We’re Going Where The Sun Shines Brightly…
No, not central London, where it’s currently hotter than Istanbul, but on our bi-annual week-long sailing trip around the Turkish coast. If previous trips are anything to go by, wi-fi will be spotty but I’ll post whenever I can. To set the mood, here’s there opening of ‘Bryant & May Ahoy!’ from ‘London’s Glory’, the collection of their unseen cases…
Arthur Bryant and John May only ever took one holiday together. They never did it again because it didnâ€™t turn out at all the way theyâ€™d expected. It began when they had an argument about sailing.
â€˜There are only two things I know about boats, and theyâ€™re that you canâ€™t wear shoes on board and you canâ€™t put toilet paper down the loo, instructions that seem positively uncivilised,â€™ said Bryant testily.
â€˜I take it youâ€™re not one for going to sea?â€™ May ventured as they sat in their office looking out at a septic September morning comprising equal parts of grey clouds, rain and dirt.
â€˜My father loved water, of course, but only because it gave him a chance to shoot at Germans.â€™
â€˜Sorry, not with you.â€™
â€˜Royal Navy. I had an unusual experience on the Woolwich Ferry and have stayed off water ever since. Itâ€™s not natural, all that bobbing about. Even Horatio Hornblower used to get seasick. Of course he was a fictional character, but you get my point.â€™
â€˜You havenâ€™t had a holiday for donkeyâ€™s years,â€™ said May. â€˜Why do people say that? Why a donkey?â€™
â€˜Rhyming slang, 1923, â€˜donkeyâ€™s earsâ€™ – â€˜yearsâ€™,â€™ said Bryant, not bothering to look up.
â€˜Well, itâ€™s a chance to get away and we shouldnâ€™t look a gift horse in the mouth â€“ hey, thatâ€™s another odd one.â€™
â€˜You can tell the age of a horse by checking to see how far its gums have receded,â€™ muttered Bryant. â€˜From St. Jerome’s Equi donati dentes non inspiciuntur, â€˜Letter to the Ephesiansâ€™, around AD 400. Who gives a holiday as a gift? I smell a rat. And before you ask, I have absolutely no idea where that expression comes from.â€™
The senior detectives of the Peculiar Crimes Unit had been offered a weekâ€™s holiday on a grateful clientâ€™s yacht moored somewhere off the Turkish coast, but Bryant was unconvinced. â€˜Why donâ€™t we offer it to Raymondo?â€™ he suggested. â€˜Heâ€™s always moaning about having his holidays cancelled.â€™
â€˜Thatâ€™s because he goes to the Isle of Wight. Cancellation is a blessing. No,â€™ said May, â€˜Just think, thereâ€™s no internet so thereâ€™ll be no emails.â€™
â€˜I donâ€™t do emails now,â€™ Bryant pointed out.
â€˜No, the change will do us both good. Iâ€™m putting my foot down. Weâ€™ll go.â€™
â€˜But I have nothing to wear.â€™
â€˜Itâ€™s a holiday in Southern Turkey, not a dinner party in Finchley.â€™
â€˜Fair point. I suppose dressing up in hot countries simply involves putting on shoes. A bit like Wales.â€™
â€˜You canâ€™t say that.â€™
â€˜I can say whatever I like. Iâ€™m a police officer, institutional racism is our stock in trade.â€™ That was the thing about Bryant; you could never entirely tell if he was joking, although May had worked out that if you had to wonder, he probably was.
â€˜The yacht has its own gourmet chef,â€™ said May by way of temptation. â€˜Fresh fish every day, and Turkish salads are amazing.â€™
Bryant considered the thought for so long that his stomach rumbled. He saw a steamed sea bass served against a crystalline seascape. â€˜I suppose it would be quite nice to go somewhere without a scarf,â€™ he conceded. â€˜Seven days feels like a bit long, though. Maybe four?â€™
â€˜Trust me,â€™ said May, sensing a win, â€˜you wonâ€™t want to come home.â€™
Bryant glanced out of the window, where the thick grey drizzle pattered on litter-strewn pavements. Below the trees, a tramp finished eating something out of a litter bin and sucked his fingers clean. â€˜Perhaps I could manage a week,â€™ he said.