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

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    Earlier in 2011, I almost forgot, the hen do for the wedding in the French chateau. Before I went, my boyfriend said "I do hope you're not expecting me to look after you when you're hungover tomorrow". I laughed. Hen do started in a fairly civilised manner, an ice skating lesson in Streatham, but then moved onto sangria and pizza at lunchtime and went steadily downhill from there on in. There were ridiculous costumes and cocktail making lessons in a bar in Balham. There was a naked butler at dinner time who was very surprised when my friend said that, yes, she was serious about booking him to do all the washing up. We ended up in a club somewhere in South London (don't know where but it had one of those dance floors with square coloured flashing lights). Around 3am I texted my boyfriend to tell him that I was having an argument with a bouncer about ownership of a sombrero. I have no memory of that, but I woke up at 8am on my friend's hard wooden lounge floor clutching a sombrero, so it appears to be an argument that I won.

    We were booked for brunch at a nice place on Balham high street at 10am, so I threw up, splashed my face with water and tried to make it through the planned present-giving. The hangover was too severe though and I ended up sitting outside the café on the pavement, stripped down to a boob tube and jeans, letting the rain wash over me, because it felt better than being inside.

    After brunch, I rang my boyfriend and threw myself at his mercy. I spent the next 24 hours lying in his bed in his tiny flat (it didn't even legally exist, it had been carved out of the attic of another flat, the kitchenette opened straight into the toilet/shower cubicle, the one window opened onto the roaring traffic of Archway), groaning and making various demands for water, paracetamol, pizza, tea. He was very kind and only teased me mildly about predicting this outcome.

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      Bloody hell, where to start.

      I've slept in doorways, behind an electricity substation, in the middle of a roundabout, in a ditch, on a bench, in a bin store, in my car, in someone else's car. I've slept in Preston bus station, Holyhead ferry terminal, Kings Cross station until I was moved on, St Pancras Station after a homeless fella told me it was better and safer there, in a photo booth, in a disabled toilet. I've slept in a car park, an airport, going round and round and round on the Circle Line, on the Dortmund underground where polite people kept waking me up to make sure I didn't miss a stop I didn't have. I've slept on night buses, day buses, bus stops.

      Hotels are a relatively new phenomenon for me. When I was younger I'd go out with no real idea of how I'd get home or where I'd stay. These days I recoil when my mates suggest we don't get a room, we just stay out and sleep on transport the following day. Idiots. You do that, I'll get a hotel room for 40 euros, get a bed, a shower, and some breakfast. But way back when, I gave no fucks.

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        A bin store? A shop selling bins?

        Welcome to the sleep anywhere party!

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          A bin store is where you keep your bins.

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            A place you buy bins would be a bin shop.

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              That sounds a bit niche.

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                2012: I had to go up North for work, to do an environmental audit of a business park. I worked out that the business park was only 7 miles down the road from where my uncle lives. I hadn't seen him for ages, but the opportunity to visit was too good to pass up so I rang him up and he kindly offered for me to stay. My dad is from a small ex-coal-mining town in greater Manchester and he seems to be the only person who has ever left. We used to visit quite often when we were kids and my grandmother was alive, but when she died my father fell out with his brother and I hadn't been there for at least ten years.

                I got the train up early in the morning, spent the day clambering around the basements and roofs of this business park, inspecting boilers and air conditioning units and various bits of engineering kit that I knew precisely fuck all about. Then my uncle collected me in his cigarette-butt strewn car and off we went to his house.

                Now, if my uncle had never married or had children I would have exactly one relative in this town. But that is not the case. My uncle was a grandfather by 34, a great grandfather by 56 and to date he has 16 descendants and counting (my second cousin is currently pregnant again).

                I arrived at my uncle's house around 6pm and slowly realised that he had told everyone I was coming and had arranged for everyone to visit. So there was a steady stream of cousins, cousins' children, cousins' grandchildren, but also, everyone brought their wives, husbands, and partners with them. My cousin's step-son came as well. One second cousin brought her mother-in-law. We had dinner at one point, but mostly we talked, and my uncle brought out loads of old family photos to talk about.

