Episode 22: Careless Vespa

‘I’ve decided to forego my soul and become an estate agent’

My husband, a man used to my vast array of career choices just nods his head and continues to eat his all bran

‘I’m serious, a friend of a friends husband is one and he says you don’t need any qualifications and it’s the easiest way to make decent money along the coast and he’s prepared to train me up.  I’m starting tomorrow’

 I finally pause for breath and await his approval.

‘Go for it Hoogstraten, I’m more than happy to become a kept man.  Is there any more milk in the fridge?

I shouldn’t be surprised by his reply.  I have had a fair few careers since I left school in 1984.  Over a 100 at the last count.  My husband has had two.  Most people count sheep when they go to bed, I count the numerous opportunities that have been handed to me.  The trouble is, I love a good interview, I just don’t usually like the actual job.

My first foray into gainful employment was a season as ‘Henry the Happy Howler’ in Pontins, Blackpool.  That job was short lived as I overheated on the first Summers day whilst clad in the orange dog suit,  passing out on top of a small child currently having his photo taken with my alter ego.

Then as an only child I suddenly decided I wanted to care for others people’s offspring and not just crush them so I promptly took a position as a nanny for three small kids aged one, three and five.  If I’m honest, the main reason I wanted the role was because it was based in Israel and after a brief stint as a hairdresser I wanted to see much more than just the inside of a pensioners beehive.  Unfortunately on arriving in Tel Aviv, I realised my teenage self didn’t actually like the fruit of others peoples loins or the reality of working a 15 hour day, or working at all if I’m honest…

Anyway, I digress. I was now going to make a fortune selling property and purchase me some Botox and a bit of liposuction with my first proper Spanish pay cheque. 

Staring at the contents of my wardrobe I realised that anything resembling office wear had a size 12 label in the collar and I was currently verging on a stout 16.  Slamming the offending closet door closed I consoled myself with a ham sandwich and promised to cut out carbs starting from tomorrow.

The sound of rainfall dripping onto the air conditioning unit dragged me from my slumber the following morning and I forced my ever expanding hips into a pair of ‘all you can eat’ leggings and a borrowed blouse.  By 9am I was ready to make my first million and headed outside to straddle my latest mode of transport, a second hand blue Vespa purchased only a few days earlier which sat alongside my husband’s larger bike.

Staring down at the wet seat I realised mopeds were only fun when the sun shone and not on rainy days but as training was being held in the managers house over in Mijas Golf I had no choice but to clamber on board and hope that none of the other trainees thought I was incontinent when I walked into the room with a moist bottom.

Twenty minutes and several wrong turns later I finally located the property.  Brushing the rain off my visor I stared up at the big detached house then down at my sodden attire. A knot formed in my stomach as I gingerly reached out to push the doorbell on the gate.

Hesitating, I let my hand stay mid air.  Uncertainty gripped me and the bell remained untouched.  Clutching my helmet, I bowed my head and turned back towards the bike.  Whom was I kidding; this dog was way too old to learn new tri…..

The door behind me suddenly opened and a masculine voice cut through the air

 ‘Hola!  You must be Paula.  Come in!’

To be continued –

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, 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 21: A Mother Day in Paradise

‘Hello Ladies, congratulations on all your auditions, they were all excellent.  You’ll be pleased to hear that none of you are actually playing the part of the Kestrel, hahahhaaaa’

We all smile politely at the director whilst snatching glances around the room at the other cast members sitting expectantly around the table.  I catch the eye of my dimpled friend from the previous week and she gives me a knowing wink.

‘The reason we are here today is to have a brief read though of all your roles and to get the feel of the play.  Shall we start with introducing ourselves and which character we are playing?’

A blonde lady with a West Country accent starts us off and we rotate round the table.  Library assistant, farmer, delivery person and finally it’s my turn to speak up.  I clear my throat and look up at the expectant faces.

‘Hi I’m Paula, I’m new to the theatre and I’m playing Mrs Casper’ I smile and raise my palm in an uncertain wave.  I look around the table and see a few surprised expressions, so I swiftly return my misplaced greeting into my lap where it rests like a bird without wings.

‘Fabulous’ Booms the director ‘ let’s get cracking!’

