Now that I’ve caught up on much of the backlog of work that piled up while I was away for 10 days, I can write about my experiences at Conference and elsewhere.
When Conference last met at Wolverhampton, I was a District delegate and our District delegation were lodged right out at Edgbaston, which meant a great deal of travelling to and fro. So, this time, as I’d been asked to look after the MET (Methodist Evangelicals Together) stand in the Exhibition area, I determined that I would find somewhere much nearer to stay. However, there are not many B & Bs in Wolverhampton itself, so I didn’t have much choice. I ended up by booking with the Wheatsheaf Inn, even though I knew it was next door to a Night Club and the landlady said that they no longer do breakfasts! She added that she thought either she or her sister could bring me some cereal and toast to my room. It was just the right walking distance from the Civic Hall where the Conference was held, so I decided to risk it.
When my taxi drew up at its door, I really wondered if I’d been very foolish but I went past the small, dark, noisy bar on the right and found a warm welcome from the landlady. She was joined in my room, up two flights of stairs, by her sister, and the two of them made a great fuss of me. It was very funny watching the two of them falling over each other, both trying to make me a cup of coffee and I couldn’t help myself saying, ‘Are you sure you aren’t going to drink it for me as well?’ They said that they had lost their own mother and so they wanted to look after me. What more could I want?
But I soon found that living in a city centre has its drawbacks! Opposite my bedroom window was a bus lane and a bus stop, so the buses came incessantly from early morning to late at night an usually with four buses nose to tail. And what noisy buses they were! Here in Reading our buses are run on bio-ethanol and are quieter than the cars! Outside my Wolverhampton B & B there was a constant loud Psss! Grrr! Psss! Grrr! Psss! Grrr! Psss! Grrr! And the street cleaning vehicle at a very early hour was even worse! On the other side of the street, under my bedroom window, there was a black taxi rank! Well-chosen accommodation indeed!
However, it was just the right walking distance for me, through the shopping centre which was kept very clean and made a pleasant walk, so I decided to give it a try. The first night was the hottest night of the year and I slept little and heard the noisy nightclub revellers, but I certainly rested. I gathered that nobody slept well on that hot first night and some who were lodged at the Premier Inn, also next toa Night club, changed hotels the next day! However, on the second day, I returned at about 6.30pm and lay on my bed, fully clothed to watch the tennis on TV. By the TV programmes, I judged that I went to sleep at about 9pm and wakened up at 11.55pm, when I undressed and slept again until 7am. I never heard the Nightclub at all, nor on subsequent nights – only the buses! And the two ladies fussed over my every need, including getting the car out one morning to save me walking in the rain. So I was well satisfied!