Sweaty sleep of the dead after a few drinks- oblivious to hum of angry mozzies, slight whiff of sewage in villa and Olympic snoring of equally shattered partner. Up and out, squinting into the bright, just in time to confirm that all the croissants in the patisserie have already been snapped up by more organised tourists. Forced to snaffle cold tart laced with bits of dessicated olives, tiny fish bones and a semi-hardened cheese roof instead. Frantic whip round the hypermarket before its lengthy (and indeterminate) lunchtime closing. Pace and military precision when picking tomatoes etc clearly upsetting to locals, who wisely operate trolleys and themselves on much lower levels of octane.
Unveiling of the holiday wardrobe highlights- not so much an exercise in colour blocking as in inappropriate footwear. Orange suede heels purchased guiltily in the first flush of the BTs sale do not steer at all well on gravel and ubiquitous cobblestones, leading to first casualty. To add insult to injury, they will also get no wear at the office. At least the box is a thing of beauty and everything looks good with flip flops and an ankle support.
Sneak consultations on weather.com to ascertain whether the unseasonably cool, grey cloudcover is meant to last and for exactly how long. As long as it’s worse in Dublin, resolve not to care and publicly praise the fact that it isn’t roasting so group hysteria kept under control. A cultural outing is planned- proof that everyone to a man and woman is concerned about putting a brave face on it. Gentle fifteen minute sunset yoga session by the sub-zero pool justifies seven course evening feed.
What day is it? This question marks the pinnacle of every holiday. The Twilight alabaster tinge having given way to genuine frecklage, even though it’s been ‘overcast’, the personal time/space continuum has altered significantly enough to have made it all worthwhile. Thundery power outage fries Kindle and mobile but promises an end to poor weather- an entirely acceptable trade-off. Universal late night chat theme- whether to stay in current state of employ. Epiphanies abound.
Obligatory visit to local GP for antibiotic bite cream, something for the baby’s sore throat, stitches and tummy upsets (Dodgy sardines? Iffy moules? Sketchy local moonshine?). Everyone deeply impressed by 1) number of suppositories prescribed 2) relative efficiency of Health Service 3) lack of need to produce that plastic E11 card you’re supposed to carry everywhere with you.
Day Before Return
Re-entry, anxiety-fuelled early start: 5:30am (that’s 4:30 home time). Having tracked down an anaemic wifi signal to a remote corner of a local café populated entirely by grizzly old men, sunrise breakfast consists of light grazing on 589 emails from previous week, justified by excuse that, “it will make the transition back to work easier if the backlog’s cleared.” The seal now broken, the day is marred by repeat mini-voms of real-life angst, which are further exacerbated by placing the online Superquinn order. Nothing like grocery shopping to land you right back in the trenches.
The most cracking weather imaginable presages a sprint to the deck chairs at first light. Absolutely no SPF used to insure maximum burn (ie value for money once back at the desk). Two hour drive to airport, flight delayed, home at 12:30am, shagged but triumphant.