Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)

Mon 30 Jan – Sun 5 Feb 2020

So I am still on holiday in Maspalomas (see my previous blog here) and will be till Wednesday when I return to the cold and dreary UK. Holidays always feel indulgent but isn’t that what they are for? Most people of my generation would know the title of this blog as a song by The Specials (the late lamented Terry Hall). But ‘Enjoy Yourself’ is a song with a much longer history – check it out here.

The fact this song has such a long history and has been covered by so many artists suggests that it’s message is a key one that people want others to hear. Many of my blogs have covered how we should not under-estimate the fragility and transience of things. Indeed, we will all die – some of us sooner than others (I’ve got fingers crossed for some people). In that context ‘Enjoy Yourself’ is as much an order as sage advice.

‘Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.’

Helen Keller

My Holiday in Maspalomas

Gran Canaria Hotel Neptuno

To find out what I’ve been up to, I would recommend looking at the blog I wrote when I was last on Gran Canaria in Jan 2020 before the pandemic hit. You can read it here. That holiday, as much as this one, was based on the premise of ‘Enjoy Yourself’ and I’m pretty much doing now what I was doing then. Why fix something if it still works?

‘My ideal holiday is being in a nice hotel and spending days lazing by the pool in the sunshine with evenings out for eating, drinking and clubbing…Thus the annual trip to Gran Can fits my needs exactly’

Billy Dann (Jan 2020)
tom of finland

And you can even go back to the blog of Jan 2019 to basically summarise how my current holiday has gone (‘The ABC of a Bloody Good Holiday‘).

A brief synopsis of what me and Dave have been up to on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria:

  • Every day has been out on the sunbed. Weather has actually been variable with cloud and sun. But enough to spend some time roasting my body each day.
  • Plenty of alcohol with free sangria provided by the hotel at midday and then drinks before and after dinner at the ever wonderful Yumbo Centre
  • Two favourite bars: La Bulle and Sky Bar. Latter is a nice French bar where Dave goes gooey over one of the owners. The former has my new favourite cocktail, Manhattan – a lovely whiskey-based drink; read about it here. It’s a short drink with a taste that is sour and bitter – like me according to my lovely partner.
  • Frequent games of air hockey with Dave at 1 Euro per go. It’s very competitive and we are fairly evenly matched.
  • Very pleased to say that our favourite coffee shop ‘Nuevo Rokoko’ reopened this week. Brilliant for coffee and cake. Apparently opening delayed due to the death of one owner’s mother and the other owner needing dental surgery. 🙁
  • Haven’t gone crazy with the late night clubbing. I have done a couple particularly at ‘Super Construction’ and ‘The Factory’. But it certainly hasn’t been every night. Generally, clubs at this time of year are pleasantly busy without being too manic. Me and Dave have actually had some early nights.
  • Really lovely sleep, what you might call the sleep of the righteous. I suppose if you can’t sleep well on holiday then when can you? I have enjoyed the depth of my sleep and some wicked dreams.
Fun in Gran Canaria

Friends and Family

Friends on holiday

A big feature of the week gone has been fortuitously spending time here with friends. As per my previous blog, Philip (Phyllis) and Rafa were here up until Sunday. It was sad to see them go. But we were joined by Dave’s former work colleague Ian and his friend Huw. Many a night we caught up with them at the Mardi Gras bar.

One of the funniest things was Ian letting on that he bumped into Dave one night around 2 am at Burger King in the Yumbo Centre. Interesting that Dave didn’t tell me about this ‘midnight snack’ after his night out. Though he did tell me about using the lift in the Yumbo to get back to our hotel rather than the steps as he was knackered.

Living through very hot weather

Mum

I have intermittently been phoning my mum as Dave has been doing with his (as well as Patrick to check he’s OK). Mine is basically coping though she had a doctor’s appointment during the week which threw up some issues. Indeed, one day when I phoned she felt too ill to talk. But overall things seem to be fine apart from the cold weather.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

In previous years, I have used the little gym in our hotel. Not this year. Rather I have taken this as an opportunity to start the ‘Couch to 5K’ programme. This is in the hope that I can return to regular jog-runs on my return to London. Though I suspect the times when I used to do a 10K jog-run each weekend are long gone.

