Ooh …. All hands on deck!

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These are not just any new shoes, these are my new shoes!

Always a good sign, even better as these are an early birthday present, only to be worn when we go away in September … I can’t imagine how many times these will be promenaded along the pine-walk in Puerto Polleñca, but rest assured there will be plenty of libation en-route.

Once these are broken in they will be as comfortable as a pair of gloves. 🙂

No butts about it!

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Chris my neighbour has had an overflowing water tank for a while, its of the old combination type and gaining access to change the ballcock is going to be an absolute nightmare. However, it only overflows when it feels like it. So we came up with an idea and bought a water-butt for the garden. All we would have to do was connect the overflow discharge pipe to the inlet of the butt and it will collect the otherwise wasted water and we can use it to slush down the yard with a dose of Dettol in the watering can.

It arrived today, and now it stands  in the corner, empty!

So, for its arrival we finished off the opened bottle of Cava from last evenings dinner and raised a toast ….. “up your butt and no babies”

Thursday August 20th 2016

Sliding doors ….

Monday August 16th 2016 …

P1010860.jpgHave you ever heard of the film called Sliding doors ? … If yes, then you would know It’s all about our lives and the already planned route we take ahead, there are plenty of “what if’s and many regrets” and lots of “I shouldnt have done that or I wished I had” not to mention strange occurrences in life. If you can relate to this, then you will understand what I am writing about here.

Alternatively in simple terms it is recognised in real life as living in one of two Parallel universes!

I can remember the date simply as 1975 August, I was almost twenty. We as a joint family had just arrived in Spain after landing at Alicante Airport The slimy dago taxi drivers were queuing up to take advantage of the innocent and the naive traveller, we got hooked, he ripped us off for the journey onto the destination resort of Calpe which was much further along the coast of the Costa Blanca. We however had a great ride through Benidorm and noticing posters for the infamous Sticky Vicky we all giggled and smirked at each other. This was to be our first group holiday as two families sharing together. One of my fathers works colleagues had invested in a frontline apartment in a modern tower block called the “El Mar dos”

The insipid yellow building was probably the first one of the many tall buildings to be built at this end of the small town, and so in a small basic flat on the first floor we all bunked down and mucked in. My first spoken spanish word was webble … actually pronounced as heuvo,  an ‘egg’ !   The famous ‘webble’ still sticks, even to this day.

Mother had stuffed teabags and tins of baked beans into her suitcase with many other food items which she was sure the Spaniards wouldn’t have in their Mercado’s. My dad had packed a three-piece suit in his case. He did get to wear it once at the Jousting event and he stuck out like a sore thumb and then again at the Benidorm Palace, an infamous shit hole then and im sure it still bears the same title and remains the same now, nothing like it’s portrayed by the TV show. Just two of the many tourist traps available to gullible punters, fortunately we only got caught out the once.  

My best mate Derek and his parents got on well with my parents, as I his, a friendship for them that shared many adventures away without us two hanging on. That sadly ended after our parents each gradually passed away. Derek and I remain great friends to this day as I have already written on a few occasions.

Calpe had not yet then been affected by the boom of tourism and commercialisation, unlike Benidorm. It was still a small town and fishing port where the day boats would leave at 3:30 in the morning and return by 4:00 in the afternoon, busy to each unload their catch of the day and was sold to the small restaurants lining the tiny harbour and cooked to order to residents and the few holiday makers alike.

A traffic junction sliced the main road, the right fork led down to the harbour and small establishments selling cheap plonk and contraband fags and two-day old newspapers that had been imported from the UK. To the left the road led onto the residential route which continued and went on down to the Levante beach or you could bear right up toward the imposing Peñon de Ifach, known originally to the Phoenicians as the Northern rock, its southern counterpart being the rock of Gibraltar. This massive limestone outcrop emerges from the sea to a height of almost 1200 feet and links itself to the shore by rock debris.

In the middle of this vee junction stood an aged hostel and bar which was called “The Ancla” which of course from spanish translates to Anchor, a mainstay, and a mainstay this place became for us.

The Ancla was just a ‘get yourself ready and rock’ kind of place, and to say it was quite rough around the edges really was an understatement, fortunately everyone was friendly. As newbie holidaymakers and especially as this was our first foray to España self catering, we took it as a refuge and used it as our meeting point at any time of the day.

