- Grease-leavers: Possibly overlapping with the above (assuming ghosts exist), but more readily pin-downable. Most active at breakfast-time, when they dutifully top-up grillpans with bacon and sausage fat. Also identifiable by invariably eating white bread.
- Friends of the warden: Unpleasant, sycophantic types who fail even to pass the time of day with mere mortal hostellers, but who spring into backslapping bonhomie the moment one of the hierarchy appears. Tediously boring and usually unfit-looking. Do they get special rates? Sexual favours? Free tins of beans? Don't know and don't care.
- Butterfielders & Bennetonians: Only to be found in hostels where Munros - or, increasingly, Corbetts - are to hand. A decade ago they would have been labelled map-studiers due to preternatural pre-, during- and post-prandial preoccupations. Nowadays, though, who needs ungainly, difficult-to-fold maps when customised coffeetable books tell you which hills to climb without having to invoke any of those tricky thought processes? 1992 model made ubiquitous not so much by fleecy jacket or Reebok trainers, but by Ron Hill running strides. Here there and everywhere.
- Snorers: Along with farters and phlegm-inhalers, the scourge of the night. Note how wardens cleverly arrange things such that there is invariably one and one only in each dorm. At least now that springy mattresses are on the wane we don't have the 3 a.m. fidgeters to worry about.
- Eager bastards: Just when you've finally managed to sleep despite the excesses detailed above, on go the lights, bangbang go the doors and various jaunty tunes are badly whistled. Why, it's 6.30 a.m. and up get all the mountainbikers, Munrobaggers and unable-to-sleep pensioners, all blissfully ignorant of the fact that everyone else considers themselves to be on holiday and therefore deserving of a lie-in until 8 o'clock at least. If one was forced to generalise, religiously they'd all be zealots, politically: fascists.
Next issue: Wardens
TAC 6 Index