Well, we finally made it on holiday. I didn't mess up once (I am touching the trunk of a wind-whipped palm tree as I write this), at least not in getting us here. We caught the right plane at the right time from the right airport. I didn't leave La Fille behind, though I threatened to when she insisted Bébé, Charlie and Fred come too despite them being subject to a royal-style travel ban. I didn't leave Bébé, Charlie or Fred on the train or the plane or in the car. We mislaid a 'doo-doo' (La Fille's security blanket) somewhere on the beach during the first day but it's a scrappy piece of linen of which I have several and always replacements secreted somewhere in a bag or on my or the Frenchman's person that we can pull out like rabbits from a magician's hat. Of course La Fille noticed and said it wasn't her "favourite doo-doo" but was calmed with a large ice-cream (normal healthy eating rules having been temporarily suspended).
Then it started raining. And raining. And raining. It rained so hard the hotel gardens flooded and sprouted balloon-throated toads the size of bread plates, snails like nuclear walnuts and five inch slugs. The toads I can deal with, but I had to ask the Frenchman to remove a slug that was wending its slimy way up the patio doors...on the inside. I admit I have a horror of slugs and snails, in or out of a shell, with or without garlic, so I asked him to take it a very long way away. He was only gone a couple of seconds so I suspect he threw it a couple of yards into a nearby bush.
So far it has rained through most of one day, at night and sent everyone scuttling for cover during the evening beach barbecue. Do not believe anyone who tells you that "tropical" rain is not as bad as rain back home. It is warmer but worse. You do not spend money you do not have to fly thousands of miles for a sunshine holiday to be rained on, even if what's falling on your head is a few degrees warmer. The hotel staff did not seem very surprised, even when the decorative flaming torches lining the beachside restaurant fizzled out. This adds to my suspicion that there is a conspiracy of silence about the weather in holiday resorts. Admittedly, we booked out of season (it is cheaper outside the school holidays) but nobody mentioned anything about rain, not on the telephone, in person or on when we looked up the weather on the internet. In the taxi from the airport to the hotel we asked the lady driver what the weather had been like and she said: "Dry. Very dry." "Sunny?" we asked. "Sunny. Very sunny," she said. A few hours later it was chucking it down. "Perhaps you didn't understand her," suggested the Frenchman. I pointed out she was speaking English.
La Fille thinks it is all huge fun. She has taken to wading around the muddy gardens, crouching down to poke the vegetation with a stick and calling "Toad. Toad" in a wheedling voice. She's been reading too many fairy tales. I said "I hope you're not thinking of kissing one."