An elbow nudges me in the ribs.  I turn to my left and a voice whispers in my ear ‘I went for that role’.  I nod my head solemnly and stay staring at my script, afraid to meet the eyes attached to the voice.  I’m fully aware from previous experience that ‘Woman in Shop’ doesn’t really compensate when you’ve auditioned for a principle role, so I clear my throat and keep my ego and opinion in close check.

A couple of hours and several accents later we are released from the confines of the dusty theatre and I quickly make my excuses and head back out into the sun.  Ambling through the streets of old town Fuengirola I raise my face toward the mid summer heat and breathe in the heavy scent of freedom.  I still can’t quite believe that we own outright our little apartment in this bustling, non apologetic seaside resort and within ten minutes my key is rattling in the front door and I wearily let myself back into our own private corner of utopia.

“I’ve sold it!” yells my husband as I walk indoors and I know instantly that the Xenia, our little warrior princess of a jeep is no more.  Sitting side by side on the balcony we sip a glass of wine and chat about our next mode of transport.

My son, only recently released from the wilderness ambles out onto the terrace and plonks himself on the sofa next to us.  I can still smell the mud caked into his pores but his eyes are clear with excitement.

‘So, as it was my idea, can I have a moped too?’ he looks at us in anticipation, already revving the engine with his mind’s eye.

‘No you can’t!’  I reply in no uncertain terms’ but you can help us choose which one you fancy sitting on the back off…your dad is getting a 125, less embarrassing apparently than a twist and go’ I say winking  in my husband’s direction.

With reluctance my ‘I’m almost a teenager’ accepts his passenger status and all three of us look online at shiny vehicles with two wheels as opposed to our usual four.  Within the hour we have contacted a local chap who deals in second hand bikes who is prepared to bring a couple over so we can have a test drive the following morning.

And so without drama, we all sit companionably together and watch the sun set over the Andalucía Mountains, laughing at the adventures which have already occurred and eagerly awaiting the ones that are yet to arrive.

A New Wife in the Sun is having a month off over Easter so I shall resume blogging when all chocolate has been consumed

To be continued – Episode 22

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, 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 20: The Ham That Rocks the Fable

Ten minutes later I gently close the auditorium doors behind me and stroll back out into the afternoon sunshine.  Several expectant faces look up from their scripts in anticipation of their name being called to head into the inner sanctum.

“How did it go?” a female voice makes me jump.  A striking brunette, slightly older than me is stood with a glass of wine in her hand.  Dimples form in her cheeks and she motions for me to join her at the table.

“OK, I think?’ and smile, pleased that I may finally have a drinking companion and order myself a glass of white wine and sit down beside her.

“Have you done any plays previously here at the Theatre?”  I politely enquire and take a sip of my chilled confidence booster.  She shakes her head and a slight frown forms across her smooth brow “Almost, but not quite…” 

Before I can ask what that sentence means her glass clinks against mine and she leans forwards, dimples in place once again ‘May the best Mrs Casper win’ and winks in my direction, and I smile at her good natured camaraderie, only slightly marred by the fact that we are in reality, hoping that the other ones acting skills are, in essence, crap.

“How did it go?” my husband enquires as I saunter back into the apartment an hour later, slightly rosy cheeked and tipsy, tottering uncertainly on my kitten heels.  He pauses, cheese toastie half way to his mouth and shakes his head.  He knows me too well.  I love auditions.  The adrenalin, the unknown, the fact that I have only one chance to make a first impression, waiting for the phone to ring, if it rings at all…  It’s like being a teenager all over again, minus the acne and love bites.

“OK I think?” and then my phone rings… caller unknown.

Grabbing it I put it onto speaker and motion for my husband to be quiet.

Before I’ve even had time to perfect my Judy Dench inspired acceptance speech a familiar voice echoes down the line.

“Mum, it’s me, I’m absolutely knackered, I’m on their phone, I’ve lost my charger, we’ve been camping in the woods the last 2 nights, almost got eaten by a wild boar, Then we went swimming in the lake in our undies, anyway, the course has finished, can I have a penknife now?  Come and get me and bring a KFC, I’m famished, bye!!”