Rory the proprietor and his wife Mary, she, a retired circus acrobat/ trapeze artist juggled the accommodation bookings in-between cooking and serving the great food and keeping two unruly boys out of trouble, sadly to her disappointment that was a waste of her precious time. The entertainment was home-made which kept us all amused and the bar staff were extremely pleasant and always engaging. If you were lucky enough as a customer and it definitely got busy, (sometimes Derek and I having had some bar experience back at home) were invited to do a shift or two behind the cramped bar in exchange for a few Cuba libres, plus the bonus of drinking the mistakes you constantly made, we never did get the hang of spinning the bottles …..

The atmosphere was brilliant, an ageing pinball machine competed with the music on the free juke box playing the greats of the seventies at the time, Suzi Quatro, The Sweet, Three Degrees, George McCrae, Rubettes, Abba, Mud, New Seekers were favourites, sounds blasted out of speakers way past their sell by dates and when Rory the resident singer was otherwise engaged he was busy either serving coffee and brandies and bouncing at the door.  We all sang songs, rather loud and disorderly as drunken Brits tended to do. I hear that tradition is still continued, gladly I am no longer of that age to do so, just a more genteel kind of person these days.

I had noticed an Orange Renault 14 slightly worse for wear and covered in dust parked outside this noisy establishment which was bearing a British registration plate, it was synonymous of a local registration to our home area, YXF ???N (similar to this pic)

Me, the nosey boy, great lover of cars and intrigued at this image, went off to seek and find, I eventually made contact with the driver, a young lady named Jean, just a few years older than myself. She was her sister to Rory. When she wasnt spending every hour available bringing up her young baby daughter she spent the rest of her day being a holiday rep, selling guided tours and organising evening bingo trips into Benidorm. She and her family ran the business, they attended the hotplates, and would pour greatly appreciated unmeasured drinks and strum and tend to warble along to the slight discord of an electric guitar once owned by Les Dawson.

Immediately Jean and I ignited a spark, a friendship had been struck.  A spark …. one that has now lasted over forty years. Strangest thing which you probably would never believe if you hadn’t of read it here first, was that she had been living and working in the same town as ourselves in the holiday camp next to where Derek and I were bar tending as a blue coat. …. dear old Brixham ….. and we hadn’t even ever crossed paths.

Lets get back to parallel universes and sliding doors …. I had gotten the bug and thought perhaps I would want to live abroad, have a small business. In the seventies, it was hard work (here in Spain). Franco had been in power and now still the Guardia and the mafioso were everywhere, and yes, protection money had to be paid or they would just come in and shut down businesses or ensure the electricidad or the agua was disconnected. Red tape and illegal corrupt bureaucracy was rife.

I can’t remember the amount of times we were told to invest in Spain, especially Calpe as it was up and coming … and up and come it certainly did, but did we? …. no, we did not! Work for myself here in the United Kingdom and abroad came thick and fast. Life was changing for all of us, but only in the one dimension, in another it stayed the same, but in which one was it actually happening, or even more, were we actually aware? 

Every returning year since we have been asked to come and live, and every year we said we’d think about it, and now forty years on we realise it’s now way too late. I’m certainly too old to move now, unless my six lucky balls fall into place!  Although I can understand the Spanish language and am able to read it, my spoken is very poor, but once I get into the zone I can manage to make the locals either understand or laugh.

Today Jean returns to Devon, as she also loves it here too.  This early morning we have arranged to meet for breakfast at a pleasant hotel in Paignton where we can be waited on.  We greet and hug, and hold on tight in what seems like an eternity, with a few moments silence we then chat about the constant that is old times. We laugh about our adventures into Benidorm on the old road late at night, seven of us crammed into a battered old right hand drive car trying to out run the Policia, as both a foreign car full of foreigners attracts much attention, especially late at night. Images of us skidding around the winding corners with precarious drops over cliff edges, we could have all been killed, but we were not and are still able to tell the tale.’ … often a voice from the rear seat would scream out from a parent NOT YET JEAN’ as she would attempt to make her move and overtake.

One great memory for me that is rather precious  ….. ‘One sultry baking hot afternoon, the two of us headed toward the Peñon, walking off the normal path we climbed down through the palms, brushing the many shrubs of juniper, lavender and white pine with our legs, the scent was heaven. We found our way down onto the rocks under a remote part of the outcrop, the sun shone bright and high, the rays reflected over the water. Far away the horizon rested between the sea and the bright blue sky. Daring each other, we dived off the high rock edge into the deep crystal clear warm waters, below lay a wreck of a small fishing boat on the sea-bed which was teaming with marine life, above us the peregrine falcons which were nesting on the rock face circled high. The gentle winds blew sea-spray over our faces as we swam toward the bright light and just kept on laughing together, time and dimensions were as one. There were no other distractions, all was quiet, all was as if it were the dawn of time.’

