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

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Critics of Fiona Woolf say she should step down amid accusations of an establishment cover-up  

Fiona Woolf resignation: As soon as she became the story, she had to leave

James Ashton
 

Letters: Electorate should be given choice on drugs policy

Independent Voices
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes