Having read through the playlist below, The Long Lost Lonely One asked, with some justification: “Am I wrong, or did you go on holiday and just listen to music?”
No, no: we didn’t just listen to music, although that did form a large part of each day’s schedule of activities. I also spent an inordinate amount of time staring into space, with a soppy grin on my face, thinking about very little. Or at least comparatively little, given the usual Speed Freak From Hell pace of my internal dialogue.
Particularly when padding around in our pool, which slowed down the mental processes no end. Which came as some surprise, given my inability to swim and general phobia of water.
(Being on it: a positive delight. Being in it: OK, so long as either my feet are touching the bottom, or my hands are gripping the sides. Any other arrangement: absolutely out of the question. Being under it: sheer terror.)
But then, this was a private pool, overlooked by no-one; why, you could even skinny-dip with impunity. Thus with no curious, amused or (worst of all) “helpful” onlookers, the customary feelings of inadequacy, humiliation and slowly simmering anger were completely lifted. What’s more, this was a pool without a deep end, the water level remaining comfortably between nipple and neck throughout. Meaning no Fear Zone, no invisible Out Of Bounds markers, no Ooh Dear I Think I’ve Gone Far Enough. All of which induced the most deliciously unprecedented sense of freedom in the water; which in turn engendered a wholly new relationship with it.
So I became quite the Water Baby. You couldn’t keep me away from it. First thing in the morning, I could leap out of bed, open the double doors directly in front of me, and step straight into the water; a fantastically invigorating way to wake up. To say nothing of those languid candle-lit early evening soaks in our sunken bath, gazing up at the stars.
There was also a certain amount of reading, but less than anticipated, as Michael Bywater’s estimable little tome Lost Worlds served to keep me company all week. With its short, alphabetised, essays on subjects ranging from Chilbains to Chivalry, Dungeons & Dragons to Dunn & Co, Maturity to Meccano to Microsoft, it served as less of a Holiday Read, and more as a springboard to amiable extended contemplations. Usually while staring into space with a soppy grin on my face.
Other than that, the days were mainly taken up with: eating lovely meals; shopping for bijou objets (we did all our Christmas shopping in less than two hours, in the calm surroundings of the Banyan Tree Gallery Shop); being transported around the hotel complex in electric buggies; matching the staff’s broad smiles and warm greetings pound for pound; studiously pretending to ignore the other guests (whilst weaving pleasingly, plausibly slanderous Jackie Collins-esque narratives around them, generally involving sex, power, money and betrayal); applying vast arrays of fragranced products to our sunkissed bodies; having more of the same rubbed into us by trained professionals at the spa (the first time that a female hand has had direct contact with my bare buttocks since I was in nappies); taking two hours to dress for dinner (The Issey shirt with the Boss trousers, or the Yohji with the linen, do we think?); sipping gin; burning incense sticks; flirting with our favourite waiter (while simultaneously trying not to come on like Orton & Halliwell at the Long Yang Club); and filling in any gaps in the day with general swooning sighs and complacent purrs.
Honestly, you wouldn’t have wanted to be around us. Insufferable, we were.
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