Episode 42: Diving Miss Daisy

“Get your trunks and suncream on we’re going out and no, it’s not downstairs to the wee invested kiddie pool before you ask. I’ve booked us all a ‘bugger Covid’ treat”.

Two sets of eyes look up from the sofa but bottoms remain firmly attached to the Draylon. Top Gear is in full swing. What could possibly compete with watching 3 Middle Aged men with thinning hair cavort through France on a supermarket trolly in a race to buy the last buttered croissant?

“We’re going scuba diving!!” I yell, trying to invoke some excitement into the immobile forms in front of me.

“We’ve not done that for over 4 years madre” my son sighs. “Do they actually have wetsuits big enough to fit you now you’ve expanded? We’ll have to do a refresher course or dad will have a panic attack again”

“That water was bloody cold, it was just a sodding shock that’s all! I’m not as confident as you two are. My dad wasn’t the man from Atlantis like yours Paula!” The elder male yells all this as he storms off to find more digestives. The door slams dramatically behind him.

I sigh, smile through gritted teeth and raise my voice so I can be heard throughout the newly rented flat.

“We’re going to have a nice family day out whether you like it or not without the need for telephones or TV’s or PlayStations. Now if you would all be so kind as to get your bloody swimwear on forthwith or I will personally rip every plug off every device and hurl them out the window! I’ll be waiting in the car. Don’t forget your masks!!”

Two hours later we are all huddled round a mini bus listening to a forthright northern lady explaining how best to breathe under water without the aid of gills. There are 6 of us in total, the other 3 comprise of a Scottish father and son, whose accent is so strong that we all just smile and nod whenever he poses a question and behind him loiters a supermodel from Hawaii. I shuffle away from the stunning creature and place myself between the instructor and my set of tanks and listen to the instructions on how not to die and what not to touch.

Wet suits are handed out and we all gingerly place our feet inside. Closing my eyes I drag the ensemble over my hips and suck my stomach in as much as my non-existent muscles allow. Jiggling my torso I inch it up until the zip is in place and I hastily tug it up around my shoulders and squeeze my bingo wings into the second skin. Encouraged by my own ability to not have fallen over In the process, I catch sight of myself in the rear view mirror and i stop mid smile and stare at the apparition before me. A pregnant seal in a scrunchie. Behind me the ‘Hawain Princess’ glides by in a suit the size of my left thigh and bends over to put her boots on. I can feel beads of perspiration begin to form.

“Marcus… MARCUS! You’re going to help me get my footwear on, I can’t reach my feet!!”

My husband isn’t listening, he’s too busy admiring himself in the window of a parked car. He’s the only person on Earth to have lost weight during the pandemic and I can mentally hear him mumble ‘how YOU doing?’ as he strokes his flat torso ensconced in the man made skin. I poke him unceremoniously in the back.

“Will you stop preening and help me get these sodding boots on!” Sweat is dripping down my back and I can feel the anxiety of middle age creeping in.
My son is already suited up and jumping off rocks into the sea with the instructors assistant. I smile inwardly as I see the Scots attempting the highland fling whilst wriggling into their suits and I breathe deeply and await the final instructions.

“Right everyone, let’s get those tanks on your backs, make sure you all check your buddy out. No going off on your own, make sure your partner is next to you. We’ll split into two groups”

I look pointedly at my son who mouths ‘what?’ I know once he’s in the sea he will suddenly become Aquaman, diving in and out of every nook and cranny in search of the elusive Kraken without a thought for the person floundering without oxygen beside him.

The sea looks like an infinite stretch of blue glass and I stagger to the waters edge like an ancient turtle sporting a metal shell. On command I inflate my buoyancy device and place my mouthpiece in. Inhaling the oxygen into my mouth i remind myself not to breathe through my nose. A peacefulness envelopes me and I give the hand gesture that everything is fine.

Slowly we deflate the air on our shoulders and our multi-shaped bodies slip down under the water, size no longer matters as we become one with the fishes.

All the noise from the tourists on the shore become non-existent and the world which we try so hard to control slips away from our grasp as a new universe begins.
Multicoloured fish pass by our goggles without fear or apprehension, accepting these flippered interlopers as one of their own. Gliding through the depths I suddenly remember how much I love this activity. My husband points at the seabed as an octopus propels itself through a bed of rocks. My son is ahead of me, steaming though the water like a silky seal. My body is weightless and I greedily look around at what nature has managed to keep sacred for millions of years.