Without having breathed one solitary word I replace the phone back on the table.  Looking towards Brian I shrug my shoulders and he replies with a wag of his tail anticipating a tennis ball appearing from behind my ear or failing that, a digestive from up my sleeve. 

Heading out into the evening sun we spend 15 minutes trying to remember where we parked the Jeep then the following 30 minutes trying to get the vehicle started.  The engine is as flat as a supermodels chest and I can feel the first sign of panic starting to set in, imagining my son, patience not being one of his virtues, foraging in the forest in search of the lesser spotted chicken dipper.  Finally, we manage to flag someone down with a set of jump leads and the neglected engine finally roars into life.  Looking beside me I notice Brian has found a disregarded packet of monster munch and is currently sporting a pickled onion flavoured food bag on his snout.  Kneeling down I pull the crisp wrapper off his face and shove him into the car. Sweat trickles down my back and I my stomach grumbles in protest at its lack of contents.  A phone suddenly starts to ring.  My bag is jammed under the car seat and as I pull it out, the contents go flying around the jeeps interior, all apart from my favourite lip gloss which makes its escape out the open window, seeking a new life in the Alhaurin countryside.

The phone goes silent then immediately starts to ring again and I grab it, knowing full well it will be my son asking why he hasn’t been picked up yet.  Wiping the sweat of my brow I press the answer button

“Hold on, we’re bloody coming, your dads got a flat battery and Brians snorted that much MSG his eyes are rotating faster than a fairground Waltzer.  Have you had a wash at all this week or am I going to have to hose you down before you step foot back into civilisation…?”

Pausing for breath I wait for my sons reply but an all too familiar theatrical male voice finally cuts through the silence instead “I take it that’s a yes then to playing Mrs Casper?”

To be continued – Episode 21

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, 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 19: Much Ado About Blogging

I’m sat in front of the silent laptop, fingers hovering expectantly over the keys, willing the phrases I use so freely on a daily basis to transport themselves from body to technology.  I promised myself I’d write a witty account of our relocation but unfortunately, my aging grey matter has other ideas.  

 I close my eyes, trying to recall how it felt as we took our first steps into our New life in the Sun all those months ago.  I rub my forehead and look out towards the mountains through the window, seeking divine inspiration from my elasticated smalls which are currently wafting themselves dry on a hastily erected rotary line, but they offer no words of wisdom, not even an opening pun.  I sigh and get up of my seat.  I may as well bring the washing in while awaiting the cascade of witty one liner’s to take up residence in my currently uninhabited brain.  

Letting myself out onto the balcony I kick an unidentifiable chewed dog toy along the tiles for ‘Brian the brave’ who hurls himself along the slippery surface, performing a skater’s turn before his head makes contact with the back wall.  I pick up a couple of dead leaves from a potted plant and then saunter back indoors to the welcoming glare of the empty computer screen.  A clap of thunder echoes overhead.  I catch a glimpse of several T shirts still waving at me on the line and let out an audible sigh.  How the hell I am going to recreate our adventures onto Spanish soil from over four months ago if I can’t even remember to bring in my clean cottons when I’m standing right in front of them!

Slamming the laptop lid resolutely shut I get up and mumble profanities all the way to the biscuit tin and consume several sponge fingers before I’ve even made it to the comfort of the sofa.  Brian does his best Paul McKenna death stare, willing the sugary treats to fall in his direction while shadowing me from room to room.

“If I give you a digestive will you go and write my Blog for me?”  I enquire to the salivating hound but the canine one is too busy drowning in his own expectant dribble to adhere to my pleas.

My husband ambles into the lounge, scratching his early morning shadow while simultaneously breaking wind, takes one look at my thunderous expression and crumb laden torso and promptly leaves the room again.  “Don’t forget you have that audition today for KES at the theatre at 3pm” he yells from the safety of the kitchen “You’ll be good in that role, the mother in that is a right misery, you can do some method acting!”

Within two hours I am transformed from Ena Sharples into Ivy Tilsley with makeup and hairspray applied and kitten heels adorned.  Standing outside the theatre bar I feel a nervous flutter of excitement, armed only with the prospect of standing on an unfamiliar stage with just a script and my ego to hand.

