You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been griping about the arthritis, recently. The fact is, we’ve had a bit of a heatwave in Great Britain, and the old bones give me less gyp in warm, dry weather than they do in our usual, chilly, damp, or downright sodding climate.
It’s one of the reasons I enjoy our continental holidays so much… normally.
Majorca was an anomaly. The weather was hot and sunny. That goes without saying. (Question: if it goes without saying, why am I saying it?) Why else would you bother going to Majorca, if not for the weather… cheap beer… cheap fags… cheap women… er, scratch that last remark.
Throughout the entire week in Palmanova, I was in something approaching screaming agony. I didn’t scream. The missus wouldn’t let me. She would have found it embarrassing, and even in your death throes you must avoid embarrassing the memsahib. According to her, it’s written into the marriage vows, although I have to say I don’t recall uttering those precise words. Course, our wedding day was almost forty years ago, and while my memory is pretty good, it’s not eidetic. Anyway, I was drunk at the time.
I digress. I’m good at digressing. If there were some kind of digressionary award, I’d be a dead cert for it.
Dragging the article back to where it should be, I tolerated intolerable pain throughout the seven days we were in the Balearics. Why, you may ask. No need to ask, I was gonna tell you anyway.
It started on the plane. It was a Boeing 767, a theoretically wide-bodied aircraft. The term wide-bodied should be taken with a pinch of salt. The fuselage might be wide but seats aren’t. When it comes to them, I’m the one who’s wide-bodied. So there I am, crammed into an aisle seat for three hours and my legs are beginning to ache and my right knee is jerking, so much so that it aroused the suspicions of a young woman across the aisle that I may be trying to join the Mile-High Club.
At my time of life? Dream on.
So I was already in some considerable discomfort by the time we got to Palma. Then came the hotel.
When we first booked, I knew the place was at the top of the hill. What I didn’t know was that this hill was a mini-Annapurna. It was so steep that I had trouble going down, and as for getting up… well, let’s just say I could have done with a skateboard, a long length of rope and a large mob of people to pull me up.
The problems are reflected in the first of two videos I recording while we were there.
The problems were exacerbated by the actual building which, it seemed to me, had been designed by an architectural zoon. There were staircases here, there and everywhere, some of them hidden. Obviously, there were lifts, some of which serviced only the upper floors, while others took you only to the lower levels, and no matter where you were going you had to share the lifts with the maintenance staff, who frequently, commandeered them for long periods while they were moving laundry from the bowels of the building to the various floors.
I’m not saying you had to wait a long time for the lift, but I did notice that according to the graffiti Kilroy had been there.
The next culprit was the bed. It was rock solid. I know a firm mattress is good for posture and supports the spine. But there is a considerable difference between a firm mattress and a slab of concrete. The bunks in our local nick are more comfortable than that bloody bed… or so I’m told. Obviously, I don’t speak from experience. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
The final item on this catalogue of modern torture tools were the sun loungers. They were bog-standard, which was only to be expected. But after spending six hours on one when Her Indoors was in one of her super-idle frames of mind, my hip, shoulders and back were screaming in upper-class English, a language which sets my teeth on edge just as badly as the language of pain.
If we add to the mix – another of those gormless aphorisms I’ve picked up from unimaginative sports commentators – the wife’s habit of walking me all over the island on her marathon shopping expeditions, turned the week’s holiday, which was planned as a much-needed rest from the recent physical, mental and emotional stress we’ve been through, into an agonising test of endurance.
And I failed the test.
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