The instructor gestures us all to pass through two caverns in single file and I stay happily at the back, confident in my ability to manoeuvre my ample buttocks through the crevice. I kick my heels like an underwater Dorothy and I feel something slip out from behind me. Stopping in my tracks I turn to see something sat on the sea bed. It’s blue. It looks like a flipper. Someone’s lost a flipper. I shake my head in amazement. Who could be so silly as to loose a flipper and not notice it had gone. I turn back and struggle down to retrieve it from the seabed. Grabbing it I turn to swim back up to join my companions but I don’t appear to be moving. I kick my legs again but stay sat immobile on the seabed. Suddenly I realise my I’m going nowhere. The missing flipper is mine.

To be continued…

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SCUBA TOURS IN BENALMADENA

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ELECTRI-CALL – Electrician & General Handyman

Episode 41: Know Escape

Before I quit blogging for summer, here’s one piece I left out previously as I didn’t know then how it was going to end

April 2020 – Know Escape

“So what happens now, do we just loose the 4K deposit, or do we take the gamble on Covid19 being a temporary blip and just steam ahead regardless?”

My husband is looking into my eyes for answers but for once in my life, I’m all out of opinion.

Our renewed employment optimism began when I chanced upon a business venture for sale earlier on this year; something we could easily run between ourselves that didn’t involve a deep fat fryer or the need to be polite to inebriated Brits; something that would fulfill our theatrical requirements and bring home the Iceland (overpriced) bacon.

But I’m jumping ahead…

It was a chilly winter’s morning and I’d been happily strolling over to El Jamon with my trusty old-lady trolley.  I decided to take a detour along a tree-lined side street when I glanced up to see an unremarkable grey wall with some strange hieroglyphics stenciled upon it.  Upon further inspection it appeared to be some kind of shop and I gingerly peered in through the frosted glass.

Being both curious, and more than a tad nosy, I tapped on the shuttered door and was met by a non-Spanish blonde lady who welcomed me in.

‘What is this place?’ I asked, looking around at the internal doors which all had timer’s placed above them. ‘Is it a speed brothel??’

The lady smiled, unsure of my humour. ‘We’re an escape room, have you been to one before?’

I shook my head and looked at the indiscernible writing on the walls.  I’d heard plenty about them but hadn’t visited one before. That was about to change.

For those unfamiliar with this type of business, an Escape Room is basically a themed room (think crystal maze) which you are locked into for exactly one hour and in that time you have to find your way out through a series of clues, locks and secret doors with the timer reaching a crescendo as the hour strikes one.  If you don’t escape within the allotted 60 minutes then a big gaping maw opens up in the floor and you are cast down into the bowels of hell, to burn for a thousand eternities without tapas or even a cooled Cana for company (a slight exaggeration in the last part but you get the general idea).

The blonde beside me sighed “Me and my partner have loved creating this business but have decided to sell up as we have other things to run in Marbella and can’t find the time to do them both unfortunately. If you know of anyone that’s interested in buying… a couple could run it quite easily between them…”

Sprinting excitedly back to the flat, trolley devoid of E numbers, I breathlessly inform my husband what I had found nestled only 3 streets away and he listens with mounting excitement.
Without pause for thought we run back up the road to check out the locked rooms and then we are shown the financial books on the business.  My husband’s eyes meet mine and I know he has fallen in love.

Within 7 days we had managed to borrow €4K for the deposit and arranged to take over the rooms in our names once the money for our already sold apartment was nestled in the bank.  Until that day arrived we were allowed onto the premises to get the place ready for the forthcoming Easter Trade.  Eager hands were shook and keys and cash were exchanged and lives were altered, all because I took a detour on my quest for replenished Bimbo.

Hundreds of hours we spent redecorating the rooms, adding new enigmas and updating the old.  My husband was in his electrical element, all thoughts of the Salon Varieties and their unwarranted redundancy long gone.  Doors opened magically and our imagination ran riot.
I no longer had to apply for jobs that I knew deep down I wouldn’t stick too.  We were going to work for ourselves, immersed in a world that was a mixture of theatre and mystery and hopefully, profit.
Life was good.  We’d found our slice of utopia.  For us, an escape was needed no more.  The sale of the flat was almost complete and we had started taking future bookings and then…

… And then covid happened.

Our dream disintegrated along with Spanish tourism. The world closed its doors and the Earth’s normality was shattered.  Bars lay empty, mannequins stood inert and freedom of movement became yesterday’s memories.

Within months of lockdown our vision of self-employment became a thing of the past.
With heavy hearts and with imminent rents to pay we had no choice but to walk away.  On the day we were finally allowed back out into society for an early morning masked walk, the keys were reluctantly handed back and 4k lost forever.   We resumed our positions on the sofa for the next 3 months, unemployed and awaiting confirmation from a series of men in suits scattered across the globe who promised that normality would resume again ‘one day soon’.

