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Last year I en­joyed my first sail­ing hol­i­day around Palma (off Ma­jorca) on a very gen­er­ous friend’s new yacht, waited on by 16 staff. My friend said: “Come along and try the staff out, I want to see how they cope with a very eclec­tic group of peo­ple.” Palma has over­crowded touristy bits but also some very beau­ti­ful de­serted lit­tle bays and we sailed around the is­land vis­it­ing dif­fer­ent beaches each day. We would drop an­chor at sun­set, chilled cham­pagne would be served and the com­pany was in­vari­ably great. As we lounged around, I said, “Wow, it’s one of those mo­ments. It doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten and we’re all go­ing to savour this for a long time.” My pre­ferred en­vi­ron­ment is by the sea or some­where ru­ral. I don’t want to be in a city, I don’t want to visit New York and I don’t want to go shop­ping. I want to ex­pe­ri­ence na­ture, I’d like to learn to shoot, fish and kayak and that’s where I’m at now. Of course, I’m not go­ing to turn my nose up at a Caribbean beach which would cer­tainly come near the top of the list. It’s just that I can’t stand the sound of traf­fic and if I’m pay­ing for a hol­i­day, I want a guar­an­tee of si­lence. If I leave my buck­wheat pil­low be­hind, that is a cri­sis be­cause I can’t sleep if I don’t have proper head sup­port. I’ve got so used to this damn thing that if I for­get it, I’m straight on the phone to have one shipped over. A lot of phys­io­ther­a­pists rec­om­mend them be­cause with a soft pil­low, your head sinks and overnight your neck/shoul­der mus­cles are work­ing over­time to sup­port your head. I also take my small cash­mere “blankie”. It sounds slightly child­like but it’s very use­ful as an eye patch. So if the sun comes up brightly very early in the morn­ing, I stick my blankie over my head and it cuts out the light as well as be­ing very soft and com­fort­ing. Buy travel in­sur­ance. My fa­ther suf­fered a mas­sive stroke on hol­i­day in Switzer­land and had we not been cov­ered, we would have been in deep trou­ble fi­nan­cially be­cause it wasn’t cheap to have him shipped home. I plan to spend the sum­mer in the most glo­ri­ous coun­try in the world – the UK. Every­one in Bri­tain should pull their fin­ger out dur­ing this re­ces­sion and get out and about. Sup­port the English coun­try­side and peo­ple who run the b& bs, lit­tle cot­tages and the Na­tional Trust which has a fan­tas­tic ar­ray of ex­cit­ing and fab­u­lous des­ti­na­tions. For those who are used to five-star treat­ment, get over it and cook your own break­fast.

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