If you cast your minds back to April (or simply scroll down the page a bit), I explained in Blog #249 that, for my mum’s 70th birthday later this year, my siblings and I decided to take her to Majorca for a family holiday with all four of her grandchildren – and, as is so often the case when our family get together, it was nothing if not eventful.
So, I thought I’d mark this blogging milestone with an entry all about our summer hols, broken down into seven bitesize ‘postcards’ to all my followers. And, just like real postcards from abroad, I arrived home long before any of you got to read them.
Well, that wasn’t exactly the stress-free start to our holiday we had been hoping for.
Having already navigated our way through the worry of Ollie’s COVID jabs (he turned 12 in May, but that didn’t allow us sufficient time to get both of his vaccinations before our departure, as per Spanish entry requirements), nationwide flight cancellations, and the fact my brother’s family only received their passports a month ago, none of us banked on a seemingly harmless takeaway potentially fucking up the entire trip.
Yet, on the evening before we were due to fly, and having collected my sister from the train station with all her luggage, my Mum treated the two of them to a Chinese takeaway and, in a delicious twist of irony, she badly chipped her tooth on…. wait for it…. a chip.
Cue a family-wide panic attack. Mum was in tears thinking she had ruined the holiday, my brother was phoning around emergency dentists, all of whom wanted to charge the GDP of a small African nation to treat her that evening (not that she wanted to go to a dentist she didn’t know anyway), and I couldn’t drive over to her house to help my sister calm her down as I’d already started my “I’m not in work for an entire week” celebratory drinking.
Long story short, we managed to delay the taxi to the airport by 45 minutes, to allow Mum time to drive to her usual dental surgery for when they opened so she could plead for an emergency appointment. Having explained the situation, the reception staff were typically unsympathetic wankers and told her she couldn’t be seen. At this point, Mum was in tears, and a gentleman sat nearby asked why she was so upset. When she explained, he calmly told her he would sort it, walked to the reception desk, and after a few minutes came back, wished her a lovely holiday, and left the surgery. It turned out he had given up his 9am appointment so she could be seen in his place. It’s nice to know there are still kind-hearted people out there (even if very few of them work in dental surgeries).
Thankfully, Mum was seen, the tooth was repaired, and she just about make her taxi in time. Then, contrary to all the horror stories in the media, we managed to drop our luggage off, have our passports checked, and proceed through security without any intimate cavity searches all within about half an hour, giving us time for a bite to eat before our flight. Which was on time. Things were finally going our way.
Unfortunately, when we landed at Palma airport, Isaac discovered that ‘John the Blu Tack Penis Man’ hadn’t survived the trip, which he was very sad about. In case you’re wondering (and, if you’re not, what the hell is wrong with you?) John was a penis Isaac had lovingly crafted out of Blu Tack and who he insisted accompany him in a sandwich bag stowed in his hand luggage. John, God rest his soul, had the body of a penis, curly hair (on his ‘head’, mind), and a Nintendo Switch in one of his hands to keep him entertained. No, me neither. I was just grateful none of the security staff at Manchester Airport had questioned the small, phallic lump of Blu Tack in Isaac’s luggage, because you can bet for damn sure he would have taken great pleasure in explaining his pliable little friend to all who would listen. Which would have been everyone.
The next embarrassment occurred shortly afterwards, while waiting to collect our luggage from the carousel. As we stood there, I spotted what I thought (correctly, it transpired) was my sister’s black suitcase, as she had attached a pink luggage strap around the middle to make it easier to identify. Without thinking, and surrounded by a few hundred weary travelers, I shouted across to my sister “Is that your bag with the pink strap on?”
As soon as I said it, I realised how that must have sounded, and it would be safe to say the woman stood next to my mortified sister nearly lost her shit laughing at me.
By the time we had travelled to our hotel and checked in it was just after 7.30pm, so we got washed and changed and headed to the restaurant for dinner, where we discovered that the all-inclusive drinks package included Estrella as the draught beer, decent wine, prosecco, brand spirits such as Captain Morgan and Smirnoff, and all of the (generous) cocktail menu.
Best of all, when I ordered a rum and coke in the bar after dinner, it would be fair to say the measure was heavily weighted in favour of the spirit (it was honestly about three double measures of rum, followed by a splash of coke). Suffice to say, by the end of the night I couldn’t feel my face.
