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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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

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


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