Friday, March 3, 2023

Homo Sapiens Irritabilus.


Having just come back from ‘the abroad’ where it was very hot. I was at the same hotel we had visited two weeks before lockdown happened, the one that has the writing desk in the middle of the room. I had a deadline for a tweak on a structural edit.

It was ideal until somebody at work got covid and we found ourselves running the business remotely, and without a roaming phone. The gift of Brexit just keeps giving.

There were very few Brits at the  resort and I had a great opportunity to do some PhD level people watching.  People are people all over the world, but there are some types that prevail no matter where you go or what you are doing – they will be there. Being annoying.

So, here’s some classifications of homo sapiens vacationus irritabilus.


The  Zsa Zsa Gabor; strive so hard to be individual, they all look the same. They overdo the botox (gives new meaning to the phrase, 'her face remained expressionless'). And the lip filler, they have lips like a kissing gourami.  Someday somebody will write a book and the description of the killer, or the E-fit of the killer, will be useless as they will ALL look like that. You know the look, eyes like a cat, lashes so long they have to tilt their heads back to lift their eye lids, the bulky cheeks of a hamster with mumps. And the gobsmacked mouth.

Done very subtly it’s fine. I know women who have had work done and they simply look ‘well’.  But the young woman who sat next to us at dinner had to lift her plumped up lips with her thumb in order to get the food from the fork into her mouth.

The limpets; they usually hunt in pairs. They sit next to you, no matter where you go. If the coffee shop, beach, bus, restaurant is empty, they will sit next to you. They have been known to ask  for bags to be shifted so they can sit closer.  I glare at them as the contemplate where to sit. They scan the room and pick their victim. I dare them to sit next to me. Alan let’s them sit, then gets up and walks away, picking up his coffee and his cake and taking it elsewhere. Limpets ignore all social conventions of personal space and that auto pilot that guides people to sit  in the midway slot  between two groups of other people. The limpet takes their chance to come out with their best opening gambit for a conversation. Brits tend to use ‘Weather’s nice innit.’  At that point most people bale out or say they don’t speak whatever language the limpets do. Getting up for the next course at the buffet and going back to a different table  for the next course is a good tactic. 

Once you have been caught by the limpets, your holiday can be ruined. 


The broadcaster; you’ve all heard them. They think they are witty. Their life has been more interesting than anybody else’s. They’ve been in the secret service, they make films, they’ve been abducted by aliens and everybody has to know. They hang around swimming pools, and always tend to sit right behind me on a plane during a long flight. The broadcaster has a new method of torture now in the mobile phone. They can talk for hours. And hours. At some point  around here I tend to start making notes and the broadcaster is going into a book, and will die. Slowly.

Mr Rohan/ Mrs Rohan; They wear Rohan shorts or trousers all the time, day or night. They are tall, slim people. The eat fruit for breakfast and never sweat. They tend to have a good camera round their neck, and they hill climb in sandals. They are machines. They tend to be Scandinavians.  They are never loud. They carry an air of calm about them.  They never have a lot of luggage and it will tend to be in a rucksack.  They could look like an extra in a yoghurt commercial. I'd like to be a Rohan but my fondness for chocolate is too strong.


Mr/Mrs Crimplene; found round the pool before anybody else. They have matching towels that have probably been ironed. They have wee clamps to keep the towel on the sunbed. They will eat an English breakfast no matter where they are, they speak loudly to people who do not speak English. They match as a couple, their clothes match. They’ll bring a wee bag down to the pool. They tear out the crossword page of a magazine and put it on a clipboard. They voted for Brexit then tut loudly as they wait in the long line at passport control. She got her hair done before going on holiday so her head looks like a wee football. He wears too much aftershave. By the end of the week, they are dark ochre. 


Popeye and Olive Oyl

Sunburn and tattoos. They do a lot of weights. They spend a lot of time in the gym. Or at the buffet. They have biceps on their biceps. They wear tiny vests and very short shorts. They can’t swim. Also, a weird range of haircuts; Mohicans etc. They are often very quietly spoken and go very soft when they see the hotel cat, asking it to roll over for tummy rubs.

You can expect to see them all in the forthcoming novels.


  1. Thanks, Caro, for putting names to the many invasive tourist species one is likely to meet on holiday. I can't wait for you to put them in print. One description truly made me laugh--the "lip filler." As I may have mentioned here before, I learned the back story to that breed, and it's a hoot. Years back, a prominent Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon was asked by a screen writer to come up with the silliest sort of plastic surgery a woman could undergo. His answer was incorporated into Goldie Hawn's character for the film "The First Wives' Club." Soon after the movie's release, woman started asking their cosmetic surgeon's for Goldie Hawn's Lips! What had been intended as a joke, turned into a craze.

    1. A bit like the Not The Nine O'clock News sketch where they call a group of gorillas a 'flange' as a joke. It's now the official name for a ...well a flange of gorillas!

    2. I like a murder of crows. But a murder of hyenas would be even better!