Tomato Skins Don’t Agree With Me


I’ve stayed at The Windermere Hotel in The Lake District a few times. This slightly-tired hotel exhibits a few furnishings and tiny touches to support its aspirations to be exceed three-star foothold. The grub is tasty but anything is when compared with my homemade vegetarian meatballs and spaghetti (or camel dung in wet rope.)


More than the food I was equally surprised and impressed by the toilets on the ground floor. I remember watching the entertainer in the main lounge one Saturday night and going off to look for the toilet. As soon as I walked into the toilets I was impressed by the Victoriana: bulky ornate urinals, deep tiling, thick oak doors, marble kerbing, mahogany-framed mirrors, deep sinks, chunky toilet rolls holders. It was like stepping back to an era when builders set things down with care. I haven’t stayed at the hotel for a while and hope they’re still there.


One evening I was watching the entertainment in the main lounge (a woman doing Connie Francis songs) and went to the toilets. In the corner I saw a man with a thick birds-nest thatch of jet hair and matching black suit who was wretching over a basin. He seemed oblivious to me and wasn’t embarrassed by the running commentary which almost as impressive as the thick-set taps he was about to pulverise, “Oooo more is coming…..hurry up….oooo I don’t like this….ooooo, I don’t’ feel well…..oooo I feel terrible….ooooh no….oooo are you coming up now?” I should have recorded it on my camera.


I remember him groaning, “Ooooow, I don’t like this….those tomato skins don’t agree with me. Oooooh….”


It’s strange how you remember these vignettes from years ago. I’m hopeless with numbers though; someone could tell me their telephone number but by the time I’d walked the breadth of a tennis court I’d have forgotten it. Yet I can still remember that man’s bouncy hair, shiny shoes, smoking cigarette, the hairs on the back of his fingers and the line about the tomato skins. I know how he felt, can’t stand those skins either.


So here is a painting of the unfortunate man. Think I’ll put it in the attic. I’m not sure many person crave a painting of a man shedding half a kilo of food hung over their mantle-piece.


Mr Puke’s live commentary was so unusual it was difficult to maintain public toilet etiquette: enter room with eyes lowered, make no eye contact, do not speak, breath through mouth, keep as far away from the next man as possible, do business, wash hands, pull open door with little finger, exit.


I should have taken a photo of the Sidney Sick but it’s not politic to get your camera out in public toilets.







Kylie looks impressed…could be just wind….I’m sure she’s seen gibbons in the zoo paint better than this…


The sickly man doesn’t want some lemon cake but Albert Einstein does…


Walnut? Einstein never says no…