We planned to go to Capri today, but hadn't had much sleep, if you know what I mean. It's unlikely you do know what I mean, so I will explain briefly. Our room has no key, but a credit card sized bit of plastic with a chip in it that you then have to put in a slot in the wall to make the lights (and annoyingly the sockets - no charging stuff while you're out) work. We've had a slight problem with our system though. Every now and then, seemingly at random (but nearly always at night) it starts to make an odd cheaping sound, like there is a bird trapped in the wall (and maybe there is and the bird is responsible for keeping the electricity going by pecking at a little button - what a terrible thought, but I've paid for the room and I expect the slave electricity bird to go about its Hellish work quietly). This has woken us up a few times. We've asked the people at the hotel to look at it, but as the chirping sound only comes along every few hours they probably think we're insane and are making it up.
We do have the option of not taking the card out of its slot, but that means we can not turn on any lights (if we want to go to the loo for example) or charge up any equipment over night. We've been mainly taking the card out though, but had thought that the hotel had got round to fixing it, so had it back in tonight. Predictably it tweeted and woke us up. The control panel also turns the air conditioning on and off. We turn it off at night, because it's a waste of energy and we're in bed and don't want to be cold. But tonight, for some reason, we also couldn't turn the air conditioning off, or turn it to a higher temperature, so after being woken by the embittered slave bird we found ourselves kept awake by the noise and freezing gust of the air con. It's Italy and it's summer, so the bed only comes with a thin sheet, so we had to wrap ourselves in dressing gowns and beach towels. Plus deal with the annoyance of the tweeting thing not having been sorted out after we've been here for a week. I am a reasonable man and don't like to complain and have kept civil so far (and everything else about the hotel is pretty brilliant so it seems churlish to complain - yet then again, it's not cheap here and stuff should really work). All this on top of occasionally not getting a peach (or getting one that is a bit too hard to eat). And they claimed that the air conditioning problem had affected the whole hotel and was now sorted out.
First world problems, hey? Yes, very much. But that's where I live and whilst it's not as bad as dying of starvation or genital mutilation, it's still annoying to not have got enough sleep. Especially on holiday.
We did sleep in the end, but I had strange and vivid dreams (no doubt prompted by the Limoncello) where I was going to the offices of the News of the World for some reason (I and they seemed unaware that they no longer existed) and then started coughing up blood. The News of the World staff kindly thought I should go to hospital, but I didn't think it was that big a deal. They get a bad press those guys, but they did persuade me to head to A&E, though traffic was clogged, so I just kept coughing up blood. In many ways I wish I'd stayed awake all night.
The upshot of this is that we decided to have another day of relaxing by the pool and I finished the Margaret Atwood book and moved on to My Brilliant Life and Other Disasters by Catherine Wilkins which came out today. It's really funny and is also written by my wife, but I still bought a copy (the joke's on Amazon - we will probably eventually get 2p of the money back). It's mainly aimed at 8-12 year olds, but I am finding it very entertaining. What do you mean there's no need for a but there? Please buy it and make my wife the new JK Rowling and then I can devote my life to playing myself at snooker and writing Goodnight Sweetheart fan fiction. (You have to buy My Best Friend and Other Enemies too). And I know I am just copying Stewart Lee by having a wife who is funnier and more successful than me.
We did have one moment of excitement in the late afternoon when a breeze suddenly picked up and caught one of the of the big umbrella shade, lifting the top part out of the fixed bottom, sending it flying up in the air above us. My wife screamed as she thought the exposed prong of the umbrella was going to come down on top of her, spearing her in her stomach, ending her life and denying her fans the third book in the series that she's just started writing. People in the third world might have it tough, but hardly any of them are killed by descending poolisde umbrellas, so they should count themselves lucky. Fortunately the breeze caught the umbrella again and it landed in the pool. And anyway, it didn't have a spiked end so I think it would only have winded her.
The lack of sleep didn't really hit us too badly, but it did mean that I didn't really fancy a second attempt at running up the hill. I was calmed by the Prozac of the Mediterranean Sea stretching out in front of me and the brilliant writing of two of my favourite authors, both thankfully unspeared by umbrellas (unless there's some news from Margaret Atwood that I haven't heard about).
Also had my first wet shave in ages tonight and couldn't resist giving myself a rather wispy and adolescent bumfluff Hitler. It didn't last long though. I don't want to go back to those dark days and not sure the people of Italy would have appreciated it.