                The stream of visitors finally came to a halt around 4am when I could barely keep my eyes open any more. I went to sleep in the small single bed guest bedroom that I remember being decorated with red, black and grey diagonal striped wallpaper when I was a kid, because my cousin's son often used to stay over there. It had been redecorated but I could feel the stripes still there.

                A year later, I invited my uncle and aunt to my wedding. They got chatting to my dad, resolved their differences and now they often go on holiday together, along with the lady my dad 'went to the gym' with.
                ​​

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                  Originally posted by MsD View Post
                  That sounds a bit niche.
                  I agree. A shop devoted to selling bins, well, doesn't exist, does it? And a place that stores bins isn't a "bin store", it's a "yard".

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                    Originally posted by treibeis View Post
                    I agree. A shop devoted to selling bins, well, doesn't exist, does it? And a place that stores bins isn't a "bin store", it's a "yard".
                    The Germans would call it a Bin Laden, surely.

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                      Originally posted by treibeis View Post
                      I agree. A shop devoted to selling bins, well, doesn't exist, does it? And a place that stores bins isn't a "bin store", it's a "yard".
                      What about if it's a room on the ground floor of an apartment block?

                      That's what ours is and we call it a bin store.

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                        Originally posted by Antepli Ejderha View Post

                        What about if it's a room on the ground floor of an apartment block?

                        That's what ours is and we call it a bin store.
                        I'd prefer "bin room", but you're paying for it, so I suppose you're entitled to call it what you like.

                        At the hut, the bins are located on the so-called blind side. There's one large bin for general rubbish (that's non-specific waste, rather than waste created by high-ranking military personnel), one large paper bin (that's a bin intended for paper-based waste, not a bin made of paper), one large packaging bin (that's a bin intended for transport packaging, not a bin that actively packages goods) and lots of smaller spare bins. This area is referred to as "the bins" or "where the bins are".

                        Which isn't 100% accurate, either, as there are also two bins inside the hut, two bins in each khazi and four bins on the golf course.

                        It's a bloody linguistic minefield, this bin business.

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                          Spring 2012: my boyfriend got evicted so we decided to move in together. Found a lovely 2-bed ground floor flat in a converted train station in Clapham so we could even have friends to stay over. My mum came to visit. It was a warm evening so we had the windows open. My mum arrived and put her handbag down on our bed and we went to the lounge to chat. My boyfriend went to have a shower in the en-suite before we went out for dinner. Somehow, while we were chatting or showering, someone jumped in the window, stole my mum's handbag and jumped out again.

                          This was not just any handbag. This was a baby boomer handbag. It contained everything. My mum lost her iPad, two phones, all her many, many cards in her wallet and loads of cash, keys to both her cars, keys to her house, my flat and my sister's house, address books that clearly showed where we all lived, pens, a pen knife, a torch, her passport, her driving licence, so many things I can't remember.

                          The fallout lasted all night. The police came round to finger print the flat. We got a recovery truck to tow my mum's big car away because she no longer had keys for it and couldn't relax until it went to the garage and had the locks changed. We spent hours on the phone to the insurance company. My brother-in-law drove round to my mum's house and got a locksmith to change the locks on her doors and took her small car to the garage to get the locks on that changed. I know that this was overkill and it was highly unlikely that whichever junkie took the handbag would even bother to look at the contents after scoring the jackpot of an iPad and some cash, but my mum would never have slept if we hadn't sorted it all out properly.

                          After that we didn't open the windows so much. We got an air-filtering fan thing instead.
                          Last edited by Balderdasha; 15-07-2019, 10:57.

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                            Nightmare!

                            Tell me that your mum had insurance!

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                              Yes, but everything had to be documented. Fortunately, depending on how you look at it, my mum is a hoarder and has receipts for everything she's ever bought. So I helped her fill out a claim that included claiming for stuff like pens, packets of tissues, glasses cases, first aid kits, etc.

