Last night we mingled with some of the elite of Marbella society. I would never have thought it possible for us to blend in with Marbella’s finest but we did. Well, no, actually we didn’t although to be fair we started off well. The evening was a grand launch party for the events company EUTSM and it was being held at a villa in Marbella. The parking was a nightmare with the surrounding streets full of fancy, expensive cars and so we had to park a long way down the road. Of course, female guests wearing ridiculously impractical high heels and their paunchy, ageing male companions couldn’t possibly be expected to walk all that way to the villa and so the organisers had put on golf buggies that whizzed up and down the road taking the glamorous guests right up to the door, and us too. We nearly let our well to do façade slip as the boys had a minor fracas over who would sit in the front seat of the buggy but, having first looked around to check that nobody was in earshot I bent down to Henry’s ear and growled, “get in the back, NOW, or we are going to WALK!” before smiling sweetly at the driver, taking my seat next to Henry and regaining my calm, collected, mum-in-control composure.
Now, I’m not a regular at these sorts of events but I wasn’t aware of any other golf buggy passengers calling out “wheeeeeeeeeee!” at volume as they approached the door, but I may well be wrong and it could possibly be a common occurrence. As we pulled up at the door The Queen of Hearts greeted us with a lovely smile and informed me that complimentary champagne was available just down the stairs, that a selection of canapés would be passed around and suggested that if we could possibly find it in ourselves to go through The Mad Hatter’s Archway and out to the gardens where the entertainment would be taking place then that would be just fabulous. Oh, how very civilised, I thought, this is quite the novelty! How different it was being out in society than being at home or at school! We made our way through an entrance festooned with balloons and rose petals, stood at the top of the stairs and surveyed the grand scene before us. A sea of well presented people were mingling, the women in their ridiculously impractical high heels tottering precariously as they struggled to walk on the cobbled ground, clinging onto their paunchy, ageing male companions while drinking champagne and laughing politely. There was a subdued hum of conversation.
“MISS HILL!” came a sudden shout. Down at the bottom of the stairs I saw some girls from school. Oh, great! The sea of people fell silent and turned their gaze up to see who merited such a rapturous welcome. On realising it was only us they continued talking.
“SWEETS!” shouted my own children excitedly. They had noticed a table full of jars of sweets and made a beeline for it. Stuffing their little mouths full of jelly sweets and marshmallows they then saw a big container full of bottles of water swimming in melting ice. They took a bottle each and gave one to me too and then gave me theirs to carry as hurried off to see a Hummer and some fancy sports cars that were on display. They lingered just long enough to leave some sticky fingerprints on the immaculate paintwork and then ran off through the archway of The Mad Hatter’s House. As I hurried after them, my bag bulging and heavy from the three bottles of water I realised that in the excitement of the sweets, free water and sports cars and the novelty of going through the archway the boys had neglected to give mummy the opportunity to visit the champagne table and now we were through to the gardens!
The gardens were stunning. There was a pool with a mermaid sat at the side smiling and waving at everybody. There were beautifully decorated patios and terraces filled with glamorous people. There was a stage next to the pool and I recognised several people in the VIP area from the pages of local society magazines. A waiter proffered a silver tray laden down with sushi. “No thank you,” I said politely. “YUCK! That smells!” said Henry. Smiling apologetically at the waiter who seemed to find his honesty amusing we went and sat on the immaculate lawn. I watched in amusement as the women in the ridiculously impractical high heels struggled to walk across the sloping gardens without their heels sinking into the ground, still clutching on to their paunchy, ageing male companions for support.
All of a sudden a lady dressed in a voluminous, frilly, pink dress appeared on the balcony above us and started to sing ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story. I love that song. Henry gasped, “a princess!” and was entranced. We sat and listened to her for a while and it wasn’t long before more refreshments were passed around. The same waiter came by again with his silver tray and this time offered the boys a delicate tuna and sweet corn sandwich. “No thank you, I only like ham and pickle,” Sam told him.
As the lady continued to sing we wandered off around the gardens and found the children from school. Sam and Henry played with them for a while and I watched an Abba tribute act. It was all rather pleasant for a while until Henry called, “I NEED A POO!” The people nearby turned away from the Abba act and looked over at us. No matter where we go, be it day or night, at a restaurant, at a party, visiting friends, anywhere, Henry is guaranteed to need a poo while we are out. I wasn’t sure where the toilets would be but we were all going to have to go and find them. I called Sam over. Trying not to attract any more unwanted attention I told Sam in hushed tones that Henry needed to go to the toilet. “Do you need a wee, Henry?” he called over to his brother. “No, a poo.” Henry yelled back. Oh for goodness sake, could we really not behave in a more delicate way?
All the time we were in the villa looking for the toilet Henry asked questions incessantly. “Is this where the princess lives?” “Why isn’t the mermaid swimming?” “Can I swim in the pool?” “Are we going to sleep here tonight?” “Can we get more sweets?” “Is there a park here?” “Are these the princess’s stairs?” “Why is there a bubbly bath?” “Can I go in it?”
Later, back in the gardens the boys played some more while on the stage, a couple of women in some very glitzy gowns sang songs by the likes of Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand. Eventually the boys got tired, it was getting late, they’d had enough and they were getting hungry. We headed back out to where we had come in and where the sweets table was but the boys were disappointed to see that the only sweets left were some wrapped ones, all the jellies and marshmallows had gone. They went over to the table while I talked to somebody I knew who had just arrived. I heard a crash. Sam had accidentally knocked a champagne flute off of the table and it had smashed into the cobbles! He looked like he was about to cry and so consoled himself by having two of the sweets. Henry had one too. As they put the sweets in their mouths they noticed a Spider-Man character on a balcony above the pool. They threw the handfuls of sweets that they had scooped up into my bag and raced back through the archway to the gardens just in time to see Spider-Man leap from the balcony, into the pool and then run past us dripping wet and go up the back stairs into the villa. The boys’ excitement was short lived. Sam suddenly looked decidedly green. He spat his sweets into his hand.“Yuck! Mummy I feel sick!” he told me. Henry did the same. Sam started heaving noisily and Henry was letting the dribbly sweet drip messily from his tongue onto the floor. “Don’t be sick here!” I implored him. “Why?” he asked. I tried one of the sweets and It was disgusting. They were very strongly flavoured, aromatic sweets, a bit like Fisherman’s Friends and I had a bag full of them. It was no wonder the boys were feeling bad! As Sam continued heaving I noticed that Woody from ‘Toy Story’ was coming down the same stairs that Spider-Man had just run up. I tried to distract Sam from vomiting by pointing out that here was Woody! He didn’t seem to care and was a very reluctant participant in the group photo that I took and so having bid farewell to Woody we decided it was time to leave.
As we walked out the door a golf buggy stopped alongside us and took us 100m down the road to where we were getting picked up. This seemed to cheer Sam up no end, but I couldn’t help but feel that the gathered society who remained at the villa probably wouldn’t be missing us at all.