And here we are still; ‘the new normal’.  Boris has just announced that everyone who visits Spain must quarantine for 14 days once back in the UK. This will leave millions of people unemployed here once again, businesses once thriving will lie empty, lives shattered, bank accounts devoid of funds, all because of a few outbreaks in Catalonia.
We who live here can go back outdoors as long as masks are worn.  They’ve become the new ‘must have’ accessory. Handbags and heels are so last year, not unlike the Brits foreign holidays.

And so, for now, this is where my story ends.  When 2020 improves and freedom of movement resumes then I’ll continue boring you with my Spanish exploits but until that day arrives, have a wonderful summer and  enjoy the unlimited sun, Smear yourself in factor 50 (or just Olive Oil as we did in the 70’s) and enjoy whatever freedom you have. Try and avoid reading all the crap put on FB by uneducated expat journalists and watch the news instead.  Be kind to all the people panicking about relocating to Spain before Brexit takes its steely hold and try to paint a truthful picture or your life here, not one just coloured in pastels.

Our dreams haven’t ended, they are just taking a Covid detour.

To be continued… Episode 42

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A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – The New Normal.

“You’re going to break that keyboard if you bang it any harder, I thought we were going down to the pool that you so desperately wanted open? Are you listening? Get off bloody Facebook!”

I hold my fingers up to silence my husband as I’m currently in an online argument with an affluent pensioner (seated no doubt in their mortgage free ivory tower) who is insistent that we are all better off without tourism.

Now, those who have followed my blog since 2018 will know that we moved here with just enough money to buy ourselves a little flat in Fuengirola outright and have a few thousand left in the bank account to spend on wine and albondigas.

“Have you got sunstroke?” I hear you cry? “A few thousand for a family of 3 and a hungry hound?” “Have you forgotten to take your meds?” “Has someone replaced your HRT with Smarties?” “A few grand and no job?” “Es loco!!”

But here’s the thing faithful reader, my husband did have a job, a contracted one at the Salon Varietes Theatre and was beyond excited to have the career of his dreams and a regular income here but as you well know, sometimes our happy slumber turns into a world without light and almost one year later to the day, through no fault of his own he was made redundant and was forced to exit stage left.

This series of events sent my husband into a downward spiral, a feeling many are experiencing now, and he would spend days in bed and unable to face the world, the breadwinner without a crust to feed us.

Now as you know I’m a Northerner, my bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired. Nurse Ratchet looks like Florence Nightingale in comparison. My knee jerk reaction was to yell ‘get up, get out, get on with it’ which probably didn’t help nor gain me any future foot rubs; but after a week of my banging the mop against the door and playing Guns & Roses at full volume, he finally arose, bearded, jaded and in the need of a pint of Nescafé.
As a fully qualified electrical technician in the UK (electrical estimator and project manager, I stand corrected) he dusted off his pliars and resumed the work he’d left behind 20 years ago along with the grey skies and life went on.
I attempted to add butter to the warburtons whenever the opportunity arose but with our meagre savings obliterated, we had no choice but to sell our home and move into rented accommodation. But life goes on…that was yesterday’s news.

So here we are, almost a 100 days on from day one of isolation, a ‘new’ normal is upon the horizon. The government has tried to keep our heads above sea level, all of us under pension age treading water until tourism resumes and our new life in the sun can resume, mine included.

A voice breaks through my reverie. “Are you coming for a swim or not? I’m stood here like a right tw*t in my Speedo’s. Oh and the sparrows you keep feeding have multiplied are all sat on the oven waiting for breakfast. There was 5 at last count. One was sat on Brian’s head chirping away, I don’t think he even noticed to be fair, too busy wondering if he could blend into the feathered ensemble.”

I close the laptop and look up at the blue sky. Today is Monday the 22nd of June and tourism has been allowed to resume, albeit tentatively for the economy, it has no choice but to do so.

Holiday makers with factor 50 will return because everyone wants and deserves some sunshine in their lives. The local bar owners will dust off their shutters (but only if the landlords have been understanding) and happily pour you a larger than average measure with a relieved smile. Hotels will sweep away the dust sheets and shops will awaken tills with a flourish and iron out the creases as life resumes its new normal.

But…all this is only possible if you return to us. Climb down from your mountain top retreats and spend a bit of your hard earned pension on a tapas or two. Fly the skies in your masks and sit on our beaches at a respectable distance. Don’t let this horrendous virus dictate your lives.

I stretch my arms and yawn. My husband has grown tired of waiting and has fallen asleep on the sofa, towel wrapped around his tanned waist. A female sparrow suddenly flies into the lounge and lands on the coffee table, looking at me with motherly impatience.

“Ok, ok I’m coming. You have mouths to feed too” and I arise with my tiny companion, one on foot, the other on wings, both trying to ensue their family is fed; all of us trying to do our best in this uncertain world.

