In the 1970’s in my youth the parties I went to were all bring a bottle. The game was to find a pretty revolting bottle of plonk which wasn’t hard to do in the 70’s and take that for the host to place on the table or sideboard where the drinks were, whilst at the same time hiding a bottle of something more drinkable for one’s own consumption.
The host at the end of the party would find a bottle that even the drunkest person had not risked drinking and take that to the next party they were invited to .
Hirondelle I remember was a particular wine of choice to be displayed as your contribution. They did a red and white version each equally obnoxious. For some reason they initially said the wine came from Austria but once a newspaper revealed that their sales were larger than the total production of Austria they came clean and said the wines came from Cyprus and many Eastern European countries and were blended in the UK . As some one that has lived in Cyprus I can certainly attest to Cypriot wines being particularly loathsome. Blue Nun was another favourite being cheap and sickly sweet . Mateus Rose was always much in evidence and was another wine supposedly from Portugal but the consumption far exceeded the production on the Mateus estate. I had my own killer wine that I bought from a small wine merchant near South Ken tube station. It was Moroccan with an unpronounceable name that probably meant camel dung but sold for about 20p in new money a bottle. A fun game was to see when a bottle you had taken to a party turned up back at one of your own your parties and the Moroccan was easy to recognise.
Books left in hotels are a little like that I think. Despite the advent of the wonderful Kindle people still carry books and once read off load them by leaving them in hotels. All hotels now seem to have an area where you can place them and The Villa Aria is no exception
What I find myself doing despite having a Kindle full of books is picking up one or two and quite often carrying them on to the next hotel where I then dump them and pick up another few and so on like the wine of my youth. The books even if you don’t bother reading them are great for reserving bed chairs by the pool anyway.
The Germans looking at the titles seem always to be the most generous in leaving books for others to enjoy or maybe they just buy more awful books that they can’t wait to offload. The Brits clearly read lots and are always in second place. Given the massive percentage of Russians here you would expect to find huge numbers of books filling these shelves but there isn’t a single one. Mind you come to think of it I haven’t seen a single Russian here reading a book . In fact they don’t seem to read anything at all except menus.
Disappointingly our group of 10 Russian male weightlifters and female shot putters returned to the hotel yesterday and are back at the poolside scaring the rest of the guests and playing havoc with the infinity pool water level. They have however realised that buying their booze for drinks from 09.30 onwards each day is cheaper in the supermarket than at the hotel bar so they stagger in with colossal loads of it each morning. With true Russian nerve they then take their bottles up to the bar to have the girl open them.
Breakfast for them is a silent affair. Not a word is uttered while they gorge themselves on plate after plate of buffet food. It is clearly a serious business as they won’t be eating again for 3 hours.
I remember a friend of mine joining his first Royal Naval ship in dock in Portsmouth . In the morning he made his way to the wardroom for breakfast and was somewhat dismayed to find the Captain sitting at the head of the table with another senior officer. Good morning he said trying to sound relaxed. The Captain looked up from his paper and said rapidly 7 good mornings and then glaring at the Midshipman said that’s covers the week now shut up. Breakfast in the Royal Navy is a silent affair he discovered .