Recuperating in London and Torremolinos

Mon 24 – Sun 30 Oct 2022

A complete non-work week just gone. Mon to Wed, I was pottering about and getting ready to go away then off on Thurs to Spain. I think holidays are either for going crazy or recuperating. I suppose you can do both in the sense that you can have blow-outs and then spend time recovering – as I am doing on certain nights. But, overall, I think we always need to choose if we want a holiday (and time off generally) to get mashed and go wild or to recharge.

Life in Torremolinos

I am writing this blog sitting on the balcony overlooking the wonderfully crazy place that Torremolinos is and listening to the parakeets chirping (they make such a noise…). It’s becoming a bit of an annual thing that I get back here in autumn to catch the last bits of European sun.

The same but different

But I am a great believer that things are never the same. It’s that theory if someone goes into a river twice then they are different both times. True, they are still a person and it is still a river. But their experiences between the two occurrences make them different and the river has changed – colder, stronger, quieter, dirtier, etc.

So I like regularly visiting places as I want to know them better but inevitably I’m different and they are different. You can read here about my holiday last year in Torremolinos around the same time. Probably the biggest difference is that all the Covid regulations have gone and the town is much busier.

“There is nothing permanent except change”

Heraclitus

Halloween and Winterfest

I have also deliberately come out at this time to enjoy Halloween. People really make an effort in Spain to party for Halloween though, of course, the public holiday is the following day – All Saints Day. However, coincidentally it turns out to also be Winterfest (Winter Gay Pride) this weekend in Torremolinos. The main aspect of this seems to be a stage tent in the town square playing very eclectic music as well as a pop-up bar with go-go dancers. One of these is, I think, perhaps the skinniest man I have ever seen in my life.

red demon head with horns

The emphasis is on recuperating

However, I think my time here may actually be less crazy than last year simply as this break is about relaxing, reading, and planning for the future. Torremolinos, to be honest, really is party city. It’s a bit ramshackle and reminds me of the 1970s but it’s fun. The sun is out and the wine flows freely. Will I go to any parties? Who knows, but I am recuperating and that will definitely involve some chilled nights out at the bars without getting too messy.

Reflecting and chilling

Health and Efficiency

Gym

Managed to get to the gym twice before leaving on Thursday. Both very decent workouts with me on my own so I could use whatever machines and weights I wanted to. Hopefully I will get to Philip’s gym in Torremolinos though I’ve told him my favourite time to go is mornings and weekdays when it will be less busy.

75 gym sessions since the start of the year divided by the annual membership = £6.60 per session.

Sleep

A big part of proper recuperating is simply getting enough sleep. I generally sleep better when I am not working as I don’t tend to wake in the middle of the night mulling over work issues. Plus, this time of year, it’s easier to sleep with the earlier nights and late mornings. I am actually having a bit of a problem getting out of bed with the darkness – happens every year in autumn and winter despite me being a morning person.

Tired man asleep or despondent

But the recuperating that comes with sleep also extends into my holiday in Torremolinos. Later nights up drinking though not to excess. But no guilt about laying in and also definitely no guilt about afternoon snoozes (or ‘disco naps’ as I used to call them in my wilder days).

Eating, drinking, weight

I am determined not to over-eat on this holiday. Excessive eating and drinking is a symptom of a crazy holiday. As this is a recuperating one, I am determined to eat sensibly and even try to use this as a springboard for weight loss. Easier as I am not carrying work stress and my hotel room has scales which means I can check myself each day.

However, I am going to drink more as a key part of holiday relaxing for me is having an alcoholic drink and watching the world go by. But determined not to have nights where I get nasty drunk as that would signal losing control and lead to weight gain.

INR, HIV, and prostate

bloods taken

Two medico things to sort before I went away. First, INR on Tuesday to check my level of blood clotting. Result came in just within the good range so no change in warfarin. Definitely good news as I’m not sure what we would have done if it had been outside and me going on hols.

Then to the hospital on Wed for the 6 month catch-up with my HIV consultant plus bloods taken. All good though a big warning not to miss my meds for more than two days running. Really is amazing how living with HIV now is living with a chronic rather than fatal disease. And with people with HIV on meds and people without HIV taking PREP, then it is almost impossible to pass on the virus. Stopping the spread of HIV completely is achievable.

Bigger problem (literally) at the moment may be my prostate. My consultant advised me to go back to my GP and discuss some of the issues I am having as it may be a sign that the prostate is getting larger. Someone once said put a group of men in their 50s together and inevitably they will come round to talking about knees and prostates – very true.