People of all ages are milling around tables, comparing characters and perfecting Yorkshire accents.  I sit on the outskirts watching the women my own age chat good naturedly to each other before their name is called and they head towards the stage, the heavy doors closing behind them, their rendition of this Northern classic to be heard only by the directors in charge.

I toy with the idea of having a swift vodka beforehand to calm my nerves but then decide ‘Karaoke Kes’ may not be what they are looking for.  I see a few familiar faces sat on the table opposite and smile uncertainly in their direction, but I am not invited into the inner sanctum, I have as yet to earn my stripes, I look down at the script before me and mumble random lines into my diet coke.

“Paula Lesk….lesch…lasch….skovitz?”  I lift my hand uncertainly and rise from my seat and head towards the Theatre doors.  An elderly lady places a number on my blouse and I look down.  Number 13, just my sodding luck.

Straightening my shoulders and fluffing up my hair I place a nervous hand onto the velvet clad door and enter the unknown.

Two men are sat waiting by the stage, hands outstretched and smiles adorning their confident faces.

“Ah, I take it you are lighting guys wife, we’ve heard all about you” they laugh conspiratorially.

Taking a deep breath I look them directly in the eye and in my best Yorkshire accent reply

 “Yeh, I bet you bloody ave!”

To be continued – Episode 20

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, 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 18: Where Eagles Scare

“Its 0800 hours, rise and shine soldier, these pots won’t wash themselves!”  I yell into the new recruit’s bedroom. 

My son opens one eye, looks at me, sighs, turns over and pulls the duvet up over his ears. 

“Can’t you stay at home mum and let dad take me to boot camp, you’re beyond embarrassing” he mumbles from underneath the bedding. 

“What, and miss your grand entrance into independence?  Not on your Nelly” I reply with a sardonic smile. 

Gingerly retracing my steps over the mountain of dirty clothes strewn across the floor, I noisily close the bedroom door behind me and try and ignore the ‘where’s my socks/hoody/trainers!’ dialogue that follows me around the apartment for the next hour. 

Once said items have been located (stuffed in the bottom of the wardrobe as usual) the whole family including Brian ‘the brave’ pile into the jeep and head up towards the Alhaurin mountains.  The temperature gauge at 9.30am is already heading into the 30’s as the summer sunshine beats relentlessly onto the singed Spanish countryside.  Boy child brushes his hands over his newly shaven locks and stares out of the window.  Brian attempts to consume an old Twix wrapper and my husband hangs one lanky tanned arm out of the window while its white twin hangs forlornly inside the moving vehicle.

“I still can’t get used to the fact that the theatre closes down for over two months in the summer” the older of the males says to no one in particular.  I nod my head in agreement.  Only 3 months into the position of lighting technician and already he has 2 months off.  Mentally I compile a list of things that need repairing around the flat, and that list increases steadily by the day.  Unfortunately the only room in our humble abode that currently has an air conditioning unit is the lounge so it’s akin to entering the Sahara desert when you have to leave the comfort of the chilled room and make your way begrudgingly to bed.  The first few hours of attempting sleep is usually spent on top of the sheets mumbling ‘it’s too hot, are you hot?  I’m really hot, get your leg away from me it’s too hot’.  Of course I hold the ‘I’m WAY hotter than you’ card, being age 51 and attached permanently to what appears to be an internal furnace with a broken thermostat.

After 17 wrong turns we finally arrive at the camp meeting point and a young lad on a push bike leads the way up to the area which is going to be home to my son for the next 5 days.

“You can drop me off here” boy child mumbles and makes a hasty exit from the confines of the stifling car.  Half a dozen teens are loitering around a large green tent listening intently while a man dressed in Khaki shouts out orders.  Spotting his latest recruit ambling towards the camp the Commando yells out towards my son  “You look tired boy, no doubt up to god knows what time on the Xbox, well there’s none of that computerised crap here, pick a bunk and fall into line”

My son, who never does what he’s told without argument, breaks into a sprint, drops his bag onto an empty mattress, puts his shoulders back and joins the other inmates without complaint

“I’m getting one of those for home” I mumble to my slack jawed husband, pointing at the confident man barking orders at the motley assortment standing before him.

