mental health and travel
Well I call it a holiday, it was for me. It wasn’t a sunny clime (it pissed down mostly) but we did see a real Concorde (no, not in the air unfortunately, they haven’t done that since 2003) at the British Aerospace Museum. We ate at ZaZa Bazaars, my second favourite restaurant in the world, literally. We stayed for two nights in a four star hotel, where my mum and I were constantly picking faults. I’ll explain that in a bit. And the reason we went – my Brother, Will, lives there.
I am lucky enough to love trains and planes. Basingstoke to Bristol takes two hours. The perfect amount of time to get comfortable, enjoy the scenery of wet England, eat two sandwiches, avoid eye contact, and prepare for arrival. I always love arriving at a hotel and this one looked fancy standing outside the front door. Nice staff welcomed us in the lounge and informed us that there was to be a party with live music the first night that would continue until 1 am. No problem, I’ll just put my headphones in.
First of all Will took us to see his place, a house he shares with four people. They were all out and we had a cup of tea in the lounge which was nice. They have an elderly bearded dragon and a snake in glass display cases. A bearded dragon is a fancy name for a type of lizard, about 12 inches in length. Then we hit the shops, Debenhams etc. getting around in buses, and I enjoyed that too. Bristol people seemed very nice. Twice as we were getting off a bus two nice men offered their no longer needed but still usable day tickets to other people getting on. In my fair hometown that just wouldn’t happen, the locals of Basingstoke are too uptight and wary of being nice without good reason. Then soon after we went to ZaZa Bazaar’s. They serve 1000 people on a Saturday night, in two sittings – I asked. It’s massive. One of the pics with this post is from the restaurant. They had about 10 ‘food islands’, each with three chefs in the middle cooking fresh food and serving it up. It’s buffet style, diners walk around the islands taking as many plates as possible back to their tables and get scoffing. It’s all you can eat. The food islands were specialist and with food from many countries – there was an Italian one, Chinese, Mexican, Indian, American, Spanish, French, Japanese, salads, desserts (with a chocolate fountain) and more.
We had a very nice evening.
Now, our bugbears about the Hotel. My mattress was like trying to sleep on a board on springs. I very nearly complained and warned them that I am a blogger. One day I will do that when at a hotel, sounds like fun, in an I’m a pretentious prick kind of way. The lifts were ridiculously small. There was dust on nearly every surface. The door handles were filthy throughout. The artwork was imposing, tasteless and weird. The men’s toilets were disgusting and dirty on Saturday night at about 8pm, and were still the same at midday on Sunday. I actually complained about that at 8.10 pm on Saturday, and although the receptionist was the hottest woman in Bristol and I was a bit taken aback by the fact that I’d have loved to get to know her and her favourite room better, it didn’t make up for the fact that I practically had to clean the bathroom cubicle and the toilet myself before using it.
There was a leak from somewhere in our own room’s bathroom, causing a constant puddle of mysterious water on the floor. I’d put my hand in it while investigating, this strange water had soaked into our towels through general use of our bathroom, and to my disgust I soon deduced that it was spilling over from the toilet bowl after every flush. It wasn’t a big puddle, about 12 inches in diameter, but still. The breakfast was varied and sufficient, but short staffed and we actually had to queue for several aspects of it, including a five minute wait for our table. The gym! The hotel gym was full of ancient equipment that grinded and wobbled about when used, like it would fall into pieces if you weren’t very careful with it. One wall was covered in very patchy repair work – big holes that had been filled in by people with zero skill or pride. The electrical sockets were hanging off the walls.
I could go on, but I’m about through complaining, and why would you care anyway. The receptionist was stunning though.
Sunday we saw the Concorde and more at the museum (pics above). I walked around it and inside of it several times, just taking in the awe. Apparently, because Concorde flew at twice the speed of sound, you couldn’t hear the person next to you speaking. However, anyone using the bathroom at the rear of the plane could pick up the sound waves of a whisper because the forces made them gather there in the same way that accelerating hard in a car pushes you into your seat.
That evening we ate at a very nice Japanese restaurant. It was delicious and I tried some Saki. Then it was back to the hotel, have a workout, watch TV and sleep. I like to sleep on my side but it was actually painful to do that with the mattress I had. I had an uncomfortable night sleeping on my back and then it was breakfast time again, though it was less busy this time. Then at midday we headed home and the weather began to brighten as we enjoyed another train journey.
As you know, my blog is usually about mental health and how my anxieties and psychosis are getting along, and how they affect my life. I’ve had such a nice recovery from that stuff, and considering that not so long ago I couldn’t go to Asda without panicking, or leave my hometown without being thoroughly uncomfortable, having a trip or a holiday where my mental health is zero of an issue, feels rather nice.
Thanks for reading.