The oddest place I’ve ever slept…

It was pipe like this – except without the bed, the door, the electric light…

Top five oddest places I’ve slept in, on or under…

  1. In a pipe – at some construction site near Grenoble, France. (“Ce n’est pas un lit,” I thought to myself.) I woke and left before being hoisted up by a crane.
  2. Under a wardrobe (and some mattresses) – after a big night in Dublin. Took a while to be discovered and then extricated.
  3. At the edge of a cliff – by accident. It was dark. We had been trekking over some small mountains. We were tired. Luckily – so we didn’t walk any further forward. In the morning we discovered the tent was covered in snow. As was the land on either side. But not in front. That’s where the cliff was – and the sea.
  4. By petrol pumps near Karlsruhe, Germany. That’s where my last lift dropped me. I’d hitched from Poland. There was grass and undergrowth which looked more soft and inviting, but was rustling with quare fellas.* So a nap amidst the hard surfaces, flourescent lighting and idling engines seemed preferable.
  5. In the middle of a sentence while broadcasting live on the radio. One moment I was giving out some racing results, then next I was slurring… murmuring… silent. People checked the tuning on their radios. Then they heard snoring. How mortifying.**

Of those five, the cliff and under the wardrobe were most comfortable, though the wardrobe had the aid of alcohol – so perhaps that shouldn’t count.

And I haven’t included all those occasions were I draped myself over another person and promptly dropped off, mouth agape, careless of the proprieties.

No. Hang on. I mean as a baby.

My top five are a bit of a laugh. But I’m conscious of the very many people trying to find rest or respite in odd, uncomfortable or dangerous places because they have – or feel they have – no better alternative. I’ve known some. It’s horrible.

I also know some people trying to improve things for people living in doorways, corners, hostels or sofa-surfing. They work at London Pathway developing integrated healthcare for homeless people and rough sleepers. I predict that we’ll be hearing more about them in future.

You can find out where the other members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium perched, burrowed, slumped and otherwise slept by scrolling down the right hand side of the screen and clicking on their links.

* Quare fellas is an alternative name for r-a-t-s. A wise Manx lady explained to me that the tradition on the Isle of Man is to avoid using the proper name of those creatures, because “if you say their name, they will come.”

** Actually, I cheated. That wasn’t me. He was a dear colleague who was reading the sports news on BBC Radio 5 Live while short of sleep. How we loved playing the clip of him nodding off while speaking again and again. Unlike him, it never got tired.



Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium

27 responses to “The oddest place I’ve ever slept…

  1. Oh that’s good- I like this a lot! My husband once had a power nap in a hedge on the Malone Road after a tired and emotional night out. Does that count?

  2. Recte: a “week” of them. It wasn’t a pun on seek and ye shall find.

    • blackwatertown

      Hmm.. I’m a bit mystified.

      • Believe it. This is one of those days. The gasman cometh.

        I was rushing this morning and everything went awry. When I corrected a mistake the correction went wrong. You know the sort of thing I mean.

        The above “recte” was a correction to a comment which contained errors and which has since mercifully disappeared, thought the later version below also turned out to have a misplaced link.

        Re the above: I said “seek” instead of “week” when specifying nights spent in a tent on Yeat’s Isle of Inisfree on Lough Gill in Co. Sligo. I was then making a cheap haha in the correction recalling “seek and ye shall find” as in the pursuit of the poet.

        Yes, I know, my head is mangled and my brain addled. I think I’ll retire until tomorrow.

        Thanks for your patience.

  3. Well after that interesting episode, mine are rather mundane and boring. Scheduled and going live at 14:00.

  4. I’ve been to Karlsruhe- the petrol pumps may well have been one of the most exciting places in town

  5. My dear Paul, please do seek out my company. You will sleep in places you never knew existed. Not by choice. By necessity, And because one’s head needs to rest somewhere. If only when tired.

    Your idea has set my memory rolling down the years (backwards). Thanks for the amusement.