So… on that note, I have added a ‘Buy me a coffee’ button to my blog.
To ensure me and my feathered friends are fed please press on the button and donate. It’s only a few euros but it will ensure our tales are told and fat balls are buttered.

Finally my friends, be safe, be careful and, most importantly, be here because without you Covid-19 wins and remember, the only thing worse than a warm beer is a smug virus.

To be continued… Episode 41

If you enjoy reading the ongoing story of our relocation you can now BUY ME A COFFEE by following the underlined link!

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – Phase 3… yippee!

Water Fecking Liberty!

“It’s not going to open up any quicker by you staring at it day in day out.”

Ignoring the middle aged voice behind me I look longingly at the enticining cool blue water rippling in the sunlight beneath me. Swaying palm trees complete the oasis and I sigh out loud, brushing at the sweat forming on my brow.


“900 euros”, I mutter under my breath “900 euros a month for an apartment we can only use as a pretty prison.”


I stand on my tiptoes and squint over the boundary at my agile neighbours in their lycra wear, jumping gleefully into their ‘monitored’ wet and wild wonderland and I can feel the injustice of it all encase me like an unwelcome shroud.


“Look over there Marcus, they are allowed in their communal pool so why aren’t we?”

I petulantly kick at one of Brian’s tennis balls which promptly hits a plant pot and swiftly richochets over the wall onto the tendered green below. Brian, who is under the misguided assumption that he is the canine offspring of Peter Parker proceeds to scale the wall in persuit of his favourite toy but promptly forgets his rescue mission after he spots a few stray digestive crumbs nestling underneath the wilting Aloe Vera.
‘Well I’m contacting the owner’s son , he’s already made us pay an extra 270 euros as a penalty because we couldn’t move in on the day he wanted us to during lock down PLUS he’s got two months deposit, a months rent and the months agency fee. We could have had 2 weeks at Universal Studios for that price plus all the Butter Beer we could stomach in Diagon alley.


I can feel my last few apathetic hormones bristling internally at the insanity of it all. Come back 2019, all is forgiven.


“Worse things happen mum, people are rioting all over London,” yells an online schooled voice, “Can I have some cereal?”
“I told you to get it before the class started,” I shout back into the makeshift Covid classroom.


Any voice of reason is not welcome when I’m having a full on meltdown and I stomp back into the lounge to throw myself into the arms of Piers ‘ranty’ Morgan for an hour.

As a fully-fledged control freak I’m finding communicating with the Spanish landlord’s son an arduous task. On moving into the rental apartment we had anticipated and agreed upon the removal and disposal of a giant piece of mahogany furniture which resembled something from Mr Sowerbury’s parlor blocking 90% of the sunlight from the lounge. On arrival this monstrosity was still firmly in situ so we had to spend the next 3 days dismantling it and painting the bright yellow wall behind it. Also 2 large padlocks held the patio doors closed and the old lady who owned the flat didn’t have a clue where the keys were so they had to be drilled off before we could breathe in the outside air.


“Do you want to go across the road to the pub for lunch? He’s got Stroganoff on today?”

I lower my chin and shake my head. I’d eaten enough food this year to carry me into 2021. My birthday had been the previous week and I had celebrated my 53rd year by trying to give myself gout from consuming the 3 birthday cakes that friends had brought over to celebrate the fact we were allowed back into each other’s homes and lives.


Peeling my bottom lip off the sofa I reluctantly wander out into the hallway only to see a piece of paper being slipped under the front door. Bending creakily down to pick it up I gaze blankly at the Spanish writing adorning the crisp white sheet and my mouth suddenly drops. Certain words jump out at me and the blood that has been slowly simmering all morning reaches boiling point.


“Don’t go making any plans this Thursday evening,” I yell to the coffee-preparing adult form in the kitchen, “there’s a meeting taking place by the ‘terminally redundant’ pool for all the residents. Apparently they are going to decide whether the pool can open again… THIS YEAR!!!!” [Insert Maniacal Laughter]


With shaking hands I place the slip of paper on the sideboard and walk back out onto the balcony.


“I’m going in that bloody pool this weekend, come hell or high water. The cocoon brigade can go take up residence elsewhere. Neptune’s apprentice ain’t for turning.”

To be continued… The New Normal

If you enjoy reading the ongoing story of our relocation you can now BUY ME A COFFEE by following the underlined link!

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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Click HERE to read all about our relocation to Spain

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A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – Day.. Night… Who Knows?

Isolation Lessons Learned

1. Don’t try and pretend that the man behind you in the supermarket isn’t your husband. The security guard has watched you argue all the way up the street and is well aware that you are daring to shop together. Yelling ‘my backs gone and I can’t carry the Cruzcampo alone’ won’t stop him from throwing you and your old lady trolly out into the street while your spouse continues to hunt for the elusive vintage cheddar while oblivious on aisle three.

