Monday, 13 June 2011

Air Rage

People behave strangely on planes. Air hostesses and babies in particular. On the way back from visiting Daddy Mason (DM) I felt awful (perhaps fearing my return to rain and rat-run) and sick. Very unfortunately I was trapped in a window seat by my neighbour - a sleeping fat man with fat arms.

So enclosed, I found myself facing a serious dilemma of politeness: do I wake him up (bad, but safe) or attempt to vault him and risk inflicting GBH (better, but less safe)? I ultimately chose the latter. I fled down the plane and towards the gangway by the loo. There, I loitered.

At some point an air steward spotted my pasty face:

'You sick? It's the heat. Very hot in the cabin. Get up. You can't be sick here. Sit here. You'll be fine.'

Ten minutes later when I was still there, cooled to the point of convulsive shivering, he reassessed. I was plane sick, he explained. (Too sickly to speak, I didn't argue.)

Five minutes later the ultimate diagnosis: low blood sugar! I smiled inwardly at this: a favourite DM diagnosis, it is occasionally true. Yet in this case my proximity to vomiting suggested otherwise.

True - it didn't look like this
'I'm getting you some chocolate!'
'No thank you,' I croaked.
'No - you need it! I won't be argued with!'
I was strongly reminded of Miss Trunchbull.

Helplessly I tried to ignore him into submission, but he bounded back with provisions. When I stuck to my guns on the chocolate front (a clear sign of illness surely?) he began conferring with his colleague.

'She didn't eat her supper,' pointed out another foundation-faced chaperone of the air, apparently sizing me up as one of those 13-year-old schoolgirls who'd 'forget' to eat lunch at school, then pass out a few hours later during games.

But WHY don't you want this
you ingrate?
I could only mumble feebly to myself. ('No, you bag I didn't eat "supper" because the plane was three hours late taking off, it was quarter to one and I'd already eaten. Also I don't really like slimy pork with indefinable croutons.')

'I've got your supper tray,' she said moments later, tapping me on the head with it to alert me to this. 'The one you didn't eat earlier, remember?' The air people exchanged knowing looks. The temptation to throw up all over their feet was strong, but sadly I've never had great timing.

This was a critical moment. Images of forcefeeding passed across my nausea-weakened eyelids. There was only one thing for it. I leapt to my feet - 'I'm fine after all!' - and raced back to my fat-fenced seat. Cured.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Sporting Season Mark 2 (Holiday Kate in the Countryside)

As ever, staying with Daddy Mason is an action-packed sporting occasion. Though DM is keen to show me something of the cultural side of the Bahamas, I've already been to the National Art Gallery and the oldest church on the island, so the options are limited. 

Much golf is being played instead, and last night we went down to the Bahamas Squash Club where I was offered a game by a lady named Brenda. Brenda runs the bar there and used to be a schoolteacher. The combination is as unlikely as it sounds.

So we head on court for a gentle game. A holiday boozing and pootling may have taken its toll, but I'm looking forward to a bit of exercise, despite that cocktail at lunch. Outside, the temperature is 30℃ and the humidity, I learn later from the BBC, is 90%. It is warm.

Brenda makes small talk as we warm up. Within a minute the sweat's so bad I can hardly hold my racquet, let alone speak.

'Shall we start then?' she suggests brightly, passing me the ball. I drop it. The rising heat mist that was Kate in the Countryside struggles to co-ordinate itself. Slime doesn't catch well. The warmth radiating from the walls makes it hard to see.

Kate in the Countryside on squash court
When we finish at last, forty-five minutes later, Brenda has the healthy glow of one returning from a mildly strenuous dog walk and I've got the death sweats. I look like someone who made the mistake of accidentally challenging Rafael Nadal to a fitness contest. During a heat wave. In Hell. 

As we leave the court, Brenda prances up the stairs in front of me, looking as if she might be off for a jog. She stops for a moment. 'Actually - better put the aircon on in our court. The guys playing after us like it to be cooler. But I prefer playing in proper heat don't you? Don't want to get too cold!'

Later DM, spying my suffering, suggests I go and have a massage from a lady called Glenda. I'm a bit suspicious of massages since I once got severely beaten up by an unassuming lady in Pimlico. But I'm told it won't be like that. It'll be relaxing. So I go.

Glenda is a veritable mine of Bahamian information. She tells me about moving over to Paradise Island (the 'big city') from a swamp island near by. She has twelve brothers and sisters, and they're all doing well, though it was a bit of a struggle all living together when they were younger. Also she thinks my father is 'sexy'.

'Yeah it was a struggle - the fifteen of us! Crazy...'
'No - my dad?'
'Yeah! He's sexy your dad. One day I'm gonna tell him, I'm gonna say…'
I think I might pass out from horror. My squash game seems relaxing by comparison with this. I distract myself by thinking about the swimming pigs. I suggest you do the same.