The Components of a Bloody Good Holiday

Mon 31 Oct (Halloween) – Sun 6 Nov 2022

I have had such a good holiday in Torremolinos. I wrote in my previous blog about my first days after arrival – read it here. TBH, despite my plans to take it easy, those were a bit of a whirlwind. Last week was a bit more chilled though Monday was Halloween with a bank holiday on Tuesday.

Plus the weather is unseasonably good and I’m in a hotel I know and like. This is good as I’ve managed to need the kettle replaced twice. First one didn’t work, second one the prongs of the plug got caught in the electric socket and an electrician had to be called in.

Sun with glasses

I have fallen into a really nice routine. In many ways, that is what makes a good holiday. When you are busy doing stuff and not bored. Such that the time just passes nicely. And very much for me, I am trying out the life I want to live once I start my semi-retirement officially next year.

Health and Efficiency

Gym

My hotel has a small gym. But my mate Philip can get me into his gym as a friend. Managed to go 3 times last week. And it’s always good to experience how intimidating a new gym can be as a way of combating our own unfriendliness when newbies turn up at our regular gym.

Felt my way round learning how machines work and heaviness of weights to use. Some attitude but important to be confident and assertive.

dumbells in the gym

Diet

A good holiday is not about going crazy and stuffing yourself. Indeed, one of the reasons I am put off going on a cruise is because people have told me the only thing you can really do is eat. Sun and relaxation means I can get my eating under control. I love eating out but I can also have times where I just don’t want to eat.

And this holiday typified all of that. I didn’t feel as hungry as in the UK because no work stress and it’s hotter. I generally don’t do breakfast anyway; the idea of an English breakfast on waking up makes me feel sick. So normal routine was a main but light meal in the evening and a snack during the day.

But did give into some ice cream temptation occasionally (as you do on a good holiday). My favourite was Cherry Cheese Cake ice cream. Least favourite was Snickers ice cream which was disappointing.

Also useful to have a set of scales in my hotel room so I could daily check I wasn’t piling on the pounds.

Drink

However, I cannot say that I was so abstemious when it came to alcohol. I love a drink on holiday and the good weather in Torremolinos made it so easy to sit out with a drink watching the world go by. Although I didn’t get as messy as several tourists I saw.

Actually got into a nice routine of wine in the afternoon with Philip. Then perhaps another glass with dinner before me and Philip met again for our night drinks – generally wine but sometimes a cocktail or a lovely large Spanish measure of whisky.

Wine

Walking

This is a holiday with lots of walking. One of my favourite activities and a great way on holiday to find out about the new environment around you. Don’t think there were any days where I didn’t go for a walk. And often I was also reading my kindle at the same time. Though that didn’t stop me taking in the eye candy and what is a beach holiday for if not for getting some eye candy?

Stunning half naked man - how could you not smile?

Sunbathing

Now I know this is intrinsically unhealthy in physical terms as it harms the skin and causes cancer. Yes there is the importance of getting Vitamin D but apparently we get sufficient via normal daily life i.e. we aren’t wrapped up head to toe and go outside regularly. But there is clearly a psychologically good experience of lying in the sun.

A friend of mine once suggested it was tapping into the evolutionary phase where humans’ ancestors came out of the sea and discovered the joy of being in the sun. I didn’t get to the beach but several times I have been up to the naturist deck on the top of the hotel to strip off and just laze in the sun. Obviously with a book to read. Plus it was good for my psoriasis.

What I would like to look like

Books and Reading

“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth”

Albert Camus

‘The House of Lamentations’ by S.G. MacLean

Finished the fifth and final book in the brilliant Damian Seeker historical fiction stories. Seeker is basically a secret agent for Cromwell during the period in the 1650s when England was a Protectorate rather than a Kingdom.

But this adventure is set in Ghent and is a very good piece of literature about deception and double-dealing. There is also some very strong characterisation. It is the final book in the series but it’s left open-ended so another book could follow. Sad that these books are over but it does give me the opportunity to read some of this author’s other books.

‘A Fire Upon the Deep’ by Vernor Vinge

A component of a good holiday for me is when I can take the time to get to grips with a big, chunky sci-fi book. Something that takes me to another place completely different from the everyday world. I have been grappling with this book. It’s a sci-fi classic from 1991 and just under 600 pages long.

Hugely imaginative though not always an easy read. It is a complete reversal of the ‘normal’ vision we have in sci-fi with humans travelling faster than the speed of light and building an empire or alliances. In this book, travel is slow. Civilisations come and go without knowing each other though sometimes they bump into one another.

