When I think of a coach party I recall the 50’s and 60’s with some nostalgia, the time before the package holiday ushered in a new era for holiday makers when the annual Coach Party trip was the highlight of the year. Mums weighed down with everything imaginable, dads replete in suits and ties and gabbling awestruck kids all set off for the joys of coast or countryside in lumbering retro Coaches replete with faux leather seats and ash trays that you could actually use.
Today in a telling switch the Coach Party has been rebranded the Party Coach which one operator describes as “a disco on wheels” with “everything you need for a fun packed journey.” Everything you need but fire extinguishers apparently, if the experience of the owners of the historic St Magnus Bay Hotel in Hillswick, Shetland is anything to go by.
When a Party Coach of reveller’s descended on the hotel a carelessly discarded cigarette in the entrance, having smouldered undetected for some time eventually developed into a fire, by which time the culprit had long departed on his or her Party Bus.
To add insult to injury two fire extinguishers that would have been more than useful in stemming the flames had been stolen from the hotel. What exactly the revellers intended to do with the fire extinguishers is unclear. The black market in stolen fire extinguishers is hardly the focus of organized crime.
The internal smoke alarms did not operate as the entrance was partly open to the elements. The owners might like to look at our Cigarette Smoke detector for exposed areas that barks out a warning message if it detects smoke. When you think about it the hotel entrance is a high risk area as unlike the old days the only opportunity a smoker has to satisfy their addiction is between leaving the coach and entering the hotel or vice versa.
Co owner of the hotel Ms Manson said: “For every 150 lovely people there is one spoilsport.” In my judgment she has overestimated the ratio by at least a factor of 10. The copious amounts of Alcohol that go hand in hand with the Party Coach ethos will make idiots of them all eventually.