Dusk comes late here; as if the Sun knows that summer days are precious and it wants to play while it can. I am smoking a cigarette on our apartment’s balcony watching Farmer Morrie feed the chickens. The beach towels hanging over the rail are already dry. Lights are starting to appear in the windows of the 12-storey Hotel Miami down on the sea front.
Last night I had a cocktail-fuelled dream. I was the King of Ibiza and my palace was a penthouse suite in the Miami. Dressed as King Henry VIII, I sat fat and pompous on a great red velvet throne; disproportionately large for a hotel suite. Locals and tourists came to seek an audience and a royal decision on their matters at hand. The dream could be an omen.
By 9pm the bats are swooping out of the almond trees. They dive and flutter, skipping across the pool water, gathering clumps of Dutch beard hair to fortify their nests. Everyone has showered and is dressed for the evening. Women totter from the local hotels dressed for a royal wedding; their long white and yellow floral dresses highlight the day’s tanning. When did long skirts come back into fashion? I remember the rule that as the economy gets worse, hem lines get longer. Men in shorts and English football shirts shuffle behind in flip-flops complaining it is impossible to eat in this heat.
Waiting for Mr and Mrs Pineapple, my own family has assembled outside our apartment. We stroll down Bat Lane, not to the beach at Calla Nova but to the far end which dog legs through the rough almond trees and into the town. Careful steps are needed so not to kick up the dry Spanish dust, lest it cling to our shoes and pastel colour clothes.
Geckos scurry across our path, darting for the cracks in the mud and limestone walls that line the almond grove. Local superstition claims it is good luck to encounter one. Good fortune must about on this rocky island as the lizards are everywhere. When I am King of Ibiza I will include a gecko on my coat of arms.
One large specimen has taken up residence under Mrs Pineapple’s patio furniture. He has been unimaginatively christened Larry the Lizard. Larry grows fat on the crisps and sandwich ends the children have been feeding him all summer. He ventures tentatively towards the offered morsels and waddles away to the safety and shade under the patio sofa with his treat.
First stop is one of the many sea front restaurants; each serving either a range of Mediterranean dishes or English fayre. The service is reassuringly slow in true Spanish tradition. British tv is blasted from multiple screens dotted around each restaurant. It is an abomination, almost pornographic. Surely we all have attempted to ‘get away from it all’ and the back drop of the sea at twilight is lost as Dermot O’Leary screams at me to watch the next X Factor audition. When I am King of Ibiza these screens will be no more.
My disappointment is tempered by the fact our dining table is surrounded by our family and friends. This is the only time we can undertake such a sitting. London flats are too small for such large tables and city life is poorer as a result. Our waiter is a frustrated comedian. He jokes and teases the children in broken English as he circumnavigates the dozen bodies around our table. I sit at the top and nod my royal approval at the jester’s mirth-making.
After dinner we head to one of the local themed bars for the evening cabaret. Musical comedy, sing a longs and hypnotists are the default setting. My bulk and shiny bald head make me a prime target for the acts’ ‘let’s get a volunteer from the audience onto the stage.’ That and the fact my children point at me with huge gestures when the MC says “Turn up the house lights.”
I am summoned to the stage to be transformed into one of the Spice Girls. I am hoping for Sporty but am assigned Scary. Dear readers, I do know what dress size I would wear if I was so inclined but the cheap lycra mini dress I am given does not even fit over my head.
When I am King of Ibiza, lyrca mini dresses will be plentiful across this land to cater for the fuller-figured monarch.
The cocktail waitresses bring a steady stream of Harvey Wallbangers, Margaritas and sangria. Have I yet to experience a sober evening on this island? There is the sound of laughter and we sing a long to the cheesy cabaret songs; “…Hands. Touching hands. Reaching out, touching me….”
I stand at the rail of the bar’s outdoor terrace; surveying my kingdom. I am King of Ibiza and I declare the following doctrines to be His Majesty’s pleasure:
- Nude sun bathing will require a license and only by royal decree will such be granted to anyone over 40 years old.
- Persons and subjects of a hirsute appearance will not be allowed in the pool.
- British tv shows are banned. In fact all tv is banned with the exception of football of course.
- Bat Lane shall be paved and include a shuttle service to run between the cocktail bars and the royal boudoir.
- All drinks (not just cocktails) will include the psychedelic array of plastic parrots, feathers on sticks, streamers and sparklers that at present adorn every cocktail. This should take morning coffee to a different level.
- The gecko is our national symbol.
- ‘Sweet Caroline’ is our national anthem.
Lord Ray of Winstone sits at my side giving me the thumbs-up. “Blinding good,” he pronounces.
And so it is written.
Keep the Faith,