Hostel Man leads (Lovely) Tour Guide and I as we step into the office in search of a card machine. Already the accommodation in Newcastle is a step up from the last time that the Norway Contingent holidayed together - in as much as this Hostel is not run by Basil Fawlty and will actually let us divide the bill up in the manner we desire. Because it's not that hard, really, to work out that the person who paid the deposit should pay less at this point. Plus Newcastle may just have trumped Oxford a little bit in that we were just given free coffee with our lunch. And the Dreaming Spires may have many things going for it, but free coffee is not one of them.
"Hello" says Hostel Lady who is perched inside.
"Hello" we trill back.
"Where are you from?" Hostel Lady enquires.
"Leeds". It is, by far, the easiest option at this stage. Even though I am in my seventh month (crikey, where did that go?) of living in the South.
"There are 27 girls from Edinburgh here" Hostel Lady informs us in a manner which suggests that this is very important information indeed.
I aherm. It is the most articulate I can be on the subject, not being quite sure the response that this remark was supposed to elicit.
"There's 13 boys too" Hostel Lady continues seemingly unperturbed "We tried to put all of the girls on the same floor, but I'm afraid two of you will be on the second floor with the boys".
There is, I note, a sort of distress to the fact that two of us will have to share a corridor with boys. Given the fact that I not only do I share a bathroom with a boy but also that in being a female I am very much in the minority group of The Writers I think I might be able to cope with this. That I come with expectations that they will not wash up, will wear tie-dye and will most likely mock me is probably neither here nor there.
Hostel Lady is warming to her theme "And you know - after 10.00pm no visitors in your room".
I wonder for a second if I am fifteen years old again. It may not be appropriate to say that she is far, far too late for any of that.
Mine and (Lovely) Tour Guide's protestations overlap.
"We wouldn't -"
Hostel Lady is smiling. "Oh, I know you wouldn't. You both look innocent."
I have to physically prevent my jaw from dropping. I may be wearing my Grandmother's pearls but it's not like I'm wearing them with my Petunia Florals. It's clearly a good job that she hasn't read DA. Or asked me about Actors.
"But those 27 girls..."
I sense a bit of theme here.
"I might need protecting from them".
I wonder what exactly is wrong with these 27 girls. Is it the sheer number of them? Or the fact they're from Edinburgh? (I'd have been more worried about Glasgow*) Or do they each have three heads and a spear poking out of their handbags?
"I'm sure you could protect me, Charlie's Angels".
I clock (Lovely) Tour Guide's bemused face and can only assume that mine is making a similar expression. Charlie's Angels. When there are only two of us. Is this what happens in Newcastle?
When we have paid, said our goodbyes and retreated we tell the story to Old Friend and Bourbon.
"She said we were Charlie's Angels!"
"What, all of us?" Bourbon asks.
"No, just the two of us" (Lovely) Tour Guide replies.
"Yes- we're that good".
And clearly because this is exactly what Hostel Lady thought she immediately gets my vote over Basil Fawlty.
*I'm allowed to say that given that my aforementioned Grandmother was from Glasgow.