This week in bigger pics

  Monday 26th January Week 136 Spain

    La weekend.

    Ok, right, well if you're the observant type you will have noticed I've changed the look. I've re-branded myself. Given my diary a fresh new modern look for 2014. Like it? In fact I lie. It's a look I've used once before. Apparently, according to one reader, who I agreed to keep anonymous, the text I was using, being grey and not black, made it hard to read. The new look, he tells me, will now save him from having to fork out for a new lap top for his wife. I'm happy to have helped, because, lets face it, after losing a third of my readers for lampooning the Bible and in particular Leviticus 18:22, albeit in an jolly amusing way, I can't afford to piss off any more readers. I really don't understand why religion can't take a little criticism, and what is it about faith that makes people lose there sense of humour?. Go figure. Those that left, haven't come back. So I'm guessing they've written me off as a nut job. Well that’s life. Win some, lose some. But Hazel has wisely pointed out that perhaps I should tread gently. After all she added, you've almost certainly upset plenty of government supporters, that's true. And of course there’s the French, and the Swedes...... and lets not forget the Fins. I see where she’s going with this. Ok. It's not that I have anything against any of those nationalities, I haven't, it was their countries I took exception to. Except France, which I really like..... just not sure they like me.

    On Friday we attended another Birthday party in the bar. So that’s now five birthday parties, that’s if you include the one for the dog, and six actual birthdays. You’ll remember my birthday was forgotten (Clearly not by you. Ed). I'm only saying, just making an observation. We were treated to another flamenco act which was quite brilliant. The passion and drama of the singing, dancing and guitar playing was awesome. I did get chatting to a young Spanish girl who said that if I wanted to see what she called real Flamenco, and not the tourist version, I should go to........? and that’s where communication broke down. She spoke a little English. I speak mainly gibberish and we both had had too much to drink so I can't for the life of me finish off that sentence.

    We were last out the bar, Hazel and I, not me and the Spanish girl, and fell into a friends Motor-home for a night cap. Why? I've no idea, which is odd because I've since been told it was my idea. I was clearly soused but that's never stopped anyone from having one for the road has it?. So Saturday we were both fragile.

Come on, ho happy does he look?

   Finally. I wrote last Wednesday about men being sexy. I touched on knitting pattens from the sixties to make some point or other: I assure you, if you haven't read it, it was far more interesting than I have just made it sound. In the research I did for it, and yes I do research stuff, I came across the knitting pattern above which is nothing short of brilliant and for me sums up that whole wonderful lost era. A knitting pattern for men's underwear. Yes back in the swinging sixties, provided your wife wasn't shit faced on pot while listening to the Rolling Stones, she could knit her husband some champion looking underwear. This is clearly a long lost skill. I mean, look at the chaps face, he's happy as a pig in doodoo, knowing his bits and bobs are lovingly cosseted by his wife’s handiwork.

    Needless to say I've thrown down the gauntlet and challenged Hazel to knit me a pair.





  Tuesday 27th January 2014 week 136 Spain

    Size & Clubs

    My cup doth truly runneth over. Well in my case my email in-box. I received three emails this morning from readers. A record for one day. I guess this is what its like to be famous. I bet some days even Brad Pitt doesn’t get three emails, ah! in your face Brad!. One of them was even in Russian. It was either telling me how big I was in Moscow or offering me advice on penis enlargement.

    Just to go off piste here for a sec, but come on! are there any guys out there that buy into this penis enlargement thing? Really! I get a couple of emails a week on this. I've just googled 'Penis enlargement' and its returned with over two and a half million web sites. Informing guys, for example, Your days of feeling embarrassment in the gym could be numbered. Or, Now you could become the stud muffin you'd always dreamt of becoming through the wonders of male enhancement technology. One site simply curiously suggested 'exercise.' Not something most guys haven’t tried. Today with creams, lotions, tablets and even surgery you could become the proud owner of a decent sized todger. I reckon we all need reminding that it's only other men that are impressed with winkle size....... not women. Women are not that shallow. (No indeed! expertise and enthusiasm over enhancement every time! Ed) Opps! bucket of cold water coming up, me thinks.

    Back to the post: I got another one from a women saying I owe her a lap top, less said about that the better, and two telling me they like the new look. (That's four. Ed) Bugger me sideways you're right. Four, gosh. I tell ya, it's days like this that fair bring a lump to my throat. And on top of that two nice comments below. Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback......... even when I can't read it.

Always worth making sure your new motorhome will fit in the garage with ease before buying.

    I forgot to mention yesterday about the influx of campers over the weekend. Quite normal to get half a dozen Spanish turn up. Interestingly, and it's just an observation, but unlike us Brits they park right on top of each other, often with their awnings facing into each other, such is their communal spirit. This quite unlike us. If there isn't a trench and a no fly zone around a British camper he can feel a tad hemmed in, I'm not exempt. We also had a few Brits turn up. They all left yesterday. It transpired they are members of a little known movement called 'Motor-home Fun' and as such are referred to as Funsters. (Steady dear, think of your dwindling readership). Funsters are a breed of caravanner’s and motor-home enthusiasts united in their passion for all things camping, a bit like the Order of the Knights Templar, only not quite as secretive. They had come to celebrate the birthday, on Friday, of a fellow Funster.