    One of my tamer ones: The Glasgow Sleeper to London, ca 1979. Dear dog in heaven. No sooner had I put my head down in the lower bunk the window splintered and covered me in thousands of tiny shards. I consequently spent all night out in the corridor. Then (remember we are talking Britain) the train arrived late thus I missed my plane back home. Which found my virgin self, next morning, on a sightseeing bus in London to pass the time. I’d nod off and every time I came to I’d suddenly see the Palace or Nelson’s Column. Startling is not the word. 48 hours later, back at the office, via detours, unmentionable places and trains, I found myself catnapping leaning on the wall of my bosses’ toilet cubicle. Ten winks to get through the next hour.

    And that was nothing compared to some of the other resting places I have found myself in. I think you got off lightly, Paul. Or maybe the best is yet to come.


    • blackwatertown

      Sounds terrible and exciting. Why did the window shatter? And then the final denoument in the toilet cublicle. You’ve set the bar very high.
      (Also I need your address for the CD.)

  6. Helen

    Not that odd , but Munich train station in the inter-railing days. I was politely moved on by the police. Other than that I have inappropriately fallen asleep in many places after shifts of 24hours plus, but the hairdresser’s chair is where the consequences could be the greatest.

    • blackwatertown

      Ooh risky – at the hairdressers, slumped to one side, ending up with a massively assymetric cut, and a line of drool down across your check, with tiny specs of hair stuck in it.

  7. 29

    I liked the pipe photo. Years ago I had the notion of getting one lifted by crane into my garden as a play house for my children; I planned to cut out windows and put on a door but alas never got round to it.
    As for sleeping out; the term displays some optimism, my experience is that it is a process of dozing and awaiting daylight. But where?
    In Paddington Station, staying one step ahead of the railway police.
    On Big Dog Mountain in Fermanagh shivering in a bivvey bag whilst one’s socks and boots froze.
    In Rostrevor Forest with snow on the ground and the wind howling and carefully choosing a position hopefully away from falling trees.
    Outside Carlisle en walking route to Edinburgh in the corner of a field with neither bivy nor sleeping bag.
    An open mountain shelter on the Wicklow Way with the rain belting down a couple of feet away.
    Lastly, and this does not qualify as sleeping out, in a Good Samaritan’s garage on about 10 sheets of polystyrene insulation board; that was just super, but then that was the night after Big Dog.
    I remember walking through France in March when accommodation could be difficult to find and in the late afternoon scanning the countryside as I passed through it for old barns, haystacks, sheltered corners etc as a fall-back.

    • blackwatertown

      Another very challenging contribution!
      Reminds me of my favourite book – A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor – lots of sleeping out and shacking up in barns.

  8. Reading all of this reminded me of a Fleá Ceoil in Enniscorthy long ago. We had no tent and bedded down in a handball alley. Which was fine until fellas started coming in and peeing up against the wall.

    Not recommmended.

    • blackwatertown

      Ah – just reminded me – a squash court in Avignon. The town was packed. Much to my surprise, as with the squash courts, the squash court changing rooms and showers were mixed. It was delightful meeting so many Scandinavian travellers.

  9. In the middle of a sentence on live radio … snoring? Have you told these stories to your kids?

    I will be laughing for a week about these, HH.
    Blessings – Maxi

  10. How funny. I don’t think I’ve slept anywhere strange, though, myself. I’ve slept on the floor in an empty house when in the middle of a move, with nothing but some spare shirts to use as a pillow. I was in a motel with a very suspicious, large brown smear on one bed, though I was luckily not the one in the bed with the smear. I also almost fell asleep during the play “Oklahoma” because the room was too hot. And I also am ashamed to say I fell asleep and then woke up multiple times at a church once. Just once. How very boring is my list of napping spots. Now, if I listed the places my cats have slept…

  11. rummuser

    People make homes in such abandoned hume pipes in India. Am sending a photo separately to you. There is a full post on why those pipes get abandoned in the first place!

  12. Hudson Howl

    Good of you and I truly mean good of you to weave in those who don’t have a place to sleep and those who (dare to in some places) try to help.

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