Malaga, 2014

Day One…

After an early and quite delicious breakfast, we head to the sun terrace expecting to queue like Germans until it opens but instead are lucky to get the last two loungers. Twisting and turning as we toast ourselves in the glorious, and much needed, heat. Listening to church bells ring and looking at the city views from this wonderful, roof top, location. Two doses of hay fever drives us inside eventually. This is after the Après Teen finds that a dying bird has taken up residence in her flip flop and an American seeks to educate us all that they have Italians in America too (narrowly stop myself saying ‘Yep, we’ve all seen the Godfather…’)


Day Two…

Plans to go to the beach are averted by nothing other than sheer laziness. Lounger on the sun terrace beside the fab bar – couldn’t be bothered moving. Tanning like the red head I am – I pop freckles at a ferocious rate and tan in the unenviable pattern of a dalmatian. Walk to the commercial centre where the Après Teen picks up some fab shoes and I buy a stunning 50th birthday present for a pal. Lovely meal. Cold beers. Great chat. Perfect company. Life is good.


Day Three…

…and it’s time for culture!

We toy with the idea of Seville, Granada, Gibraltar but instead settle on the Red Bus tour because tapas-sized culture is all we are up to. As the bus is packed, we resist taking up our usual spot, sitting at the front pretending to drive the bus, adding in the vroom-vroom sounds and doing our tuneless rendition of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ that we have sung in all major cities to date.

We go up to Picasso’s place to have a look at his etchings. 285 pieces of art and a guest exhibition of Lissitzky later and I’m cultured out of it.

Chilling under a tree in one of the many beautiful squares while the Après Teen heads off – with my credit card – to sample the cultural delights of Pull and Bear, Springfield and whatever other shops pop up on her route. As long as I’m not there to witness the carnage, we should be okay.


Day Four…

Starts with me getting tangled in my swimsuit and the Après Teen having to unravel me. Next I put on my clothes back to front. I really am not ageing well.

Eventually – and surprisingly – we make it out of the hotel and to the beach where we lie under a parasol, minding ourselves from the rain. It is all so dull, as if the world is monochrome but we and our fellow Celts continue to battle the elements. The Après Teen makes me quit despite my repeated plea of “But Google Weather says…”

So we sit at a beachside café – bliss – or so we think until the rain starts again, bucketing down through the old canvas that limply covers the space. The coffee is delicious though – even with the rain plop, plopping, into it.

We wander from the seafront through this beautiful city, from the new through the old. Back at the hotel, and while herself hides out in the bedroom, I brave the elements on the sun terrace. It is so cloudy but ever so warm. When I see two muppets turning their sunbeds towards the invisible sun, however, I know it is time to quit.

Here’s hoping that, in the immortal words of my fellow red head, “The sun’ll come out tomorrow…”


Day Five…

As Google Weather tells us the day will be cloudy and dull, we gear ourselves for a repeat of yesterday. I brave the sun terrace again, burn to a crisp and am now basted like a turkey in After Sun for the umpteenth time today. Maybe the Après Teen is right about that weather forecast not being too reliable…

This evening, we go to the Arabic Baths. I have to admit the entrance scared the bejaysus out of me. It looked a bit rough and ready. If the Après Teen hadn’t urged me through those doors, I would have run away – run very fast – and at my size, that would be some sight indeed! Even with her by my side, I remained apprehensive.

We go through the door and wow, wow, wow! It is like Doctor Who’s Tardis – enter by a small shop front and be led through a series of corridors into an amazing, purpose-built, enormous, complex. Stunning.

The experience? Wow, wow, wow. We enjoy an hour and a half of sheer bliss – warm, hot and cold water pools plus hot stones to lie on and a steam room. And on top of that, a wonderful massage too.

Regrets? That I didn’t brave this earlier! I could have enjoyed this every second evening. What a loss.

Dinner? I pass on the Apres Teen’s suggestion of a Vegan restaurant when I notice it also doubles as a Steak House! We end up in another restaurant – lovely food but the staff let the kitchen down – such a bunch of rude and disinterested people (yep, that’s the polite version).

The evening ends with me reading and drinking beer while my face continues to sizzle. Celts and sun will never be a good mix!


