One of my greatest fears is to be trapped in a lift. Imagine being trapped in a lift with a group of competitors from the World Irish Dance Championships.
Belfast is the venue for this year’s competition which comes to a climax today at the Waterfront Hotel. It is a city which has been through a lot and the hotels are well used to having to take precautions to minimise threats and enhance the safety of their guests. The Dance Championships pose a particular problem because the participants will insist on perfecting their Michael Flatley moves in the lift.
The Premier Inn has chosen to take direct action by posting a sign warning guests not to dance in the lift. It points out, not unreasonably, “if you dance in the lifts they will stop moving and you will be stuck here until we can get an engineer to come and rescue you”. That should do the trick.
Best to give the hotel a swerve followed by a pirouette and a double somersault until the terpsichoreans have disappeared and left the law-abiding, stationary, lift users to go up and down in peace.
Back to lifts.
I’m windy enough about being trapped in a lift period but the thought of being stuck there over a weekend is enough to induce an outbreak of the screaming habdabs. But this is what happened to a couple of nuns who were visiting a Marist Sisters’ convent in Rome last weekend.
Sometime on the Friday afternoon they stepped into the convent’s only lift to descend the four stories to the ground when an electricity outage caused the lift to stop between floors. And there they stayed until they were rescued on the following Monday.
Despite only being visitors to the convent there was no one else in the building and so their cries for help – we can assume they weren’t Trappist – went unnoticed. They didn’t have a mobile phone, having left them in their rooms. The direct line to God, although they did occupy their time by praying, proved ineffective. All that sustained them during their three-day ordeal with temperatures hitting 34C outside – God knows what they were inside – was drinking their own urine, an act which at least preserved their consciousness.
They were only rescued from their ordeal when a cleaner turned up on the Monday and being unable to rouse anyone called the old bill. The two, Sisters Miriam and Mary-Elizabeth, were taken to hospital suffering from severe dehydration but are expected to make a full recovery.
I expect they will use the stairs from now on!