So winter sun again beckoned us and once again we decided to head for the guaranteed warmth of the Canaries. However, this time the experience was destined to be very different. We had agreed with a small group of friends (eight of us in total) to arrange our holiday together – something that we’ve only done once before. The holiday accommodation was identified and the date agreed and we all set off booking our bungalow accommodation. We’d made a crucial decision that we would live independently and spent a bit of time sorting out some of the “ground rules”. I know that may sound a little over the top but we could imagine the logistical difficulties in trying to co-ordinate all our activities over a week or two.
So the simple basic rules were identified:
1. Everyone would do their own thing in the day time
2. There would be no expectation that we embark on long discussion during the hours of sunlight
3. We would avoid the temptation to “do drinks” in each other’s bungalows (known as the “liver protection Plan”)
4. We would join each other for an evening meal and agree the next night’s venue for eating.
5. Any one could decide to NOT eat out with the group and “no questions would be asked”
6. During “pool time” we would respect each others need for privacy (at least four of us enjoy curling up poolside with a good book, sudoko and our I-pods)
7. Any “embarrassing” photos would only be shared with us as a group and not circulated around our wider friendship group.
8. We would not drink too much “EVERY” night
We saw this as being common sense but there again we’ve heard of friends going off on group holidays and individuals ending up compromising so much that they’ve not really enjoyed the holiday. That would not happen to us – and indeed it didn’t.
Two couples (ourselves plus one other) went off as the advance party and on the first day we settled down at the pool to enjoy the November sunshine. Smothered in sun-cream we sat, overlooking the pool and settled down to enjoy one of our books. As my starter I’d chosen the final part of Conn Iggulden’s Emperor series whilst my wife had opted for the story of the Nigerian – Biafran war as told by Chimamanda Adichie. Both are cracking reads and I’d almost read half of the Conn Iggulden book by the end of the first day. But I distract myself from the point of this experience! Throughout this day we’d occasionally checked to see if our friends were poolside and didn’t see them at all. We’d left for lunch, returned, had a swim and still they weren’t around. Still we’d agreed to do our own thing and I was contemplating popping down to their bungalow in the early evening to check out if they fancied eating with us. As we got up to leave at the end of this “hard day” my wife spotted them at the far end of the pool. It turns out that they’d been looking for us and had assumed that we’d gone off somewhere for the day. So far rule one and two were been adhered to!!
That night was the first of many enjoyable meals out and the first time that we’d regularly enjoyed a few cocktails at the end of the day. We supped “rusty nails”, “Black Russians”, had “sex on the beach” and one night had an “orgasm” alongside “Manhatten”. We settled down to enjoy “Erotica”, “Between the Sheets” in the depths of a “Hurricane” and then sipped on a “White Russian”. Not being used to cocktails this was quite an experience!
Although the Cocktail bar was only a stride or two away from the apartment it was not unusual for us to still be out walking in the wee small hours of the morning. Not since I was a young man in my 20’s have I been out and about at 1.00 a.m. EVERY night for two weeks. Mind you I was able to relax poolside each day and I’m told that occasionally I was sound asleep by 100 a.m. I really can’t believe that!
Of course the experience didn’t stop there because I was introduce