Thursday, 3 November 2016

Hotel living

For 51 weeks of the year, I rule over my children's diet with a rod of iron. Not too much sugar, oily fish twice a week, live yoghurt and five fruit-and-veg-a-day. For one week of the year, we stay in a hotel and eat buffet breakfast. 

During our recent stay in Gran Canaria, my son began his day with sausages, bacon, waffles, chocolate sauce and whipped cream (all on the same plate). This was followed by pastries, a churro doughnut, a croissant, more chocolate sauce and a little experimentation with the cereal dispensers. "We have to get our money's worth," he told me as he skipped off for thirds.

Hotel swimming pool in Gran Canaria
People-watching by the pool
At the dinner buffet, he would follow each plate of savouries with a sweet to ensure that he didn't run out of space for his dessert(s). Thanks to such due diligence, he managed four courses on most nights.

The grown-ups were not much better. By the end of the week, I was longing for someone to take me in hand as I woofed down my cooked breakfast like a black Labrador about to lose his dinner. It was actually a relief when we returned home to an empty fridge, a few mouldy vegetables and a bottle of rancid milk.


Surveillance


With a good pair of sun-glasses, a hat and a carefully positioned sun-lounger, there are boundless opportunities for people-watching by the pool. Best of all, are the stories you intuitively pick up on, just from keeping your ears and eyes open.

Like the poor German grandparents looking after their bereaved grandchildren. The grandmother, in particular, was clearly grief-stricken, poor lady. Or so we believed, until the parents turned up a few days later in the pink of health and reluctantly resumed their childcare duties...

Or the three Russian sisters and the English husband. The wife, in a bikini and a fedora hat, proudly told the others, "Very good husband! A real man, you know!" as hubby (a little older in years) dragged over chairs and cushions for his nubile sisters-in-law.


Relaxation


"It'll take a few days for him to wind down," I told my parents as we watched my own husband throw himself into aqua-aerobics, followed by an archaeological walk up a nearby mountain and a session of outdoor Pilates.

Playmobil figures by a pool and sand castles on holiday
Waiting for Daddy to wind down...
Meanwhile, we applied a little more suntan lotion and continued reading our books. Occasionally, we were forced to get up to nudge our sun-loungers into the shade or to check on the kids in the jacuzzi.

By day four, my husband was setting off on his third run up the mountain and rapidly running out of clean gym gear. "A real man, you know!" I muttered to anyone who might be listening.

On day six, he finally collapsed on his sun-lounger and said, "I'm shattered."

"That's alright, we're going home tomorrow," I said.