Having spent much of my pre-breakfast routine yesterday composing a snorter of an email to my travel agent about the cock-ups detailed in my previous National Rust post, I spent the rest of the day relaxing beside the pool. Nothing having reached in my laptop in the meantime, I mentioned at our villa dinner last night that I was taking the lack of an early reply as a sign that they were well on the back foot – only to have it pointed out to me that it was a Bank Holiday in Britain and therefore they wouldn’t have been in the office, or seen my email yet, anyway.
That’s my favourite thing about foreign holidays in the sun – you get away from it all and leave behind your ‘baggage’, including any knowledge of, or indeed interest in, whatever might be going on in dear old Blighty.
Well, not quite all.
I had occasion to ring home in the late morning and was delighted to learn that the whole of London – including the Notting Hill Carnival – was suffering relatively cold temperatures and a monsoon-like downpour. In reaction to this sad news, I waddled across the lawn in the blazing sunshine and sank back into the stepped shallow end area of our 20-metre swimming pool, taking up my cold beer and paperback copy of Bertie: a life of Edward VII by historian Jane Ridley, with a greatly-enhanced sense of well-being and joy.
Shortly afterwards a muted but enthusiastic communal cheer of “Yaaaaaay!” rang out from the sunbeds around the pool, and indeed the two young ladies in bikinis lying semi-comatose on their airbeds at the deep end, when my news about what was happening in Britain reached them.
However, all is not entirely well in the land of locusts and honey.
Overnight – before composing this offering to the National Rust – I was obliged to write another email of complaint.
Mid-morning, after a brief ‘just to say we’d done it’ trip downtown to the public beach in order to take a dip in the sea, I returned to take up my now habitual place on a sunbed under a shaded area beside the pool. Noticing that I was wearing the specialist marine sport watch which I had bought from a chandlers at the start of the sailing season, I decided on a whim to test/confirm its proud claim of being waterproof to 20 metres, a depth to which – I hasten to add – I do not have the slightest intention of descending in this life.
After three lengths of the pool, which were otherwise unremarkable as I swam them in relaxed fashion whilst in conversation with two people on sunbeds nearby, I looked down at the face of my watch.
It had a high tide watermark of water clearly visible, sloshing about within the glass, now partly obscuring the digital read-out numbers telling me the time. I loudly informed the assembled company of this outrageous development and then did two more lengths, by which time the aforementioned interior high water mark had reach halfway up the display.
Furthermore, it was plain that the workings had given up the ghost. The digital read-out had disappeared, never to be seen again.
I should mention that this was not a greatly expensive watch. Personally, I don’t believe in them, for me a time-piece has only one purpose: to tell you the time. As long as it does that, you can stick your ‘lah-de-dah’ brand names, jewellery and frippery. This one, with its digital read-out (rather that clock and hands), only set me back about £44 pounds sterling.
How on earth can a manufacturer – or indeed shopkeeper – get away with selling a watch advertised as a ‘marine watch’, which indeed has a special ability to countdown from 10 minutes to zero (the crucial period before a race start for a yachtsman) on the press of a button, which is not in the slightest bit waterproof … even though it claims to be?
These are some of the matters that (my readers may be pleased to know) were laid out in my two-page email to the yacht chandlers, sent at 0534 hours European time this morning.