Dom Joly: Living it up at the Hotel du Microwave

Share
Related Topics

Visiting scores of towns on my three-month tour has allowed me to have a good look at my own country – something I have long neglected in favour of travel to sunnier climes. I'm in love with the Borders, have a new-found admiration for East Anglia, and am contemplating a family holiday in Wales.

Last week, I was in North Yorkshire, another gorgeous part of the country. I had gigs in Harrogate and York on consecutive days and so was staying overnight after the first date with time to wander about, which is rare on my schedule. In the evening, I performed in the lovely old theatre in Harrogate and headed back to the Hotel du Vin – one of the boutique chains peppered about the more scenic British cities.

It was about 10.30pm, and we were looking forward to a nice bottle of wine and something to eat. This is still surprisingly difficult to do outside London. I thought that we had changed with the relaxing of licensing laws, and that the days of Provincial UK shutting mid-evening were over. I was mistaken. Most places are battened down by 9pm, save for the ever-present nightclub strip in which drunken men wander around in packs looking for fights while women wearing little more than a hanky and high heels stagger about vomiting on street furniture. I was grateful that I was going back to somewhere that understood people might want to eat and drink something more than a kebab and a bottle of alcopop.

I slumped into a comfy sofa and asked to see the menu. This produced much consternation. "Chef" had apparently left for the night and so food was not available. Was there any chance of anything hot at all? "I'm afraid this is not possible as nobody is trained to do this." I asked what training was needed to make a grilled cheese sandwich? "It's a health and safety matter, sir. Somebody could get badly hurt." I asked whether it might be possible for me to brave the terrible danger and make one for myself? This was not possible, either."Hygiene issues." After much grumbling, it was decided that a microwaved Thai curry could be produced, and someone was sent to courageously attempt this highly risky manoeuvre.

Then I asked to see the wine list. "I'm afraid the sommelier has also gone home, sir, so I won't be able to locate any of the wines on our extensive list. We do have a couple we can serve by the glass." This was beyond parody: we were in Hotel du Vin and we weren't able to order a decent vin. "I apologise, sir, but the sommelier doesn't like me to enter his cage." I was surprised to hear that they kept the sommelier in a cage, which seemed harsh even for a Frenchman. The cage turned out to be where the wines were kept.

After much negotiation, the man was persuaded to brave the sommelier's wrath and find us a bottle of wine. We nicknamed our new friend Basil, in honour of Fawlty Towers – an establishment that this was rapidly starting to resemble. What is it with the UK and doing anything after dark? We need to take a leaf out of the Continental book, repopulate our streets at night, and reclaim them from the fighting hordes.

The next day, we awoke to profuse apologies from the hotel manager. In a curious move, Basil had turned himself in, and reported to the manager that we had not been happy. We got all British about it and pretended that everything was actually fine. After all, we're not ones to grumble.



Dom is in Nottingham (Tues), Buxton (Wed), Lincoln (Thurs) and Shrewsbury (Fri)

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee