Holidays From Hell

Christopher Fowler
Where was the busload of nuns you ran off the road in a past life that caused you to get this shit?’ asked my friend Roger. He was referring to my holiday text. After receiving the devastating news that my life was not being renewed for another season, I had taken off for the coast of Turkey to find The Husband, who was disembarking a boat and heading to a secluded (ie middle of nowhere) hotel where I would meet him. I did so. Just in time for the hotel to catch fire. 315311DD-FEF1-452D-90B9-2DB824400503 Fierce winds and high temperatures turned the surrounding area into an inferno. We boarded a speedboat to outrun the flames only to find the wind was blowing them directly at the hotel. Pete ran back through the smoke and rescued our wallets and phones (Pete is really all you need in an emergency), then took water to the overlooked staff. We spent the evening on a hilltop seeing just how close the fire had come to the rooms. The damage to us; some smoke inhalation, dead mice in the pool, thick ash everywhere and a lingering charred smell. It could have been so much worse. One Russian family had returned to their room and packed four suitcases. People aren’t always rational in a crisis, including me. Luckily Pete was on hand to provide common sense. The staff were exemplary, even though nothing like this had ever happened to them before. Holidays and I have a history. Previous thrills included being airlifted out of Sri Lanka during the historic floods, injuries (severed retinas in Mexico, anyone?) and earthquakes. It helped the time fly in a place where there was nothing to do except eat and bake in the heat. I could have taken some exercise by beating up a climate change denier but I was too exhausted. Six days has roared by and I’m heading back - I finally have the time to go anywhere I want, but when talk of bucket lists comes up I throw up. I’ve picked the life I lead because 1. I was lucky enough to have a choice and b. It seems I already made my choices. (See what I did there?) It’s raining in London. Of course. Hurrah.


BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Thu, 21/07/2022 - 17:09

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I never know what's appropriate to say in British terms or not, but Bloody Hell. At least your texts don't say the luggage got lost or the plane was late - something "ordinary". Trust an author to come up with Adventures. Thanks for this. And thank heavens for Pete!

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Thu, 21/07/2022 - 17:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I assume the Egyptian geese who probably decamped from your window sill for the Kings Cross Pond Club, Hyde Park or other damp points south during the recent inferno, are on their way back, now that things have cooled down and you are again in residence. Also --- I have it on questionable authority that since your rep as the latter-day Poseidon has been confirmed in Turkey, word is out to advise the LFB and its counterparts across the UK of your whereabouts at all times.

Ian Mason (not verified) Thu, 21/07/2022 - 17:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

If some strange set of circumstances arises where you invite me to join you on holiday somewhere, remind me to politely but firmly decline.

Helen+Martin (not verified) Thu, 21/07/2022 - 18:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Nice to know that your holiday history continues according to pattern. We wouldn't want the universe to alter its treatment of you and your companions. I'm definitely with Ian Mason unless I really want a holiday to remember. I hear England has had unusually high temperatures, but now that you're home it will definitely rain.
Best wishes, Chris.

Joan (not verified) Thu, 21/07/2022 - 18:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Chris, what a fascinating life you lead Things always seem to happen when you are out and about, but perhaps you are a bit dangerous to travel with!

Roger (not verified) Thu, 21/07/2022 - 18:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Who said "May you live in interesting times" to you?
It isn't raining in my bit of London. Unfortunately.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 00:09

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

'I mean, what could possibly go wrong?'
--- Christopher Fowler, Blog, 15th July 2022

Jo W (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 07:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Well, welcome home Mr. Fowler, we hope you had a lovely holiday! ;-)
P.s. can you hire out Pete as a crisis management consultant?
Look after each other xx

Martin+Tolley (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 10:15

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

When two elderly detectives travel to an exotic location a wildfire engulfs their hotel. It transpires the fire has been used as cover for a particularly gruesome murder of a Russian oligarch fleeing the wrath of Vladimir Putin....
Just saying.

Peter T (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 10:57

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Martin, that's brilliant. Hope someone starts writing the story.

