Mon 28 Nov – Sun 4 Dec 2016
Big news for last week is that I’m on holiday! Me and Dave usually visit our beloved Gran Canaria late Jan / early Feb. For some reason we’ve booked to come at the start of Dec and skip Jan/Feb. I would really love to come here for Xmas and New Year. Currently we are foiled in doing this by having our mums to look after. But it will happen in the future. And this holiday has been a trial run. Sunny Maspalomas with Xmas decorations and Santa but it’s over 20 degrees.
Oops, nearly missed the flight
Our flight left at 7.30am on Wed so we were up at 4am. 6.30am and the luggage was checked in plus we were through security. Thus we went for breakfast. Whilst eating I thought I heard an announcement about our flight boarding. We did not think that could be right as there was still an hour to go. So 6.50 and off we went to the boarding gate. I popped into the loo and Dave came rushing in to tell me that the gate was closed. Basically we ended up being the very last passengers allowed on and plane doors were closed by 7.05. I have never been on a flight that was closed so early. I think it must be to do with being the first flight of the day and they were determined to leave on time.
Good plane journey but iffy Hoppa service
Our late Jan flights are normally packed. Primarily full of old people who seem to be using their winter fuel payment to stay over in Gran Can until it warms up in the UK. I think holidays in Dec are not so popular as our flight was only half full (perhaps they left several people behind…)
Perfectly decent flight and I spent it reading. Arrived on time and went to collect our Hoppa service. Normally this is very good but this year it disappointed me. An hour plus wait to travel on a dilapidated coach. Good thing that we were the first off. Checked into our favourite hotel and settled into our room. The sun was out and it was packed around the pool with people sunbathing.
Strange (or perhaps not) to see so many familiar faces. People I have seen before in Gran Can before as well as people I recognise having been on the ‘gay scene’ for over 30 years. Me and Dave walked around the wonderfully crazy Yumbo Centre and then went back to our room for a kip. Evening it was out for drinks and dinner at the strange German restaurant Bei Lelo. To be honest, I ended up drinking too much and crashed out around 11. Dave stayed out for a bit; he clearly has more staying power than me.
Regular holiday routine
Our holiday has quickly set into a regular pattern and there is nothing wrong with that. I adore stripping off to lie on the lounger by the hotel pool. This doesn’t appeal to Dave who prefers long walks. I was so tied into the same procedure this holiday that I failed even to go down to the infamous Dunes for a walk. An amazing mini-desert area with many exotic things to see. You have to go through it to get to the gay beach which I find too way too posey.
I spent most of my time reading. Indeed I brought along several big chunky books to try to get through in a relatively intense burst. I inter-weave reading with ‘pootering’ – going on the pooter to find news and share it via social media. It was good to go off pootering in our room every so often to give my skin to get a break from the sun.
Though it is important to remember that as the Canaries are still north of the Equator so they are in winter as are we in the UK. That means wall to wall burning sunshine is not guaranteed. And on Sat and Sun mornings we had rain before the sun. Amazing to see how the temporary rain put many holidaymakers into a situation of not knowing what to do with themselves.
Our holiday was centred on the hotel and the Yumbo. In particular our base was L’Italiano. This is a fun little bar I love chilling at. We usually ended up there for afternoon coffee, G+T before dinner, and often finished our evenings there with delicious Irish coffees. We also had our evening meal in the Yumbo. Sadly the food in Gran Can is quite samey – very meat and two veg. Plus we would often wander around the Yumbo after dinner having cocktails and watching the sites/people. Several nights we had entertainment. There was some sort of community event going on with ‘gymnasts’ and amateur dance groups performing. They (and their choice of music) were pretty bad. One night we had the Swedish Golden Ladies. Then on Thurs it was World Aids Day so we had a concert by drag queens dressed in lots of red sequins.
Gran Can is renowned for its nightlife and many of the gay bars and clubs are in the Yumbo. Traditionally Spanish nightlife doesn’t get going till late i.e. bars 10pm+ and clubs midnight onwards at the earliest. Neither I nor Dave had any really big late nights. For me this holiday was about relaxing and getting perspective on what makes life enjoyable. It is too easy to lose this by not taking space and seeing things from a distance.
