Once inside the Gretna Green Hotel, immediately I felt comfortable. I walked out to a back room, plonked my gear and then hung onto the bar looking eager.
“Would it be possible to have a shower? I’m happy to pay. I don’t care if the shower is in the private residential quarters upstairs. I’ll even clean it afterwards if that will help. I’d REALLY like a shower.” All said with pleading eyes. ‘No. Can’t do,” said the barman. I stared with desperate eyes, waiting for an explanation. Apparently TasWater, which manages water quality and delivery around Tasmania, has declared the water at Gretna to be so unsafe that no-one should drink it, and the locals deem it so bad that there is a flow on risk with showering and washing your clothes in it. “Well we all shower in it, but that’s the risk we take”, barman Brad informed me. “But we won’t let you take the risk.” I spoke up. “If you shower in it then I am happy to shower in it and will even sign a slip of paper saying I am accepting the risk against your advice.” “No can do. Nah. Sorry. The publicans won’t allow it,” was the barman’s response. He was trying to be helpful and so I saw no point in putting him offside. After all, my bus back to Hobart wasn’t passing through Gretna for another 7 hours – I reckoned that creating an aggro situation wouldn’t be smart.
“OK. A bottle of water and a cup of black tea please.” The cup with its tea bag was soon in front of me. While the hot drink cooled, I sculled the bottle all the time sitting and chatting to friendly and informative Brad. After the second bottle and second cup of tea, I began to feel refreshed. I made up my mind to get clean including brushing my teeth (in the offending water) and to change my clothes, so off I went to the toilets and slowly completed the ablutions and the makeover. When I left the cubicle, I felt like a new person. I was rehydrated within from having imbibed the fluids earlier, and now I knew I looked different. I felt so much more alive. I only had to survive the waiting time until the bus came through. Only 6 hours to go.