2. Don’t try to move apartment whilst on lock down. Hurling your belongings commando style into a white transit at the crack of dawn isn’t fun. Yelling ‘go go go’ every time the road is clear of ambling oldies makes you feel like you are stealing your own possessions. Trying to get permission from the police to relocate is akin to juggling snakes in a vat of jelly.

3. Eating 11 Easter eggs because ‘they were on offer in iceland’ isn’t the best way to approach your bikini body. Summer will arrive at some point even though lock down appears to have obliterated the sun’s rays along with your common sense and easy going attitude.

4. Don’t try and be ‘strong’ all the time. It’s ok to yell ‘When this is over I’m leaving you ALL and moving to Tobago/Wigan/Minnesota on my own!!’ They know you don’t really mean it as,let’s be honest, you’ll have f*ck all left in the bank when that time comes so you’ll just have to exist in simmering silence until either covid 19 bumps you off or you get type 2 diabetes from all the shit you’ve eaten in the past 3 months.

5. Don’t try and rent your dog out for walks. You know who you are.

6. When the take aways finally reopen for collection, kebab isn’t ok to eat every other day just because it comes with a salad. Nor is fine to let your husband order a curry online then spend the next 5 days shaking your head at him because he ordered incorrectly and your still eating the 30 onion bhajis costing the same price as your first car ‘by mistake’.

7. Realising that 3 months has passed and you still haven’t written the best selling book people keep saying you should write. You finally discover it’s not that you don’t have the time, it’s because you just can’t be arsed.

8. Deciding to have an 8pm walk along the seafront and bumping into an old friend doesn’t allow you to sit down on separate benches for a quick catch up because you will suddenly be surrounded by 5 police men on motorbikes who ask you to stand up against the wall while they yell ‘Are you sitting or walking?? Sitting or walking??’ Whilst taking your ID and making you feel like a drug dealer as opposed to a normal human being who just wanted to say hello to a friend you hadn’t seen in months.

9. Staring at the communal pool won’t make it open any quicker; nor will it enable you to swim like Sharon Davis when you finally get into it.

10. When life finally transcends into the new normal it’s ok to do bugger all some days. It’s fine to binge watch Killing Eve and plan your new career as a middle aged assassin just as long as you don’t have to get up too early. You won’t get arrested if the washing up isn’t done at night or if you decide to wear your nightdress to walk the dog. It’s ok to be human and to fail and to be weak and to shout and miss your family. It’s ok to be you.

To be continued… Day.. Phase 3 yippee!

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Click HERE to read all about our relocation to Spain

A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – DAY 21 (504 hours…30,240 minutes… 1,814,400 seconds).

I can’t physically see my feet anymore.  Where have they gone?  Has someone kidnapped them along with my sense of humour?  I’m sure they were there 3 weeks ago.  I try and suck the mottled beach ball in that has taken up residence just above my hips but it just reveals a couple of chipped orange toenails.


Squinting into the mirror I don’t recognize the puffed up face staring back at me.  I look like the Pillsbury dough boys granny.  My hair hasn’t moved position from the scrunchie I wrapped it up in 3 days ago.  I tilt my head and it remains static, a monument to apathy.
My dressing gown has become this seasons essential item; worn throughout the day, only to be removed when Brian needs to perform his ablutions and only then is it peeled off my reluctant torso to be replaced with an ‘I love disco’ onesie which is now my dog walking ‘no more than 50 yards or you’ll get fined’ activity ensemble.



A prolonged fart omits from the kitchen area.  A tall middle aged figure is stood filling up the kettle staring blankly at the tiles.  He’s rarely seen before noon; an apprentice Nescafé vampire in 80’s underwear. The only reason he rises at all is to fulfill his yearning for caffeine which is usually enough of an energy boost to propel him into another room.  Once the relocation of choice has been decided upon, seldom does he rise again until the battery on his phone dies or he runs out of digestives.

My son, infrequently seen out of his bedroom at the best of times, can be heard yelling into his headset throughout the day until the time comes when he is dragged out to the terrace to reluctantly run his enforced 100 laps and then returns to his den of inactivity to resume the position, promising to shower at some later date, probably sometime in June if we still have enough gas in the canister.

My long days are filled with a series of stimulating observations and conversations

“That women at number 23 has been out twice today, she didn’t even have a shopping bag with her the second time”

“Do you want cheese AND ham in your sandwich? I’m not risking Iceland again, I’ll probably get taken out on the bridge by a sniper if he sees me foraging for cheddar again”

“Can you flip me over if I haven’t moved in the next 12 hours, the bedsores are starting to antagonize my cellulite”

“Shut the F*ck up, I want a divorce… not that we’ll have any money left at the end of this”

And so it goes on… our enforced isolation.  The world is holding its terrified breath awaiting a time when we are allowed to walk freely along our chosen foreign shores and dip our toes back into normality again.