After waving our goodbye’s we head back to civilisation in the car and I decided to broach the subject of selling our 4 wheel drive and replacing it with a couple of scooters.

“You can have a scooter, I’m having a 125” my spouse harrumphs then proceeds to make motorbike noises all the way back into civilisation.

I shake my head at the man beside me and smile to myself.  It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey.  In the 4 months we have been living in the Costa del Sol we have bought a property, got our son into school, submitted the mountains of paperwork to enable us to get healthcare and rescued our faithful hound from an attack of the Zombie Pussies.

Staring out the window an idea begins to form. What if I was to write all about our relocation, would anyone actually read about the adventures of a new wife in the sun??

To be continued – Episode 19

“Animal Farm”, featuring my ‘not so monosylabic child’, is showing at The Salon Varietes Theatre in Fuengirola from 22nd to 26th February – Book Now

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, 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 17: Saving Private Brian

‘Boot Camp?  Like in the Military?  I don’t even own any boots, only trainers.  Is Brian going too?’

My son stares at me through narrowed eyes, arms crossed, already a couple of inches above me in height and leagues ahead of me in attitude.  Prepared for his reaction, I silently place a flyer in front of him which explains the 5 day summer course based up in the Alhaurin hills called ‘Eagles Training Camp‘.  With a sullen expression he reads it, grunts a couple of times and then looks back up at me.

‘So, basically it’s like the scouts but with no dib dibbing, considerably hotter with mutant sized mosquitoes?’ He enquires.

I nod my head in agreement and remain quiet as he takes the pamphlet into his bedroom and closes the door.  I can hear the familiar sound of the X box controller being taken out of its stand and I reach for the phone, hoping he will forgive me in years to come for making this decision on his behalf. 

Thinking back to my own childhood filled with fresh air and conkers amid endless summer holidays, I smile at the recollection of my bygone youth.  San izal, a prerequisite in all the school toilets then once we escaped the confines of our dusty classrooms, playing kiss chase until the sun set over our freckled faces.  Faggots and peas or Findus crispy pancakes graced most of the dinner tables in our cul de sac, in fact anything highly processed and on offer at Kwik Save being the staple diet of most children of the 70’s, the more E numbers, the better.

Looking down at my weathered hands, I dial the number on the flyer and after a brief conversation with a lovely lady called Debbie, the wife of Micky (ex military, no nonsense) my only child is booked on the 5 day survival course which provides children & teens the basic skills to cope in the wilderness, and also how to deal with bullies in the real world.  The small selection of boys and girls would sleep in adjoining tents placed adjacent to the family house, high up in the hills and I smile to myself, wishing I was young again and able to happily function on a daily basis without the aid of HRT or Silverkrin.

Sitting on our apartment balcony I hold the still warm phone in my hand and look out over the street.  The world is passing by in a sunny haze of garbled conversation and noisy mopeds.  My son’s bedroom door opens and he walks over to where I am sat.  Silently, he places his arms around my neck and gives me a hug.  I smile up into his brown eyes, knowing full well the difficulties he faces, an English child in a foreign land approaching his teenage years.

‘Ok, I’ll do it, it actually looks good fun.  But I want to take lots of Haribo for snacks and get my hair cut before I go’.  Nodding my head in agreement I hug him back and fail to mention that he is already enrolled starting the following Monday and that, although the camp is in the wilderness, they conveniently have a tuck shop available on site from 3-5pm.

Brian places a paw upon my lap and looks beseechingly at me; it’s time for his morning walk.  Clipping his lead on, I bribe the boy child to accompany us on our jaunt with the promise of an ice cream en route.  The hairy hound is also partial to a lick of a strawberry mivi and we all set off before the sun has time to heat up the pavement below his naked pads.

‘Where’s the car parked mum?  I’ve not been in it for weeks’ my son enquires, as we make our way over the Miramar Bridge.  I point in the direction of the car park where our dusty jeep sits forlornly in the corner, patiently awaiting its next adventure.

Unfortunately, the one down side of living in the town centre is the lack of parking.  Food shopping is nigh impossible.  A trip to Lidl involves double parking outside the apartment, hurling all of the shopping into the communal hall, jumping back into the car, parking it several miles away, sprinting back on foot to the flat to find everything has already defrosted and henceforth, that evenings tea will consist of a various assortment of food items that cannot be refrozen.