                              She still carries the same size handbag now. I don't understand it. I wear clothes with pockets and carry wallet, phone, keys, that's it. I bring a separate rucksack for stuff that the kids might need and either stuff it on the bottom of the pushchair or wear it on my back. I can't imagine the damage it does to you permanently carrying a 15kg handbag on one side of your body.

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                                It does seem less of a shoulder bag and more of a total life management system. Sheeeeeeeesh, what a job to sort out!

                                And in answer to your last point, quite a lot. My wife's always trying to slim down her bag's contents to lessen the harm she's been told, by physiotherapists and osteopaths, that she's doing to herself.

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                                  [QUOTE=EIM;n2175374]Bloody hell, where to start.

                                  I've slept in doorways, behind an electricity substation, in the middle of a roundabout, in a ditch, on a bench, in a bin store, in my car, in someone else's car. I've slept in Preston bus station, Holyhead ferry terminal, Kings Cross station until I was moved on, St Pancras Station after a homeless fella told me it was better and safer there, in a photo booth, in a disabled toilet. I've slept in a car park, an airport, going round and round and round on the Circle Line, on the Dortmund underground where polite people kept waking me up to make sure I didn't miss a stop I didn't have. I've slept on night buses, day buses, bus stops.
                                  ./QUOTE]

                                  Start with the ditch please so that I can compare it with my ditch.

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                                    Balders' mother's bag has set me to thinking whether it is really a "baby boomer's bag" or a "someone who owns and uses two cars' bag.

                                    I'm tempted to go for the latter, but ms. ursus' practice in this regard can support both hypotheses.

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                                      2012: other mini-stories.

                                      I went on holiday in a cottage in the Lake District with friends. When we arrived by train and googled the name of the station plus the word taxi, the first result was a news story about a taxi driver who had murdered someone at the station and driven around with the corpse in his boot for several days. Two of my friends, a lesbian couple who were trying to conceive their first child, arrived straight from a motel rendezvous with their donor, and told us all the details, turkey baster and all.

                                      I quit my steady job and, while trying to decide what to do next, I helped my friend set up a bikini manufacturing company. That didn't pay very well though, so I was also moonlighting for a company that gave mock interviews to sixth form students who wanted to get into Oxbridge. At one weekend in Salford, the company only told us once we'd arrived that our accommodation would be Travelodge rooms which we'd be sharing with other randomly allocated interviewers. I shared with a friendly female engineer who was morose about the fact that five years after university and with a full-time engineering job, she was still having to do this at weekends to make ends meet.

                                      My 30th birthday was looming. I refused to acknowledge it or plan any festivities. When I came home from work on Friday, in a fairly sulky mood, my boyfriend greeted me with a pair of tickets to a small festival near Brighton. I had half an hour to pack, including finding my tent, sleeping bag and a costume (the theme was childhood toys), so I grabbed a Chinese dressing gown, some chopsticks and a bit of make up and went as a Chinese doll, while my boyfriend went as a panda (I feel like the concept of cultural appropriation was nowhere near as mainstream back in 2012. I don't think we'd get away with those costumes now). This is the last time I can remember sleeping in my tent (it had served me well at festivals since v2001).


                                      ​​​

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                                        I could buy you a pint (or whatever) and listen to you until closing time Balderdasha. What a fascinating and exciting life you've led so far.

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                                          Fast forward to the present day and both my children have conspired tonight to take all their bedding off their beds, duvets, pillows, extra blankets and teddies, the lot, and stuff it into a pop-up IKEA circus tent. They've then both climbed in and gone to sleep. They look very cute, I'm a little concerned about the suffocation risk as it's very warm in there, but perhaps this could be one of their first stories for a future thread like this?

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                                            Obviously chips off of the old block.

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                                              IKEA make pop-up circus tents?

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                                                Hmm, 1m diameter. :-(

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                                                    My son woke up halfway through the night, too hot and coughing, and crawled into bed with us instead. My daughter slept the whole night there.

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