Sometimes when something poignant like that happens, only hind sight tends to make you realise perhaps you should have grasped what was in your hand at that particular moment. Maybe it was a sign sent from somewhere far greater than part of the grand scheme we are now in, perhaps we shall never know!

These two universes have been running side by side for what probably has been millions and millions of years, occasionally bumping into one other and then spinning off until the next orbit brings us right back onto the preplanned collision course again.

So, is this what might be considered as part of the Big Bang Theory?

Jean once a young single mother and now with her grown girls, stands proud as a grandmother greatly respected by her Spanish family and those she loves. Me, once a Son, now a proud Father to my beautiful daughter and her partner and of a wonderful mate.

Spending just two hours every forty million years together is as if we have never been apart, and we talk about the same things every time ….. and yes, we still laugh at the same old news.

Sadly, saying goodbye was very emotional this time ….

Until the next collision course my dear!

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El Tercer Dia …. ‘imagines’

13913742_1411198365562160_8586392182491217869_oLess than a month to go and I shall be in Mallorca with Super-Dude celebrating my birthday in style.

You may have noticed that I have been incorporating a few words ‘Español’ in recent titles, todays title translates to “On the third day”*

Imagines …. So, the heat is absolutely stifling, 29C, however, just being able to sit under the awning with a gentle breeze compensates. The Serra de Tramuntana mountain range stand high and way back in the far distance behind the town, its cold wind collects the heat off the land en-route before it eventually spreads its veil of warmth over the resort including myself and everyone else praying homage to the golden sun high above ….

With with an old Polaroid camera, a sketch pad, some colouring pens and a notebook, I sit quietly taking in all the surroundings, ideas for a best seller or a TV series is hard work. However, I might add, I am not too far away from sight or earshot of the busy camarero and of course my dear companion who will accompany me shortly with a swim in the pool, followed by a Xocolata frió i Tia Maria.

 

Adios mi amigos.

 

Dia Dos …. “Magic Sausages”

What on earth …. six-forty-five a.m. and I’m letting the water out of the bath. I have already been wallowing for fifteen minutes up to my neck in Tea-Tree bubbles, today as I was feeling generous, I added a little something extra, a small teardrop of Dettol. I shouldn’t knock it folks, it certainly hasn’t done me any harm at all and is an often addition to my personal cleansing routine.

Head-boy and two of the three prefects are still snoozing, Willow is laid out on the floor by the side of the bath, she too has had her bubbles, a game we often play, I cup a handful of soapy bubbles and blow them at her, she then does her crocodile impressions, it never fails to make me laugh and a routine she adores. Her eyes glisten as she intently stares at me just incase another cloud of these scented orbs head toward her. Enough of the sleep, with her desire for food the hungry hound trots off to the kitchen entrance, perfectly sat to attention midway in the door,  her routine as always ….. *my breakfast before daddy* she sings to herself.

The early morning sun is now pouring into the courtyard, the bathroom is already sucking in the warmth and being able to dry oneself with a soft towel in a warm environment is always a luxury, whereas this room, which is situated at the far end of the south wing tucked into the cliff will be as cold as a mortuary freezer in just a few months time.

The hounds have now been hungered and having over shadowed them whilst they exercise their essential bimble ensuring that their security perimeter checks have been completed, its indoors now for the crew of four and the obligatory postbrek-sleep

The desire to obliterate my pangs lead me straight to the Bearded Baker and his coffee shop for breakfast. I order my toasted sandwich, managing to hoist myself upon a bar stool I notice the headline on todays toe-rag, it reads “Bronze for Daley and Goodfellow”

From photograph printed, it looks like its “Magic sausages” all round ….. Perfect !

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Dia Uno …. Licensed To Drill

P1010853.jpgAnd here we go again, early start, Super-dude and Mrs Sally Sat-Nav have left us all behind here at the happy ranch out on the isthmus and are heading back to their Motherland.

(Without Prejudice) 

Destination home of the original Dagenham dustbin, the Ford Escort. Where sun-bed tanning salons have more hours clocked up than Marbella has actual sun. The white sock is de-rigueur and there are more pupils in a classroom named after a grape variety than any wine region in the Southern Hemisphere. This Motherland in question of course happens to be Essex, that’s if you hadn’t already sussed that bit out.

(I jest of course) 

In a way I envy the Super-dude, off to see his dear Mum, in another I know how hard it is when a parent gets older. And as a loving child, one does what one has to. Now matter what a four-day visit will put her to ease and her world to rights. I sure wish I could see my Mother again.

