“You won’t need to take towels”, he’d said as I tried, and failed, to squeeze a couple of towels in the suitcase the day before. “Everywhere has towels provided, even the worst B&Bs supply towels these days”.
The queue stretched out of the door and round the corner and it was several lifetimes before I eventually entered the sanctuary of the hut. Did I say, sanctuary? I meant; the absolute pits! But it was warm and dry and out of the wind.
Quietly seething, I waited my turn, edging forward inches every five minutes or so. Other people in the queue were talking, children playing on the dirty floor, teenagers collecting items from the lockers that lined the now cramped space.
At one end of the counter I became aware of an argument growing in intensity until there was no mistaking every word of what should have been a very private conversation between a guest and a member of staff.
“We’ve only been here a few days and we booked for two weeks” pleaded a middle aged woman in flip flops with curlers in her hair – yes, this was 2004 and she had curlers in her hair!
“I’m sorry, it’s the rules, there’s nothing I can do” replied the woman behind the counter.
“Look, she won’t do it again”.
“We have a strict zero tolerance rule here. You’ll have to check out today”.
“I promise it won’t happen again. She’s young she didn’t know what she was doing. Please, oh please, let us stay”, begged the woman with the curlers.
“Your daughter was seen on the CCTV last night trying to break in to the amusement arcade with a gang of boys, you and your family will have to leave. Today.”
The woman in the curlers sobbed, but didn’t move. Not for the first time that day, I wished I was somewhere else.
“Let her stay”, I wanted to say, “I’ll go”. But I don’t think it would have made any difference.
Finally I reached the front of the queue, paid my £10 deposit, took my allotted, clean but well-worn towels and trudged back to the dingy chalet.
There may be towels provided everywhere, even in the lowliest B&B, but not, it appears, in the traditional British holiday camp!