Books & Stories

The Visitors

A tongue-in-cheek look at ex-pat life in Spain

Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband have been very busy preparing for - cue theme music from the film ‘Jaws’ - the visitors.

This happens every summer when they spend weeks making sure their villa in Spain is spick and span. Dust is completely eliminated; twelve toilet rolls are stacked neatly in the cupboard of the immaculate bathroom and the swimming pool floaties are inflated in readiness for the the arrival of the mini-visitors.

They have spent a month’s housekeeping in the supermarket, filling up the freezer, fridge and cupboards with goodies; and the car sits on the drive filled with fuel, and gleaming after its wash and polish. The swimming pool is sparkling and not a leaf would dare to fall into it, or indeed blow onto the jet-washed patio where sun-loungers, umbrellas and towels are all in place.

Handy Husband leaves for the airport to collect the visitors, who have been looking forward to their all-inclusive, chauffeur driven holiday, especially the mini-visitors who know that most misdemeanours will be forgiven by Fairy Godmother.

The visitors arrive and marvel at the glorious weather - for about two days when they have sunburn or prickly heat after staying too long in the sun.

The visitors use up an enormous amount of toilet rolls, and after about five days Fairy Godmother is often asked in a quiet voice, (as if they were asking for condoms at the chemist), ‘are there any more toilet rolls?’ Fairy Godmother immediately leaves her sun-lounger, where she has been allowed to lie for exactly eight minutes, and places twelve more toilet rolls neatly into the bathroom cupboard.

The visitors aren’t tidy people. Once, Handy Husband called out to Fairy Godmother that they had been burgled. She went to investigate and found the mini-visitors bedroom door was wide open, revealing every drawer pulled out, the wardrobe doors wide open, and their belongings strewn across the bed and floor - it was an easy mistake for Handy Husband to make.

The visitors like to use a lot of towels, and even though it takes about thirty seconds for them to dry on the line in the sunshine, they much prefer to leave them wet in a heap on the floor.

After a day’s sunbathing, the visitors go off for their shower and a nap, leaving behind towels, sun-glasses, books, half-filled plastic glasses, and overflowing ashtrays. But it’s okay because Fairy Godmother will tidy up so everything is fine and dandy for them the following morning.

Sometimes the worst thing happens. IT RAINS. Suddenly the smiley faces turn to glum ones, so Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband have to think up innovative pastimes to keep them occupied. The television is good because they haven’t been watching much TV, until a clap of thunder and heavy rainfall removes the service from the programme they are watching and the glum faces return.

A day at the beach is fun, so Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband get up extra early to prepare a picnic. Then they load the cool-box, towels, and beach-toys into the boot of the car so everything is ready. Just as Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband have finished their chores, the visitors come out of their hiding places, usually the bedroom or bathroom - all fresh and prepared for the day.

Sometimes the visitors like to help, and they might decide to empty the dishwasher, but this often results in Fairy Godmother having to look for the salad servers for the next three months.

The visitors discuss where they might go for their holidays next year, maybe Greece or Cyprus perhaps. Handy Husband looks hopeful, but Fairy Godmother knows that once they find out how much it costs, they will be telephoning to book their two-week stay with them in the summer.

Before they leave, the visitors take Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband out for a slap-up meal, usually to the Chinese Restaurant, where a set meal with wine costs only a few euros head - but it is the thought that counts!

So off they go to the airport. Handy Husband has refuelled the car and ensured he has plenty of change for the tolls, because the visitors never have change do they?

On his return, Handy Husband surveys the oily swimming pool and his grimy sand-filled car, and heads off to the bar.

Fairy Godmother begins the clearing up, loading the groaning washing machine with bedding and towels. She misses the visitors now they have gone, especially the mini-visitors, but knows she won’t be lonely for long because in ten days time there will be more of the visitors coming to stay.

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