Summer holidays are not, traditionally, detox holidays. Those happen in months like November. And February. Summer holidays have wine woven through their very fabric. They are drenched in the promise of the boozy unwind, the intoxicated letting go. But one person’s idea of wild might be worlds, orgies and arrests away from another’s. It is – usually – best to holiday with someone from your own drinking tribe. Or, at least, to do some research so you know what you’re in for. If you think that two glasses of something cold is the last word in decadence, then don’t end up trapped in a villa with someone who doesn’t anticipate sleeping for five days. No one will have fun.
Spritzers are your thing. Huge goblets of rosé, with buckets of ice and a droplet of San Pellegrino. They’re basically water, you tell yourself. You are hardly drinking. You are just showing willing. Every morning, you can’t believe how many bottles other people got through yesterday. And it’s odd that your memories of everything after 3pm are so hazy.
Mornings are spent powering through books or visiting the market or swimming 1,000 lengths. But then the rest of the day is wiped out by lunch. A little spot someone told you about, it’s a boat ride away. It should have a Michelin star but the owners refused it. ‘Isn’t it wonderful that we can just take our time over lunch?’ say your hosts. Then you realise that every lunch for a week has been booked in advance and each one lasts a million hours. You put on three stone, max out your credit cards and feel decrepit when you get home.
The first night is a wild affair. Totally overexcited. You and your friends are going to put the FUN into dysfunctional. You are high on holiday and end up in a nightclub for the first time in 10 years, dancing with a Greek man in espadrilles. When the sun rises, you jump into the pool wearing all your clothes. You and your Ancient Greek Sandals are ruined.
A metaphorical cannon goes off in the villa at 5.01pm local time. It’s cocktail o’clock! No one drinks earlier in the day (‘What are we, alcoholics?’ *Nervous laughter*). Increasingly extravagant drinks emerge from the bar area with umbrellas and flamingos in them. You wonder if it’s OK just to ask for a beer.
You are the zen-est. You salute the sun every morning. Followed by some spiritual paddleboarding, like a modern Pocahontas. You even have the plaits. When it’s very hot you wear a burkini because you will not pollute your body with sun cream. Or tequila.
The one who goes AWOL
Everybody is having a perfectly nice time, getting on brilliantly, but the other guests notice that you are pacing around a little, can’t quite settle or just sit down by the pool, and there’s been a lot of tennis. Then on a night out to the nearest town, you go AWOL. For two days. They spend the whole time debating whether or not to call the police. You turn up looking sheepish, saying you bumped into an old friend from university at the tabac and thought it would be nice to just… hang out. Everyone is furious.
Sober and sensible 350 days of the year, something happens to you on holiday. Is it the sun? The beach? The Aperol? It’s like you are Prometheus, set free from an eternity of damnation on that rock and unleashed in all the beach bars of Ibiza. Once a year you give yourself permission to let loose your inner maniac. Your fellow guests are terrified.