Visiting in July, scorchio.

Well, the last blog ended rather suddenly and with no cliffhanger scenario to draw you back for another visit. As I sit here now, I’m beginning to have unsettling flashbacks to my school days and the constant battle with essays. I say essays but my English teacher, Mr Moore, who had a very broad Welsh accent, disagreed and felt that two pages did not constitute an essay…..

I agreed with him too but was never able to make it to three pages, let alone any more. At that age, there was only three things I wanted to write about, football, football and football. Sadly, none of those ever came up as an essay subject and I think the final straw came when, for homework, we were given a photo, which we had to write about. I remember the photo quite clearly, it was a black and white picture of an old lady, looking wistfully and presumably out of a window. That was my initial thought, she may have been on the toilet but that didn’t occur to me at that age. I really thought about it until the night before the essay was due. I was a boy, you just didn’t do any homework the day it was given and get it out of the way, so you didn’t have to rush it on the last night. Please tell me I wasn’t alone in that thinking. So, what did I write about? No, she wasn’t the first female football coach and no, she wasn’t the second ever female football coach. I came up with a story that she was a female spy but had been made up to look old, so that she could carry out her undercover work. There was more to it than that but you get the idea. I thought it was quite clever and it even ran to almost four pages and not using bigger writing to make it look more either. So, pleased that not only had I come up with something clever and four pages long (almost), I handed it in and thought nothing more of it. that was until the next English lesson, when it was handed back with a very short comment in red ink on it. I don’t recall the exact wording but it went along the lines of  “This story not relevant to the picture” or “This story does not fit with the picture”. Well, as my tears made the harsh comments of the red ink run, I sort of lost interest in English after that. Never mind, there was always football.

Ok, back to adulthood (must I?) This is normally a blog about Spain and if you’re reading this now, you’ll be expecting something along the lines of a Spanish theme. Basically, the last blog was about our first visit as owners of a place in Spain and we had already booked to come out again in the July. As I’ve mentioned before, neither of us are sun worshippers but we really wanted to get out to Spain again and so this was the earliest opportunity we had to visit. One week was planned and I made sure that my hand luggage was security friendly, by that I mean empty. Seriously though, I kept putting things in, taking them out again and trying to imagine if what I was planning to take could look like or indeed be, something that security might not like. Feeling confident in my packing, we got to the airport, along with one suitcase and as I’m pulling it along, I feel something sharp digging into the side of my knee. We stop and I see that a knitting needle has pierced the fabric of the suitcase and had been making a determined effort to pierce my leg. The suitcase is opened and I see the armoury of knitting needles that Mrs S has packed. They are rearranged and the suitcase is booked in and we move on to security. Shoes off, all metal objects in the tray, glasses and belt removed, at which point, I find I’ve lost a little weight. Scrunching up my jeans with one hand, a little like Michael Jackson but much nearer the waistband, I walk through the scanning machine and of course it beeps. It did this, not out of spite but because I’d forgotten to take my watch off, which is surprising, as it’s on the wrist of the hand that is holding my jeans up.
“It’s my watch” I tell the guard, who isn’t buying it one bit.
“Arms up please sir”.
In my mind, I can clearly hear The Smiths song “Panic” and The Four Seasons, ” Let’s hang on”( to what we’ve got).
“Could I put one arm up at a time”? I ask “It’s just that my jeans will fall down”.
“Arms up please sir” he say’s, with no hint of compromise in the air.
In an effort to keep my jeans up, I spread my legs wider, as both my arms were reluctantly raised. Resembling a grounded simulation of a star jump, I stood there, as he carried out his search, possibly wondering what the hell I was doing, possibly not. He completed his search and I moved off, initially, still with my legs open, which must have looked even more bizarre but after the first two or three steps, I was back to normal, well, as normal as I get. The hand luggage breezed through security and Mrs S found out that she could have taken her knitting needles in her hand luggage. So, there you have it, bowls and coasters can be dodgy but good old knitting needles aren’t a problem. Still, my bag went through and I felt chuffed with that and Mrs S was pleased that she didn’t have to make an appearance on “The embarrassment factor”.

Out of security, we’re beginning to establish a routine. Mrs S goes to the duty-free area and replenishes various bits and bobs, while I go to the duty-free area and say “How much”? as I see the prices of after shaves and the like. Then it’s upstairs for a coffee and the feeling that the holiday is really beginning. The departure gate is flashed up, we go to the gate, board the plane, plane takes off, hands are crushed, hands are released but then we deviated from the newly found routine. Mrs S had made bacon rolls and as we sat in the wing seats, some other passengers looked enviously as they saw and smelled what we had,especially as the food trollies would be ages before they reached the middle, where we were. That was probably one of the best bacon rolls I’d ever had and I say that, not because Mrs S proof reads my blogs but because it was true. After getting up at silly ‘o’ clock, being stabbed in the leg and frisked by security, a simple thing like a bacon roll seemed like a banquet. Plus, the bacon was cooked just right and with nothing but some butter, as I don’t like sauces, vinegar etc. I never have and no matter how careful you are, there’s always the potential for something nasty to creep in. My mother in law was once trying to convince me that as we get older, our tastes change and that I should try these things as I’d probably like them now. I didn’t take her up on the kind offer and it was only ever mentioned once more, when she mentioned it in a conversation about going out for a meal as “Your problem.” Bless her.

Anyhow, after fighting off a number of carnivores and declining offers of money and partners in exchange for the rolls, we sat back and endured the rest of the flight. I say endured because I have difficulty in sleeping on a plane because, one, I’m tall and it’s not easy to get comfortable in the sitting position, whichever way I try. Two, if I’m lucky enough to feel my eyes rolling and I’m about to drift off, the tannoy comes on to inform us of the latest sales pitch. Firstly food, followed by more drinks, duty free shop, lottery tickets and let’s not forget the airline themed cuddly toys. And so, I sit, Ipod on, trying to drown out the stilted tannoy messages and not really succeeding. This is really not intended to be a moan, just my observations and it’s only for around two and a half hours before it’s over, so, as Mrs S would say, “Breathe”. I breathe and the music on the Ipod goes from relaxing music, Jean Michel Jarre – Equinoxe and the like, to what can  be described as either rock or heavy metal. Mrs S can always tell when this happens, as one knee bounces up and down to the beat, shortly followed by two knees, if I’m really into it. I do have a filter though and don’t do it if someone else is sitting next to me, which is often now, the days of empty seats on planes seems to be a thing of the past.

We land, breeze through customs, baggage and step out from the airport. Wow, feel the burn and it’s only 10:30. Feeling like vampires in daylight, we skulk off to the pick up point, where we’ll get taken to the car hire offices. For some reason, I’d booked with a different company from the one we’d used last time. I’m not sure why but we waited about half an hour before the minibus came along and we found we were the only people being collected. Oh well, no queue when we get out I thought. Off we drove, past the car hire we’d used last time, past a lot of things actually, before we turned off the main road and right away from the airport. By this point, we were exchanging glances because the blurb clearly said that the hire place was by the airport. Had we naively got into a vehicle and were now being taken off to who knows where? You’ll have to wait to read the next installment. Did you see what I did there?

Waiting patiently.

All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers

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