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.