Real life i.e. non-holiday stuff
Mon and Tues last week were uneventful. Mon morning I did mum’s washing and spent some time with her before travelling to Dave’s. Did a work phone call in the afternoon (though theoretically my day off but there was no other time to do it). Also took some stuff down to the charity shop.
Tues was a work day and busy. Me and Nissa spent time linking in about the next phase of our Tech for Good programme – stage 2 application form and guidance notes to complete, getting the website ready to display our longlist, sorting how to inform people who had been shortlisted and declined. Other stuff that happened:
- Catch up with a colleague about how our New Fund is developing
- Mandatory data awareness session with about 60 people squeezed into a small room
- Lunch session from a project we fund called Mothers to Mothers in South Africa. There mothers with HIV are employed as peer supporters for women who find themselves pregnant and HIV+. Main focus is about ensuring women are supported (remember some might have been raped or abused) and that the virus is not transmitted to the baby. Emotional to hear from someone about finding out she was positive. I can still remember my first time and no-one expects it no matter what has happened in their lives.
Politics: Goodbye (and good riddance) establishment Zac
Fantastic news on Fri morning to wake up and find Lib Dem victory in the Richmond Park & North Kingston by-election. That shit Zac Goldsmith was defeated again. If ever there was someone who is ‘establishment’ then it’s Zac. Dripping in wealth and with a redeeming feature of liking trees which seemed to be his ‘get out of jail’ card for everything. One of the highlights of a particularly crap year though also good on Sun to hear about the defeat of the neo-Nazi in Austria.
Brexit, Trump and the modern neo-Nazis can be defeated, we just need to start fighting.
Books and reading
Sadly missed the Velvet Page book club because of being on holiday. It happened on the Xmas shopping night at Waterstones so would have been a good one. Oh well….
‘Corpse Marker’ by Chris Boucher
After the wonderful but bleak previous book about WW2 (From the City, From the Plough), I turned to a nice bit of silly escapist Dr Who to read. This is a follow-up to the classic TV adventure ‘The Robots of Death’. Life is pretty bleak at the moment not least due to politics. So it is lovely to go back to the comfort blanket of Tom Baker and Leela in this undemanding sci-fi adventure. Though interesting to remember that in the 70s, Dr Who was also escapism from the cold war, nuclear armageddon, and economic crises.
‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami
This is a big chunky book that has sat on my bookshelf for ages. Basically its size has intimidated me. Thus this was perfect to focus on for the holiday. I love Murakami whose books are amazing Japanese surrealism. Indeed I think of his writing really being about dreaming. And this particular book really is like an epic dream one might have. It starts off fairly routinely with a missing cat and gets seriously weird from there onwards. Strange characters and situations flit in and out. Ultimately some things are never explained but it does feel like many dreams I have had and finishing the book was just like waking up from one of those.
Dr Who audio adventures
‘Farewell Great Macedon’ (First Doctor William Hartnell + companions Susan, Barbara & Ian)
Another lost story in that it was considered for TV but never done. A real historical classic of the Hartnell era. The Doctor and co go back to be in Babylon just before Alexander the Great dies. It’s a good story that feels like the other great Dr Who historical adventures of that time such as Marco Polo, The Crusade and The Myth Makers. Straight forward histories with no aliens. Apparently Dr Who was originally intended to have 50% of its stories being historical rather than sci-fi to fit its educational remit. This audio adventure is great as well because it is produced in exactly the style used for Dr Who in the sixties.
‘The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance’ (First Doctor + Susan, Barbara, Ian)
Another lost story and firmly in the sci-fi genre. The Doctor and companions go to a planet to repair the Tardis and relax. They meet a race of people with dreamy voices and dreadful names such as Rhythm. Turns out that beings on this planet couple for life and if rejected then kill themselves. Tragic consequences follow when one of the aliens falls in love with Barbara and that is not reciprocated. All wonderfully sixties flower power heterosexuality.
And finally…. I have entered myself into the UK Blog Awards (why not?) This is based on a public vote so I would be grateful if all my blog readers could vote for me by clicking on the logo below. Many thanks!