It wouldn’t have taken much to say “No”.

But I’m lazy and the ’not much’ seemed like too much effort, especially following that “No” through with an actually not going.

So I went through a passive-aggressive parade of “I dunno…”, “Maybe, just not sure…”, “Do I have to?”, committing to “Oh, go one then…” around three months after the first announcement of the trip had been made.

The result of that contrived continuum of negativity is that I’m here, poolside, in what could be any moderately priced all-inclusive holiday hotel in Europe.

The pool towel is hired, acquired and layered upon the Altar of Melanoma.

I’ve made my own sun-bed, so now I’ll have to tell lies in it.

Except it’s not that simple. The lounger, manoeuvred into the current shade, will, of course, need to be repositioned every two and a half to three minutes. This is largely because the fixed, palm-canopied brollies are slightly smaller than the gamp you’d find garnishing a cheap cocktail.

The anticipation of this exercise will contribute substantially to destroying any sense of of calm and relaxation. I think a small part of my right foot is now in the sun. That was quick.

Anyhow, before my next slumber-bench-shuffle, I survey the vast panorama of the pool. A couple of square kilometres of sunblock-slicked soup with dots and freckles of humans glowing like Uranium and merrily colliding with each other in holiday-hysteria-fuelled Brownian motion.

OK, a few degrees anticlockwise should restore the ephemeral safety of the passing shade. Essential, during this exercise to knock over your drink. At least I kept my book dry.

Yes, my book. Here’s a question, if you choose to take a book at all, how do you decide which one?

How about a book you actually want to read? That one you started in Ibiza last year. Or that one you saw the woman with the fab designer glasses reading on the train. The Japanese one – Haruki Murakami, Dance, Dance, Dance.

But let’s be honest, there’s on category of holiday reading that serves a single purpose, which isn’t reading. The type of book that’s meant to be held, with the cover on bold display, pages turned with considered and learn’d nods. Perhaps turning back a few pages from time to time, returning with a soto voce ‘Hmmmmm’ to stress your depth of understanding and sensitivity to the delicate nuances of the plot.

Its purpose generally advises a stout volume, substantial enough to ensure your hat doesn’t blow off the sun-bed into the pool when you head for plastic cup of generic white alcohol doused in syrupy, under-carbonated euro-goo.

But don’t go too niche, it’s a rookie error. The tome must be recognisably serious. Go with Foucault’s Pendulum and you won’t get chance to explain Dan Brown harvested its essential organs to construct the his mainstream pamphlet; so what’s the point?

It’s also important to avoid anything that’s issued from the fingertips of Will Self. It’ll be like a week of self inflicted grammar and vocabulary tests.
My advice is go for something that’s been made into a film at least once. Probably a black and white film – there’s no serious reading transposed into widescreen colour.

This will equip you with a couple of advantages. You don’t have to read it it – just checkout the plot summary on Wikipedia. Better yet, you can explain how the film didn’t capture the characters, themes, political inferences – you choose – as well as the written word.

Just pray you don’t meet me whilst you’re doing it.