As the sun went down we traipsed over to reception to report our lack of electricity.
There we found a steady exchange of people, flowing in and out of the building, swapping information as they passed each other in the doorway.
‘Your power off, mate?’
‘Yeah. It’s off all this side of the complex.’
‘Oh dear. I hope it wasn’t us,’ said a woman standing next to me. ‘We were warned not to use two kitchen applainces at once, but we forgot.’
‘No danger of that in our apartment,’ I said. ‘We’ve only got one socket in the whole kitchen area.’
The reception staff did their best to reassure us all that everything was being done to restore the electric supply as soon as possible.
Back in our dark apartment we did our best to clean Freddie up by the light of a mobile phone. By the same feeble light I discovered that the space I had left in his carefully packed suitcase for his new shorty pyjamas was still empty. I had never got round to actually buying them.
He went to bed that night in a big t-shirt. We all followed suit a few minutes later; suddenly aware of what a long day it had been. Our bed was not a double, but two singles pushed together, with two seperate sets of bedding; but there was something sweetly intimate about ‘invited’ into my husband’s bed for a snuggle.
To my surprise, Freddie slept through until his usual time, which is about six a.m. But, since we were in Menorca the clock was showing seven, so we felt like we’d had an hour’s lie-in. Not that we got up right away. Unbeknown to us Big Sister had been unable to sleep for worrying that Freddie would be able to escape from the apartment, so she had booby-trapped their bedroom door and climbed into bed with him. She woke up when he woke up … and pushed her out of bed. Nevertheless, she took him to the toilet, then gave him a bowl of cereal and a drink before letting him loose on us.
The power was back on now, so we were able to revive ourselves with several cups of strong tea and coffee. In daylight we could also see just how much sand and accumulated sticky grot we had missed in Freddie’s twilight clean-up. I thought the best thing would be for him to come into the shower with me.
Freddie’s not all that keen on showers, and he especially disliked the dark gloomy bathroom in that apartment, so it ended up being another protracted two-man job. Daddy’s entry into the shower five minutes later was accompanied by an anguished gasp — we’d emptied the hot water tank! (They are routinely quite small in Menorca, apparently, compared to the UK).
Our eventual solution to Freddie’s dislike of the apartment’s gloomy bathroom was to put a pool float into the bath and fill that with water, to wash him down.
While Big Sister waited in for the water to warm up again, myself, Daddy and Freddie went off to the ‘welcome meeting’ at the resort club. There were quite a few newly arrived families there, most with young children, but while theirs could safely be left to run around the tables and amuse themselves, there was no way Freddie could join in without constant adult supervision. We both needed to pay attention, so he had to stay in his buggy. He shouted a bit, as he often does when someone starts to talk, and sang, but he didn’t appear to be disrupting the proceedings, so I let it go. I could see that Daddy, though, was getting tense.
It didn’t stop him being tempted by an excursion to Mahon. When the rep came over to take our payment, he got out the new ‘Currency Card’ that we had preloaded with our ‘spends’ before flying out.
‘What’s the pin?’ he said to me.
‘I don’t know. Does it have one? I wasn’t there when you set it up.’
There was a sticker on the card with a numbe to call to activate it. ‘You must’ve activated it, though,’ he said.
‘No, I didn’t. Did you?’
‘Nobody told me it needed activating.’
‘It just got put on the shelf with all the other documents, didn’t it?’
The rep couldn’t help us — all we could do was call the customer service number in the Uk and try to activate it there and then. We went back to the apartment to get the paperwork that came with the card. Daddy dialled the helpline number several times, but his phone refused to recognise it. By now he was getting very agitated — we had a small amount of actual Euros with us, but not enough to last the whole holiday. How was he going to feed us all when his money was locked up in that useless bit of plastic?
Big Sister quietly took the piece of paper, tried dialling it on her own phone, and handed it to Daddy as it started to ring out. It took less than a minute to activate the card, and we made sure we double-checked the pin.
‘How did you get it to work?’ Daddy asked her.
‘For an international number you don’t need to dial the bit in brackets.’
A rare sitting-down moment.
We spent the rest of the day by the pool. Big sister chased around after Freddie, fighting a running battle to keep him out of mischeif. We kept telling her to sit down and enjoy her holiday, we would take over, she wasn’t just here to look after her brother; but she said that she wanted to do it, so that we could have a proper break. God Love Her. Daddy looked exhausted just watching her retrieving him from other people’s loungers, prising stranger’s sunglasses and flip-flops off him, and preventing him from throwing his shoes into the water. He was reluctant to go in the water himself, though, probably because it was very cold. You could see that on the faces of people getting out. By late afternoon she was worn out and revenous, so Daddy suggested we should eat right there at the club. I was all for that – no cooking for me, way-hey!
Freddie doesn’t seem to like transitioning from one activity to another, and can become quite stroppy and unco-operative.Today was no exception. He was quite shouty as we put him in a chair at the table, and everytime the waitress put cutlery, condiments or menus on the table, he threw them off. My solution — to simply keep everything out of his reach, rather than be constantly telling him off and turning the whole thing into a battle of wills — must have seemed like no discipline at all to the casual observer. I began to worry that it would all be too pressure for Daddy, and he wouldn’t enjoy our holiday at all. I felt guilty that I was enjoying it.
Freddie refused to eat, but Big Sister demolished six lamb chops. Six. Normally I have trouble getting her to finish one. In the end we took Freddie’s dinner back to the apartment in a foil tray; Daddy needed a cup of tea to soothe his nerves. He took it out onto the covered terrace behind our bedroom. Freddie seemed really taken with that little indoor/outdoor space, and Daddy hit on the idea of having a ‘picnic’ out there. they’d spread a blanket and he would have his cuppa while Freddie at his food.
At first, Freddie was only interested in throwing bits of tomatoey spaghetti against the whitewashed wall, to see the wormy marks it left. This time he got a stern telling off, which impressed him not at all, but he did eventually settle down and eat. Perhaps he was hungry, perhaps he was worried that he’d be taken back inside. We told him that because he’d been a good boy and eaten up, he could have another chocolate milkshake at the bar on the beach (but really it was because we wanted to sit there and watch the sun go down with a beer).
So, what’s it going to be then, a milkshake or … a milkshake?
I had thought it would probably take Freddie (and Daddy) a couple of days to settle down. Once he grasped the new routine he would be happier. The turning point came the day we went to Mahon …