Liam Ratcatcher! 1983
Our first night sharing a room, l think was the most hellish night of my life! Liam had a particular ritual he followed religiously before turning off the light, he had to have a hot bath each night, followed by a freezing cold shower, as this opened up his pores. He applied creams and lotions, after the shower to make his skin supple, he brushed his hair back, forwards and sidewards and applied a ‘sleep time gel’, so his head could be aroused and aware of all sensations. He then insisted on 15 minutes worth of yoga, followed by 100 press ups, and a further 20 minutes of what he described as ‘free the body freedom dance movement!’ A coffee before lights out and he was ready for sleep.
He even suggested sharing a shower with a wink and a laugh to save water! Just warned me that if l was to bend over to retrieve the fallen soap ‘”should he accidentally drop it”‘ l would become fair game, and looking at my face, laughed so hard l thought he was going to choke!
He assured me that his first time in a new hotel room was usually his quietest as he had to attune into his surroundings, and so he wouldn’t talk that much that first night and true to his word, we perhaps only shared five sentences before he switched off the light but not before he retrieved his teddy bear from a special case within his overly large suitcase, gave it a kiss and waved goodnight to me!
I normally slept in the nude as was, however seeing that this was also normal behaviour for Liam, l declined my routine and wore boxers and he just looked at me and winked!
Liam was a snorer, a loud one at that! He also punched his pillows within an inch of their fluffy lives, not only was Liam in flavour for sleeping in the nuddy, he also preferred to sleep with no quilt and only a thin sheet for covering. After the goodnight wave, within thirty seconds Liam was snoring, and loudly at that. If l thought his squeal was loud, l was sorely mistaken!
I lay there for the first couple of hours that night thinking back on the day wondering how only the previous day l had been questioning the sanity of my boss for making me go on holiday, and now l was a mere three feet away from another friendly lunatic who was now no longer snoring but talking in his sleep about hair dyes and blowdrys! To cap it ALL, not only did he sleeptalk, but sleep laughed!
Oh good grief, what had l booked as a holiday?
My eyes stirred from my slumber, and l was just about to stretch when l nearly shed my skin in fright ...”Mooooooooooorning hunny buns, how did you sleep?” Liam yelled at me from his position on my bed where he was propped up on his left elbow looking at me!
“Liam, what the …?”
“No, Rory you answer with morning Boobles how are you?”
“What?” I answered groggily, “Who is Boobles?”
“Me, that’s my nickname, what’s yours, everyone has a nickname?”
“I don’t have a nickname Liam.”
“Oh yes you do, come on what is it, l won’t tell anyone, promise Scous honour.”
After five minutes of his unrelenting whining l finally gave in, “Ok, my parents used to call me Snagglepuss, you know after the cartoon of the same name?”
“Oooh l like that, l shall call you Snaggles, because it reminds me of snuggles and everyone loves snuggles don’t they. Do want a snuggly cuddle now?”
“No Liam, l don’t, but thank you for the very kind offer, maybe another time ok?”
“I will hold you to that, oh by the way l see you are awake already in other areas!!” With that he swung off the side of the bed and went to make coffees for us both leaving me looking at my …
“Do you want sugar or are you already sweet enough?”
“Liam, is this like an act, or are you always this chirpy chirpy cheerful in the mornings?”
“Yep, l certainly am, are you not a morning person Rory? Or are you more of a night owl?”
“The latter in truth, because of my work, most of my days tend to just merge into one another, but l work a lot of nights, early morning, late shifts, early shifts. I don’t really know what day it is until a day off.”
Liam chortled, “Well l think that is quite possibly the saddest thing l have ever heard in my life! You so needed this holiday and by the sounds of it you need a good rogering to boot!”
“What?? Now listen Liam, l really do like you but not that way.”
