Dom Joly: 'How are his wife and children?' Funny, that didn't come up

Share
Related Topics

I am seriously outnumbered up here in the Canadian "wilderness" (I'm four miles from the nearest latte, so suck on that, Bear Grylls). It's not bears or beavers or moose that have the numbers – it's women. My four-year-old son, Jackson, and I are the only men in a lakeside cottage rammed to the pine beams with the opposite sex. There are cousins, aunts and grandmothers – a formidable group when all together. It's actually interesting to be able to observe them from up close, in their natural habitat.

I'm often criticised by Stacey for non-communication. I'll go and have a drink with a friend and come back to a Guantanamo-style grilling: "How's his wife? What are the children up to? How is his brother who is dying from some flesh-eating disease?" I'll look nonplussed and be forced to admit that none of these things really came up. When pushed, I struggle to remember what we talked about – just stuff and lots to drink... it's what blokes do.

Women, on the other hand, talk a lot about people they don't know. There are endless discussions about whether Reese Witherspoon is happy with Jake Gyllenhaal or whether Madonna has implants in her arms. The place is littered with US gossip magazines that are pored over again and again, as though there is some hidden message within.

Another favourite topic of conversation is all things morbid. Top of the list are missing children, and they will all go into hushed tones and each take a turn in describing the horrible fate that might await the poor things. They almost compete to come up with the most horrific scenarios, holding the floor with graphic descriptions of depravity while their audience get more and more upset.

If anyone within any of their interconnecting universes is even remotely ill, then the discussion turns to potential outcomes (mostly fatal) and the subsequent fall-out. Then the whole group gets depressed. Then someone remembers there is a new tub of ice cream in the freezer and everyone gets a sugar rush and the whole rollercoaster starts over again. It's very tiring.

Jackson and I often head off together down to the rocks above the lake and do a bit of fishing. I'm starting to really understand the appeal of fishing, which is mostly about escape and very little to do with fish. It's like golf, except there's not even any walking involved.

All too aware of my overall inertia this holiday, I've entered a regatta on our lake. I've signed up for the one-metre diving (over-17s), the T-shirt swim relay (with Stacey and Parker) and log-rolling. It all sounds fun, but log-rolling is the big one. Stacey and I have to stand on a huge floating log and try to stay on top of it by running in sync. We'll give it our best shot but, deep down, I'm sure she'd prefer her current heart-throb, actor James MacAvoy, up there with her.

Sadly, my holiday is coming to an end. I'm off directly from here to Beijing to cover the Olympics for 'The Independent'. All my life I've dreamt of being a foreign correspondent and I've finally achieved it – sort of. I'll be wandering around the place, seeing what it's all about. What is the Olympic Village? How dull is the five-metre air pistol? Is this strange-tasting hotdog really dog?

I'm staying in Hotel Number Three and have the feeling that I shall miss my lady-packed cottage over the next couple of weeks. Fortunately, I will have a village full of drug-fuelled, über-competitive, adrenalin junkies for company – and that's just my fellow journalists.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Broker / Purchaser

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The possibility of Corbyn winning has excited some Conservatives  

Labour leadership: The choice at the heart of the leadership campaign

Jeremy Corbyn
Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos  

Greece debt crisis: Trouble is, if you help the Greeks, everyone will want the same favours

Charlotte McDonald-Gibson Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'