Family and Friends

Mum and Dave

My two London responsibilities LOL. Mum was OK though she is getting older and can be cantankerous. Probably good for us to have a break though with responsibility for her sitting with my brother. No update on the Housing Association repairing her window. I phoned before I went away and they said phone back when I returned from holiday if nothing had happened!

Dave doesn’t really like Spain so he took the opportunity whilst I am away to go for a Berlin weekend break. While the cat’s away… We are catching up regularly by phone and it’s clear we are both missing each other. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Phyllis

Great to catch up with my old mate Philip who lives in Torremolinos. It’s pretty normal for us to meet for lunch and then in the evenings for a drink. We can happily sit in a bar chatting whilst watching the world go by; admiring the views or taking people apart.

David and Gordon

Met up with my pals who are staying in Mijas. We met on Saturday night because they were keen to check out Winterfest / Winter Pride. Though I did warn them in advance that it might not be what they were expecting. Philip also joined us and we had a great evening.

Primarily sat outside the Vanilla bar chatting and contesting with the noise from what had become the Winterfest disco tent. Then into the very busy La Nogalera gay district (it’s literally the area underneath a housing estate) for more drinks at trendy bards 3 Monkeys and Agua. Nicely drunk and back at the hotel by 2.30. Clocks went back so we gained an hour in bed anyway.

raving

Books and Reading

I always try to use my holidays to power through reading and that is what has happened.

‘Nighthawking’ by Russ Thomas

Actually finished this one before I left London partly because it’s such an easy and compelling read. It’s the follow-up to his debut novel ‘Firewatching’ which I think was a book we read at the Velvet Page Book Club – must get back to attending the group. I don’t normally go for contemporary crime thriller but both of Thomas’ books are very well constructed with good characterisation.

I’m really not sure real crime is as multi-layered and inter-twined as this but that’s the joy of literary escapism. And it’s clearly influenced by good TV drama such as ‘Line of Duty’ and the current cultural obsession with conspiracies. Indeed, it does slightly fall into the trap of so many modern thrillers that it’s slightly hard work to keep track on all the complexity plus plot twists and turns but definitely worth seeing it through.

‘Times Without Number’ by John Brunner

John Brunner is a classic sci-fi writer and one I have been meaning to catch up with for ages. Indeed, if time off isn’t for recuperating and catching up on stuff you’ve planned to do for a long time then what is it for?

This is a short time-travel novel written in 1969 and clearly influential on a number of other sci-fi and fantasy books that followed. There’s some great alternative history where the Spanish Armada successfully defeated the English in 1588. And the result is a civilisation probably about 100 years behind us in terms of general technology but that has discovered time travel.

There are lots of discussions about how time travel can be used to change reality and the things that need to be done to stop this happening. I actually suspect the author is talking to us about our own time. For in his alternative world, space travel and atomic weapons haven’t been discovered. And I think the morale choices to be made over time travel are related to the morale choices we need to take over nuclear armageddon.

My current reading books

So I have brought a big pile of books to Spain with me as well as my kindle. Ironically, according to last year’s Torremolinos blog, I was reading ‘The Bear Pit’ by S G MacLean. I am now reading the follow-on book ‘The House of Lamentations’ which I choose purely by chance. It is the last in the series of the adventures of Damian Seeker and part of me doesn’t really want these stories to finish. So I read with a sense of sadness that something is ending.

The importance of books

Personal Development

It’s great to be on holiday and be immersed in the Spanish language. Though I am obviously English and so people tend to go straight into speaking that. Not least as it gives them a chance to practice their language skills. But I’m taking the opportunity to try to pick up words and phrases. Plus I am still doing my daily Duolingo lessons.

Sustainability

Wrote in last week’s blog (read it here) about my guilt around holidays and flying. But I’m here and I’m trying to be sustainable by walking and enjoying myself without going to excess. But some really sobering news this week with the United Nations saying that it will be impossible for us to keep climate increase to 1.5 degrees – read it here.

Indeed, it is unseasonably warm across Europe including here in Spain. Fun to enjoy now but there will be real hardships in the future as water is more scarce, flooding and freak weather increases, and people migrate to escape the worst aspects of climate change. Be interesting to see how we cope with this.

Extinction Rebellion fighting climate change

The Week Ahead

  • Ongoing recuperating in Torremolinos
  • Hopefully will be able to go to Phyllis’ gym with him
  • Need to catch up with my friend Jamie and will be travelling out to Mijas for lunch with David and Gordon
  • Regular check-ins with mum and catch-ups with Dave

And Finally…

Worth repeating from last year as it’s still true

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