‘Why don’t you sell the car mum and get a couple of motorbikes; at least we can leave those parked outside the flat…can I have 3 scoops?’ he asks all in one breath while perusing the assortment of sugar laden Helado’s on offer.

I stop dead in my tracks, of course, this is the obvious solution, why didn’t I think of it myself.  Flog the car and get a couple of mopeds, do as the locals do, when in Rome and all that.  After all, what could possibly go wrong?


To be continued… Episode 18

 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 16: Absolutely Fagulous

‘Mum, why won’t my Xbox work’?  Bellows a familiar voice from behind his bedroom door.

‘We don’t have any internet’ I sigh, and unpack yet another box. ‘WHAT????  How can I survive??  I can’t talk to anyone!  Even the goat house had internet, what am I supposed to do???’ 

‘Get off your arse and go outside and chat to real people?’  I mumble to myself and place a family picture against the wall to be mounted when ‘Lighting Guy’ returns from flattering the luvvies in sepia. Our worldly possessions had finally arrived intact the day before, delivered by a very nice man with a very big van.  Looking now at the mountain of boxes stacked against the walls I realise that I haven’t packed one kitchen utensil, not even a side plate or a fork.  But we had, in our wisdom, brought along the 4 foot long fibreglass sharks head which is currently residing on the balcony underneath the washing line.  Foolishly I had been under the assumption that every fleeing expat with a property to sell in Spain would leave their abode fully furnished, like a Wimpy show home from the 1980’s.  But we purchased from locals, and locals take everything with them, including the shower head apparently.

To add insult to injury we also have no hot water.  The ancient gas boiler didn’t even make an attempt to fire up. It just stood there, white and lacklustre, mocking my sweaty armpits with silent authority.  I wander back through the kitchen, trying to avoid eye contact with the ramshackle lime green Formica units.  I half expect Miss Jones to come wandering around the corner at any given moment asking where Rigsby is lurking.  Standing forlornly with my head pressed against the dining room wall, I try to calm the panic that I can feel, once again, bubbling inside of me.

Standing up straight and brushing Brian’s dog hair off my leggings, I look at the clock.  It’s barely 10am on a Saturday morning but without any wardrobes to place our clothes in, the outside world looks far more appealing than my current enclosure.  Dragging the petulant one out of his bed, we amble over to Miramar shopping centre and stand in line at the Moviestar desk, waiting patiently to speak to the solitary staff member who speaks English, hoping he can enable our access back into the 21st century without the need of a Tardis.

Two hours later we claim possession of a ridiculously extortionate phone contract with the promise that fibre optic will be installed ‘directly’ into our flat forthwith.

The midday sun beats down around scantily clad tourists and we decide to take a pitstop to fill our growling bellies at a local café.  My son orders enough food to feed a small army and I pick at his leftovers whilst clutching a chilled white wine, my personal buoyancy aid amid a sea of uncertainty.

Sitting at the table opposite me is a blonde woman of similar age who is talking rapidly into her mobile phone in French and flicking cigarette ash onto the pavement.  She catches my eye and smiles, raising her eyebrows in a conspiratorial ‘are people actually this stupid’ motion and slams her phone onto the table and inhales another round of nicotine.  Her brown eyes swivel in my direction and land directly on my rapidly evaporating glass of wine.

‘I think I’ll join you in one of those’ she says in perfect clipped English tones and waves the waiter over.  ‘Would you like another?’ she enquires then orders two white wines before I have time to accept her generous offer.  

Devoid of any real adult conversation since moving into our new home, I motion for her to join us at the table and my son, full of tapas and fresh Naranja,  makes his excuses and ambles back towards the direction of the flat, no doubt to see if the god of fibre optic communication has miraculously embedded itself into our walls.

‘Soooo’ my new platinum friend enquires with a wave of her hand, wafting a plume of smoke in my direction ‘What do the people with children do here in the summer months?  My 2 boys don’t start school for another 12 weeks, we’ve literally just moved over here from France and they need to find some form of activity apart from exercising their wrists on the Xbox….’