Rules for evacuation of a building:
1. Take your trousers with you even if you don't have time to put them on.
2. If you forget them, don't go back for them.

Cornelia Appleyard (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 11:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Excellent idea,Martin.
There must be a story in there somewhere.

BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 13:42

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What a great idea, Martin! Well done.

A Holme (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 18:09

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A possible title for Martin's story idea. 'Putin in the Ritz.'

Alan R (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 21:13

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

"Roast turkey in many European countries has long been a customary Christmas dish". Brittanica.

snowy (not verified) Fri, 22/07/2022 - 21:32

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I hope infernos are not a portent of things to come!

[If the fundamentalists do turn out to be right - I don't expect any of us sinners will have to worry about being cold ever again. If you get there before me; save us a prong on your toasting fork!]

Oh... Oh.... Literary blog! Not a chatroom *smacks wrist*

A couple of odd books have caught my eye recently:

'The Happy Numbers of Julius Miles' (2013) by Jim Keeble

The blurb reads...

"Julius Miles is a mathematical genius, but he is hefty of frame, awkward with the opposite sex and struggling to bring his existence into balance. When he stumbles across the girl next door naked and dead on her Victorian tiles, he starts to unravel the one equation that's eluded him: that of his own life. And so it is that with the most unlikely of assistants - including a transsexual Cupid with a penchant for drugs - he embarks on a quest to find the truth about love, death, family and how, ultimately, you make your numbers happy."

or if that doesn't tickle you, there is a quirky gothic tale faintly reminiscent of another more famous trilogy set in a castle.

'The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb' (2015) by David John Griffin

Again the blurb reads...

" [It's] the turn of the last century and Theodore Stubbs' manor house resides in the quirky village of Muchmarsh. A renowned entomologist, he is often within the attic adding another exotic specimen to his extensive collection of insects. But Theodore is also a master hypnotist, holding the household in thrall to his every whim. Theodore's daughter-in-law Eleanor- returned from the sanatorium two months before is a haunted figure, believing that her stillborn child Alastair lives and hides in the shadows. Then she falls pregnant again, but this time by the hypnotic coercion and wicked ravishment of Theodore. A dreadful act begets terrible secrets, and thirteen years later the boy Alastair Stubb begins to lose his identity. It is not long before mystery, intrigue and murder follow gleefully in his wake."

[Usual caveats about doing a bit of looking up, before parting with your hard-earned applies!]

E Bush (not verified) Sat, 23/07/2022 - 00:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Glad you made it back home from your Turkish adventure.

SteveB (not verified) Sat, 23/07/2022 - 09:40

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

1. Welcome back b. Wish it was raining in Frankfurt!

Anna-Maria Covich (not verified) Sat, 23/07/2022 - 16:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

At what point do you just look at events, shrug, and say "of course, why wouldn't that happen?"

Wayne Mook (not verified) Mon, 25/07/2022 - 23:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Happy you made it back in one piece, from what I understand if you had been in London you would have smelt burning, we even had a heat wave in Manchester but for the last several days in been raining again. it even delayed the cricket, it rally is summer when that happens.


roy thomas (not verified) Tue, 26/07/2022 - 01:14

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

sorry for your troubles.climate change alarmists are like gypsy fallen predictions.in one hundred and fifty years the temp on earth has rose ONE DEGREE CELSIUS.I hardly think this is a dire situation.the oseans HAVE NOT RISEN.Heat,cold,fires are cyclical.In u.s.the west burns because of enviormentalists refusing to allow resonsible forest management in the believe the foraging beetles etc.are natures defense ABSOLUTE LUNACY.In Israel desalination plants provide fresh water not only for them but other landlocked mid east countries.you seem smart,get off the third rail and investigate.Droughts in california are because the drainage from snow melt from the sierras is diverted into pacific ocean to save THE TWO INCH DELTA SMELT NONE OF WHICH HAVE BEEN OBSERVED FOR AT LEAST 20 YEARS.TOTAL INSANITY.THE ELITES ARE IN YOUR MENTAL PLANE.