Day Six…

And we are back to cloudy weather. The Apres Teen insists on a return to the beach. So there we are alternating between hot sun and wrapping ourselves in towels to keep warm. A man beside us sings constantly – in no key we have ever heard and hazard a guess has yet to be discovered. Out of tune plus all the wrong words. The Way We were is belted out until it miraculously turns into ABBA’s Fernando. Excruciating doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I insist on getting a taxi down and am stunned by the driver. He is the happiest person I think I have ever met. Keeping his mobile on a stand on the dashboard, it is easy to see the texts that come in quick succession: ‘Where are you?’ the texts asks again and again and again… When he clicks on the screen to open the messages to reply, the root of his happiness is there for all to see – a selfie of a naked lady, legs apart, leaving *nothing* (and I mean NOTHING) to the imagination. He barely stops the car to let us out before he tears off again!

Our neighbouring chanteur on the beach gets a bit frisky too. Sitting beside his partner, who is sunbathing topless, he has a rub of her breasts but gets a swift slap when he goes in for a nipple suck (yep, extra dark sunglasses are pretty handy when people watching in earnest). When he tries to apply a clip to her nipple, I can watch no more…

The weather is switched up from gloomy to fab and lovingly lasts the whole day. The taxi back costs far less – due to the fact we have to walk a big chunk of the way after the poor driver’s gear box goes – in the middle of traffic. His day ends with a bang but obviously not as much fun as the one his colleague got earlier…


Day Seven…

So the tale of ‘One woman, four cardigans and the Apres Teen go to Malaga’ ends today. And a very pleasant week it was too. Lovely city, lovely people and great food – we will return.

The journey home is somewhat uneventful. We have an extra bag to transport the unplanned purchases which looks large enough, and heavy enough, to be carrying a small child. We are stunned to get it through under the category of ‘Hand Luggage’.

The flight home is also uneventful – that is, until the mother beside me lets her toddler have a good jump around the aisle – in a stinky nappy.


And when the plane lands, they clap and the Ryanair trumpet music blares. Revenge for my comments against clapping on the journey out methinks…



I miss my tribe

Heading to the Southside for the second time in a week. It seems like the start of a defection!

My fellow commuters this evening are an eclectic bunch. In my carriage sit two glorious ZZ Top lookalikes, enjoying the scenery as they stroke their long beards. Behind them sits the customary bunch of summer munchers with their Beshoff and Burdocks snack boxes. The girl now sitting in front of me has applied a full face of make-up *and* tonged her entire head of hair into neat little ringlets, moisturised her hands and chatted on the phone the whole time. And over these sights can be heard the informative conversation of some 13+ year old lads discussing their sexual leanings and an older teen (a 14+ year old girl) saying she has to move away from them in case anyone mistakes her for “a paedophile”…

I so miss commuting on a daily basis. I so miss my tribe!

Why I love Coach Trip!

Why do I watch ‘Coach Trip’? For the intellectual chat, that’s why!

“Tomorrow we’re going to an island.”
“Oh yeah! I’ve never been to an island.”
“Really? You’ve never been to an island?”
“No! I’m so excited!”
“What do you think Britain is then?”

[August 2017]

And then there’s this:

The teen thinks I’m mad watching ‘Coach Trip’ but where else would you find such pearls of wisdom as…

“Everywhere’s England with a foreign name.”

“You live in the most southern part of England. D’ya mean Scotland?”

“Mussels are like snot.”

Singing the Belgian National Anthem – “It’s different to the British one.”

“I thought Brussels was the capital of France.”

“A monk is a nun’s brother.”

[January 2014]

Things I don’t understand about commuters…

Eejits who sit on outer seats serving no obvious purpose than to annoy eejits like me trying to scrape by them into the inner seat…

Bigger eejjts who wait for their (later) train at the edge of the platform and, refusing to budge, block people desperately trying to get onto their train in rush hour…

Even bigger eejits who wait for their (later) train at the edge of the platform and who begrudgingly move with such silent indignation that you nearly end up nudged over that same platform – and down through the gap…


Pet peeves of today’s commute…

Pet peeves of today’s commute….

 To the girl who decided to put on her jacket while we were huddled in a tight group and made us all duck to avoid being hit by her flaying arms – that is a no

 To the woman who tried to shoo away oncoming pedestrians with two hands and a twisted face like they were giant flies – that is a no-no

 To the animal who let rip as we huddled to cross at the lights – that isn’t a no-no-no. That’s an offense punishable by a proper lambasting if I had figured out your identify.

Ah, it’s the accent…

At a Networking event in London: January 2014

Exchange of the night with a guy aiming to run for the Tories in next General Election…

“There aren’t many Protestants left in Southern Ireland.”
“Actually, there are over 100,000 of us.”
“Really? Are you one of them?”
“But you don’t have the accent.”
“I thought all Protestants spoke with a Northern Irish Accent…”