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 continied…

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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

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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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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?

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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

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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.

Episode 26: Divan Intervention

“What on earth is a blanket trip and who in their right mind needs blankets?  It’s almost 30 degrees out there and it’s not even 8am!”

Blotting the sweat which is trickling at an unhealthy speed down into my cleavage, I explain once again to my confused husband what my latest form of employment actually is.

“It’s not just blankets, its mattresses too and they are all made from the best Marino wool that ewe can buy.  Anyway, I’m more than happy for you to find me my dream job, just as I found you YOURS in the theatre!” and I slam the door behind me and head for the stairs.

Unfortunately my dramatic exit is cut short when I tentatively have to reopen the door to retrieve my forgotten helmet and then slam it for a second time.

Mumbling to myself, I gingerly place my buttocks on the already blisteringly hot moped seat and head towards my latest form of employment.

I’d spotted the job advertised online a couple of weeks earlier and it sounded relatively easy.  All you were required to do was stand in a hotel foyer and book people onto free locals excursions.  The only catch being before you reached the chosen destination; a detour was made to watch a well presented sales pitch led by two charismatic women in a factory outlet in Malaga.  All this was made more enticing by the fact there wasn’t actually any hard sell on the beds and coffee and cake was provided along with a glass of sherry.

 The promoters were so passionate about the products I was almost swayed to purchase a mattress and a pair of wool innersoles myself but then remembered I needed neither and in all honesty, had no money left for such frivolity.  But several pensioners did purchase the products and the mood was good humored as we left the factory and headed towards Mijas village for the complimentary day out.

A car horn suddenly beeps loudly behind me and I realize that the traffic light has changed from Red to Green.  Within minutes I am parked outside my local hotel and straighten my crumpled blouse before heading into the embrace of the air conditioned building.

“Blanket trips anyone? Free trip to a Ranch afterwards, tapas and drinks included…plus a free stallion if you can fit it in your hand luggage” I smile at the elderly guests making their way to breakfast.  Some look at me as if I’m trying to sell them funeral plans but others happily sign up with the promise that the sales pitch in the factory isn’t hard and the coach is air conditioned.  Every signature on the sheet contributes towards my pay along with the knowledge that I will start Tour Guiding on the coach once a position becomes available.

 The morning finally draws to a close and I pack up my clipboard along with my sales pitch and head home, stopping en route to pick up some fresh bread from the Panaderia.

Opening the apartment door I immediately hear the voice of my son yelling into his Xbox alongside the dulcet tones of Jeremy Clarkson omitting from the lounge.  Placing the still warm rolls on the counter I await confirmation of my return but I wait alone, technology taking precedent over human contact.

As I stand forlornly by the vibrating fridge I am struck by the realization that my son isn’t suddenly going to start playing in the streets with the local Spanish children, he’s almost a teenager and the online forums are now his virtual playground. My husband quite happily works in a local theatre; he isn’t ever going to be the next Bill Gates.  He enjoys lighting the luvvies and in his spare time watching middle aged men drive fast cars and talk crap and get paid millions to wax lyrical about Ford Mustangs.

Retracing my steps, I pick up my keys and retreat back to the front door.  But blocking my path is the one family member that’s always pleased to see me, Brian the ever hopeful.  Shaking in anticipation he reaches up to me with his dirty paws and looks me in the eye, happy in the knowledge that he has a warm bed to sleep in, food in his bowl every night and most importantly, people that love him.

“Maybe we should all be more like you Brian, grateful for what we have’ I whisper to my furry companion and he replies by gratefully licking my nose.  Picking up his lead we head outside into the fresh air and away from the internal noise.  Moving to Spain was my dream and the reality of the situation isn’t easy.  Work is vastly underpaid, families still argue, the language is a barrier but the one thing that there is here in abundance is sunshine and cheap wine, and that brightens even the darkest of moods.

“Fancy a sausage sandwich?” I enquire to my four legged friend and he replies with a wag off his tail. Smiling to myself I cross the road and head into the shade, just another expat strolling the avenue whilst trying her best to find a new life in the sun.

Paula is taking a break from Blogging for the summer but will be back in the autumn.

