Majorca holiday 2004

In an ultimate display of sad bastardness I once again went on holiday not only with my parents, but also both octogenarian grandmothers. They shall be referred to as M (mum), R (dad), A (maternal gran) and F (paternal gran).

We flew from Southampton airport, which was very convenient, even though the taxi for four of us plus luggage turned out to be a Nissan Primera hatchback instead of the people carrier we'd specifically ordered, so it was a tight squash.

No broken air conditioning on the plane for once, but it did have the problem that the compass was fitted upside down, so instead of flying to Majorca like we were supposed to, we appeared to end up in Iceland. This was a bit of a problem, because we'd packed Summer clothes. Luckily I had a couple of pairs of long jeans, a sweater and a fleece just in case, so I got by by wearing them all at once and staying in all day with the heater on when they needed washing. One advantage was that we didn't need the air conditioning on in the hired Mercedes A140 - it probably wouldn't have been able to move with five of us if that had been on. Also, we didn't encounter any donkeys, which are quite popular in Spain, otherwise A would have had their hind legs off in seconds.

We took it easy for the first couple of days except that F asked R so many times about when he was going to hire a car that he had a nervous breakdown and had to spend the rest of the week in bed. Both grans seemed to like to be in bed by 9pm, so they missed the wonderful entertainment: Dutch youths miming to "Miaow-miaow pussy, pussy, quack-quack ducky, ducky", Crazy Mix (Dutch youths miming in various quick-change costumes), Dutch youths miming to Grease, the magician who I think must have been called Tomas Cupra, Johnny Laff the classy-named comedian, and a covers band who mainly did Police songs and were actually quite good.

Meanwhile A felt it necessary to keep everyone, especially F, constantly entertained with tales of her extended family, her Irish childhood, and every person she had ever seen in her capacity as a nurse or had lived near or gone to church with. One day M asked her if we could have a bit of hush for once. That ended in tears.

F kept thinking she was in Menorca, unlike everyone else who thought they were in Majorca, and was so completely unable to grasp the concept of the relationship between pounds and euros I can't begin to describe it. A pulled off a few of her usual stunts involving head injuries etc, and getting stuck in the bath with scalding water pouring on her from the shower. Her pièce de resistance though was missing the end of the travelator at Reykjavik airport (cunningly disguised as Palma), falling over and having everyone else pile on top of her. Injury of the holiday award goes to R for missing the bottom step on the way to get on the coach home on the last day, badly spraining his ankle, and hobbling through the airports with a foot looking like something from

I gained an insight into Majorca's souvenir trade in one shop. Browsing the shelves I came across T-shirts, hats, wallets, purses, toys, trinkets, playing cards, Total Piss And Shit on DVD (someone bought that while I was there)... A cosmopolitan mix.

On the antepenultimate day the weather had got better so I decided to brave the unheated outdoor pool even though I hadn't been feeling too good. It was freezing and I felt much worse straight afterwards. I could hardly eat that evening, then I felt too ill to sleep all night with shivering fits and mild diarrhoea until I puked up at about 7am. I felt a bit better after that and got some sleep, but the diarrhoea got worse.

After having nothing but water and electrolytic powders all day, and a few naps, I felt much better and got a good night's sleep, and even managed a few chips for lunch the next day. But the diarrhoea came back with a vengeance just in time for the coach trip to the airport at 2am. I'd had some Imodium, but it has a side-effect of giving you wind, which is a big problem if it doesn't completely cure the diarrhoea, which it didn't. So I was in a lot of pain on the coach and had to keep getting out to go to the toilet when it was picking up tourists from other hotels. After the first time I came back outside to see the coach driving off into the distance - with my mobile phone, wallet and password etc still on it. Luckily it was just going to the end of the road to turn round.

I survived the rest of the journey with the help of a cocktail of paracetamol, whisky and more Imodium. Of course, once I got to the airport and relieved the pressure and had easy access to loos thereafter, it was almost completely cured! Somehow I made it through the huge airport with no trouble despite having two horrible illnesses and hardly any sleep or nourishment in the last 48 hours, but I was about finished off by the time we got back to Southampton and had to leave my dad to get the luggage on his own despite his bad ankle.

In the afternoon I got up, had some toast, and even went shopping before going to my aunt's to pick up Buttons the dog. At that point we learnt he'd had his own adventure involving escaping and being found on the motorway before being taken into police custody. And roast chicken that evening never tasted so good.