I smile and lean forward in my plastic chair, fuelled by lack of carbs and too much cheap wine. The person sitting accross from me is a complete stranger but I hear my voice engage before my brain has time to complain.

‘I’m also a New wife in the Sun, and I think I may have an idea….’

To be continued… Episode 17

 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 14: The Twelve Nays of Christmas

On the car journey back to our borrowed house in the Campo, I had time to reflect on what we had learned (and achieved) in our first four weeks of being in sunny Spain…

1: The second hand jeep we spontaneously purchased in the same time it takes to consume several strips of the Colonels secret recipe had completed the full 1,374 mile trip from Hastings to Mijas without as much as a splutter with husband, hound and the complete works of Stephen King encased in its padded compound.

2: The menopausal woman and ‘get off, I’m almost a teenager!’ can, it transpires,  actually navigate their way via plane, train and automobile up into the Mijas hills and locate Heidi’s hidden house without the aid of testosterone, Google maps, Valium or Vodka.

3: All four founding members of the ‘Sod it lets go to Spain’ brigade were reunited within 30 hours of leaving the sanctity of Sussex and didn’t encounter one placard saying ‘Sod off, you bunch of Brexiters’ en route (We voted to remain….just so you know!!)

4: Brian is now afraid of kittens, with or without their heads attached and now truly believes he is part goat.  He can be found most mornings bleating at passing cars from his favourite view point on top of the shed.

5: Everyone survived drinking the Spanish tap water after standing in the kitchen for 30 minutes going ‘You drink it, No YOU drink it!  No, no we can’t have a wine instead; it’s not even 8am’

6: If you are foolish enough to forget that the Spaniards enjoy a day off from hurling your edible goods down the stationary conveyer belt, you may, as I did, arrive at Mercadona on a Sunday morning and stand sleepily in front of the automatic door for a good 30 minutes until you realise that shops actually close one day a week in Spain and you can, in all honesty, survive quite happily without replenishing your digestives every few hours.

7: Small local children roam the pitch black side roads when it’s waaaay past their bedtime and bolt about on scooters and bikes and give each other ‘backies’ down crowded pavements.  They don’t seem to care about being indoors or killing their virtual enemies online as they are too busy knocking over British tourists that get in their way in their haste to get the sweetie kiosk situated on every street corner.

8: There are jobs here in Spain; you just have to look for them.  If you are fortunate enough to get one with a working contract you will be automatically entitled to healthcare as long as you don’t mind filling in 17,000 forms and sending your various birth and marriage certificates back to their place of origin to get them verified and translated.  Our most recent lot of paperwork has had a lovely vacation in Vegas and came back with a stunning tan.

9: Moving house is stressful enough, relocating to a country where the only thing you can pronounce correctly is ‘Hello’, even more so.  Get everything in order before you leave home and be prepared to stand in various queues.  There’s a reasonable chance you may get to the front of the line before being sent a birthday card from the queen but remember, the locals take a three hour lunch break so take your butties and a flask of coffee with you to be on the safe side.  Trying to get your Residencia is hard enough, trying to do it while you are ‘Hangry’ is nigh impossible.

10: Wine is cheaper to purchase in the shops than bottled water.  Enough said.

11: You will ask to divorce your spouse on a number of occasions.  This is normal.  Trying to get your solicitor to call you back to see if the sale on your desired property is progressing before Brexit occurs will be frustrating and time consuming and you will shout at your other half A LOT.  If I had a Euro for every time my husband yelled ‘you wanted to move here!’  I would have enough money to purchase a hit man to kill him and have enough left over to get a facelift afterwards.

12: And finally, hearing your child starting to converse in Spanish to his school mates will make you prouder than the winner of the GBBO.  Waking up to the sun streaming in through the window and not having to take out a second mortgage to eat out more than once a month is exhilarating.  Knowing that all the people back in the UK who sucked air through their teeth when you said you were moving ‘away’ are still sat at home on a cold December evening while you are on the beach having a BBQ with all your new nomadic mates.

So, if you are one of the brave and have done all of the above (and more) and survived with your sanity intact, well done you!  If you are still thinking about making the move, what’s stopping you?

