Saturnday 31st Decadence 2011
I left Nanna Foot’s house at 1.30pm, dressed in my safari suit, snakeskin shoes and thick coat; with my suitcase and straw cabin bag. I looked rather out of place as I wheeled my case along the promenade, on the thirty-seven-minute walk to the station (timed two days earlier in a speed trial).
At Bognor Regis Steam Railway Station, I boarded a train, which wound its way through picturesque countryside, whilst I packed my thick coat into my suitcase. I would not need it for a week. I got more and more excited with each passing station until, after 1.33333333333333333333 hours of travel, I arrived at Gatwick Aerodrome. Then, I got on another train – the monorail to the North Terminal. You would have thought they would depart from the South Terminal, to save fuel.
Gatwick Aerodrome was very quiet, being New Year’s Eve and whatnot. There were no queues, and in no time, I had entered the first of five lounges. This was very pleasant. A waiter brought me a Bloody Mary cocktail (my traditional drink before flights) and eggs Pope Benedict, as I sat at a table by the window, with a superb view – over the apron, as they call it in airport circles. The cocktail was so strong that I had to have a lie down in a private cinema and phone my friends, before I could move on to the next lounge. Lounge nombre two also doubled as an arrivals lounge, so I decided to leave that for three weeks minus one day; and lounge three was closed for refurbishment. Lounge four was not as nyce as the first one. The apron-based views were less good, and there were no waiters! Out of politeness, I helped myself to and consumed a sherry and satsuma; before making my way to the final lounge. Here, I enjoyed whisky and jelly and other things, and did some writing, before boarding the airship, having spent over three happy hours at Gatwick.
The Best of British Airways crew were very welcoming. They gave me champagne and water and then more champagne and stowed my dodo for me in the overheard locker and I felt quite tipsy and before I knew it we were accelerating along the runway of the world’s busiest single-runway airport and then we shot into the air like an egg and I had more champagne and Feta and cassoulet salad and chicken breast with what-thyme-do-you-call-this potatoes and more champagne and espresso delice and chocolate and then I fell asleep.
Sundae 1st Janitor 2012
After two hours of slumber, I wakened with a start, not wishing to waste a minute more of the flight. I watched “Weird or What” (presented by the late* William Shatner) and helped myself to a Bucks Fizz and fruit salad from the galley and listened to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and watched Harry Porter and the Deadly Hellos and listened to Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and drank apple juice and peppermint tea and ate fruit salad again and full English breakfast and two more savoury salads from the galley and then we passed Madagascar, which looked very good, and then we fell out of the sky a bit and passed over the lovely island of Mauritius – or Maurice, as the French and I call it – and then landed and then I got asked a lot of awkward questions that went nowhere by immigration and customs officials and then I exited and met Siddick – my hosts’ driver of choice – and we drove in a dangerous fashion for an hour through sunshine and heavy rain until we arrived at Grand Gaube (French for Big Gob) and it was HOT.
*I am not sure that he is dead. It is better to err on the side of caution, though.
My hosts Jim and Jan welcomed me with rum (cheaper than water in Maurice) and an ice cream from an ice cream van complete with music that had been imported from the UK. Then I walked the forty yards that separates their house from the sea and swam in it. It was very warm. That evensong, we went out to an Italian restaurant, where I had fish tartare, seafood gnocchi, and chocolate mousse, made properly with raw eggs and cream and that. Then I fell asleep for many hours.
Moonday 2nd Janitor 2012
Today, Jim and I set off to retrieve his rowing boat, which a kindly gentleman was keeping safe in his garden. The idea was to row it along the coast a bit, gradually moving it from where he used to live to his new position. Jan dropped us off in the car and drove home, happy in the knowledge that we would have a fun, relaxed afternoon. What she didn’t know was that the house owner was away, and that we were fighting for survival amongst a pack of vicious dogs. At one stage, we came within a few feet of the boat. We were soon dispatched by the hounds, however, and made our escape across the rocks, before receiving a verbal volley from a neighbour. Making our way back to the road, we decided to drop a note into the gentleman’s roadside letter box. Even this solicited a charge from the baying pack.
Making our way along the road, we popped into two hotels for a calming drink and bite to eat. However, we were refused entry, as we were dressed in swimming trunks and matching Paul Foot t-shirts, and looked like a stag party / package holiday tourists; and not the top international businessmen that we are. Eventually, we found a beach bar / restaurant that specialised in seafood. We ordered an octopus salad, but were informed by the waitress that they had no fish, and were asked to choose again. I commented that they were a fish restaurant, and she agreed that the lack of fish “was a big problem.” We ordered a chicken salad and a curry. A few minutes later, without explanation, an octopus salad was brought out – however, with no cutlery. After thirty minutes, the other dishes arrived, this time with cutlery and a lot of ceremony involving fussing over napkins.
