A break in the sun ...

Ralph Mellon
Ralph Mellon

By Ralph Mellon

Please excuse the indulgence of another ‘what I did on my holidays’ column – there’s only limited time left to mine what hedonism I can out of turning 50 this year. I’m recently back from a short break on the southern tip of Tenerife, where a bit of walking and swimming was nicely complemented by lazing at the poolside, in rather searing but not insufferable heat. It’s the first time I’ve been to a Mediterranean/North Atlantic sunspot in nearly 30 years but the lateness in the season was very apparent; the resort and nearby town area were almost deserted. There was cabaret (really?) in a restaurant one night and the lean young crooner, singing along to Motown and soul classics on a laptop, was introduced as “the one and only Colin Wilson”. I’d thought there might have been a few blokes around the globe who shared that particular sobriquet – but evidently not. The holiday was paid for by my brother as his present to me for attaining the half-century six months ago. A generous gesture like that speaks volumes about the kind of brother he is – but it says even more about the type I am.

Rock of pages: Another thing I gorged myself on when I was away was ... reading. Seriously, I amazed even myself. I was only away for four days but, in that time, I finished the book I’d started (one of the Matt Scudder tales by Lawrence Block) and got through ‘The Island of Dr Moreau’ by H. G. Wells and ‘The Long Day’s Dying’ by Alan White – I really liked the film they made of that, even though it was hated by every reviewer I’ve come across. I then read Stephen Fry’s latest volume of memoirs, ‘More Fool Me’, which my brother had purchased on the way out at Glasgow Airport. Have to say it was rather padded out and disappointing, but I remain a big fan of the man and his comic eloquence.

This week...cleared a few autumn leaves from the garden and began reading ‘A Time To Die’ by Wilbur Smith. Remarkably for Smith, it’s an adventure story set in Africa.