Barcelona is not a city designed for the rain. We drove through the drizzle into the Catalan capital and towards the first destination on our three-week family road trip. Outside, disgruntled tourists trudged through the damp streets sporting cheap umbrellas and fighting off pushy waiters’ attempts to lure them into paltry paella palaces.
Having eventually found our hotel we took stock of the magnificent marketing job they had done online. The Gaudi-esque fountain in reception – fully functional in the publicity shots – had long since dried up. Despite the rain, the kids were keen to visit the rooftop pool. Said “pool” was about 1ft deep and the size of a large coffin. There was a sign informing us that swimming (and laughably, diving) was not permitted.
The thing had been built on the edge of the roof purely so a photographer could include it in the shot of the magnificent Guell Palace roof terrace opposite, replete with gaudy Gaudi chimneys. The hotel had not mentioned that the advertised roof terrace was not part of its building.
We are seasoned travellers however and know that you should never judge a place on arrival. You are always tired, grumpy and hyper-critical (actually, my default setting). We headed out on to La Rambla for something to eat.
The following morning everything seemed better. The sun got a tiny hat on and we prepared to hit the city. I checked the news online only to find that showbiz was in meltdown back home. Jeremy Clarkson had been fired from Top Gear and Zayn Malik had said auf wiederzayn to One Direction. I was tempted to stay in my room as Twitter was alight with jokes about Clarkson joining One Direction, new names for the band like 0.8 Direction and fevered speculation as to what might be the third showbiz “calamity” as they come in threes. My prediction is Jedward will make a comeback....
I admit it did cross my mind that there might be a vacancy on a huge show that looks a lot of fun to make. Obviously the replacement would need to be an adventurer, love road trips, be irreverent, funny and unafraid to say what they think. I broached the subject with my family and we discussed it in depth. In the end they backed my decision. Phillip Schofield is clearly the man to take over from Clarkson… but it’ll probably be Keith Lemon… Everything is eventually given to Keith Lemon… That is TV law.
If someone does take over Top Gear it would be a poisoned chalice. Nothing will be good enough for the fans and the presenter(s) will be on to a loser. Best to bin it and start again. Actually, why not just move the Fifth Gear presenters to Top Gear (now called Oh Dear) and make the presenters (Lemon, Schofield and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini) do a revamped Fifth Gear, (Sixth Gear?). I should be in charge, everything would work out brilliantly.
Next week, I sort out One Direction and Israel/Palestine. Adios.