Pic taken, Puerto Pollenća, Mallorca 2005, me on R, my lower left arm in plaster after falling off a ladder.
Most of my working career involved planning and project managing, so since I retired some fifteen years ago I’ve kept a fairly tidy routine with most things ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Needless to say, if I encounter any problems along the way, any paperwork or items can be easily found, with those same said items in their correct place and strangely enough, able to remember dates and times of momentous happenings, all of this data is stored in my brain analogous to a central processing unit in a computer.
Late July of 2015 I was asked by my best friend Chris as to whether I had considered doing anything special for my big birthday in September of the next year, (that then, was a year away) Sixty is after all a big one, so, perhaps something rather extravagant and momentous. To be honest, I’ve always been one jump ahead of any game plan, a bit like the fictional character Monica Geller in NBC’s TV series ‘Friends’ as she had already planned her wedding day as far back as she was a child, not that I had MY wedding planned like that, after all, mine was a total disaster, but, I have always had some form of a strategy with plans and many ideas. Considering that for Chris’ fiftieth, I surprised him (he hates surprises) with an all-inclusive week in Mallorca at Puerto Pollenća our favourite resort, the night before our departure I sprung a surprise soiree for him whilst the sun was setting at a neighbour’s cliff edge home, so you can imagine how flabbergasted he was at this event, and with catapulting the curve ball at him with just three days notice that we were travelling certainly opened the emotional flood gates, I’m happy to say, although, a grimace said it all. The weird and strange thing about it was that I carried all the chairs from my house, the catering and the drinks, every step I walked was taken past his window where he sat that same day, oblivious, he just thought I was having a busy day !! ……. I guess I can be quite ruthless and sneaky at times, but not in a bad way, those days are long gone, ……
Puerto Pollenća has been a favoured escape of ours for many years and we tend to alternate between there and Calpe, Nr Benidorm on the Spanish mainland, as we have both been enjoying all things Española for over forty years, and tend to be of the opinion, if it aint broke, lets not try to fix it, Así, España es! (so, Spain it is)
I digress, Well, upon questioning, I suggested maybe Las Vegas or even San Francisco? Play the slots, see Cher or Elton, both possibly. Visit our dearest friend George aka *Four Bums* in SFO, walk up Market Street to the Castro or what about New York or Paris? We could shop until we drop or until we deplete ‘your’ credit cards? (sadly my short stumpy legs couldn’t take the continued traipsing between Broadway and the elegant designer shops on Fifth) Visit the Empire State Building or the Freedom Tower or we could cruise down the stinky Siene, maybe eat patisserie at the top of the Eiffel Tower until we could eat no more. ……..Mmmm! Then again, there’s the option of sailing TransAtlantic with Cunard to The Big Apple, a stay in Manhattan for a few days and return business class home! ……. No ……… (Schh! That’s in the Blue file for 2021 for my sixty-fifth).
Sadly, all of these destinations had held very bad memories and experiences previously and those I did not wish to repeat, yes, they were unsuitable destinations, attempting to turn disastrous relationships back into perfect one night stands proved completely irrevocable, jealous lovers and idiot friends in strange cities did not make sense, hindsight huh!
I certainly did not want to be reminded of all that again, and as the ‘dog time factor’ was bought into the equation I just let it go. We would have to consider asking our dear German friend Alex to dog sit, the fact he lives in London, now a British citizen and ever so slightly crazy, zany, dippy and all kinds of wonderful, it’s great he adores our ‘pups’ as much as they do him. Working for the MOD he’s not always available and coinciding same dates was always going to be a nightmare. I should know, the previous surprise I arranged three years ago & the structural skills juggled proved positively torturous. So, I shoved the idea into a Green envelope in a file right deep down at the base of my cerebral cortex. Why green I hear you ask? (I’l tell you later). Anyway, if and when needs be, I would normally be able to pick up any pieces at the last-minute and systematically organise everything in just two days. I might even be able to accomplish same said request even quicker dependant upon wherever the eventual destination was to be or if it was ever to be at all. (given the opportunity I could probably organise and attain world peace).
The day of my fifty ninth birthday passed quickly, a booking for a quiet dinner for two at the French styled restaurant Le Pierro Bistro in Torquay had been made ages ago, however, keeping the actual date followed a last-minute decision to go. The day previous I had received emergency treatment and laser surgery on my right eye, a term of events following a head butt from Willow my Cocker-Jack, part detaching my retina. However, the evening was lovely, a few sherbets, (beer, NOT cocaine) Chris had pushed the boat out, sadly I was not in focus, he has always been such a considerate guy.
I knew this was serious and taking the Doctors orders, I rested for a whole week, Chris spent most of this particular day staring into his iMac and I languished on the day bed, being left to recoup on my own is my best way of getting better, no fuss, no visitors and with all the mutts cuddled up somewhere on same comfortable bed was a great tonic and comforter.
…. ‘So’ he says, grinning, …… ‘its all confirmed’
‘The Daina, Front balcony Sea-View room, all-inclusive, depart 5th September from Exeter’ …. Seats booked, inflight meals too, all paid.
‘Show me, show me … Let me see’…. as I lift up the virtual eye patch and winked at him!
.. ‘Thinks’ …. I couldn’t have planned it any better myself if I had tried.
And now almost twelve months later, we are just TWENTY days to go.