FWR poses the eternal question: can you really relax and think deep thoughts by the pool when those (other) foreigners won't shut up?
A Bit Zen?
"Shut up Victor Meldrew – yes, I'm talking to me!"
At what point do you become intolerant of other people enjoying themselves?
I asked myself that question on holiday last week and was slightly disturbed by how little in the way of noise, bad manners or poor parenting gets to me.
At what point do you realise that your behaviour may have an adverse effect on someone else's enjoyment? At what point do you take into account other people's sensibilities and, crucially, at what point in our lives do we really care?
Strange questions going through my head whilst sitting by a beautiful swimming pool, in the gorgeous Spanish sunshine, sipping a deliciously cold drink and watching my very chilled out wife and youngest children splashing about and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
The questions started a few minutes earlier when a large party of Eastern Europeans invaded my tranquility; I don't do relaxing by the pool very well at the best of times, but found it even more of a chore trying to "chill" whilst surrounded by extremely noisy, vodka fuelled men and women wearing what looked suspiciously like identical tiny, brightly coloured, budgie smuggling swimming costumes – heedless of their many pounds of sunburnt flesh happily and easily escaping the flimsy swimwear, they happily and noisily hoisted their equally noisy and similarly dressed offspring up into the air by clamping meaty hands around the hapless child's ears and , oblivious of the cries of anguish from all those who have suffered a neck injury, flung them several metres into the air, twisting noisily through the air to land noisily amongst those trying to enjoy a bit of a swim.
Thankfully they soon got bored with their energetic 'give-the-four-year-old-whiplash" game and stomped noisily off( a surprisingly good stomp too in fluorescent flipflops) to noisily attack the all inclusive bar like a swarm of scantily clad alcoholic and very, very noisy locusts.
Annoying, yes, but Ho hum each to his own and slightly amusing now they'd moved on. Surely the hotel would be big enough to avoid crossing their vodka scented paths for a week or so? Back to my book and another attempt at relaxing.
Peace descended on the pool area like a nervous bird in the neighbourhood tom cats backyard. Or maybe that was just me dreading the next inevitable interruption to my Clive Barker yarn. The bird of peace was soon well and truly chewed up, played with, spat out and tormented a few minutes later. I swear the demons that haunt my vacations have a special storeroom which houses the most irritating creations, hellishly designed to cause the most damage to my rather easy-to-destroy-tranquility.
It would appear that the cast of several seasons My Big Fat Lobster Wedding had all decided to jump on a plane and invade this particular minuscule part of Spain.
Ten, nine, eight...I got to six before giving up. Leaving the pool area, which now resembled the bar scene from Star Wars, we headed out and down to the wonderfully open beach and the blue, pleasantly warm ocean. Only returning to the hotel for a quick bite, a nightcap and bed.
Herds of supernaturally red pre teens had cornered the snack bar and even younger gangs of unsupervised sugar fuelled scarlet kindergarteners milled the communal areas, pouncing viciously each time the ice cream machines were restocked. All the bars appeared to be hosting a world record attempt to get the most sunburnt football shirt wearing mutants in one place.
Thankfully we found a quiet spot , in with the Spanish, and enjoyed some nice food and a little well mannered conversation. The poor Spanish holiday makers apparently as shell shocked as we were by the sudden materialisation of the Confederation of Hellishly Annoying Vodka Swillers.
Which brings me back to my point; at what point did I stop raising my particular variety of Hell and become intolerant of others? My wife has half jokingly been calling me Victor Meldrew for the last twenty years of holiday rants, so it can't be anything shockingly new?
Don't get me wrong, I love the odd wild party, adore my biker rallies and can have a laugh and a joke with most people, but at the right time and in the proper settings, not in the middle of a nice family hotel. Live and let live, some people like to let their hair down on holiday – cool, go to A resort that's set up for the crazy side of vacations, God bless the old 18-30 packages for keeping them in one place.
Some people enjoy vacationing with every living relative they can find – great, it's just the fact that some people travelling in a herd need a volume control and a little embedded consideration chip fitted at the spaceport or hire a Villa to yourselves.
Thankfully the tribes left for whatever blisteringly hot home worlds they are currently tormenting the following morning, admittedly it was five o clock in the morning, which gave them one last chance to show off their latest football shirts and have a good shout before presumably descending on the airport bars for a pre-flight binge and then onto raiding Boots for gallons of aftersun.
I wished them a safe journey and returned to being annoyed with my pillows for not being suitable soundproof ear coverings.
Over breakfast I remarked to my wife that the horribly noisy tribes had departed so it should be a better day today. She smiled at me quizzically, totally unaware that these red drunken beings from beyond annoying had ever crossed into our universe.
Some people, it seems, are just more naturally able to switch off and chill. Some people can have a good time without letting mutant hordes bother them. It's just a pity I'm sadly not one of them!
But why? Some of the places I've been to and the people I've partied quite energetically with would make the average cockroach shake its head and look for a nicer spot. I'm not xenophobic, small minded or prudish, I just don't like excessively loud people on holiday.
Maybe I'm just growing older, maybe my dad side shows through too over protectively...or maybe just maybe I'm a bit of an old fart when I get off a plane with my family and am a totally different person as a biker, (free of the need to be sensible in front of my family), in what I see as my own natural two wheeled environment?
Shocking I know! Bloody two-faced!
For the rest of the holiday I decided I was going to have a jolly good chat with myself and tell the part of me that notices these annoying things and allows them to cast shadows to find a nice dark, quiet room somewhere inside what passes for my mind. I would let him know when we were safely back home. Yes, Victor Meldrew, I'm talking to me!
I also looked up the fun loving guy who had been having a nice nap since my French road trip, no bikes this time, but saddle up we're off again!
The over protective dad was given a copy of the 2016 health and safety executive report on banisters and a nice glass of red, then too locked away.
The rest of the holiday was superb. I managed to shock my son, not because I agreed without argument to plunge down the fastest , highest ride in the water park, but because I raced him up the million stairs to get there. I amused my daughter by dancing in public with her,without alcoholic inducement and I shocked the hell out of my long suffering wife by enjoying myself so much I forgot to notice almost all of the annoying revellers in my bit of sunny Eden.
The world is a dark place at the moment, maybe we should all lighten up, put on some fluorescent Speedos and go have a drink? I'll be the friendly biker in the English football shirt at the bar! What are you having, my friends?