“Oh you silly boy, l like you too and a lot, but you are not my type. I thought you would have figured that out when l was talking to the guards yesterday. I like my men big and all muscle and no brain, way less questions and awkwardness. No, l mean we have to get you shagged silly by a woman! However, now is not the time, for today is ‘Hit The Beach Time’, let’s go downstairs for breakfast, meet with the girls and plan our day!”
We got dressed and we were about to leave, l had to ask him, “Seriously Liam, are you really going to wear that .. out?”
We met all the girls downstairs at around 8.30am, and everyone looked to be in fine spirits. Dana, Dolly, Sally and Molly all looked at Liam in, well l am not totally sure whether it was admiration or disbelief, but as he skipped into the dining area, the girls were NOT the only ones to stop talking.
“Oh Liam, that is just so, so, … mm, colourfully unique!” Dolly said at last as we were sitting down to the table.
Liam had decided to wear for that ‘day’, l say this as he had a unique outfit for everyday of the week when on holiday and he had spent at least an hour pondering on what to wear for his ensemble for that morning alone before we had left the room! Bright yellow shorts, a bright orange oversized tee shirt with a big smiling face on the front and a huge green sombrero, with what l call Larry Grayson sunglasses and bright blue deck shoes! To say he struck a pose was an understatement, l felt completely overdressed in khaki trousers and a blue polo shirt, and a pair of Speedy Duck laceups!
“Morning everyone!!” He screeched at not just our table but the entire cafeteria! Everyone just looked, although the kids found him funny and laughed and smiled, and some of the adults sort of smiled, you know as one does when they are embarrased for someone else?
Once the commotion was over, Liam didn’t hesitate in proceeding to munch through anything and everything going with regards to food. I don’t honestly know where he was putting it. He was a skinny rake with hollow legs l figured as he polished off lashings of cold ham, slices of cheese, baskets of bread, juice, coffee, water, fruit and even managed to squeeze in a bowl of fruit loops!
“Breakfast is the best meal of the day Rory, always remember that. As they say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!” And if Liam was anything to go by, the hotel’s chef was sure to love him.”
All told, we actually had a really good breakfast and the six of us managed to spend well over two hours in the cafeteria enjoying each other’s company before were kicked out by the staff, we all had funny stories to share and it was a good laugh. If honest, that hotel was by far quite possibly the best part of Mamaia in 1983 for the five days that we spent there, as that’s is where we were for almost 80% of our stay.
I thoroughly liked the other five members of our tour, Dana and Dolly, were well travelled sisters and were filled with intriguing and interesting stories from all over the world. Molly and Sally, it turned out had both been dumped by their boyfriends within weeks of each other coming on holiday, had worked in the library from leaving school and surprisingly enough were also filled to the brim with entertaining stories of the goings on between not just the pages of the books but also rather shockingly between the aisles to boot!
Liam was the funniest person l had met to date and l have met some really funny people over the years, he had for a while been a holiday rep in Spain and Greece and although he was a rat catcher by day, he also ran his own mobile hairdressers in the evenings and weekends. He laughed so hard when he reccounted the tale of telling me his name was Liam Ratchcatcher and oh how gullible l was to believe him? The truth was that he had changed his middle name by Deed Poll to reflect Ratcatcher,and showed me his two business cards to prove it. “I Am Ratcatcher” for the pest control side and Liam Preston for his hairdressing side. Preston being his ‘real’ surname.
“Why are you literal at times Snaggles?” He would oft ask of me, for me to reply always the same, “I hear that a lot Boobles, l don’t know why?”
So yes, the real fun for all of us, was in fact in the hotel of the cousins Enganov and Kustov. The food, the bar, breakfast, dinner and lunch, the people and the night life inside that hotel. We got to know each other all really well, over those five days. We ate together and got drunk together and for the very first time in a long time l felt truly relaxed.
As to Mamaia and our stay on the ‘popular holiday resort and beach’ l hear you ask? Well more tomorrow!
The Dracula Tour 1983
Part 6 Tomorrow