As I unlace the boots bought for a contract working in Russia I reflect on what paradise means in practice. The afternoon tidying up my every day bit of paradise, my garden in Barry, in the Spring sunlight gave me a sense of achievement and pleasure albeit a million miles away from Mauritius where I spent a couple of weeks en famille. I guess it’s a relative concept; different places and spaces for different occasions.
Definitions taken from the Collins on line dictionary range from: heaven as ‘the ultimate abode or state of the righteous’ to ‘the place or state of happiness enjoyed by Adam before the first sin; the Garden of Eden’ to ‘any place or condition that fulfils all one’s desires or aspirations’ and a new one on me ‘a park in which foreign animals are kept’! Mauritius is a popular honeymoon destination and you can see why; turquoise seas and sandy beaches wrapped in a sense of romantic remoteness. For the Medley Clan it worked as well as a relaxing bolt hole for the last international holiday we are likely to share on account of our collective frail health! I certainly don’t recommend long haul flights with two passengers in wheelchairs; all I can say is my brother is once again my hero and in these circumstances masterful authority is acceptable!
Let me show you Villa Bali briefly as boasting is not really in the Spinster’s nature! The four bedroom villa was one of a pair built by a brother and sister when they inherited the leased land – apparently the Mauritian government retains the ownership of the coast line heavily taxing those who lease the land. This nugget of information was conveyed to us by the sister who greeted us; a stylish woman with an air of authority that comes from wealth. One of the male members of our party noted the leathery tan with a patina of liver spots which one reflection was reminiscent of the tortoises we were to see later on – these massive magnificent beasts owe their fortune to Darwin who passed through Mauritius on one of his world tours and left tortoises behind!
Speaking pretty perfect English this Mauritian lady imparted key pieces of information: the Wiffy code (WiFi pronounced with a strong French accent); the alarm code and introduced the Housekeeper who would go shopping with us next day! Oh and she had gleefully met us with the wheelchair that had been delivered from the Medical Centre earlier that day – yes the Spinster gave into the assistance of a somewhat old fashioned style carriage of which more later.
The Villa was open plan and spacious with a number of spaces perfectly complementing each other as if chosen from a comprehensive catalogue. The choice of additional decor was curious with my particular favourites being the large picture of a woman in traditional Mauritian outfit smoking and the zebra floor covering. The last time I saw a zebra it was alive in Malawi; this poor beast had been imported for our ‘pleasure’! The somewhat faded pelt was by the front entrance just outside the ground floor room I occupied and felt the need to apologise everytime I drove over it in my occasional mode of transport! (The mane periodically got caught in the wheels and let just say the tresses weren’t quite so lustrous or fulsome by the time we left!
But the real reason my mum (with encouragement from me) selected the Villa was the swimming pool; a medium sized infinity pool which we regularly dipped our milky white bodies in. Proficient swimmer brother offered tips on how to improve our strokes; no matter how we tried I rather suspect we failed repeatedly to make the grade!
My particular pleasure comes from sea swimming; curiously whilst my mobility continues to rapidly dissolve to the extent I shall soon have to grade this ability as poor, I remain a strong swimmer judged proficient enough by our in house coach as being capable of contending with the strong current; poor ma failed this assessment and had to agree to limit herself to paddling or swimming only parallel to the beach!
I confess to being hugely disappointed with the ground floor room as it certainly did not have the view of the sea that the website promised. So to those of you I gloated over on this particular one I got my comeuppance big time! But the pagoda like shelter was definitely an improvement on my parental smoking arrangements in the garage back home!