But today is not that day and nor is tomorrow, or next week for that matter.

I sigh and rearrange my face into one that isn’t terrified for my child’s future.

‘Right, who fancies a game of Trivial Pursuit? Winner gets to take the bins out!!’

To be continued… Day… Who the F#ck Knows?

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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Click HERE to read all about our relocation to Spain

A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – DAY 3 & 4

LOCKDOWN – DAY3 &4!

Day 3

“Get off that bloody Play Station and brush the dog, there’s tumbleweeds of hair everywhere”

“Why?”

“Because I say so!”

”Why can’t Dad do it?”

“Dad is busy!”

“No he’s not.  He’s watching Star Trek and eating custard creams”

“Are you eating the last of the Biscuits?”

“No…..”

“We need to start packing soon Marcus, just in case we complete on April fool’s day, can you get the stuff off the top of the wardrobe?”

“I will, after Spock saves the Enterprise from the Tribble”

“*sigh* …I’m cooking lunch in a minute, can you both set the table?  Hello, hello?  Oh fu*k it, you can get your own bloody food, I’m going back to bed!”

DAY 4

“That cloud looks like a sausage dog; look it’s got one leg shorter than the other”

I am sat on the balcony with my husband.  All attempts at personal grooming have vacated the building and I’m slowly starting to resemble Waynetta’s uglier sibling.  The bathroom, in desperate need of a damp sponge and a vat of bleach, waits patiently while Facebook and WhatsApp take precedence over household chores.  Nobody is coming to visit us any more so why bother?

“I think I’ll walk Brian over to the office, make sure everything is ok, no leaks or power cuts” my husband mumbles to no one in particular.

The “Office” is the term we use for our new business and is on the street behind us.  We daren’t say the name of it just in case armageddon actually occurs and we never get to open.  Weeks have been spent renovating the existing template but now it’s just sat there, waiting to be explored, lonely in its enforced isolation.  When will it be full of curious customers?  Only this virus knows the answer.  We no longer get to dictate our lives, an invisible force is playing hide and seek with our waking days and time is the only master.

I look up the sky, the sausage dog has gone.  It’s just a blanket of grey enveloping the landscape.

“Grab a bottle of Vodka on your way back,” I say to the departing figure, “I think we are going to need it.”

To be continued… Day 21

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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Episode 32: Manger Things

6 months later……

‘Are you going to actually consume that final chipolata or are you just setting it up on a blind date with your last remaining sprout?’

My son nods, crams the remnants of his lunch into his mouth and then continues to sway to an unheard rhythm, Christmas Air-Pods stuck firmly in his ears, tapping his legs in time to whatever society dictates is music these days.  I look over at my husband to share a conspiratorial smile but his head is also down, tapping at his phone screen whilst shaking his graying head in a Victor Meldrew fashion.  An audible sigh escapes my lips and I reach across the dinner table to clear the festive plates away from the unresponsive pair.  Another wishbone pulled, another dream unanswered, another day in the sun.

Brian ‘the ever hopeful’ is sat by the kitchen door, longingly staring up at the carcass of the ransacked turkey, tail wagging in anticipation of his own festive meal.  I place the remnants of our plates into his bowl and he greedily devours the contents with canine glee.

My husband’s voice breaks through the silence

“I’ve got a job on for tomorrow, a bloke in La Cala needs me to fix his Jacuzzi; he’s got friends over for New Year and they are refusing to get in until it’s got steam coming off it”

Once a lighting technician in the theatre, he had no choice but to return to being a jobbing electrician/handyman after redundancy stabbed him in the back. The manual labour he thought he had left behind was now part of his every waking day and each morning I listened to his bones creak like an old rocking chair left to the depredation of passing time.

My own adored job working for Tui as a resort rep was nothing but a distant seasonal memory.  The powers that be decided to reward me for reaching (and exceeding) my monthly targets by removing me from the hotel I knew and loved and shoving me into an establishment that would give ‘The Outlook Hotel’ a run for its money.  All that was required to complete this seafront vision was a frustrated writer with an axe and a pair of twins to haunt the corridors.  The clientele, no longer tanned and affluent, had been replaced with elderly patrons insistent on having an ambulance on speed dial just in case the porridge wasn’t heated to the required nuclear temperature.  I spent most of my mornings hiding under the stairs, avoiding wheelchairs and inebriated pensioners with burnt tongues.

