As lockdown is over we wondered if we could come visit and have a dip in your pool?


Do I suspect our home is about to be invaded by numbers that make the Mongol hordes look like a tea party?

Over the next four months my wife and I are bracing ourselves not only for requests to visit from dear and close friends, but everyone I have ever met; from the STD doctor I once spilt coffee over and gave my gentleman’s sausage third degree burns, to a Fulham traffic warden who gave me so many tickets he knew my name. He’d even stop me in the street to tell me he’d just given me another ticket or worse what he called a curbie grip (clamp).

The pent up desire from people in Northern climes to ‘come and unwind’ for a few days now they are released from Covid’s lockdown embrace, could eventually transform me from a gracious host into Basil Fawlty.

As some readers know, the problem is people think because you live by the sea in a warm environment that you are de facto permanently on holiday. No, it’s home! I work from here! It’s like assuming because you choose to live in Des Moines you are as bland as sliced bread... well actually that’s true, bad example... but you know what I mean. No matter where you live, in a Palace in Pacific Palisades to a bivouac in Hackensack. It’s home. Not a holiday.

Some people are shocked when you cannot drive them to see the worlds largest bunion (or whatever your locale has made famous) or that the fridge is getting low on beer.

“Yeah the red burns on my arm are not caused by the sun but permanently working on the bar-b-q”, I add dryly to a enquiry as to my health.

Please note... actually it’s barbe a queue, literally beard to tail when you spit roast a chicken or even a pig on an open fire. So now we not only have to thank the French for their Letters (think about it, it’s a subtle joke) but also allowing Australians to think they can cook.

I digress...

...and another thing

Once the word gets out that the Grenside’s are open for business as well as getting more phone calls, emails, WhatsApp, etc than a lottery winner with a bad heart and no dependents, I suspect we will also get visited by a plague of droppers. These are the cheekiest of all.

Doorbell rings. “Oh, hi Mark. Long time no see. We were just in Malta and thought we would drop by. What a huge house. I wondered if we could pop in/ stay a few days/ empty your wine cellar/ crash your car/ make a pass at your wife etc etc.”

As summer wears on no doubt the wine merchant and butcher will think I have converted Villa Mistral into a hotel. Could be worse. Salvador Dali ordered a flock of lambs to his Paris hotel which he then shot at with blanks and also paid staff to catch flies for him in the hotel garden.

...and another thing

My wife and I love to travel. We would visit Borneo just for the opening of a fridge, let alone some eco resort. But the truth is a holiday can sometimes be literally round the corner. When we got to Malta we used to chortle at locals who went on holiday to a hotel that was close enough to light up with a flashlight. However, with us not even being able to leave the island for over a year, my wife and I have spent more than a few days at local hotels, one even in our zip code. And you know what? It felt like a holiday.

So if you come to stay and we have to go away on holiday ourselves for a few nights, don’t be surprised if we come back twice a day to feed the dogs!

At least holidays and friends are on the way

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  1. Peter says:

    Well that couldn’t be clearer !!! I’m sure you are aware that Malta maybe one of the few places that we can travel to in due course.

    I was thinking of putting together a Malta tour with a view to a busload of tourists being shown the sites including the Grensides palatial home.
    I don’t think it matters whether you are in or out !!!

  2. Magda says:

    That is so true…
    It is like when people live in a flat and they have friends who bought a house with a garden in the countryside…They got lost by chance nearby the house and smelt the barbecue 😉 And if you have a swimming pool forget the cosy weekends alone 😉
    I took note of the barbe a queue…???? What about a Jean Tonic for apéritivo ??? Take care and great idea to go to hotels a few days to change scenes and get the holiday feeling ????

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