Our evening meal tonight was an informal at-home affair, as Jim was due to return to work in the morning. I took to my bed and slept for many hours.
Tunesday 3rd Janitor 2012
Rising well after noon, I ate a breakfast of bread and cheese and sat outside in the shade, slumbering with my laptop and scripts and whatnot.
Later, I swam in the pool in the garden and then swam in the sea. Both were improbably warm, bordering on hot.
In the evening I ate bread and stew and watched a show called Zen and wrote to my worker Aaron Kilkenny-Sletcher and reminded him to do work, as he is due back to work tomorrow and then I spent time thinking of more work for him to do and then I watched another episode of Zen and watched the dawn and then I went to bed for hours ‘n’ hours.
Another hectic day in paradise.
Wrensday 4th Janitor 2012
Today was unbelievably hectic. Rising at 3pm, my first task was to decide to put off doing the clothes washing till tomorrow. I then ate luncheon, chatted to Jan on the veranda, had a swim in the pool, and prepared to go out.
We drove to Grand Baie, where we met Jim for a drink. I had two Zombies. Then we travelled to a fish restaurant in the middle of the countryside. It is the best fish restaurant in Mauritius. We ate snapper-type fishes that died earlier that day of natural causes (suffocation).
Then we went home and watched Cheaters and chatted about brutal sexual assaults and after Jim and Jan had gone to bed I watched a funny film by Gary Shandling, whilst eating very old and dry cheese and then I went to bed.
Thirsty 5th Janitor 2012
Today, just like yesterday, I woke up bolt upright at 1.30pm Mauritian time (9.30am UK time) – the time that my faithful worker Aaron Kilkenny-Sletcher starts work. I worried about him with all his faxes and emails and receipts and whatnot. I considered phoning him to express my concerns, but eventually decided to take no action. Instead, I set about my main business of the day: doing the laundry.
In order to build up the strength for this, I ate a croissant and a nombre of pain au raisins and had a swim in the pool and did some twitter and also had a lie down.
Later, I ate some fresh bananas, lychees und mango and went for a swim swim in the sea. Then I ate some stew and watched Zen again.
Flyday 6th Janitor 2012
The beginning of this day was marked by an episode of illness and disease – of the mildest kind. I came over all queer, as I went to bed. I lay in bed feeling mildly strange and turned off the air conditioning, so that I could be all hot in bed and shake off this dreaded malaise.
When I wakened after many hours in bed, I contacted my worker to order him to change my flight time. He then contacted me to order me to change it back again. Then I went for fresh pineapple juice squeezed straight out of the fruit at Coko Loko and then dinner with Jim and Jan at a favourite Italian restaurant.
When we got back we were stunned by a shocking sight: the pink dye stain in my trouser for the morning had disappeared; however, my trouser was now damp as death. I spent much time ironing the gusset, as my hosts looked on concerned. I hung up the trouser and we then enjoyed watching a terrible film about an unmanned runaway freight train, with Denzel Washington trying his best, that included the following: embarrassing clichés, piss-poor characterisations that went nowhere, repeated footage from various camera angles of a staggeringly dull stunt scene in which the train collided with an empty ‘orse box, an anticlimactic ending.
I then went to bed and slept for two point five hours and rose and discovered my trouser was dry as a bone, due to Mauritius being an ‘ot tropical paradise, and carried my basket into a waiting car and returned to the aerodrome. Jim was up to make sure I got off all right, at the end of my holly day. Jim is a kind man and a good friend. We haven’t had a single sensible conversation in our lives. On the rare occasions, when it felt like it might happen, it has been extremely awkward.
Saturnday 7th Janitor 2012
This morning was a particularly beautiful one. Unusually, the air had cooled considerably at night. It was a lovely cool, warm morning. The precious thirty minutes or so before the sun comes up and makes Mauritius as hot as an arse are precious and wonderfool minutes indeed.
I sat in the lounge and ate fruit kebabs and did my diary (see photo).
