The Holiday is going great. We feel like for the first time in a long time, we are actually relaxed. The sun is blazing, the apartment we are staying in feels like home (without the sounds of car alarms, house alarms, people shouting at their misbehaving children or next door shouting, “Rockyyyyyy,” at their cat (See previous post Cat Speaks Strange Lingo)), and we are happy.
We feel like we have found a place we would like to come back to. But today is a day of exploration and intrepid excursions across rough seas to a place called St Mawes.
We catch a boat for the journey from the harbour in Falmouth to the mini harbour of St Mawes twenty minutes away. The seas weren’t really rough. I just wanted to make it seem like it was more dramatic than it actually was.
We arrived in the small town, which I can only describe as quaint. Mrs Grump was very happy. She is a big fan of pretty places. She’s such a girl. But then it’s no wonder that she can appreciate nice surroundings when we pass through an estate near to Chateau Grump on a daily basis that is affectionately referred to as Beirut.
We wandered in the bright sunshine; the flavour of salt on our lips from the fresh and clean sea air; the colourful cottages that followed the banks of the harbour benefitting from amazing tranquil views, lovely gardens, large kitchens, huge living spaces, luxurious bathrooms, king size beds, original artwork on their walls, antiques adorning their shelves and yet a distinct lack of guard dogs or CCTV. We couldn’t help but admire with a hint of jealousy, the surroundings that people, with much more wealth than us, get to live in.
We were heading towards a castle at the tip of the peninsular but then Mrs Grump needed the loo. “Let’s go in here, get a drink and then I’ll use the loo,” suggested the good lady. “Here,” was a swanky hotel/swanky café / swanky bar. It looked like it would be at home in the wine tasting regions of Southern France and as we were in the middle of a toilet emergency, there was no alternative.
We went in and as I feared, it was swanky with a capital Swank. We found a seat on the terrace. Nearby there were sun loungers with elderly, well to do sorts reading the Financial Times or the Guardian newspapers. No signs of the Daily Star being read on this terrace. Waiters in white uniform with brass buttons dashed between the tables, maintaining the classic waiter pose with trays of drinks and very straight and rigid postures. Definitely a formal affair. We were the youngest of the guests there by at least 25 years. The atmosphere of the other diners was pretty flat. No banter, no laughter, no smiles and hardly any conversation.
Mrs Grump went to the loo and said she would order a water and orange juice for us. I waited, on the terrace. None of the waiters approached me to ask if I wanted to order anything. They didn’t even acknowledge me. I couldn’t help but feel that I must have wreaked of working class to these people. I was the equivalent of the homeless man who sits in Starbucks. If they ignore him for long enough, he will go away. This got my back up. Perhaps it was the vest I was wearing, flashing the home made tattoos all over my arms. The English Defence League emblazoned on my forehead, the swallows on my neck and “Love” and “Hate” on my bruised, wife beating, knuckles are particularly eye catching. Not taking into account the large facial scar gained during some clashes during a pro-discrimination rally. The only thing missing was my “Get Out! Go Home! placard from my last demonstration!
Only joking, I don’t wear vests, or have tattoos, or come to mention it, own a placard. I don’t beat Mrs Grump either before some hairy arm pitted Feminists come baiting for my blood! Furthermore, I am not a racist, simpleton, bigot.
But I know where I’m not welcome and so I sat there on the terrace, in the sun, with waiters zipping around, miserable people sitting around the place barking at the waiters, wasps flying all over the place and the faint smell of pork in the air.
I am relieved to see the good lady return. At least she will acknowledge that I exist. Shortly our drinks would arrive albeit not what was ordered. My OJ was now lemonade. Technically, half a lemonade because half of the glass was ice.
Never mind, I wasn’t bothered about the mistake. Lemonade was still a cool refreshing drink.
As I lifted my glass and took a swig, I noticed the receipt. £5!!! “Five Pounds!?” I blurted out almost spraying Mrs Grump with 7 parts Lemonade, 1 part water. “How do they justify that!? Is that water from the fountain of youth? What is so special about this half glass of lemonade to charge £3 for it? £3!!!” I exclaimed.