“What’s for dessert mum? I’m still famished! Dad’s eaten all the mince pies AGAIN and I’m not allowed any more After Eights”

I turn to look at my son and have to crane my neck upwards to speak him. Almost 6 foot now, all limbs and legs and attitude encased in teenage angst.  

“I’ll make you a fruit salad; you’ve had enough sweets today.  Anyway, I thought you were meeting up with your friends at the skate park today? Go and see if they’ve messaged while I make dessert”

Turning to my husband I grab his glass of half finished wine from the table and motion for him to join me on the balcony.  Outside in the street one of the local residents that we have fondly nicknamed ‘Crazy Jesus’ is waving his arms about outside the Panaderia, shouting at invisible apostles whilst consuming a pastry encased in what looks like melted chocolate, pausing only to swallow a mouthful before his tirade of expletives continues.

I turn to look at my husband.  He doesn’t laugh a lot nowadays and I wonder, not for the first time if he is suffering from depression.  Losing his job hit him hard, he loved lighting the luvvies and watching each show evolve onstage.  Now he was back to hauling tools around on his back and fixing other peoples botched electrics.  He had stepped back in time with no tardis at hand to return to the future.

Taking a deep breath I voiced what had been on my mind for a while, the only solution to our ailing financial situation, a chance to begin again.

“I think we should sell the flat and buy a business and work for ourselves here on the coast…. and stop answering to fools”

I await his reply, it’s a risk, a big risk, but isn’t that why we moved out here in the first place?

Wary green eyes meet optimistic brown and a long forgotten dream suddenly resurfaces from behind a cloud of disappointment.  A smile reaches his lips, the first genuine one I’ve seen in a long time.

“F*ck it, let’s do it, what’s the worst that could possibly happen?”

To be continued…

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Episode 30: A Bard Days Night

‘So in total that will be 418 Euros for the three excursions, are you paying cash or card?’

I never thought as myself as much of a sales person before starting our Andalucían adventure but it appears I’m really rather good at making money for TUI.  Swiping the MasterCard through the wireless machine with a flourish, the transaction is instantly confirmed and I hand the coach tickets over to the sun kissed tourists and watch as the more elderly of the two adventurers  carefully places the receipts underneath her bikini top for ‘safe keeping’.

Stretching, I look up at the hotel reception clock and realize I should have finished work over half an hour ago.  Reaching over to my flipchart, I carefully write what daylight hours I will be working the following day and make my way out the front door, bidding farewell to the doe eyed Spanish cleaners as I leave.

‘Be Careful’ is sat waiting patiently in the MOTO bay alongside several other battered steeds and I hastily fire her ancient engine up.  Gingerly I place my continuously ample buttocks upon the scorching black leather seat and roar off down the seafront, trying to avoid the impromptu stag party which has taken up residence in the middle of the carriageway alongside their inflatable sheep and half consumed bottles of Jagermeister.

The beach is awash with sun seekers, greedily soaking up the heat and applying factor 50 to already pre baked skin. Children and pensioners sit side by side on pedalo’s, trying to avoid teenagers on Jet Ski’s who appear intent on never reaching their 21st birthdays.

Kevin & Perry, BBC1

Within minutes I’m parked outside my home and I happily make my way up the communal spiral stairs. The thermometer on the balcony has reached its peak and I let myself in the sweltering flat and drop my ruck sack on the floor while calling out a greeting to whichever inhabitants are still encased indoors.

 My son, now age 13, has morphed from an outgoing young lad into a gangly monosyllabic teen who appears to have his phone surgically attached to his hand.  Stumbling from the bedroom into the lounge he falls onto the sofa and without any acknowledgement of my previous absence, asks what’s for lunch.

Sighing with parental resignation, I make my way into the circa 1973 kitchen and throw a few ingredients into the last two remaining slices of bread and add a couple of carrot sticks in way of compensation for my lack of culinary imagination. Grunting in my general direction, the ‘Kevin’ (minus Perry) incarnate staggers back into his bedroom clutching the food and slams the door without a backward glance, no doubt to resume destroying all of the undead on his Xbox1.

Slipping out of my 100% polyester ensemble I lazily head into the shower and let the cool water cascade down my rubenesque torso.  Lathering my hair up into vosene frenzy I vow to start on my low carb diet once the weekend is over and after I’ve polished off the 2 scotch eggs hidden carefully at the back of the fridge.

Rubbing the soap along my unshaved Velcro legs I half heartedly hunt around for a razor then remember I used it to defluff the wayward bobbles on the sofa blanket the previous week. Closing my eyes under the spray I allow my mind to wander back over the past 16 months of our life in Spain and all the hurdles we’ve encountered and overcome, none of which was ever mentioned by the shiny eyed presenters on all of the relocation programmes back in the UK.

