'Farewell and adieu unto you Spanish ladies
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain
For it's we've received orders for to sail for old England
But we hope very soon we shall see you again.'
Okay, not entirely appropriate, but leaving the warmth of Spain to return to England always brings out a few regrets. Even so, we are both looking forward to going 'home' now after six months of gadding about. That sea shanty was something we sang at school, for some reason, but when I looked it up it continues...
'We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt seas'
Not so sure about the ranting and roaring part.
Anyway, must tidy myself up a bit, I thought. G said 'good idea' so suspect he thinks I have let myself go a bit. Not that he ever says so and when it comes to letting go, he's always the main offender. He's the first to say so!
So, there I was, was sitting in the chair at the hairdressers, chatting away, and the stylist (yes, stylist – like a doctor they deserve their qualifications to be recognised) said, ‘would you like to take a seat over there for twenty minutes and let the colour set a bit while I just finish off this other customer?’
I perched on the nearest chair and carried on chatting. After a few minutes Emma, my stylist said ‘are you sure you're okay sitting there, Marigold?’
I looked up at her, then realised I had plonked myself down on a typists’ chair that was wound down to its lowest setting so I was practically sitting on the floor.
‘Yes, I’m fine,’ I squeaked and carried on talking away like it was perfect natural to be sitting at ankle height. I was very relieved and when she asked me to go back to the normal chair in front of the mirror. The mirror was handy as I could check the sudden rise in altitude hadn't given me a nose bleed.
I told Emma about seeing Cabaret on stage last year as she was saying how much she liked musicals. ‘Will Smith was in it and he was brilliant,’ I said.
‘Mm! Wish I had seen him,’ Emma replied. Then I told her about a tv programme I had been reading about this morning where Lily Savage (can never remember his real name) was visiting India talking about animals. ‘He was stroking this elephant that had been fed sweets by tourists for years so she had to go on a diet and had lost 100 tons.’ Emma was very interested in my fascinating tales.
When I found G in the car park – surprisingly he was not asleep as I had been gone for hours – I told him what we had been talking about.
‘Do you remember when we saw Will Smith on stage in cabaret? Well I was telling Emma and she was very interested when…’
‘Well,’ G interrupted, ‘I bet she was. Only problem, it was Will Young, not Will Smith.’
‘Oh. Then I told her about that elephant that had been on a diet and lost 100 tons.’
G snorted and looked bewildered so I grabbed his iPad - not a euphemism - looked the article up and showed it to him.
He read it and then placed his finger on the screen. ‘Read that bit again.’
I read it and was just about to say ‘told you’ when I realised the poor old tubby elephant had lost 100 stones not 100 tons.
‘Even so, 100 stones is still a lot.’
G snorted again. ‘That house over there weighs less than 100 tons,’ he said.
Oh well. Everyone has a bad day now and then. At least he said he loved my hair.
We’re planning our next trip already. Well, one of us is. I spent every geography lesson looking out of the window so it's not my strong suit and G must be getting tired of saying ‘if we go there and there on the way to wherever that will add 3000 miles to the journey’ by now so I just said, ‘oh, you decide and I’ll just say okay. In fact I am going to be like an Indian wife and walk three paces behind you from now on.’
Annoyingly, he looked quite pleased at the idea.
Thing is, like Bridget Jones there's no need to know about geography, just go to a travel agent and say where you want to go. Who needs a map? People who say words like Southern Hemisphere are a little bit sad and are usually vegetarians or Buddhists.
The only time you need to know north or south is when you get on the wrong train, which I have done on more than one occasion when living in London. All you do is get off quick and ask a guard who tells you to go southbound, or wherever, or follow a man with a guide dog as they are very clever, that is if you can keep up with them as they are trained to go very quick, and don't respond to petting, a bit like G.
The other good thing about travel agents are all the huge free brochures. When we had a log fire in France they were a huge comfort as they burned for ages. We have seen Australia, New Zealand and Peru go up in smoke. Australia took ages.
G is sorting out a great American journey for September. Do they really dunk doughnuts? If so will be joining in. Walking three paces behind, of course.
We’ve also said goodbye, or adieu, to good friends and delightful settings in Mojacar. Lovely place, lovely people. We'll be back.
Leaving Spain means travelling, obviously, and that means finding somewhere to kip along the way.
Last night featured a bit of of a cock-up on the accommodation front, as a character used to say in the Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. My fault. Obviously my fault as Marigold is still opting out of decisions and walking half a mile behind me!
I’d booked somewhere to stay which is pretty rare, but we’d never been to this place before and I thought a little prior organisation was called for. It sounded very nice online, even if the photographs were mainly of soup tureens and a duck pond. Not a single photo of the actual bedrooms in what was described as a 300 year old English owned house with great charm.
We found the ancient house and Marigold said it looked as if it was falling down. We admired the duck pond outside and rang the bell at reception. I love those little bells and was rather overdoing the ringing, but nobody appeared. I wandered round a bit, but it was rather dark inside with lots of ancient oak panelling and only lit by a couple of of those wretched good for the environment light bulbs that would struggle to match a sickly glow worm for efficiency. Sombre shadows lurked in every area of the room.
‘Nobody here,’ I reported back and as I said it a door creaked open and a red faced man appeared, fastening his trouser buttons.
‘We’re closed,’ he said.
‘We booked a room, a double,’ I replied.
‘Ah. In that case, sir, madam, you’re very welcome. Sorry, I was just flushing out my pipes when you rang.’
I could feel Marigold shaking with suppressed laughter behind me at this perceived euphemism.
‘Beer pipes,’ I said, firmly.
‘That's right, sir. Clean as a whistle now. Anyway, I’ve put you in our garden suite. There's a lovely view of the duck pond and it has a fully equipped kitchen area if madam wishes to be so inclined. Please follow me.’
He set off at a gallop. I looked at ‘madam’ and suspected she would not be inclined to do any cooking tonight.
We walked up a very narrow, very dark set of creaking steps to an equally gloomy landing. It was four o’clock in the afternoon, but up here it was like an eclipse of the sun.
‘Here we are, sir, madam,’ he announced, stepping to one side so we could squeeze past.
The colour scheme, a lot more colour than scheme, had vomit as the dominant shade. A blind person would have difficulty living in this room without feeling nauseous. A small seating area with two vinyl armchairs, a tiny kitchen with a single electric hob, and a separate dining area with a tilted table and two mismatched chairs. A gloomy bedroom contained a sagging double bed with a faded yellow cover bed and a wardrobe gaping open on one side due to a broken hinge. Yes, this would be luxury for some poor unfortunate, but we aren't homeless refugees.
‘The bathroom is just through there,’ our host called out, waving a grubby hand towards a large stained patch of wallpaper. We didn't bother to inspect the bathroom. Just as well, probably.
We left, fairly speedily, instead. We parked the car in a quiet road and wandered around for a bit before finding a delightful hotel and an even more delightful room available for weary travellers. The room, the bed, the bathroom were ultra modern and very clean. Yes, it was more expensive than ‘duck pond towers’ but not by very much. Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for.
‘Madam will be checking your pipes later,’ Marigold hissed as we went back downstairs to seek out a coffee bar. ‘Hope they're well flushed out.’
I reminded her of her self proclaimed Indian wife status which called for respectful decorum at all times and told her to keep well behind me as we walked through the town. She didn't appear to hear me.