All that’s left to say is Merry Christmas one and all.  See you again in 2019 with more tales from a New Wife in the Sun!

To be continued … Episode 15

 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.

To be or not to be, where is the greenroom? – Ep 5

So here we are, our family of four, finally living in Spain.  I actually can’t quite believe it.  The dream we never thought would happen is now our reality.  And unfortunately, reality involves getting a job.

Having met my husband at the local Am Dram society in Hastings several years (and dress sizes) earlier, I decided to make contact before leaving the UK with the Fuengirola equivalent known as the ‘Salon Varieties Theatre’.  After peddling my wares on Face Book messenger, I happened to mention that my husband is an electrician and they replied forthwith explaining that their lighting technician was about to retire in April and would my husband be interested in applying for the position?  Bears and woods instantly sprang to mind.

Now, before I go any further, can we briefly talk about ‘Dream Jobs’?  We all have that one thing we would love to do for a living.  I’d love to write a book.  A book that you can hold in your hand, to sniff the ageing paper, to turn over the corner of the page when your eyes grow weary and laugh out loud in a room full of people and not care because for that brief moment in time, you are that heroine in chapter 12.

To see my name on a dust cover would be better than waking up without pillow marks embedded onto my crepe face.

My husband’s school leaving wish was to work in the West End, to bring the performers to life in front of a live audience.  With his dream still intact he escaped the clutches of the local secondary modern age 16, gangly and unprepared and sat innocent and eager in front of the careers advisor who instantly poured water on his ambitions by replying ‘No son, that’s a career for fantasists and rich people from London.  Get yourself a proper job. People will always need plugs and sockets and wires changing. Become an electrician, you’ll always be able to put food on the table then’.

So that’s what he did 30 years ago, he became an electrician. A job he enjoyed but never loved.  And now, on offer, in a resort 1300 miles away is a chance to turn back the clock.  So, after a brief ‘we’re here!’ call, off we trot, showered and shaved (and that’s just me) to meet the people that have the potential to reinstate a young mans dreams on an older body.

An hour later we are sat outside the Theatre bar, drinking fresh orange juice and waiting with sweaty palms to meet ‘the board members’.  The tables surrounding the thespian haven are adorned with middle-aged laughing people. Men with perma-tans, women with white teeth, everyone appears happy in their skin and at ease with their choice.  A mixture of Spanglish echoes around us and I whisper to my husband to stop jigging his legs up and down, this was a job he had done voluntarily on his own time for the past three decades; the only difference now is that he would be paid to do it.

A firm hand is placed on my shoulder and I look up into smiling brown eyes.

‘So, you must be the power behind the throne!’ laughs the stranger in my direction and introduces himself and also what his role is on the board and finally, what would be expected if Marcus was given the job.  An attractive lady joins him and warmly kisses me on each cheek.  Both members talk passionately about their time in the British speaking Theatre then lead us through velvet clad stage doors into a hub of adrenalin filled activity.

On stage a rehearsal is taking place.  Young and old high kick their way into the wings while a director booms instructions from the front row of the auditorium.  I look up at the lights and breathe in the smell of the greasepaint.  Teenagers with languid expressions awaiting their time in the spotlight come to life as they are released from the confines of backstage and leap like adrenalin fuelled antelopes onto the boards.

Turning to my husband I smile but he is lost within the lighting control desk, eyes alight with all the possibilities ahead akin to Mr Spock faced with the new and updated Starship Enterprise.  I look towards the man and the woman who greeted us on arrival; both look at ease with the roles they have been given in order to keep this well preserved British Galleon afloat in a Spanish ocean.

The man senses my gaze and leans against the door.  ‘So what are you going to do for work here?’  He asks enquiringly?  Before my brain has time to engage with my mouth my truth tourettes steps in to reply on my behalf

‘In all honesty…  I have absolutely no bloody idea’

He laughs and nods his heads towards my husband

‘Well, the job’s his if he wants it, his references are excellent, I think you’ll both fit in well here, what you think?’

I look him in the eye and smile and reply on behalf of my husband

‘Sir, I think we’d both like that very much’.

(For more information on the upcoming theatrical season please follow the link below)

http://www.salonvarietestheatre.com

To be continued – Episode 6