetic and was asking to see me. So made small talk with boyfriend's mum while she drove me to hospital and then sat in the ward with boyfriend covered in wires and iodine trying to tell if I was hallucinating. I think that was the longest I'd ever been awake in one stretch until my psychosis.

                                              Next stop, 2003 and hitchhiking tales. Will have to wait until tomorrow.
                                              Last edited by Balderdasha; 09-07-2019, 21:48.

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                                                #24
                                                We hitched from Belgium to Fontainebleau in 1983 to visit our friend Claire on her year abroad at INSEAD. We arrived after dark but not hugely late but her landlady was very old and very strict so it was all shuttered and locked down and we couldn’t get an answer.

                                                We had some money but the only hotel with a room was posh and way beyond what we could afford so we bedded down in a bus shelter. It got cold and we were starving so not much sleep. The smell of the croissants baking in the cellar across the road was excruciatingly nice and when it finally opened at 6 we got our 1st view of the classic ‘French workers necking brandy with breakfast.’

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                                                  #25
                                                  That was quite early in my relationship with Ms Felicity but I’ve remembered an earlier shared night away from home comforts, probably marking the beginnings of becoming really besotted with her.

                                                  1st term house party, at a time when the geography of Wolverhampton was still a mystery outside of the city centre and Whitmore Reans (student ghetto just beyond the ring road/‘campus’) I think the party must’ve been way down Stafford Rd somewhere.

                                                  We weren’t hammered or anything but it was very late and we had no idea where we were so just curled up on the carpet in a back room. I was undoubtedly very keen for some suggestion that it was so cold we should cuddle up but it didn’t happen. She had a lovely blue 1960s coat on.

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