“Bev, I really love this place – I'd come here every time if it was practical.”
Madeira was John's favourite holiday haunt. He adored the native flower variations, especially in the flower festival season. It was a pleasant and friendly country, with wild canaries singing in the background and breathtaking scenery looking out over the cliff tops.
However one black cloud lurked in the corner of John's mind. He thought, 'Oh no, he'll have brought that dratted camera.' His holiday elation did a momentary nosedive.
“Yes love, it's one of my favourites – high tea at Reid's, can't wait for that,” responded Bev as she carried on unpacking the travel cases.
John thought, 'Yes Reid's, very British – one of Bulldog Winston's hideaways.' Winston Churchill had used this hotel as a retreat from reality and did painting there, of all things! Imagine - the war warrior brandishing the artist's implements.
John and Bev had come away with their best friends Harry and Pam. They enjoyed each others company (well mostly) – but for that camera, which was attached to Harry like a Siamese twin. He wore it like some great medallion strung round his neck.
“I was really embarrassed when we watched the last holiday slides at Harry's,” remarked John.
“I've had a word with him about those quick snap close-ups he takes of us; but I'm not sure it will work.”
“Sure won't, he just likes catching us unawares,” stated John.
Harry was really an expert photographer but he had a mischievous streak. His moustache made him look like a Terry Thomas double – he also had the same naughty nature. Harry very rarely appeared on any of the holiday snaps but John intended altering that this holiday. He thought, 'I'll wait my opportunity to return the favour.'
“What you up to now? It's not like you to be bothered about photography,” said Bev as she witness him getting hold of their cheap digital and polishing it with his handkerchief. “Darling please let it drop or you'll spoil my stay here,” she went on.
“OK!” His mind however was already in overdrive.
A week into the holiday John hadn't carried out his vengeance – he was too involved relishing all the holiday delights. Harry had seemed to be a good boy so far. No embarrassing quick snaps had been caught on camera or so John thought.
The four of them sitting there in Reid's luxurious lounge was a picture of holiday contentment. They had just finished enjoying an English high tea served on bone china crockery – crust-less sandwiches and a selection of small dainty cakes. “ I haven't seen your camera of delights doing much flashing this week Harry,” said Bev.
“Pam warned me off – said you'd had a word about John being miffed off with me - taking the close up of his nostril and its contents.”
“It's just a small wart I've had for as long as I can remember. Let it drop Bev - you know he doesn't need much encouragement.”
The rest of the holiday went without a hitch. Harmony all round. A jolly good time was had by the quartet but all good things come to an end.
Before they knew it they were back, and in Harry and Pam's lounge waiting to view this year's Madeira snaps.
Good viewing and gushing compliments were forthcoming from the three. “You've really excelled this time Harry. They are beautiful photographs of a beautiful country and three beautiful people,” said Bev jokingly.
“Just to keep all you beautiful people's feet on the ground, I've one more snap to show.”
They all though along the lines of 'Oh, what now'. Silence became not golden as they waited for this picture slide.
John was right – it was of him. Harry had caught him literally napping. Froth was running down the sides of his mouth as he was blowing his bubbles. One eye looked partially open and half his face appeared to be drooping. He looked the image of a Long John Silver.
Harry finished off the show by handing him a pirate hat.
John was not amused!
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