Monday, May 14, 2007

On Youth Hosteling..

Of all the misnomers in the English tongue, there are possibly few which stretch credulity as far as that of the "youth hostel". That the place in which I stayed, Glenbrittle Youth Hostel (pictured) is a hostel and not a hotel, is not the contentious bone! Rather it is the persistent use of the word 'youth' in their title, despite the fact that the vast majority of their clientele made their exit from this category shortly after completing their national service, that looks a little odd.

Now, you might rightly point out that I am hardly within my rights to labour such a point, given that I have just spent a week in a 'youth hostel' - despite my advanced age. Indeed I did so without shame, embarrassment, or pretension of still being a 'yoof'. In fact I did so without even the need for any sense of irony that I should be making use of facilities provided "especially for the young". How so? Well, simply because for some of the time there, I was the youngest guest in attendance, and certainly lowered the average visitor age by some decades for most of it.

Dog-eared, faded, foostie copies of "The Scottish Peaks" by Poucher, held together by brown paper and string; are still in use today by dog-eared, faded, foostie men held together by similar means. They still stalk Highland Hostels in their unruly facial hair and enormous propensity for snoring - much as they did half a century ago. The one change it seems, is that their dusty hill-worn frames now come wrapped in expensive Gore-tex.

So here's to the "youth hostel", possibly the one place to which I can retreat that makes me feel like a youth.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Written like a true grumpy old fart