“I know. I know,” said Mrs Grump, “But I needed the loo. It is what it is and it’s that kind of place.”
“Pompous and pretentious,” I said. “If I were to make up a word for this I would say it was Pomposterous!” I was pretty proud of that.
“Ssshhhh, Keep your voice down.”
“I don’t care. All the guests here can afford their overinflated drinks. Sitting in the midday sun with no parasols getting heat stroke and wasps flying everywhere being a general nuisance and waiters zipping around serving incorrect, over expensive, diluted, half measured drinks.”
“Actually, I think the only guests here are the ones on the sun loungers with the papers. Everyone else has walked in off the street like us.”
“Really?” I replied. “Well that explains why everyone’s so bloody miserable. They’ve had to sell their eldest child to pay for a pint of Carlsberg.”
You see my fellow Grumpyans, there is nothing like the sweet taste of a bargain, but conversely there is nothing like the bitter taste experienced when you are being ripped off. Everyone else was probably looking to keep up appearances but were really seething underneath at the extortionate prices of this establishment.
I finished my drink and thought I would get my money’s worth so I went to the loo.
Oh boy, did I get my money’s worth. I entered the gent’s toilet and straight away knew I was in a fancy place. Why? Because posh establishments don’t have urinals. No risk of splashback onto some swanky Gino Ginelli chinos. This was just a solitary toilet. But it didn’t have just one sink like the lower classes of society. It had two! One in the cubicle with the toilet and one between the cubicle and the door. I didn’t quite see the logic in having two sinks for one toilet but then I’m not averse with the ways of the upper class.
I finish my business. No “Lie Down” this time, just a stand up, but I was still going to make the most of it. No drip dry this time, oh no, I was going to mop up with the soft, quilted toilet roll. No commoner tracing paper that you have to layer up several times to avoid the old finger tearing through during a wipe in this place. This was proper stuff. Not only that, there was a box of soft tissues on the toilet cistern. I thought, ‘Sod it,’ and blew my nose. Not once. But three times! I didn’t even have anything up there but damn it I’m rinsing these ponsy Bastards for what I can!
I then washed my hands in the sink within the cubicle. Surprisingly, only a normal bar of soap though. Not even made from the aromatic, purified sweat from a unicorns balls with added yaryar berries. Disappointing. After drying with four paper towels, I leave the cubicle and start to pass the sink near the door. ‘Hold on,’ I thought, ‘this one has got a fancy bottle of soap and separate hand cream. I’ll have a bit of that!’
The posh soap would have cost about £15 for the bottle that was there, so my researcher (Mrs Grump) has told me. So I made sure I had not one, but several pumps. I lathered up like a Motherbitch! A mini foam party in the basin. After washing my hands again and drying them I thought I would make the most of the hand cream which was about £17 a bottle. Again, not one pump, several. My hands weren’t dry and flaky before, but I was expecting them to soak this up and I’d be walking out of there with hands like a toddler. But it was too much hand cream and it wasn’t really soaking in. I thought I would give it time and tried to leave. My hands were so slippery that I couldn’t pull on the door handle to get out.
‘Oh well, I’ll just have to wash my hands a third time,’ and so after several more pumps of soap, rinse, dry and a couple of squirts of hand cream I head back to Mrs Grump.
I estimate that with all of the materials used during that one urination, I had used 87 pence worth of materials. Reducing the cost of my lemonade to £2.13. Result!
When I returned to Mrs Grump, the mood was still the same with miserable people trying to enjoy their overpriced drinks whilst getting sunstroke and swarmed with wasps.
A new family had just arrived and were looking at the menu. I had to laugh when I heard the elderly father say, “I might be able to afford something off the children’s menu!”
We left and headed out to enjoy the rest of our day. But later when we returned to our apartment, I looked in the mirror and realised, I was burnt. Burnt on just one side of my face and neck. I then realised the reason why I had smelt pork whilst up on that terrace in the mid-day sun.
Great! They can charge a small fortune for half a glass of lemonade and yet they can’t provide adequate sun protection for their guests. And now, now I resembled something that as a youngster I considered a delicacy. A real treat. I’m talking about the half pink, half white and very sweet nougat bars.