Monday, 29 August 2016

Glamping at Malaga

After decades of abstention, I'm planning four air flights on one year. Now it's me Diz and Mole at Yeadon, checking in with Ryanair. Lola has to go thought extra machine on her own, and my suitcase is searched cos of the container of talc.

After what seemed like and actually was three hours, sitting in one small cramped place! we arrived at Malaga, hit by that wonderful first waft of warm air that Britain just doesn't do. Luke arrives, and we take the coastal road  to Torrox and turn left up zigzag hill.

Our tent is a sight for sore eyes. Worth all the terror, no, not Luke's driving, I mean the flight, of course! The tent is beautiful, the night view down to the coats is magic, we celebrate in the customary way.

Our companions on the glampsite site are Grainne (pronounced Gronya) and her son Tom who is nearly eight. As Lola is nine this is perfect for childhood happiness. Plunge pool, play pool, splashing about. Chill out day for me, shopping on Torrox Lidl for them. Julian opens the Dom Julian cocktail bar this evening. We drink. Daisy, Grainne and Lola and Tom dance. That is all understatement.

Next day we walk down the zigzags in the hot sun. This takes 1 very hot hour and ten very hot minutes .

Find a bus stop near the puebla and we don't move till a bus appears at it. Ice creams and a paddle on the beach at Torrox.

This is how the Rough Guide describes the Costa de Sol:

"on the coast it's easy to despair . . . Costa del Sol, Europe's most heavily developed resort area with its poor beaches behind a remorseless density of concrete hotels and apartment complexes"  and, of the approach to Torremolinas, and the town itself, " a drab soulless landscape of kitchenette apartments . .  and half-finished developments." and "a vast grotesque parody of a seaside resort."

I wasn't immediately endeared to the place.

Taking the fast bus now on the coastal road to Malaga. Every summit, every dry piece of earth seems littered with buildings, a few derelict and decaying, some small and some with fabulous turrets and intricate details, all mostly orange, or yellow.

Malaga is well old, absolutely stunning and architectural.  Somehow Angie and Grainne  find me a room in a house for the night. This is as cultural architectural as it gets. The house is part of a terrace in the north of the town, there is courtyard with winding gangly plants reaching to the roof and a fat Burmese cat;  the room has a balcony overlooking the alleyway below. there's no breakfast because the landlord declares, there's plenty of cafe bars around who can provide breakfast better for less. Lol.

We all walk dine and drink around pedestrianised Malaga, pedestrians have massive right of way. Angie's friend at Los Gatos helps us locate the Riad and also charges her dying phone. He asks if  I am a rock star; I agree that I am, and give him our steelband card.

At sevenish they all leave for the bus back, and I take too big a turn about Malaga. Arrive back at the Riad with a bottle of white, can't even finish it! Do find wifi thankfully, needed to put an event organiser's mind at rest, hope I did!

See below the beautiful lampshade, the balcony over the street. Loving it! See the buildings, the riverbed [where did the river go]. From a glamping haven to a Spanish heaven.

Next morning, up early at 7.30, decide to walk down along the river to the train station. Discover the perfect trendy hippy breakfast place, stay un poco too long there. Find the river, but the river was dry. Can't find the nearer station, walk on to the bigger one, try to take a normal train, should be on the light train, different set of platforms. It is  now 10.45; boarding closes at 11.35, the train arrives at 11.13, aero puerto at 11.25' race at the boarding gates. Which one? Panic, go through. But it miles to gate C37, arrive there at 11.38, and am not the last!

Contemplate crying with relief. Can't be bothered with aerophobia, but three does seem to be a hole in my window! Now it is home and Manchester Carnival. On closer inspection perhaps not a hole.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Blown Away by the East Coast

It is a year since I have set up that huge six berth tent of mine. I can't wait to get out of the city and nestle down on a little patch of grass somewhere not here. But you don't travel light with to children and a baby, so we fill two cars and go. Rick leaves us at Reagis Sands and we set to work on our form of glamping. Massive living room, kitchen area, play area etc.

Alas just as we are sorted, the refrigeration unit at the camp shop decided to break down. We get the car back out, and hit the Spar at the garage on the Filey Road, and then the chippie in Filey. Back chez nous we regroup for drinks and party games (well, drinks).

Next day is sunny. W are on the cliff top with panoramic views of sandy beach, cliffs jutting into sea and all of Filey sea front. We walk down to the beach, paddle and play catch. Seven month old Patrick takes to sand like a duck to water- crawls on it, eats it, smiles. Back up to the tent, Vegetable stew, then Georgia, Jordan and Maya go to the evening's camp "entertainments" and I continue editing and adding to the book.

Next day it is windy, look out of the tent; next door tent is straining at the leashes, higher up one of the smaller tents is on the ground;

Gig and the kids go to wash up, come back to find me, holding on for dear life as a strut breaks loose and I have half-dismantled ours.
We drag two carloads of camping and baby gear down to the bottom end of the site. Chris and Paul offer to help, and won't in fact leave us until we have repitched it, and it takes all four of us plus Jordan hanging onto various ropes to do it. Howling gale or what.

In the evening they take on the entertainments for a second day in a row and I contemplate music for children with additional needs for the 150th  day in a row!

Next day we decamp, Rick calls for us, and we go for a paddle on Filey beach and chips on the prom. I call in on Rick bro en way back. Wherein I pick vegetables and contemplate the state of my own allotment.

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Morecambe Trip April 2016

The Easter Holiday was hurtling towards its end and I had not done anything, not been away, not had a break. I opened maps on the ipad; it had to be the coast. I had never been to Morecambe. I booked the Royal. I booked my trains; I packed my little plastic crocodile suitcase with lots of writing to do in it.

And on Thursday morning at half ten I took the train to Morecambe. OMG, the station was near the sea front, the hotel was on the sea front, the hotel was glorious Victorian splendour; my room had a sea view and a view of the statue of Eric Morecambe.

I did some writing; took a turn around town and along the beach, took a cream tea in the restored Midland Hotel, later had a Chinese meal, back to the Royal went down to the bar and bought a glass of wine to use while watching Line of Duty. Which was excellently stressful!

Then went down to bar, all mirrors and original fittings, and wrote some more.

Next day, took the tennish train back to Leeds and Sarah did my hair. And that was the hol, very short and very sweet, and I will go back for longer next time.

I see the ticket lady on the way over gave me a smiley face. It was a good omen.