The entertainment for the evening involved guests taking part in a series of challenges on stage, and the audience had to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depending on whether they thought the participant would be successful. If you voted correctly, your raffle ticket got placed into a winners’ pile for the prize draw at end of the night. And, despite having been up since 4am that morning, Isaac not only won a bottle of herbal liqueur and a shellac nail treatment (which he donated to myself and my sister respectively), but he also took part in a one-hundred-person strong conga line around the bar.
Honestly, he’s like the fucking Duracell bunny that kid.
This morning started with yet another embarrassing incident.
Having been persuaded to tow my young niece around the hotel pool on her new inflatable unicorn, she asked if I could take her from the main pool over to the shallower kids’ section, which involved negotiating the unicorn under a particularly low bridge.
My delight at managing to duck the unicorn’s head under water, while keeping my niece lying sufficiently flat that she didn’t bump hers, was short lived, as no sooner had we got to the kids’ pool she started to look worried that she could no longer see her dad (my brother).
For reasons only known to myself, and with the cringing embarrassment of yesterday’s faux pas in the airport still flush in my cheeks, I then tried to reassure her by saying “Don’t worry, you don’t need daddy now, you’ve got me.”
Cue lots of accusatory looks from sunbathing Brits around the pool.
It was at this point that my latest embarrassment was mercifully overshadowed by a loud grunting sound which, as I turned around to locate the source, transpired to be a lady sunbathing right next to the pool. Not only was she fast asleep and snoring like a wild boar, but her legs were so far akimbo stretched across two sun loungers, that as I turned, I found myself unavoidably staring at her crotch, like a semi-aquatic gynaecologist.
Naturally, I immediately averted my gaze (I am nothing if not a gentleman, and society tends to take a dim view of gawping at a sleeping woman’s delicates while towing a young girl around a swimming pool on an inflatable unicorn – if, indeed, such an event has ever happened before), but I couldn’t help feeling a guilty sense of relief that most of the pool had forgotten my announcement and were now transfixed by her instead.
After a relaxing first day by the pool (embarrassing incidents aside), the family enjoyed a lovely evening meal followed by a soul and Motown singer in the bar over potent all-inclusive cocktails. My niece made a new friend, and the two of them spent the entire night doing cartwheels next to our table, while Isaac, seemingly pissed off that the attention wasn’t on him for a change, chose to overshadow their performance by jumping up and twerking during the singer’s rendition of ‘Build Me Up Buttercup.’
As you do.
Despite having showered last night, in order to wash off a day’s repeated application of factor 50 before dinner (although I might as well not have bothered, as I appear to have badly burned my shoulders and upper back anyway), a night of clammy rum-fueled sleep warranted another shower before breakfast, interspersed with anguished cries every time the powerful jets hit my reddest areas.
As I got out of the shower and grabbed a towel to gently pat myself dry, I wasn’t aware until I wrapped it around my waist that the towel had an unfortunate tear just large enough, and positioned in just the right spot, for ‘Little Greg and the Twins’ to poke themselves through, like a damp mole emerging from a blanket of snow. Needless to say, I found this hilarious, the boys found this hilarious, and my wife found it sufficiently disgusting that she apparently lost all appetite for breakfast. To be honest, I don’t think my impromptu ‘sexy towel dance’ helped in the slightest.
Later that morning, my brother began to feel unwell, and it soon transpired he was suffering from sunstroke, which resulted in him spending the rest of the day either in bed feeling dreadful, or paying his respects to the porcelain king while chucking up any food still left in his stomach.
This meant that he didn’t manage to take part in the evening’s entertainment, which was described as a ‘Retro Music Quiz’, although I can only assume with my limited Spanish that ‘retro’ loosely translates to ‘bag of shite’, because the entire quiz was simply fifteen intros ranging from the blindingly obvious (‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis) to the almost impossible (‘Escape’ by Rupert Holmes).
My mood was not helped by the entirely pointless bonus question available for guessing which film the song ‘Pretty Woman’ featured in (the answer, for anyone who struggles to walk and chew gum at the same time, is ‘Pretty Woman’), and the other bonus question relating to Chris Rea’s ‘Road to Hell’, which required us to name the city of his birth.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the correct answer is Middlesbrough, which pissed me off because it’s not a city, so either the question was badly worded, or the host was going to claim the answer was something other than Middlesbrough, like Newcastle. Fortunately for him, it was the former and we scored a point, otherwise he might have discovered my ‘Sex on the Beach’ hurtling towards his head from across the bar.
To be continued…