Comedy and Tragedy

With resignation I turn the cold tap off and step out back into the humidity, patting myself dry and trying to avoid my middle aged naked reflection en route.  Grabbing a sarong from behind the bathroom door I stroll into the lounge and immediately see my husband emptying his work bag on the table, shoulders hunched and lips devoid of whistle.

‘You ok?’ I ask without real concern, mind already subconsciously devouring the eggs of Scotchness.

‘They’ve let me go’ he mumbles into the silent air

‘Whose let you go where?’ I reply, confused, all thoughts of savoury products forgotten.

‘The Theatre, they’ve let me go’ he finally looks up, green eyes searching mine for an answer to his own question.

‘I’ve been made redundant’.

To be continued… Episode 31

 A New Wife in the Sun is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 29: A Tail of Two Biccies

She’s putting on that sky coloured outfit again, the one that smells of sausages and old people.  It must be her favourite thing ever as she wears it most days now, although it does get taken off each night and hurled into that big white noisy thing which spins crazily around the kitchen until it exhausts itself.  She opens it’s mouth and the dress comes out smelling of flowers!  I like flowers.  I like to wee on flowers but I don’t wee on her dress because I know when she comes back from that place she calls her ‘work’ the outfit will smell like it did before she put it in the hungry thing;  like pensioners, pancakes and Paula.

in MY chair

I’m watching her from my chair.  She looks smiley and is humming as she puts some bright red stuff on her mouth and brushes her hair.  I love my mum. She lets me have bits of food when she is cooking and takes me for a swim in the sea when everyone else is still asleep. When we come back dad stands with his hands on his hips and says ‘Has he been on that beach again? You know you’ll get fined if they catch him on there’ but mum just shrugs and helps herself to a biscuit from a big jar.  She sometimes talks to the biscuits saying they are naughty just before she eats them.  I like naughty biscuits.

I stretch and put my legs in the air.  I have my own armchair.  It’s very comfortable.  I sometimes try and sit on other peoples big chairs but I’m not allowed because apparently I shed which confuses me as I’m a Brian, not a shed.  No one sits on my chair but me and occasionally silly strangers who walk in and plonk themselves down on it. When they get up they look annoyed as there’s a lot of me on them apparently.  I don’t mind, they can share me and my shed.

My mum pats me on the head and then goes out the door and gets on that shiny blue thing with 2 wheels that I think is called ‘Be careful!’ Dad shouts that whenever mum is on it but she just waves and overtakes cars.  Dad shakes his head.  Dad does that a lot when mum is on ‘Be careful’.  My brother asked if he could have a ‘be careful’ when he’s older and mum said something about it being over her dead body.  My brother then slammed the door and my mum ate another biscuit.

‘Be Careful’ at the beach

Dad farts in the bedroom.  I get down off my comfy chair and wander in to see him. He pats me on the head and says ‘Do you want to come with me to work today?’ and I wag my bottom.  We both have breakfast.  Dad never has any of mine but I sometimes get some of his as he drops crumbs when talking to mum on his little black box.  She makes dad laugh.  He calls her a pain in the arse but is smiling when he says this.

“Go and get your lead then” dad says putting the talky machine down but I’m already at the front door, waiting and wagging.  I like the park, it has a lot of smells and I like to potter about but Dad walks around behind me sighing and telling me to hurry up, holding a sandwich bag as we’ve run out of MY bags apparently.  Once I’ve recycled my breakfast on the grass we head towards the big noisy building with lots of chairs and a stage where everyone’s name is ‘Darling’.  I quite like it here.  Lots of people pat me on the head when I walk through and sometimes I find a misplaced crisp on the floor. My dad works here in the night making everyone look shiny.  Mum says he pushes buttons for a living but dad just gives her ‘the look’  and says if she wants to look shiny next time she’s on stage then she better stop pushing his buttons.  Mum just laughs, she likes pushing his buttons herself sometimes.  I like chocolate buttons but I’m not allowed them.

Me and my man pet go outside and sit with some smiley people with skin resembling my chew bone. They pat dad on the back and ask him to make sure that they look FABULOUS on stage.  I tilt my head; I didn’t know dad was a magician too.  Good job my mum wasn’t here, she would snort into her drink and dad would have to kick her under the table.

Not a shed

I can feel my eyes growing heavy, the air is getting really warm now and I close my eyes and lie down under the table. When I was very small mum got very sad as I have something called Hip Dysplasia. She says we moved to Spain for me as it would make me feel better as being cold made my legs hurt a lot.

As I drift off to sleep, surrounded by the laughter of strangers I sigh and remember how very lucky I am to be a New Bri in the Sun.

To be continued… Episode 30

 A New Wife in the Sun is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.