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Fawlty Tourists: Basil and Sybil in Retirement

Updated on May 5, 2022

You may be wondering whatever became of Basil Fawlty since he was no longer in the hotel trade haranguing and abusing his many unfortunate guests.

I thought he had disappeared into obscurity until I had a holiday in a Spanish campsite one year.

To my astonishment Basil was running the place along with his long-suffering wife Sybil.

The first inkling I had was on my first full day when I thought I saw a diminutive but familiar figure at the garbage area.

The figure in question was enthusiastically jumping up and down on top of a wheelie-bin shouting "Olé!" with every bounce. On closer inspection I confirmed what I had first thought. Although with much more white hair than I remember here was Manuel, the erstwhile waiter of the infamous hotel and now assisting Basil and Sybil back in his home country. At that moment he was engaged in a spirited attempt to flatten down piles of cardboard that were spilling out the bin.

The Irsh are leaving! The Irish are leaving!

I soon encountered the famous hotel owner himself on my way to the swimming pool as he was involved in a conversation with an Irish family who were checking out of their mobile home. Considering the demeanour and volume of the exchange it seemed he hadn't really mellowed over the years.

Here's what I overheard;

"My God! What have you been doing in here?" asked Basil in astonishment,

"Whaddyermean!" We've jist been 'aving a good time!" said Mr O'Shaughnessy,

"A good time? A good time?" screamed Basil, "Just look at the state of the place"

"But we thought that....."

"Never mind what you thought" interrupted Basil, "We've got the Germans coming this afternoon"


"But nothing", said Basil, "Just clear off and let us poor sods get on with it"

"Here now, there's no need ta be like that"

"Don't you tell me what I need to be like" Basil rounded on him, "It's alright for you lazy bastards, swanning around in the sun all day, drinking wine and putting your bloody feet up. I've been running around since seven this morning scrubbing caravans just to make people like you feel at home. Do you have any idea how hard it is? We're trying to run a campsite here you know. We'd've been better off putting you lot in a cowshed"

"That's that!, I ain't talkin to yer no more. Speak with yer missus"

"Who her? She thinks she's here on holiday too" said Basil

"Well, we gotta plane ta catch now" replied O'Shaughnessy

"Fine! Fine! Just bleedin fine!" Basil ranted, "You go on your way then and leave us to clear up this medieval cesspit you call home. You've never forgiven us for Cromwell, have you? ......Manuel!!!"

"I think we'll get goin" said O'Shaughnessy

"Manuel!!!" shouted Basil, "Were the bloody hell is he?......Sybil!!.....Sybil!!!!!"

The return of the Matriarch

"What is it Basil?" asked Sybil who had just turned up to hear what the commotion was all about.

"Oh hello!! There you are my little venus fly trap" said Basil sarcastically, "Sorry to interrupt your arduous sun-bathing duties but where is Manuel hiding himself?"

"He's throwing out the rubbish over at the bins" she replied,

Basil looked over to the waste disposal area,

"What the...!!, ........What's he doing???..... he's bouncing up and down like a bloody yo-yo!! I don't pay him good money to jump up and down on the bleedin bins all day. Get him over here!!"

"Calm down Basil" said Sybil, "What do you want him for?"

"I want him to get started on this caravan" Basil explained,

"This one?" asked Sybil,

"No!! not this one" shouted Basil, "Another one fifty miles up the bleedin coast!! The ferry leaves in 10 minutes, he might just catch it if he hurries up!!! .......Of course it's this one!!!"

"But we don't need to clean this one" explained Sybil,

"We don't need to clean this one? You're joking. Have you seen it woman? Have you actually looked inside? They've left it a tip. If we leave it a couple of weeks we'll have a bumper potato harvest."

"But it's not a problem" said Sybil, "I told them not to bother"

"You told them not to bother?" screamed Basil,


"Why in God's name would do that you silly cow!!!!"

"I told you last week Basil, we have high-season couriers coming today and I wanted them to get some good cleaning experience"


"I told you Basil. I asked the O'Shaughnessy family just to leave things as they are so we could train the girls"

"I see!!" snapped Basil,

"Didn't Mister O'Shaughnessy explain that to you Basil"

"Oh of course!!! It's all my bloody fault!! I'm supposed to remember everything you tell me and take the word of that Irish bogtrotter. What's the World coming to, mmm? mmm? I mean!!.. I mean... Is that what made Britain great?"

In response a voice from the distance shouts "Well if it's that feckin great why don't ya feck off back there then?"


The fully expected Spanish Inquisition

"Meester Fawlty!" said Manuel, "Yoo want me?"

"You shut up too you miserable Catalonian cock-up artist" roared Basil before aiming a fresh-air kick at the hapless Spaniard's backside.

Needless to say this intemperate exchange put Basil into a bad mood for the rest of the day. Unfortunately he decided once again to unleash his wrath upon unsuspecting German guests. The result was that he was later discovered jammed in a drain hole up to his waist and covered in barbecue sauce.

The last we heard was that he sold up the campsite and went touring with Sybil around Europe in a campervan. In an act of revenge he's inflicting his intolerable personality on the campsite workers, bar-staff and hotel-keepers throughout the length and breadth of the continent

It's a classic example of gamekeeper turned poacher.


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