To be continued… Episode 27

 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 25: Peters and Me

‘No dahhhling  you have to chase Billy around the table THREE times, swing left, punch right and then have a cigarette.  Make notes in your script if you can’t remember’ yells the director

‘But… but you told me yesterday to do it the other way round?’ I shout uncertainly into the dazzling spotlight but my reply is met with a deafening silence so I wander back into the wings and join the other cast members who are sat laughing at the confused look etched onto my weary face.

‘Don’t worry, that’s what he does’ whispers the elder of my onstage sons ‘he changes his mind and then blames us.  Don’t waste time questioning it.  He’s been directing here for over 30 years and he isn’t going to change’

Sighing with resignation I reach down for my script, erase all my previous notes and scrawl my new ones onto the rapidly disintegrating paper.  Looking out onto the stage I see the young male lead circling the stage with his imaginary kestrel and wonder, not for the first time why I put myself through this unpaid torture.

From a very early age I required verification that I was indeed, different.  I would perform comedy sketches to strangers on the tram after our weekly shop at ‘Quick Save’.  My mum would struggle up several flights of stairs as I gave my rendition of ‘Paper Roses’ to anyone that would listen and after a particularly torturous trip on the 11c bus to exchange some Hoover parts, she finally decided to give someone else’s ears a bashing and entered me into a local talent show hosted by Uncle Peter Webster.

This legendary seaside show was the highlight of the Blackpool summer season. Hundreds of proud parents would watch the fruit of their loins destroy some harmonious melody or tap dance themselves off the stage.  The winner being decided by the audience members so the more family you coerce with the promise of Dandelion and Burdock and Pork scratchings, the better.

Unfortunately, if you were entered in a heat with an Irish child you may as well just cut your losses and head home with your stick of consolation Rock.  So many siblings attended the show they had to sit on each other’s laps and fists would fly if “Baby Connors’” tuneless horn-Pipe rendition wasn’t met with adoring applause from the surrounding parties.

The highly desired prizes lined the glistening stage, sat in untouchable supremacy.  Dolls houses and giant teddy bears fought for dominance while eager faces stood staring whilst wringing sticky fingers, their dreams held in a stranger’s hand, awaiting their names to be called from the wings.

It was on a summers afternoon in 1972 that my 5 year old skinny and confident self  marched onto the stage and sang ‘Where’s your mama gone’ to a packed audience and amazingly, chirpy chirpy cheep cheeped my way to first prize which was a shock even to me as I was sure the blind 7 year old piano player would pip me to the post with his Liberace tribute act.

Deafening applause greeted my return to the stage and I briefly caught the shocked but proud look on my mother’s face, no doubt imaging her future self having to trail to auditions in the wind and rain with her very own Lena Zavaroni incarnate doing vocal exercises on the last bus to Bispham.

Uncle Peter Webster held out his hand to take mine for our bows but I bypassed the smiling compare and headed straight towards the row of gleaming prizes. Without hesitation I clutched A giant purple doll to my chest which was almost the same height as me and yelled ‘look mum I’ve won’ into the audience.  Laughter surrounded us and from that moment on I knew I was never going to be normal.

A rapid prod in the back brought me out of my 1970’s reverie and I was dragged back into a world where strangers were no longer called uncle and dolls that yelled ‘Mama’ when tipped forward have been eagerly replaced with technology and greed.

‘Mum, can I have a few Euros; I’m not in this next scene and I’m FAMISHED and I remembered ALL my lines, unlike you’, my son says with a cheeky smile

Reaching into my pocket I drag out whatever change I have and watch my boy, all gangly 12 years of him confidently run out of the door, not a care in this world, adamant that a future onstage is where his heart lies.

Stretching and reaching for my script I catch sight of myself in the mirror.  My mother’s eyes look back at me and I realize now, I’m in the same situation as she was all those years ago, a parent with a child who holds dreams of stardom in their hearts.

‘Act 1 beginners to stage please, beginners to stage’

Brushing my wilting beehive back from my aging brow, I paint a frown onto my working class face and do what I do best, pretend to be somebody else.

To be continued – Episode 26

 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.