Mr Brown

When our three children were young, we took a family holiday in Puerto Pollensa on the island of Majorca. The apartment block/hotel had its own swimming pool and bar, serving drinks and light snacks. We spent most days relaxing by the pool, and the kids loved it. It was, however, the height of summer and many other families had the same idea, so the pool area was always well-populated.

Habitat Apartment Poolside

Our apartment was a mere 30-seconds’ walk from the pool. Angela and I were relaxing on sun loungers one afternoon when our young daughter, Loren, shouted within earshot of the entire area that she needed a poo. A few people laughed as she ran back to us with one hand on her bottom. Obviously, that situation resolved itself without any particular drama, albeit a little embarrassing.

I dreamed up an idea that evening which we all thought was funny and would definitely work. If a similar situation should arise during the rest of the holiday, the kids should use a code by saying something like “Can I go and make a call to Mr Brown to see if he’s OK?” It became a bit of a joke for the next few days.

The penultimate afternoon of the holiday arrived and, as usual, Angela and I were relaxing with books on our loungers while the kids were in the pool having fun. There were lots of people in close vicinity; everyone was happy and occupied with whatever they were doing. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to take a peaceful 10-minute break to – how can I put this? – make myself feel a little more comfortable. From the swimming pool, Loren saw me stand up and head towards the apartment. She shouted at the top of her voice “ARE YOU GOING TO DO A MR. BROWN?”

All the Brits in the surrounding area, including the loudmouth families who had adorned their apartments with St George flags, were laughing. How was I supposed to react to that? All I could do was accept defeat, so I rolled up my Sun newspaper and placed it under my left armpit in true British, ‘tourist-abroad’ style, and then shouted back “Yes, Loren, I am!” before purposefully marching back to the apartment.

Mr Brown