It’s a funny old world: Ag­gie MacKenzie

‘It was as if we were camp­ing in a stone tent or stone igloo, de­void of com­fort’

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Contents - TV pre­sen­ter Ag­gie MacKenzie

My at­ti­tude to hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion has al­ways been that the clean­li­ness and level of com­fort of the place should be at least as good as – if not su­pe­rior to – at home (my camp­ing and car­a­van­ning days are firmly in the past). Af­ter all, a hol­i­day is meant to be an in­dul­gence – some­thing out of the or­di­nary, sprin­kled with treats I don’t nor­mally give my­self.

Last month, I vis­ited Puglia in south­ern Italy with my friend Ali­son. My son Rory and his girl­friend Katie were hol­i­day­ing there at the same time. They had booked his dad’s

(my ex-hus­band’s) hol­i­day house for a cou­ple of weeks and had also in­vited var­i­ous chef col­leagues and old school pals dur­ing their stay.

Rory and Katie in­vited Ali­son and me to stay from the Sun­day un­til

Wed­nes­day. It was the first time I’d been to the house, which is stun­ning, com­fort­able and very well equipped, com­plete with an out­door kitchen, pool and ex­ten­sive ter­raced grounds.

Wed­nes­day ar­rived, and Ali­son and I gave our rooms over to the young new­com­ers. Ex­cited, we drove to the nearby trullo we’d booked for the rest of the week. A trullo is a dry­s­tone, con­i­cal-roofed build­ing typ­i­cal of Puglia. First built in the 1400s as agri­cul­tural build­ings, they are used mainly as hol­i­day homes, with one room un­der each con­i­cal roof and sleep­ing ar­eas in arched al­coves. They look ab­so­lutely charm­ing – at least, from the out­side…

As we drove up, there was no mis­tak­ing that this was way in­fe­rior to the glam­our we’d just left. Sadly, there was no sign of any lime­stone sun ter­race – here was a patch of parched scrub­land with a few aged, plas­tic chairs dot­ted around. De­spite the out­side tem­per­a­ture be­ing in the 30s, the in­te­rior felt chilly.

There was a cen­tral room, off which were two ‘bed­rooms’. In the cen­tral space sat a bare, old wicker sofa. There was no rug on the stone

floor. My single bed was made up with thin, bob­bly, poly­cot­ton sheets and a single pil­low. The thread­bare tow­els looked like char­ity-shop re­jects. Ali­son, bless her, de­clared it ‘quite charm­ing’. But, for me, it was as if we were camp­ing in a stone tent or a stone igloo, de­void of com­fort – although per­haps oth­ers would have loved it.

The young cou­ple who ran the place were de­light­ful, and it wasn’t as if it had been mis­rep­re­sented. It’s just that those young things down the road were liv­ing in lux­ury, with their top-of-the-range beds, soft, thick tow­els and swanky fur­ni­ture, not to men­tion panoramic views!

They must have heard my end­less com­plaints com­ing over the tops of the hills. We ar­ranged to meet at the Satur­day mar­ket, where they bought

meat, fish, salamis, breads and

veg­eta­bles, and in­vited us to din­ner.

We were treated to a five-course feast, which I’ll re­mem­ber for a very long time to come.

Italy is for­given, but I don’t think I’ll ever be book­ing a trullo again!

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