|Views like this make me dream of stories|
I watched Mr Snaffle Shorts sidle around the hotel’s breakfast buffet. He’d carefully secret rolls in napkins before slipping them into his trouser pockets, and a quick sleight of hand would make other things disappear the same way – fruit, foil wrapped butter, cheese and ham, mini croissants. Every morning he’d appear in his special snaffling shorts and would cruise the buffet with a smug little smile – happy to be getting ‘one over’ on the management. I stole a glance at his wife. She didn’t look quite so content. She was probably contemplating yet another lunchtime eating sweaty cheese rolls on the beach, and yet another evening shaking crumbs and ketchup sachets out of the Snaffle Shorts. I’m sure that if asked she would side with her husband – they’ve paid for that food so by gosh they would eat it – but I am equally sure that if one morning he turned to her and said ‘darling – sod the snaffle shorts! Today at lunch let’s find a restaurant!’ – that her face would grow young and her smile would light the room.
‘Si vous plais, per favor’
I was incredibly enamoured with the idea of being able to speak Spanish when I was ten years old. I pestered my mother for a ‘teach yourself Spanish’ book, and was rewarded with one that, although marketed to children, contained the most bizarre exchanges I’d ever seen. Every phrase was oddly adult - ‘Excuse me, can I have a safety deposit box?’ and ‘ Hello – I would like to do some laundry, please.’ Somehow out of poor beginnings I managed to cobble together some knowledge – how to count to ten, simple polite greetings, and how to say ‘I like...’ (but of course!). I never actually took Spanish at school, sadly – I stuck to French – but I can still remember that phrase book, so had fun unleashing my Norf Lahndon Spanish accent into Menorca. Luckily my lovely travel buddy, good friend R, is far more knowledgeable at Spanish, and could steer the way when I lapsed into French instead – most memorable being ‘si vous plais, per favor’. Still, I think people were happy we made the effort!
Sketching on the beach
Art has taken a back seat over the years to writing, but this holiday I was determined to get back into it and start sketching – anywhere we paused for ten minutes or so, out came the sketchbook. It was easier to draw from sight than from memory and I really enjoyed letting my vision absorb the surroundings and pick out little details. When you write or work with computers there is barely any distance between your eyes and the screen, and so it was wonderful to gaze my fill upon distance and colour. I vowed to start carrying my sketchbook with me everywhere again, but oh how quick it is to fall back into city grievances – my bag is too small, there’s no room on the trains and tube, I’m too tired. Pah. Although I could buy a bigger bag... *eyes light up at a solution that involves shopping*
|The beach at Cala Galdana - |
good friend R is in the foreground
As we boarded the homeward bound flight, a high proportion of toddlers boarded with us (and with their parents, naturally). Our little Greek chorus expressed everyone’s most hidden flying fears by wailing as loud as they could on the ascent. Thankfully they quietened when the plane levelled, no doubt pacified by whatever sweet and chewy thing their desperate parents could shove at them, and the flight continued smoothly... for a bit. As we neared the UK we hit a bit of turbulence – and one member of the Greek chorus – a small boy of around three years old – didn’t like it at all. He began a steady sob as the plane started its wobbly slow descent, and then at the top of his lungs suddenly yelled ‘I DON’T WANT TO DIE!’ It’s not the sort of thing you want to hear mid bouncy flight, to be honest. Mostly, though, I felt really sorry for him – someone must’ve scared him about flying or he’d seen something far too adult somewhere down the line – as it’s an odd association for a little boy to make. His parents tried to comfort him, but we were stuck with repeated yells of ‘I DON’T WANT TO DIE!’ all the way to touch down. I’d never been so relieved to land!
Menorca is a lovely, lovely island – with white sandy beaches, lots of history, individualist housing, and beautiful winding city streets. I did lots of gazing out to sea, and dreaming about future plans, and pondering steps to make future plans part of the present plan, and wondering whether I have a present plan and does it actually involve treats? I also had a fantastic time with lovely travel buddy, as ever – we find the same things incredibly amusing, we like the same quiet moments, and we natter about everything under the sun – and the sun we were under was kind to us, and didn’t burn or disappear behind clouds. If only a week didn’t gallop and recede so fast – feels like a long time ago now!