Dom Joly: L’enfer c’est les autres

I suppose I should have just stayed in the Cotswolds and holidayed at Soho Farm House...

I suppose I should have just stayed in the Cotswolds and holidayed at Soho Farm House... - Credit: Dom Joly

These kinds of places bring me out in cold sweats just thinking about them

Flying from Stansted Airport is the travel equivalent of deciding to purchase a kebab in the centre of some violent market town at kicking-out time – it’s going to go wrong. At the long-stay parking we encountered a tide of wretched humanity waiting for a bus. Using our brains we walked on towards an earlier stop. This was a big mistake because, in Stansted, this is viewed as “taking the piss” and several tattooed men with too many children were keen to fight me over my tactical decision.

Once in the airport things didn’t get any better. The Difficult-Jet flight was delayed for two hours. This meant bonus drinking time for the tattoos. Once onboard I had the misfortune to be placed behind a child who had decided to turn his seat into a rodeo horse. After my second drink was spilled I remonstrated with the cow-kid by giving his seat a stiff shove. This angered his father who, raising his head from several bottles of alcohol, informed me that, should I do this again, I’d get a “smack in the mouff…” The father continued to threaten me – this made his kid start crying. The father then pulled the child out of the seat and marched him up and down the plane telling anybody who’d listen that – “Dom Joly made the poor lad cry” It was going to be a long week…

We weren’t even going anywhere too downmarket. We were off to Sardinia, home of some flash private yachts and Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties. Tacky, but hardly Ayia Napa. I’d made the difficult decision to book into a ‘family resort’ for half term. These kinds of places bring me out in cold sweats just thinking about them but the thought was, if the kids were happy then Stacey and I might get a chance to relax.

At the airport we met our driver and headed off into the night, praying that psycho dad wasn’t going to be staying at the same hotel. The following morning we scanned the breakfast buffet for enemy fighters but it appeared that we were safe.

I made a bee-line for the omelette station only to find a large queue. Three people were wearing those T-shirts with the Eiffel tower as a peace sign – ‘remembering’ the Paris terrorist shooting. This was all very well but I wondered whether this was the brightest idea? If I were to swim straight off our beach and head south I’d be in Tunisia in no time. That meant people could come the other way. It might have been wiser to wear an ‘I Love ISIS’ T-shirt and memorise a couple of verses of the Koran – just in case. I kept my thoughts to myself however and ordered my omelette.

One of the reasons we were at this particular resort was that it has a football academy. Now, I loathe football and everything about it but, to my chagrin, my son happens to love it. I’d hinted that there was also a cricket academy that he could enrol at, but sadly he was only interested in the football. I have failed as a father.

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If ever there was a better example of the British social divide, it was in the two groups of parents seated at opposite ends of the large artificial pitch. The cricket parents, whose kids were all called Charlie and Alexander, sipped bottles of water and applauded their children politely. On the other side… the football parents – all sunburnt bellies and tattoos, necking pints of beer while shouting encouragement to Dean and Tyler.

I felt a little like Woody Allen on the depressed train looking at the happy train in Stardust Memories. I nearly told my neighbour about this but decided against it, as I would probably get another “smack in the moufff” for being a “ponce.”

I sloped off to get some peace and quiet at a swimming pool but it was full of corpulents lounging on lilos shaped like pizza slices. It was all they could do to stop themselves eating their own water supports…

I suppose I should have just stayed in the Cotswolds and holidayed at Soho Farm House? Unfortunately that wasn’t an option. That’s where the real tossers hang out.

Follow Dom on Twitter! @domjoly