Hello Ladies and Gents, it’s indeed another story of a holiday with my parents. This time, however, my friend Eve and I are the ones to brave the adventure. We meet Mum and Dad at Palma airport, and after a ten minute call with my mother in which neither party has any idea where the other is, Mum appears. Although she’s looking her glamorous self, she is half giggling and half becoming more irritable with Dad as he shuffles a step behind her, with one corner of his pink shirt shabbily untucked.
Even though Eve has met my parents dozens of times, I always feel the need to warn her of their eccentricities. In true Colfox style, Mum and Dad tell us a ridiculous story of how they have just managed to get their car locked in a car park. “Bloody Waze led us there, it didn’t tell us it was shutting in ten minutes!”, exclaims Dad, huffing and puffing in the taxi we have no choice but to be bustled into. They had been happily eating their delicious tapas, blissfully unaware that somewhere nearby, the gate was slowly being shut, trapping their car in the car park. The next morning, Dad was tapping away furiously on his Ipad to Waze customer service about his terrible ordeal with their app, and how much it had cost him.
It turns out that checking when the car park closes is not part of their job description.
Deia, in Mallorca, is the destination for wholesome, relaxed holidays where one is able to sunbathe in peace and amble along the streets, effortlessly buying a giant organic lemon or a gluten free pastry from the fabulous village shop on the way. Cala Deia is a beautiful cove thirty minutes walk from the town, and is the type of place one sees gorgeous ‘yummy mummies’ with their equally as stunning, perfectly dressed babies being dipped in the water, with cream coloured sun hats perfectly placed on their heads.
We decide to have a go at being some of these glamorous women (and men), and plan to go for an early morning dip with a picnic breakfast. I grumble in the back seat, feeling car sick and terrified at the continuously windy roads, because, as Eve has always said to me, I’m not a morning person. I listen bemusedly to Mum calling Dad ‘Bagshot’, a fictional chauffeur she adopts for Dad’s nickname for the rest of the holiday, and asking that next time he drives would he please wear his white chauffeur gloves. This greatly lightens my mood, but not as much as Dad’s heroic attempt at clambering over the rocks for his dip. Please bear in mind that there is no sand on this beach, and instead there are just numerous different sized rocks, which is harsh for anyone barefoot to encounter. Dad is the first to attempt the walk over them on his short way to the turquoise, clear water’s edge. Watching him, the three of us cannot help but laugh. He is really struggling, unable to walk far before screeching “ouch” as another jagged stone catches on his foot, but he has a slight smile on his face because he secretly knows that we’re laughing at him, and loves it. We feel sorry for him, but there is something about his unbelievably slow hobble to the water which triggers our laughter.
No wonder Mum said going on holiday with Dad was like going on holiday with a combination of Bridget Jones and Mr Bean. Not to mention the fact that Dad had already cut the sole of his foot the previous day when he tumbled off his paddle board onto the only rocky part of the sandy beach and then again the day after that. Watching Dad trying to get in the water was as painful as watching the crab Eve accidentally picks up in her towel, try to climb out of the bowl we placed it in. Don’t worry, the crab is safe and sound now; we let him free after Dad tells us we are all ridiculous for screaming over such a tiny sea creature.
We decide to go to a market in Soller, a town not too far away from where we are staying. Of course, Eve and Mum are in heaven, excitedly running around trying on dresses and buying almost everything they see. Dad and I, on the other hand, hate shopping in the heat, since our freckly skin can’t handle it. Luckily for Dad, he is allowed to sit down and wait for them to run out of steam. Unfortunately for me, Eve and Mum drag me around with them, and I stand there grumpily, alternating between replying “yes” or “no” when they ask my opinion on an item of clothing, not caring about anything they ask me. “Where’s Philip”? asks Mum, and my eyes brighten as I see a way out. “I’ll go and find him“, I reply gleefully and desperately run, fumbling through the crowd. Trying to find Dad is like playing ‘Where’s Wally’. Everywhere I look there are men in pink shirts. I finally spot him sitting on some church steps, legs crossed practising his yoga, wearing dark glasses and a floppy straw hat which Mum has made him wear. I run over, relieved to be away from the mayhem and only manage to sit with him for five minutes, listening to his light breathing in the heat, until Eve spots us and beckon’s me to come back. Lucky Dad.
One of our early morning excursions was a visit to the home of Robert Graves, the famous writer who lived just outside Deia in the 1900’s. Dad- being the most intelligent of us all- is a huge fan of his, and is so excited by the whole thing that he goes there the day before so he can give us the low down for the next day. What makes us realise just how much Dad loves Robert Graves, or ‘Robbie’, as we girls call him, is how carried away Dad gets in the gift shop. I’m not joking, he buys more than half the shop and leaves with a whole bag full of books, which weigh almost as much as his luggage. When I approach the subject, he replies that he’s only getting the books he hasn’t read and looks at me under his floppy straw hat with a mischievous smile on his face as he quickly hides the books in the car before Mum can see. “Just another day in the office”, I say to Eve as we both get in the car, trying to hide our laughter behind our seats.
Thank God we actually made it home. Mum sends me a stress- fuelled text 10 minutes before their flight saying they’d only just made it on the plane, even after leaving masses of time… despite their differences, beautiful Bridget Jones and smart Mr Bean make a rather brilliant combo after all!