With Pavlovian accuracy and lolling tongues, the English chaps here present themselves at the bar-in-the-pool at exactly 3.29pm just before the bells rings for happy hour. We're not a race noted for style, whatever my anglophile blogmates may fondly imagine. And especially not in hot weather. Other races cover up chicly in linen and chiffon; the Brits like to parade their ancient shorts and palid guts as the mercury rises.
Anyway, yesterday three were perched politely awaiting the bell (Style, no. Manners? Always). Opposite them, an American Marine (yes, he told the entire poolside) strutted out of his apartment. He looked like he was wearing the stick-on wrestling chest that Freddie has, so defined were his comic-book muscles. He dropped to the ground and began counting out beautifully-executed push-ups. (You see the lengths I go to, to bring you tales. Watching that was no picnic, I can tell you.) The Brits discreetly slithered their eyes at each other and got stuck into their first drink.
The Marine went back inside, and we all settled back down to the exhausting, relentless round of decisions - beach or pool? Front or back? Italian or Bajan? Sebastian Faulks or Vanity Fair?
After an hour, the bell rang again and the Brits slithered off their aquatic perches a shade less steadily that they had leapt up. The Marine came back out, dropped again. Only this time he had a small boy on his back. He got to seven before all three Brits offered noisily and seriously to sit on his back too.
I haven't seen him today. Not that I was looking, you understand.