It’s a very anarchic and savage view of space. The setting is in a small sector of the galaxy and there are things happening that the current inhabitants don’t understand. It’s a rejection of the idea that humans are somehow ahead of the curve and that everything is explainable. Indeed, if history has been happening for billions of years then clearly things will be in the past (and the future?) that will have lost the ability to be explained.

Phobos

My current reading

  • On my kindle, I am catching up with the next book in the series by the brilliant Christopher Fowler of the adventures of detectives Bryant and May. I am reading ‘The Lonely Hour’. Like the MacLean series, it’s wonderful to catch up with good writing and characters I have grown very fond of. This book isn’t the last in the series but there are only a couple more to go.
  • I am onto my second big, chunky sci-fi classic and this is ‘Floating Worlds’ by Cecilia Holland. It’s actually slightly bigger than ‘Fire Upon the Deep’ weighing in at a bit over 600 pages. Though it’s a more straight forward space opera set within the solar system.

Friends and Family

Philip

I am very happy to go on holiday on my own. This gives you the opportunity to seek out new friends if you want to or just enjoy your own company. But this has been a good holiday because my old mate Philip has been around to catch up with. He lives here but we also know each other well enough to give one another space.

As said, he got me into his gym which was excellent. But we also met up for drinks most nights and sometimes dinner though he is much more strict about what he eats so often wanted to eat at home. Out for drinks on Monday night which was Halloween. Not as busy at the weekend but some great costumes like sinister nuns and evil aliens.

Pumpkin head

David and Gordon

These two friends were in nearby Mijas and they came over for a night out on the previous Saturday. I wrote about our great night out in my previous blog here. Me and Philip reciprocated by going over to visit them on Thursday. Philip drove – Dave suggested it was like Thelma and Louise. Found their place though it meant travelling on twisty mountain roads.

A look round the villa and playing with the dogs before into Mijas Pueblo for a tapas lunch. Wonderfully Spanish though also very touristy at the same time. But a nice, relaxed meal with lots of chat before me and Philip made our way back to Torremolinos.

Mum

Phone catch-ups with her whilst I was away. All good though she reported the London weather has turned colder and wetter. I know my brother has been checking on her and Dave offered to visit but apparently she was too busy! Surprise, surprise – nothing from the Housing Association on getting her window repaired.

Dave

It’s been a bloody good holiday but I have missed Dave. He couldn’t come with me due to work commitments. Although he found time for a long weekend in Berlin, be taken out to a posh club for dinner, and have a Barbra Streisand day with one of his best mates. However, the latter is something I am definitely glad to have missed. We spoke 2 or 3 times each day and it will be good to see him next week.

Sustainability

My reduced diet was a good thing as anything that pushes down demand in the food industry helps the environment. Indeed, the food industry is one of the main industries pushing us towards climate change – do you know how much methane cows produce?! Though it’s also sad to see here the amount of tourist tat for sale. So many jobs are based on making and selling stuff no-one needs that is destroying the planet.

Living in a consumption hell

COP27 starts soon and it is clear that a global temperature increase of above 1.5 degrees is inevitable. So we are now moving away from prevention (assuming current measures will ensure global net zero at some point) and towards mitigation and adaptation. It’s going to be disastrous for the generations that come after us. But there are some interesting articles on what we can do next – you can find them here and here.

Personal Development

There’s definitely a component to a good holiday when you immerse yourself in the local area, its culture, customs and language. I’m never sure of the point of an all-inclusive holiday where you fly in, get coached to the hotel, stay there for the week / fortnight and then get the coach and flight back. You might as well holiday in a sealed room with a VR headset on; actually Meta would probably be very happy if you did that.

Managed to get a Duolingo lesson in Spanish every day bar one. And I have been immersing myself in the locality going to Spanish cafes and bars. Plus picking up bits of Spanish just through listening. I also try to speak to Spanish people and I make mistakes but that is how you learn.

Spanish flag

The Week Ahead

  • Finish off what has been a bloody good holiday. Just Monday to go then back to an apparently wet and cold London on Tuesday.
  • Will be great to see Dave again as well as catch-up with mum, my brother, and my London friends
  • Need to think about my reading books for when I return being realistic that I won’t have as much time to do this as I have done on holiday
  • Should get to Philip’s gym on Monday and my own on Wed and Thurs. Also need to work out how to take my controlled eating regime back to my normal life. As well, I need to reduce my alcohol consumption in London compared to what it has been in Torremolinos.
  • Back to work on Friday. Going to be interesting as I am still due to be leaving at the end of Dec and the new role combining my job and my colleague’s internal secondment is out for advert. So hopefully lots of conversations with potentially interested people.

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