The Night Visitor



Once I went on a trip to Paris with my mum and we stayed in a hotel in the Longchamp district (near the big racecourse.)Though the high balconies afforded a broad panorama of the Paris skyline the hotel was in a rough area and generally tired (black stickers on the pool table surface, no tips on the cue, a smelly carpet in the lifts, dead flowers in vases and lacklustre breakfasts.) I went for walks in the evenings but felt uncomfortable. The prostitutes were friendly and always waved at passing coaches. Also the water quality must have been poor as people seem to take trollies into the supermarkets and buy many litres of bottled waters.


The hotel security was lax. Even in the evenings it seems anyone could drift in off the street and go up in the lifts. Me and my mum were in single rooms on the fourth floor. One night I was in bed asleep when the door opened suddenly. I sat upright immediately. With appalling eyesight I reached for my glasses (without them I canít even work out if a person 10- feet away is funnel or tunnel (male or female.)) Was I dreaming? Was there I fire? I managed an enquiring ďHello!?Ē but the mystery legs I saw in the semi-darkness turned and left immediately, the owner of them probably as startled as I was.


With adrenaline surging through me I could not sleep for a couple of hours and lay there listening to my heart trying to hammer itself free of my rib cage. Who was the man - did he work there? Was he a burglar with a pass key? Did he go along to the next room where my mum was sleeping - pooh! I leapt out of bed, pulled on trousers and looked down the corridor but it was quiet and empty. I waited a while just in case the night visitor reappeared butÖ..nothing. The next morning I can remember a dull ache in my heart; it hurt a bit. Iím sure that night visitor axed a week off the end of my life.


So here is an unusual painting on a small canvas. Hotels seem to keep lights on in communal area so I can remember the light cast onto the carpet from the corridor. There wasnít a brass bed in the room but Iíve shown one here (Iíve got some brass paint and need to use it up.)


In one hotel I was lucky enough to get a four-poster waterbed but it was wasted on me as I rarely sleep well when away from home. For some reason I sleep well when the bed is in the corner of the room and Iíve pushed many hotels beds across rooms over the years.