Mrs Terry and I arrive at the hotel, an African-themed, five star, affair in Gran Canaria. On the way to reception Mrs Terry gasps, “Oh look Sweetheart. Flamingos!”
As I’m not wearing my glasses it takes a moment or two before I realize that the birds are still. Suspiciously still. Mrs Terry, at the grand age of 103, or thereabouts, still has 20/20 vision so has no excuse. I suggest we leave the flamingoes and look for our room.
In hindsight, booking into the second biggest hotel in Spain was never going to go well for us, but after going up in the lift, down in the lift, up in another lift and startling some sunbathers by the quiet pool we find our room. It is lovely, and all is going well until Mrs Terry claims the room smells of feet.
As I am the only one of us to have removed their shoes I ignore her.
Mrs Terry accuses me of producing a smell like drains. I point out to Mrs Terry that the smell is actually drains.
The holiday rep advises us not to drink water from the tap as it will give us the runs, so Mrs Terry and I trot to the shop to stock up on Terry sherry, Evian and Disco Biscuits, although Mrs T can’t quite understand my interest in the latter.
After spending the rest of the day sunbathing (read: cowering under a parasol reading War and Peace) I am grateful when Mrs Terry offers to wash my bikini. She proceeds to wash it in the bath while she is also in the bath, washing herself.
I surprise Mrs Terry drinking a glass of water from the tap and ask what she’s playing at. Mrs Terry tells me she “hasn’t been” for two days and is hoping the water helps. Retire to bed, revolted.
Wake up to find Mrs Terry glugging back another glass of tap water. “It’s working’” she tells me cheerily.
During a trip to the spa, I realize that Mrs Terry and I set our watches wrong and have been out of synch with humanity by one – three hours since we arrived. I think this means we’ve had our first Cava of the day at 8am but decide not to dwell on it.
In the evening Mrs Terry and I go on a trip to a casino, hoping to spot Daniel Craig. There’s no sign of him so I take Mrs Terry for a game of air hockey instead. I win 2 – 0 quite easily but they are hollow victories as I’m not sure Mrs Terry understands the rules of the game, or where she is.
Mrs Terry later catches me making notes for the blog. “Sweetheart,” she asks, “Do your friends think I’m an idiot?”
“Oh no, Mum,” I assure her. “Not the ones who’ve met you.”
Make an early morning trip to the local market and have to stop Mrs Terry being taken in by fake pearl earrings three times.
Also, people keep talking to me in German. Tell Mrs Terry, who claims, “It’s because you’re tall, Sweetheart.”
In the evening the hotel lays on a tribute band called The Fab Four From Liverpool. This prompts Mrs Terry to tell me about the time she and a friend of hers, allegedly called Quirly, put an Oxo sized lump of hash in a curry and ate it. I fear this explains a lot about latter-day Mrs T.
Mrs Terry tells me she has Lyme’s disease. When pressed it becomes clear that she doesn’t know what Lyme’s disease is, or what the symptoms are.
Other ailments Mrs T claims to have this holiday include a tick, a cold and diarrhea. My severe and painful heat rash is unremarked upon.
Later, I discover Mrs Terry’s knickers neatly stacked on top of the mini-bar. “They’re my used knickers, Sweetheart,” she says airily when I question what she’s about. I request that Mrs Terry puts her used underwear in a bag or something and later find a carrier bag, full of used pants, on top of the mini-bar.
Decide not to say anything further.
Mrs Terry suggests we take a stroll along the beach. The naturist beach. We pass an instructive hour, at the end of which Mrs Terry is able to spy a Prince Albert at twenty paces.
Fly back to Blighty and put Mrs Terry on a train up North. Spend the whole of the next day mooching about and missing Mrs Terry and our 8am Cavas. She’s a loon but the old bird is good holiday company. I wonder if she feels the same way about me.