I arrived back in Spain on Saturday 4 January after a two day stopover in UK delivering the mother-in-law home safely in Warrington. She had spent Christmas and new year with us which was a first for all concerned. Margaret and I have, after careful deliberation, scored the whole event a healthy eight out of ten. Of course, the whole period was closely supervised by our beautiful Siamese cat Giorgio.
The journey back to Warrington was not without its moments, it must be said. After landing, we were kept standing in the rain and cold by the runway at Liverpool airport because the Border Agency people were trying to fit two plane-loads of passengers into a space designed for one. Readers of my old blog site will remember that I was a frequent 'item of amusement' for the Border Agency staff, on previous trips, but at least I wasn't singled out on this one.
Eventually we cleared the arrival process and I collected my hire car. It was a brand new Ford Something which I looked forward to putting through its paces. During the journey from the airport to Warrington, which should have taken forty minutes but took nearly ninety, I managed to turn right onto a roundabout, narrowly avoid a bus and get totally lost. Who was a clever boy then! Mother thought that it was hilarious but I was actually quite proud because I managed the whole fiasco without using one, not one, swear word. Margaret didn't believe me until mother confirmed it.
So, 2013 saw us make significant changes to our lifestyle. We completed our first year of healthy living which included particular attention to our diet, keeping fit and no booze. We are particularly proud of the 'no booze' bit because previously it played a significant part in our lives. Our relationships with friends have, as is the way of things, moved in various ways and, in some cases, different directions. Those closest to us have applauded our efforts and their support has been invaluable to us. They know who they are and we love them for it. Funny old life, ain't it.
In April, on the seventh to be exact, our dear friend Bob Mather passed away. We were with him and the memory is etched in my heart. His friends came from near and far to say goodbye to a really nice man. Nuff said.
Other dear friends have been through the mill in the past year and , thankfully, are enjoying good health again.
Being a massive music fan, as wot I am, 2013 has seen the release of some great music. In particular, Andrew Duhon, White Denim, Laura Marling and Paul McCartney (takes time but worth the effort). I also discovered a release from 2006 by Los Lobos called Wolf Tracks. The outstanding music on DVD was, for me, the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013. Outstanding tracks are Andy Fairweather Low with Eric Clapton on Gin House Blues and Jeff Beck with Beth Hart on Going Down. Dangerous music, thrilling and edgy.
I've set myself some objectives for the coming year. Apart from seeing 'Lock-Down Blues' in print, I'm now busy on the sequel. Some of the old characters remain, this is prison after all, but I'm introducing a couple of new characters, dark and complex. Thanks to those of you who took the time to read the draft prologue and send me your comments. All comment is important so keep them coming.
I've had a ukulele looking down at me from one of our book cases for too long now. It was a birthday present from Margaret and I've been massively remiss in not giving it the attention it deserves. Along with sharpening up my guitar playing, it's on my must-do list. Writing and listening to music is a very important in the process of living for me. Much of my inspiration comes from Margaret, our friends and simply observing life. The act of committing words to a page and the knowledge that they might give pleasure to another person, is hard to define but nice.
As mentioned on my home page, we now have a Poems & Pics page. As well as poems, old and new, I'll be posting pics of some of my efforts at putting acrylic paint on canvas and images of people and things I find interesting. I hope you enjoy what you read and see.
Before I finish for today, I've been reminded of a little 'something' which happened on Thursday 19th December at Alicante airport. I thought that I would share it with you and, hopefully, raise a few titters and crack a few smiles during these chilly times. So, I arrived in the Arrivals lounge, in plenty of time, waiting for Margaret and Mum to arrive so that the festivities could begin. I thought that I would make a real effort and put some nice threads on so that I wouldn't get arrested for vagrancy. I positioned myself next to the small coffee bar, by Arrivals, dressed in a cool brown leather jacket, polo shirt, smart jeans, new boots (no Wilf, no panties) and a scarf (artfully tied, took me an hour).
Feeling good I ordered a coffee con leche but avoided choosing one of the multitude of small cakes on offer. The chances of dropping cake soaked in coffee down the front of my gear was a real possibility so I avoided that particular banana skin. Smiling at the nice lady behind the counter, I handed over Euros 2.50 and ignored the small look of concern on her face as I casually availed my self of a small sachet of sugar. Without looking down I expertly ripped the top off of the little blighter and emptied the contents into my coffee. The concerned look on her face had now morphed into one of mild amusement, so I followed her gaze and concentrated on my coffee and the empty sachet. To my horror, I'd added a sachet of salt to my coffee.
Trying to maintain my composure, I looked up and one of her carefully plucked eyebrows was now raised, her smile firmly in place. I casually tossed the empty salt sachet on the counter, mouther the word 'lovely' and drank the lot. The lady completed the final act with a casual shake of the head and what passed as a tut. Fortunately, my behaviour had not been witnessed by anyone else so I replaced the cup back on the saucer, collected the change I'd left as a tip and sloped off to the Gents to regroup and wait for my huge blush to vanish. The moral of this story is 'Wake Up Before You Stir'.