Torremolinos and the value of being emotional


Mon 29 Oct – Sun 4 Nov 2018

So two things dominated last week. First, a much needed break in Spain. Cut shorter than planned because I need to be back to help mum with moving flat. But still important to have time out. Particularly as I did get a bit emotional just before I went away. Proof if ever required that time-out was much needed. I think a lot about being emotional and my belief is that it is a good thing to be.

Andalusian sun

Spanish flagI write this blog from the ‘warmth’ of Andalusia in southern Spain. I had a mini-break in Torremolinos. And was joined by my retired work colleague Phyllis (Philip) for Sat night before we drove over to his place in Torrox to stay for a couple of days.

It’s warmer and drier than the UK but a bit chilled at night and in the mornings. It usually rises in temperature to around late teens during the day which is really fine for Nov. The Spanish think it’s cold and walk around in puffa jackets. Whilst north European tourists still sport shorts and flip-flops.

I didn’t do much for sustainability

The way I got here was by flying which saddens me as I have contributed to climate change and global warming. I am seriously planning not to fly so much in the future. Though that will be after mine and Dave’s trip to Gran Can in Jan otherwise how would we get there? It’s daunting and time consuming to try to avoid flying but I really don’t want to be part of the baby boomer group that doesn’t give a fuck about the planet’s future. That was the majority of people on my plane.

Arrival on Thurs

Torremolinos train stationArrived in Torremolinos on Thurs. I always forget how easy it is to get here from the airport. The train station is right outside the airport exit and it’s like 10 mins on the train and you are in the centre of Torremolinos – all for 1.80 Euros. Bit different to the £33 return on the Gatwick Express. 🙁 Thurs I just checked into my very nice hotel and mooched around town. A big fuck-off spicy curry and a few bevvies. Not too busy out but then it was the day after Halloween.

David, Gordon and Countessa Guapatini

Fri was more mooching around drinking coffee, reading, playing on the pooter. A disco nap in the afternoon then off to meet mine and Dave’s friends David and Gordon who live in nearby Mijas. We went to a fun very home-cooked little German restaurant I recalled from my previous visit. Then onto see Countessa Guapatini at Guapatini’s Show Bar. A great night out. The show started at 8.30 and went right through to nearly midnight. Good old-fashioned crude drag but with the Countessa also being able to sing properly and do some great costume changes. That fun time when you just keep thinking, ‘don’t pick me…’ Then on for some more drinks. David and Gordon went home, I stayed out getting well sozzled and back to the hotel around 2 or 3 am.

Phyllis on Saturday

LGBT rainbow flag

Met up with my mate Phyllis. Saturday was a lovely warm day so we took a long walk all along the playa (beach). Then back to our rooms for disco naps. I was slightly jealous as his room was nicer than mine with a south-facing balcony overlooking the pool. 🙁

Out for pizza and then drinks. The plan had been to do a big, crazy night-out. Unfortunately I was exhausted by the 2 nights before. So Philip went off clubbing and I went back to the hotel – bed around 1am. 🙁

The coincidental meeting

View of TorroxSun up and out for breakfast. In one of those amazing life coincidences, Philip had bumped into one of his old dates who was staying in the hotel – Martin. After check-out, we all went for a walk along the beach and some lunch. Then Philip drove to his place in Torrox. Chill time before out for dinner in the town square.

Spain in the future?

view from front room windowMe and Dave are thinking about long-term living in Spain. Getting away from cold and insular England though we do like London – a different place from most of the rest of the country. But we also both have our mums to look after. And there are other parts of Europe in particular that I want to explore before saying definitively that Spain is the place to be.

My sabbatical

One thing that is on the horizon in the near future is my sabbatical April – July. I applied and got turned down for a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship to fund travelling and building links between Tech for Good social impact ventures in Europe and the UK particularly after the disastrous impact of Brexit. Shame because I thought it was a good proposal. Perhaps I wasn’t adventurous enough. 🙁 But that does mean I am a free agent for my sabbatical in terms of what I do and where I go.

Innovation and Creativity

The importance of being emotional

mental healthI had a little bit of a meltdown during the week. The pressure of working in a system that was not functioning the way it should just got to me. This raises the question should we always be stoical?

I’ve written before in my blog about stress and we need to simply accept it is part of life. And it can be dealt with by addressing the way we deal with it personally, by changing the external environment, or a mixture of both.

Emotional reactions can be beneficial. They let people know you are stressed and people take notice more. Fundamentally we all operate at an emotional level. It’s that old thing about people not really being able to remember anything about you apart from the way you made them feel.

So I will carry on being emotional. I don’t care that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am proud to be an emotional person and it’s often emotional people who get things changed. Walking solemnly to disaster really doesn’t help anyone whereas creating a scene might.

Solutions rarely come in the workplace

One interesting thing last week is that I had an idea to a big problem at work. It’s one of those things that go round and round in my head. And an answer came one night when I awoke during the night half asleep and semi-conscious. It’s a play on words but one of those ‘Eureka’ moments. Hopefully it’s part of the answer but just goes to show how ideas and inventions rarely come in the workplace and rather when we are in a different place completely.

The beneficial impact of external contact

Also nice to have some good meetings last week. My old colleague Rebecca who has got a challenging new job – she’s the right person for it. Then lunch with Matt Haikin and the chance to talk about Tech for Good particularly in the international development context. Finally Nick from Shift came into the office to do a presentation on how they are using design to try to tackle social issues; nice to see him again.

Books and Reading

‘The End of the Day’

A book by Claire North aka Catherine Webb. She’s a ‘sci-fi’ writer. This one is about the Harbinger of Death. An ordinary man employed by Death to go ahead and give gifts to key people. Though it’s not as simple as that they will die. Rather it can represent the death of a time in their life or the death of an idea. Death = change. A bit of a meditation on what death is, a subject that fascinates me. Ultimately no-one knows but it’s inevitable and it’s really what we want to make it.

Health and Personal Development

  • No jog-run because of holiday and busyness at work before I went away.
  • Also not much Duolingo. Interesting in Spain that I did recall many bits of Spanish as I listened into conversations and I even tried speaking my own little bits of Spanish in bars and coffee shops.
  • No coding practice, why did I ever think I would have the time?
  • But I did spend time on the hotel balcony with the parakeets in the background dealing with email and other tinternet stuff.

The Week Ahead:

  • Holiday cut short to come back on Tues so I can help mum get ready for the move to the new flat on Tues 13th
  • I’m going into work on Wed and Fri primarily because of important meetings. But the evenings, Thurs and the weekend are all going to be about packing.
  • Hopefully I will have time for a jog-run at the weekend
  • And I am going to carry on reading which is my favourite past-time
  • Try to keep up to date on Duolingo & emails, perhaps get some coding practice done

And Finally…

Because it was Halloween last Wed:

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