After a very cool pool party for my friend’s 40th, which involved plenty of poolside posturing, a private pirate ship and unprecedented amounts of Prosecco in Palma, we are now holed up at a ‘relaxing’ finca in the Majorcan hills.
It’s very quiet here and there’s not much people-watching to be had. I’m a little bored. The pool is deathly empty and the air almost still, save for the annoying growl of a nearby generator, which rumbles noisily every 10 minutes – and the occasional buzz of a large and terrifying black bumble bee, which has me leaping dramatically from my lounger every time it buzzes too near.
Luckily, there’s a slightly eccentric owner to keep us entertained. I think his name is Marc and he has a peculiar English accent – very much Manuel from Fawlty Towers. He answers ‘yayssss’ to everything you ask him.
His day seems to revolve around two obsessions: the first being where his guests have had enough coffee. This morning, he circled the tables in the quaint courtyard like a persistent pigeon, clutching his large jug of coffee, and calling, ‘Coffee? coffee?’ on repeat. He asked me whether I wanted coffee at least three times this morning and each time I answered ‘no, thank you’. I suspect it’s going to become the soundtrack to our mornings here.
Manuel’s other preoccupation is whether we have set the alarm in our room for ‘security purposes’. Apparently, whenever we leave the room, we should input a convoluted series of letters and numbers (which he proudly presented to us at check-in in a sealed envelope).
He even advised us to set the alarm while we were sleeping! Presumably, this is in case a band of robbers feel the urge to drive miles into the Majorcan hills, smash down our patio doors and steal our suncream. Still, his preoccupation with ‘zee alarm’ is making me feel slightly anxious.
The small smattering of other guests all seem a little bit dull. I think I spotted a Panama hat earlier but it didn’t amount to much. Many of the guests come here to hike the hills, apparently. It’s chill out at it most chilled but I’m beginning to feel quite restless. The husband, on the other hand, seems quite content, immersing himself in a political thriller amid bouts of languid snoozing.
The downside to staying several miles away from civilisation (apart from obvious first world problems like weak wifi and lukewarm lattes) is that I begin to worry about my water consumption. When we drove up here last night, we foolishly failed to stop at the local Lidl and stock up on several gallons of water.
This means that we are now forced to sip on tiny bottles of water from our minibar at €2.50 a pop. For someone who consumes more water than your average camel, this is proving to be a very expensive basic human need indeed.
Having to dip into any minibar goes against everything I’ve been taught about staying at hotels, rule no 1 being: NEVER touch the minibar, so it is with a certain degree of reluctance that I’ve been forced to hydrate myself this way.
Scanning the pool for potential characters, my eyes fell upon a fridge in the corner. I ambled over and whipped out two of their meagre 33cl bottles of water, handing one to the husband. A couple of gulps later and it was gone.
‘There’s no way I’m paying €2.50 for that,’ I said, already starting to panic about where my next source of water was coming from.
‘But it’s an honesty bar,’ said the husband, looking askance. ‘And stealing water from it is the height of dishonesty.’
‘Okay,’ I said. ‘I’m willing to negotiate on a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal; I’ll write down that we had one bottle of water. And that’s being generous!’
‘How about a 3 for 2 deal, like Boots?’ said the husband.
‘Fair enough,’ I said.
I pottered back over but I couldn’t find a pen. I gave up and headed back to the lounger.
‘I’ve been giving it some more thought,’ said the husband, clearly warming to this new life of criminality. ‘Those overpriced bottles of water are actually comically small; they wouldn’t hydrate a mouse.
‘Let’s come back in the dead of night and grab as many bottles as we can.’