Sunday, 20 June 2010

Different Views of Toodyay - Anzac Day long weekend - Part 1

This year I have been privileged to visit Toodyay for two weekends with two very different groups of people and with two very different results on my sanity.  Firstly there was the cycling expedition on our Anzac Day long weekend.  The original plan of our illustrious leader Colin - he of the RED cycling nicks (no man should EVER wear these!) - was to ride to Gingin where we would stay on the Saturday evening.  From there, we would ride across to Toodyay to stay at the Freemasons Hotel on Sunday evening and then back to Perth on the Monday.  All good!  What we didn't find out until too late is that our accommodation for Saturday was organised over the bar with someone who didn't usually sort that kind of thing.  Result - no accommodation.  Changed plan involved staying in Toodyay both nights.  Problem - not enough accommodation for the entire group.  Our leader, of course, ensured his spot at the original hotel while some of us with shorter straws were to stay at the "top pub" - the Toodyay Tavern.  This wasn't a reference to it's quality as it turned out.
The first room I was shown seemed OK until I looked closely.  It was then I saw the large dead moth on the floor.  That was fine because the tiny ants surrounding it - and there were a lot - were working hard to remove the body.  I didn't look any further.  The next room, while not 5 star was at least almost acceptable by country pub standards.  I didn't pay up front as requested because I wanted Perry to see it and make sure he and his back were happy before we committed.

Having ridden up from home to Toodyay, we ended up keeping our bike in the room (there was space) as there was no where else to store them that looked safe.  First evening - dinner at the Freemason's - went OK.  Sunday, the stronger riders went to Northam via Gigeganup and I sat at a local cafe having coffee and knitting.  I rode to Northam with Perry in the afternoon and we returned to our room to change for dinner.  We had noted boards advertising a Karaoke evening at the Toodyay Tavern and crowds were certainly gathering.

We at a a very good pizza place (Uncle Vinnie's) opposite the Freemasons and returned to sleep for the night in preparation for 100km ride home the next day.  The noise levels were loud but not excessive for the time of the evening.  I can't remember exactly what time things started going sour but I do remember calling the police at about 11.30pm after trying to get hold of the owner without success to report what seemed to be a riot.
I came up from the bathroom to inhale  a lung full of what I thought was smoke but which was actually the contents of most of the fire extinguishers on the floor. There were at least three rooms in which not a skerrick of bed linen or, in fact, any bedding at all (mattress, what mattress?) existed.  Glassware suffered as well with the sounds of breaking glass one of the counterpoints to the thudding of various people on the other side of our room door.  I was unsure whether the door would hold which I suspect was one of the reasons I started making calls for help.

At another stage in the evening, when we had to go outside the room for a comfort stop, there was blood on the floor in one of the rooms and someone talking of calling an ambulance.  Vacuum cleaners and electrical cables were all over the passageway down towards the bathroom.  Good job the light fittings in the hallway were not part of the "smashing" good time as tripping over that lot wouldn't have been fun!
After managing to get a little sleep, interrupted by the sounds of someone looking for a candle outside (No fire extinguishers - wooden building...), we packed and scurried.  No money was spent in this exercise but as we felt for the poor girl who had to clean the place before starting her 7 hour shift, we left our phone details and names for the owner to contact us if he felt hard done by so she wouldn't be penalised.  She had been the only sober person in the hotel apart from us the night before.

We had breakfast at the Freemasons upstairs kitchen - shaken but not stirred!  Our panniers were taken back to Midland train station by a friendly supporting person which was extremely nice given our tired state.  One hundred and five kilometres later - home and comfy bed with no evil party goers!!