It is always a rare treat to visit the frozen wastes of T'North, however my visit of last week left me gasping for relief.
My luncheon on Thursday last comprised what I thought would be a fair to middling low-fat snack to satiate the rumbles - a Tuna salad.
It is often said that something that starts quick goes quick. What I was about to endure could not have ended too soon.
Within a short fifteen earth minutes I felt the slightest of rumbles down in the engine room. This was shortly followed by a certain feeling a chap has when he knows that the Tube is loaded and it is very much time for torpedoes away.
The disabled facilities on the second floor beckoned. They served well - for the sink was within heave distance of the main bowl. However, it was rapidly apparent by the fact that despite lavish (and rather liquid) issuances from bow and stern - that I could not remain here.
I emerged from the privy sweating like a rapist and with eyes beady as ne'er before. I had to get out, and get out fast.
Five minutes and I find myself staring into the face of Modern Socialist Britain - the NHS drop-in centre. The bearded leftie punching keys and treating me as a nuisance who gets in the way of his targets stared at me as I stumbled my way through what I thought was wrong with me.
'Do you think you will need a Doctor?'.
Why are these people employed? No, surely not, I stumble in stinking of effluent yet in a suit cut so sharp you could clean your teeth by looking at it, I can only be here to take in the decor.
Instead of my normal witticisms I gave him a look of frantic desperation and demanded the toilet key.
The loo, whilst close to the desk had a certain Cuban appeal. Overflowing bin, stench of death, rust stains everywhere, yet sign posts everywhere saying how grateful we should be for receiving so little.
I re-emerged five minutes later clutching the key to horrified gawps from the numpties there for their chlamydia checks and lobotomy stitch removals.
By their frozen expressions of primordial terror - they had heard me.
The rending sounds of the fourth level of Hades had clearly alerted the gent concerned to the fact I was a little poorly.
A medicoe awaited.
Prodded, sampled, poked and temperature taken they concluded that all I could do is let this vile flux run it's course.
I am rarely ill. When I am, I know I have about two hours before I need to be prone to lose it. Time was ticking away.
I was issued a perspex jar, a rubber glove and baggy of the sort a fellow buys his weed in and told to sample my issuances and deliver to A+E for a speccy type to stare at it through a microscope and send me home.
A+E. Jar of 'bovril' delivered to bespectacled sort who scurried off to the lab. The Doctor sent me 'home'. I explained I was three hours drive from home - and that my current holding time was twenty minutes. This was greeted with confusion. Am I away on business?
Can't beat our edukashun, can you.
I retreated to my favourite hotel.
I have blogged about it many times, suffice to say it is a genuine home from home. Crisp linen, sumptuous duvets and pillows, large rooms decorated in 'country' prints, elderly books and the best English Restaurant outside the M25 - with a christian cellar to boot.
I needed none of these things.
In desperate need of chilled loo-roll and a bed to shiver within I presented myself to reception - Trembling like a tranny in top-shop.
The dear girl recognised me and plumbed the depths of my plight. She took my bag and led me to my regular suite.
Furnished with a bottle of mineral water, a pint of flat coke and an extra soft roll of Mr Andrex's finest I locked the door and prepared for a long run. A doctor even telephoned at the hotel's bequest to see if I was OK. Marvellous.
I shall spare you with the details, suffice to say that it was barely 14.00 and I had until 11.00 the next day to check out.
There followed extreme violent issuances, and a hallucinatory episode reminiscent of the time I was persuaded to use equine anaesthetic recreationally.
By 3 am, the fever had broken - as had my waters about six hours before.
I poked my nose out of the door. A tray with parkin, bottled water, flat coke and a loo roll was covered by a fluffy white towel.
During the long night I had received calls of support and gales of laughter from my friends, but best of all a call from a chum who offered to turn up in a Nurse uniform and tend to my woes. It seemed inviting, except she used to be a vet nurse.
Discretion given such circumstances was the better part of valour. I preferred to puke alone. And will wait until my breath is fresher before renewing our blossoming acquaintance.
The day dawned bright, clear and I was exhausted and rather empty. The six pack stomach was back. A pot of strong tea and a Telegraph was by my door and a note asking after my health. Fantastic service.
They didn't even charge me for the room service.