Anyway, that’s enough of the maudlin stuff …. back to the day ahead.

The slightest of noise and the four mutts ears fire up, ‘Head-boy’ leads his little rejects straight into choir practice, whooping and Aroo-ing [1] in unison, this has to stop, and stop it does RIGHT NOW. In my big daddy P voice I point at them and shout out ‘I WILL NOT HAVE THIS BEHAVIOUR’ as each one scuttle off to their individual stations, indiscrete grumbles and profanities can be heard as they mutter under their breaths.

The front gate opens, it’s the delivery man, he arrives juggling a large box of doggy dietary goodness for the unruly bunch and his “gizmo signing thingy”. We briefly exchange a few loud nice words over the noise of the frothing mass, the scoundrels are kicking off yet again. Already this early in the morning and I am exhausted, a promise to finish this damned kitchen alteration is paramount, it has to be. After nine weeks of on-off, on-off, and passing crates of dirty dishes over the fence to a neighbourly dishwasher the final hurdle is in sight. I shall certainly breathe a sigh of relief as soon as complete, talk about everything but, and a kitchen sink!

Day of all days, an email pops up, item I listed on an internet auction site reads ‘SOLD’.   So its tools down, a definite change of priorities, time to pack same said item, and get into town to post as promised, quick payers always get priority treatment, as is right and polite.

The BIG rigid book of ultimatum is read aloud to the mutineers “I will NOT be held to ransom AND do NOT even start to think about it.”  Flames shoot out from behind my flip-flops like a hot-rod at a drag race doing the quarter-mile as I head toward Brixham. Small talk from my once school friend now the Post Mistress puts our world to rights too. The ever favoured routine of popping into see the *me* from “and Millie” with my usual very sugary Double Espresso ensures my battery is recharged for the return leg.

Four very happy wagging tails greet me back at the institution.  No guilty faces. No mess. No upturned waste basket. Not a single peak ….. Surprising just what the threat of being recorded can do eh!  … ChewStix all round me thinks.

Kitchen? … pfft, there’s always tomorrow. I know, I know, a day less to complete, but do we have the technology? … Yes we can!

[1] Whooping and Aroo-ing = Howling their tits off.

See you all tomorrow.

 

 

 

Retro Day 7 …. all day I dream about sex

 

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I hope you look after your footwear as well as I do. These Adidas trainers, pictured, and to my understanding, are now at least fifteen years old,  I bought them then, second-hand, on an internet auction site, for less than ten pounds. Not bad eh!

Unfortunately, these trainers were not handcrafted by a blind man who sat in the shade under a tree on the edge of a road in a Tuscan village, but by many individuals sitting or kneeling at a production line sweating profusely. So, there was never likely to be any Cathedral bells rung in celebration each time a pair of these were completed, just another output number displayed in a packaging and dispatch area.

Adidas, to my knowledge were one of the original Retro sportswear manufacturers, then along popped Kappa and Nike and many others, but the Samba has always remained a firm classic.

At one point this original design was taken out of production and an eventual reinstatement realised just how popular original demand was. None of this ‘glow in the sole insanity or multi coloured uppers’ ever worked for me. All I need is just the three stripes to make a statement, a clear indicator these were made by Adidas. Every time I see the same said word, I tend to repeat the mantra which takes each individual alpha that makes the word up and chant “All Day I Dream About Sex”, of course, that stems back to my teenage years and many long ones ago. Dream about sex all day? …. I probably once did!

Sadly now, these trusty blue samba’s are a little like myself and are getting rather frayed around the edges, and its now time to replace these once fine pieces of workmanship with another pair.

Have you noticed the immense choice of these sporty accoutrements in the sport chain and department stores, its ridiculous. However I am easily pleased, nope, none of that torment, staring at huge walls, all lined up, hundreds of them, touching the shape and being told,”don’t get much call for a size seven these days” Instead, I will be scouring the internet again for a second-hand pair, although with my tiny hoofs, it will be like finding a needle in a haystack, but that’s all part of the chase. No doubt if you are anything like me and you see something you like or are familiar with, no doubt you would normally goes to the ends of the earth to try to find it.

So folks, you will have to excuse me now, as i’m about to fire up my rocket with the retro blasters on. Off in search of the elusive Blue Samba, a rare species in decline and not that far away from extinction.

Fortunately us old poachers know how to keep an old relic or two alive, and make good use of them. Will I be hanging these old ones up as a trophy on display?  No, instead I shall just give them a decent send off and remember them with great fondness.