As a full time carer to Mowghi, it is difficult for his siblings to get their Mum all to themselves and so for this reason, I presented Missy with a Christmas gift that doubled as a respite break; tickets to a show and an overnight stay in Dublin.  The price for the overnight stay was a steal. Setting off, Missy was looking forward to the show and I was looking forward to a good sleep because Mowghi’s sleep patterns seem to be getting worse! On arrival at the hotel I raised an eyebrow at the sight of two security guards standing poker faced in front of the frosted glass doorway. When the receptionist asked me for a security deposit I raised the other eyebrow. The tall, coloured guy flashed a set of white teeth and muttered something in broken English. I only got the tail end of it. “Hotel policy, mam.”  So that was that.

Our room was tired, dark and out of date. Missy pulled off her boots and snuggled into the duvet. I concealed my disappointment and wandered into the bathroom. The first thing I noted was two complimentary sets of earplugs! My train of thought immediately raced back to the great deal I got on the net. “So Mammy, what are we going to do now?” I turned to look at Missy, fully refreshed and ready for action. “I thought you were going to have a nap.” I said. “No way. Can we go to the shops and get something to eat before the show?” On leaving the hotel, I tried to ignore the fact that there were now three burly security men guarding the front door. By the time we got back to freshen up before the show the three had become five. I tried to dismiss the uneasy knot in my stomach. Missy was excited and chatting away to me. It was clear she was enjoying having me all to herself without me taking care of Mowghi. The show was brilliant, and we had a lovely evening, but when we got back to our hotel there was a blanket of security on the front door. While we waded through the yellow coats I felt I got some strange looks. Back in our room we started preparing for bed but I was fully aware of the distance drone of thumpity thump music. I thought it would soon stop but couldn’t help thinking of the ear plugs, the security and the fact that it was Friday night!

Missy fell over to sleep fairly quickly. I dosed for a while but was awakened by a siren and terrible screaming beyond the third floor window. The drone of music seemed louder and was vibrating the walls. Peeking out the window, the street below was full of police cars, taxis and the noise that comes with late night revellers. “What the…” I grabbed my phone to check the time. 11.45 pm. Then I did something I should have done long before I booked the hotel. I googled up the name of the hotel and clicked on the reviews.  In the very early hours of the morning I learnt that our hotel was sandwiched between two nightclubs that went on to four in the morning. “…but you’ll get no sleep until the last taxi pulls away at 7am…,” one reviewer had written, “ …and then the beer kegs will start to roll, in preparation for the evening ahead.” I looked at Goldilocks fast asleep in the shadow of the vibrating room and give thanks for small mercies. It’s true what they say… “There is always a price to pay. Cheapest way is to pay with money.”