Then I boarded the big craft. I drank champagne and Bloody Marys and apple juice and jasmine tea and ate canapés and scallops and king prawns and lobster medallion and pineapple salad and asparagi and lamp roulade and mango mousse and cheese and carrot and prunes and apricot and celery and open sandwiches and cakes and coconut ices and watched an American film and a French film and a show about storms throughout the universe and listened to Tchaikovsky and Rodriguez and fell sleep and did work on my computer and ate more canapés and seafood salad and more scallops and fish roulade and coucous salade and champagne and cheese and bread and biscuits and carrot and prune and apricot and celery and chocolate, apple et ginger parfait-type panna cotta and coffee and did more work and recharged my computer’s batteries off the Airbus A340-E’s four imposing engines that mean business and then we landed.
I did some light admin, whilst watching the ‘orse racing on video, then repaired and retired.
Sundae 8th Janitor 2012
If it had not been for my worker’s petulance, today could have been an extra day in paradise, or in the luxurious airship (on a later flight – MORE CONVENIENT TO ME, NOT HIM); or, at the very least, a day orff to relax at homo. Instead my cruel worker and impersonal assistant, Aaron Kilkenny-Sletcher, forced me to return from holly day early and come into the tragic office where he works, in order to make a recipe video, and discuss his meagre employment prospects and failed life (part one). [Sometimes I wonder who employs who. Then I look at my bank statements.]
Things were made worse by the unannounced and unwelcome arrival of my other disgraced employee – the so-called “consultant to showbizness” and “tax loss”, Ken.
After the shock of the dreadful day, I had to drink peppermint tea with my friend Jessica, to calm myself down, whilst Ken looked on, simmering and plotting against me and my firm. Aaron had already left under a cloud.
Moonday 9th Janitor 2012
Having stayed up till 2am, watching the ‘orses, I rose at the frightening hour of 5.10am. A few minutes later I travelled in a motor car to an undisclosed (to me) location in Surrey, for some filming. Regrettably, the driver had driven too quickly. Consequently, I arrived before everyone else, and so I fell asleep in a bus. After one hour, people whose job it is to make sure I haven’t fallen asleep in a bus found me and forced me to go into my own personal caravan, which was much warmer and posher. I spent the day filming and putting on my coat and taking off my coat. I did not really need the coat, as it was exceptionally mild for the time of year; however, I had to justify in my mind flying it all the way back from Mauritius.
I finished work early, at 4pm, and went in another car to my ‘ouse, and fell asleep, and woke up and watched the Chanel No 4 Racing again, and fell back to sleep and then woke up to the postman’s knock.
Tunesday 10th Janitor 2012
After my regular massage with my massage lady, I left for Heathrow Aerodrome, and had a Blooming Mary and a gin and orange and an orange and fell into a drunken rage and lay on a couch telephoning my manager, Mr I Wilson and my worker, Master A Kilkenny-Sletcher, rebuking them both in the strongest possible terms for their respective ludicrously high commission charges and constant, whining wage demands. I then boarded an airship owned by Air France that took me to Paris. The food aboard was ever so good (salade plus chocolate mousse plus lemon tarte plus chocolate selection).
I then sat on a chair for 2.5 hours and fired off some furious emails to the aforementioned parasites, and smoothed my face with a face smoothing razor, and met two humans called Alex Taylor and Sarah McKenna, who had seen me at a TV recording in 2005 and were also going to the Indian Ocean, and then I boarded an Air France Jumbo Jest and flew for 11 hours, whilst drinking champagne and eating duck pate and trout roe and grapefruit and crab salade with gingerbread and spinach salade (all one dish – only the French could pull this off) and normal salade and prawns with turmeric pasta and lemongrass and Chartreuse liqueur and rhubarb sorbet and lemon tart and then I had a doze and watched Avatar (again!) in 2D and ate biscuits and more chocolates and listened to Bizet and Rachmaninov and Beethoven and ate a croissant and a yoghurt and two lots of scrambled eggs with pumpkin sauce, mushrooms and shallots and then we landed in paradise and the customs people asked a lot of awkward questions about why I had so little luggage (mostly old newspapers, a thick coat and toothbrushes) and then Siddick drove me home. By now it was the afternoon of
Wrensday 11th Janitor 2012
I got in the bath and was about to wash my hair, when I heard it raining. I immediately ran outside and washed my hair in the warm rain, then swam in the pool and the sea for one hour in the pouring rain. Then I had stew with Jim and Jan and watched Cheaters and Medium and Wife Swap with them.
