Here is an extract from part of the Fourth Commandment:
The Fourth Commandment. Strew not thine apparel over the floor of thy sleeping chamber, especially used undergarments.
Where Is Gandalf When You Need Him?
“Wooser, wser, wser, wser, wser”
Irene was in our top floor bedroom putting on her makeup before breakfast, when she heard these strange sounds coming from the landing outside the kitchen on the floor below. She leaned over the banisters to find our two guests who had arrived the day before standing in the gloom and whispering to each other. It looked as if they were trying to decide which door to open, and were worried about the consequences of getting it wrong. Irene put on the light and the sudden burst of illumination brought an involuntary gasp from the pair.
“Can I help you?” Irene asked, waving her mascara wand much like a baton.
As she came down the stairs they said in unison, “Didn’t you hear it?”
I’d been in the kitchen until then, unaware of what was going on until Irene joined them.
“Hear what?” said Irene, ushering them into the kitchen.
“It was about three a.m.”
“What was?” Irene‘s exasperation was emphasized by the mascara wand.
“When the shower screen exploded.”
“Whaaat?” This time it was Irene and I doing the duet.
We all trooped downstairs to inspect the scene of the crime, just like on CSI.
I should say at this point that this couple were Mr. and Mrs. Nice-but-shy from somewhere in the Midlands, but everything about them shouted ‘Hobbit’. Notably true of Mr. H., a small, rotund man with a largely bald head fringed with fluffy white hair. Their heritage was confirmed during their first breakfast. I consider cheering people up to be one of my jobs, or at least getting them to smile. Sometimes this can be a Herculean task because a lot of people have had their funny bone surgically removed, but with these two patience was all it took. Eventually I managed to winkle out a giggle; that was accompanied by him wrapping his arms around his torso and jiggling up and down with amusement.
If that isn’t a Hobbit give-away, I don’t what is.
Back to the scene where we were confronted by what was most definitely an ex-shower screen. Most of it was strewn across all the horizontal surfaces but there was just enough sagging from its upright supports to confirm that something violent had happened to it. Time of death? Apparently 3 a.m.
“It woke us up with a start, I can tell you,” said Mr. Hobbit. ‘I bet it did,’ thought I.
“I had to slide a piece of cardboard under the door so that I could move the glass pieces to get it open.”
“Then we lay awake all night listening to the glass tinkle as bits kept on falling on the floor. Did you not hear it?” said Mrs. H.
“Good grief, no,” I said. “You should have called us.”
“Well, if you hadn’t heard it, we didn’t want to wake you.”
So, these two poor souls not only had the fright of their lives, but nobody noticed and I could imagine them lying in bed on their backs, holding hands with their bodies rigid as boards waiting for the next ‘tinkle’ and whatever else we had in store for them. Few people would be so considerate of their hosts as to leave them sleeping while their house disintegrated around them.
We apologised profusely to Mr. & Mrs. H – and offered them a discount, which they charmingly and very considerately refused. We then explained to a succession of new PGs why they had a shower curtain rather than a screen, secured an instant agreement from the insurance company, and then set about the frustrating business of finding a plumber to provide an estimate, let alone do the work. It must have taken about six months from the Hobbit’s report of the incident to the rectification of same.
Plumbers were a busy breed in that area, renovating property for the rich and demanding, so out of the initial enquiry made to five of them, only two rang back and came round and no more was heard from either.
Although the explosion had been mighty puzzling, hardly ever did we consider that it might have been caused by un-Hobbit like activities in the shower.