x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Jilly Cooper on holidays past

Travel interview The novelist Jilly Cooper shares her travel memories - and advises on what to avoid on holiday.

Jilly Cooper at her home in Britain.
Jilly Cooper at her home in Britain.

I went to Cassis, a little fishing village near Marseille, with my husband, Leo, the first year we were married and it was absolute bliss. We sunbathed all day and in the evenings watched the sea, the boats and the people.

The Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi was wonderful. It was so glamorous, very White Mischief. The garden was like a jungle under control.

A balance of sightseeing, sunbathing and sleeping.

I take a pile of books and notepads, as I'm always scribbling things. But I should probably take an exercise bike, because I always pig out and put on loads of weight.

I'm a great believer in taking your chums with you so you can have a good giggle. But you can make mistakes. The most delightful people can turn into monsters when they've got too much time on their hands.

I'm bats about Greek mythology: Homer, Virgil, Sophocles. So I would love to visit Greece and see where Greek mythology originated.

We took our poor darling children to Arromanche in Normandy and it rained constantly. Lovely place, awful weather. It was very depressing.

The year after the Second World War, I went on holiday to Cornwall with my parents. I was about eight and clearly remember the thrill of going away for the first time. The promised hotel turned out to be a ghastly old boarding house. It was freezing cold, bleak and grey. I had bad skate to eat and it was all terrifically depressing. Just a disaster. But my parents did give me a pony at the end so it ended well.

Leaving one of my high heels behind. I had to attend a dance with only one high heel. I also tend to take 10 suitcases too many.

Cruises. If you meet awful people you're doomed for three weeks.

Leaving home, particularly my animals. Their faces go all droopy the moment we get out the suitcases. And who will feed the birds and the badgers?

© Danielle Demetriou / The Daily Telegraph / 2008