I suppose some could say that exercise on holiday is not part of ‘enjoy yourself’. But, for me, I have always enjoyed my jog-runs and I simply got out of practice largely because of my ongoing knee issues. I am working on the assumption that after a long break and legs strengthened at the gym so the regular exercise may actually benefit my knees.

Out every other day for a regime of walking and jogging. It actually feels very constrained but the big risk is moving ahead too fast. Will be interesting how I integrate it on my return with going to the gym and the inhospitable weather.

animation of a fat man running

Diet

As I said in my previous blog, there is no way to weigh yourself at our hotel. And I suppose most people would say a holiday does not include worrying about your weight. However, I don’t want to put loads back on after having lost about half a stone since December.

So my food regime is breakfast in the hotel (though some days I skip) and then basically nothing until dinner at the hotel in the evening. It is a buffet and so I have had to work on myself to not go back up for too many helpings.

The other big thing which is probably pushing up my calorie intake is simply alcohol. Wine at evening meals and during the day. Though I love the thrill of trying out new cocktails on holiday – see above. Indeed, I prefer smaller ones (though they can still have a high alcohol level). Bigger drinks (like big cocktails and beer) make me feel too bloated.

Wine

Books and Reading

Long holidays are designed to give the opportunity to deal with big books. And I have managed to get through two this week whilst lying on the sun lounger. ‘Enjoy yourself’ to me has always meant taking time to read.

‘Cage of Souls’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Czajkowski is a brilliant British sci-fi / fantasy author. His output is quite prodigious. Indeed, another book of his I have read is the award winning ‘Children of Time’ which I would highly recommend. It’s a huge and expansive piece of sci-fi covering centuries of alien societal development.

‘Cage of Souls’ is more focused but equally well written and based around some big ideas. It did remind me a bit of the coming together of the brilliant jungle prison saga ‘Papillon’ and the mysterious sci-fi writings of Jeff VanderMeer – his Southern Reach Trilogy is a masterpiece.

Tchaikovsky is writing about the far future of Earth in this book where there is only one small city left and the human race is dying out. The story switches between the city and its prison for dissidents. It’s fairly pessimistic. Though it is also an evolutionary story where different species adapt, for better or worse, to their situations.

‘Rufius’ by Sara Walton

Another nice chunky book. Alexandria in the 4th century AD with the rise of Christianity and the onslaught on the old religions as well as any Christian doctrine that deviates from the establishment version.

There is a strong ‘queer’ theme to this novel – a championing of the ‘alternative’. It illustrates the rise of early Christianity as an orgy of murder, looting, destruction, and burning. Fundamentalism and intolerance at its worst. Just as the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan so the early Christians destroyed amazing art and culture simply because it was ‘heresy’.

Ultimately, you are left wondering if a life devoted to hedonism and happiness is really that sinful? If we base our lives on the principle of ‘enjoy yourself’ so long as no-one else is harmed, is that really such a bad way to exist?

the iconic late 70s NY club

Personal Development

Still getting a Duolingo lesson done each day. And I’m also practising my Spanish whenever I get a chance. Dave finds it hilarious when waiters sometimes don’t understand my Spanish and bring us the wrong food or drink.

I have also signed up to a new app called Memo. It uses memes and videos to teach Spanish. Suppose you could look these up on YouTube but this is convenient as the short clips are all in one place. Will I stick with it? Time will tell and it’s a bit of fun. Always good to try out new tech ideas.

The Week Ahead

  • Going to carry on enjoying myself with our holiday till it finishes. A bit more lounging in the sun and chilling over cocktails watching the world go by.
  • Looking forward to getting back to the gym on Thurs morning. And look at how I can incorporate my ‘couch to 5K’ programme into my normal everyday life in London.
  • Will definitely be interesting to weigh myself and see what has happened. Then get my diet back on track and detox from the excess of alcohol I’ve been drinking.
  • Current reading is a heavyweight classic by the brilliant British sci-fi / fantasy author Michael Moorcock, ‘The Dancers at the End of Time’ – seriously weird.
  • INR on Thurs afternoon. Strong likelihood that it won’t be a good reading with the high alcohol intake for a fortnight
  • Be good to catch up with mum when I get back. Hopefully we will hear about the window repair soon.
  • Also be good to catch up with Patrick. Couple of weeks and he’s got his new carpet fitted. I need to start setting up meetings with old friends I haven’t seen for a while.
  • Looking forward to getting back to art and culture perhaps with a cinema visit

And Finally…

If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit

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