Jan has been totally engrossed in all the newspapers and books I brought with me to Maurice today. One cannot buy British newspapers or books in Maurice easily, so I brought a stockpile of them, including month-old London Evening Standards and whatnot. She has not uttered ONE SINGLE WORD to me since I arrived back; she just keeps on reading. She grunted at me briefly when I arrived, and she also slammed down a bowl of stew onto my lap earlier. Apart from that, she has not acknowledged me in any way, and has been effectively dead to the world. This could go on for days.
Thirsty 12th Janitor 2012
I was wakened at the frightening hour of 2.30pm by Jan banging at my door and stating that she must urgently leave for the hairdresser’s, followed by all three of us going on a sunset cruise to meet the dolphins. We rushed out, and I spent the afternoon reading Privet Eye in the shade on Grand Baie beach.
Meeting Jim and Jan later at a bar, I learnt that Jan had not had her hair strimmed, as her haircutter had moved to a different part of the island, without warning; and that we were not going on a sunset cruise, as the catamaran operator was a total liar, who changed his story from day to day. We ate in a Thai restaurant on our way homo, where we watched an episode of Cheaters, before retiring and repairing.
Flyday 13th Janitor 2012
Nothing of any significance occurred today, other than a lot of swimming, opening and consuming a coconut that fell off our tree, and the fact that Jim and Jan went out to a works do tonight, and I accidentally permanently tuned to TV to a religious channel. Upon Jan and Jim’s return, we watched The Holy Rosary With Sister Angelica and Cheaters.
Saturnday 14th Janitor 2012
Today, we went sightseeing around the island. We ate luncheon in the mountains, visited the Seven Coloured Earths, met a gigantic tortoise, dined in Port Louis, overlooking the harbour, and watched Women Who Kill.
Sundae 15th Janitor 2012
Our itinerary for today involved rising at 9am, in order to visit a museum, followed by sightseeing along Maurice’s eastern coast, a run up and down one of the island’s volcanic mountains, and a visit to Port Louis’ evening book club, to discuss ancient geek mythology. However, we all overslept; and so, rising, at around 2pm, we jumped in the pool, prior to an evening meal at Luigi’s restaurant, Grand Baie.
Moonday 16th Janitor 2012
Jan and Jim and I visited La Bourdonnaise – a well posh colonial ‘ouse near Grapefruit, where we had luncheon and argued whether it would be better to live in a mansion or an 80,000 ton warship, and then we went homo and ate a forgettable meal.
Tunesday 17th Janitor 2012
Absolutely bog all occurred today, other than lying in the pool, watching the stars come out, and wanting to be on holly day forever.
Wrensday 18th Janitor 2012
Due to cruelty of my aforementioned manager, I Wilson, and sadistic connivings of A Kilkenny-Sletcher, today was a day of work! I made my way to the Indian Ocean’s premier dubbing studio in Port Louis, Maurice, to record six words for the world of commerce and high finance. I was met with an emotional return by Jan and Jim, and a takeaway supper from Luigi’s.
Thirsty 19th Janitor 2012
My last full day in paradise. The usual things occurred today, such as lazing about in the pool, eating mango, drinking at Cokoloko, and dining at Maurice’s premier French restaurant.
Flyday 20th Janitor 2012
After eating more fresh fruit off the trees, I took my final swim in the pool and the sea. Being my last day, I recklessly swam in the sea in the early afternoon heat. Walking barefooted, the Tarmac ® on the way down was like going over the hot coals. The sea was glorious and hot as a goose. Maurice is a paradise beyond compare. Siddick picked me up at 4.30. The drive to the airport was an excursion in itself, as we made our through the mountains, with their tropical wetness – stunning. Upon arrival at the aerodrome, I ate canapés, then boarded the craft at my leisure, along with all the people with young kiddies. I drank champagne and kir royale and white wine and red wine and Baileys ™, and ate vegetable quiche and Papua New Guinea fowl and yoghurt and lychee parfait and cheese and biscuits and listened to Tchaikovsky and Mahler and Barbra Steisand and looked at the stars as we passed over Ethiopia and nodded off for two hours, in common with all long-haul flights, during which I always sleep for precisely two hours; and then I ate fruit and muesli and croissant and omelette and mushrooms and potatoes and green tea and then we landed at 4.40am and then I had a shower at Gatwick Aerodrome and then I had tomato juice and then the trains started and then I went homo to Nanna’s, and she was pleased because I had had breakfast, which I don’t normally, but I did today; she thinks breakfast is the most important meal of the day and goes on and on about it, but not today luckily.
Here, due to my departure from the tropical island of Maurice, my Moreicious Diary ceases. See ye again soon for my 2012 Australala Diary.