    Personally I subscribe to the Groucho Marks school of thought on clubs. He's reported to have said: he'd never join a club that would accept him as a member, and I can see where he’s coming from. There is, as well, something awkward a a mite comical when you incorporate the word 'Fun' into a name. It implies mirth, merriment and jolly times ahead for all. You'll perhaps remember one of the worse camp sites we've had the misfortune to stay in. It was called Fun 'O' Rama, or some such nonsense. There was nothing fun about it. It was bleak, empty, rain sodden, mildly depressing and adjacent to a fly tip. The only positive note about the whole place was the discerning lady in reception who clearly took a shine to me (Yeah right? Ed).

    No, clubs are not for me. Trouble is, I'm biased where they're concerned. I've never quite got over being dishonourably discharged from the cubs..... the great toggle débâcle, don't ask........






  Wednesday 28th January 2014 Week 136 Spain.

    Mad dogs and English men.

    I suppose I should fill you in on the dog saga here at Pinar, it's taken on farcical proportions. A small stray dog has been running around the site scavenging since we arrived. Around its leg is what's left of a tether, clearly the dog was tied up but ate through it and escaped. It seems to have set up home in the field opposite us, this because, some on the site are feeding it.

    A couple weeks ago it was noticed the dog was limping badly on the leg that still has the remains of the tether attached. A impromptu meeting was called of the 'Pinar dog lovers association' and it was agreed we should catch the dog and Hazel, not exactly well known for her veterinary skills, should cut free the offending tether, clean the wound and apply spray on bandage. All agreed that was an excellent idea..... except the dog. He's pretty much thwarted every attempt to trap him, corral, him or simply grab him. He's skittish, nervous and, as we have since discovered, no ones fool. Another impromptu meeting was called a few days later. It was clear we had underestimated the dog. Other ideas were bandied about. My idea of slipping a choke chain over its neck by the only person the dog would approach and take food from was pooh poohed. One camper said sceptically: “Yeah right, well good luck with that plan Phil let us know when you’ve done it”. So we went with their idea, brought on by watching too many James Bond films if you ask me, which involved drugging the dog with sleeping tablets. I wanted to say: 'Yeah right, well good luck with that plan, let us know when he's nodded off', but I didn't. Think I just nodded my head and said, “a winning idea if ever I heard one”.

Cool right?

    The next day was spent finding a camper willing to part with a sleeping pill which, to be honest, wasn't hard to do. The camp site is full of pensioners, we're all on something, between us we could have restocked an NHS hospital.

    Now I don't know if you're a dog owner but our old dog Rizzie, was a pretty smart cookie where tablets were concerned. We would slip them in her food which she would gulp down enthusiastically and then, just before walking away, would spit the tablet back into the bowl and trot off. This dog hadn’t learnt that trick and swallowed the baited food. The effect was......urm, to say the least minimum. In truth unnoticeable. The dog ate the food, legged it back to his field, sat there looking at us while it happily digested its free afternoon meal. Another meeting was called. The outcome of which was to up the dose. The same thing happened. At this point I questioned what it was we were actually giving him, because to me, I thought the dog looked more frisky than ever, there seemed to be a real spring in his step. Were we sure they were sleeping pills and not perhaps antidepressants because he seemed have cheered up no end.

    The new plan is we get it drunk and by that I don't mean take it out for a few beers. No, but feed it alcohol soaked cakes. When it gets tipsy, and then hopefully sleeps off a hang-over, we nab it. The problem with all these plans is that A: we could all get done by the RSPCA, or the Spanish equivalent, for turning someone’s pet into a drug addict or an alcoholic. And B: whatever we do it always returns to the safety of the private field to which we can't access.

    Personally, if you ask me, the bloody thing is taking us for mugs. Its having a whale of a time. It wouldn't surprise me to wake up one morning to find it had invited all its mates over so they could all get smacked up on booze or tablets.

    I'll keep you informed.




 Thursday 29th January 2014 Week 136 Spain

    A day out

    'Not much of a travel blog mate, its more like your blinking diary', someone once said of these meanderings. I thought, my God, he's right. Since then I always refer to it as my online diary. I emailed him and thanked him. I'm not sure he knew why he was being thanked. Frankly I wouldn't want to be a travel writer. I think it would be far too boring, besides, I don’t have the talent. Apparently an experienced travel writer can bring an exotic destination alive just through the poetic descriptions of the sights and sounds they experience. (It's not stopped you before. Ed). So true.

    So this morning we rode the scooter into Barbate. Its just up the coast several miles through the small beach front town of Canos de Mecca, a holiday retreat much favoured by Nazis during the war. Today this sleepy little village has a reputation as a hang out for beatnik types and windsurfer dudes. (Younger readers won't of heard of beatniks. Ed)

    The town of Barbate, further on, is home to some twenty thousand Spanish. Approaching it from the coastal road, which takes you through the National forest, you drop down into the bay it sits in. At the top you get a splendid panoramic view of the busy harbour and beach.

    The town is, or was, famous for a couple of reasons. Firstly the dictator Franco, when he wasn't bumping off his political opponents, and he bumped off an awful lot, or wasn't forcing people into labour camps, came here to unwind. To escape from the hectic and fast paced world of being a ruthless brutal despot. Which proves the point that no one can be an total arse 24/7. Secondly: its a large fishing community and port which dates back to Roman times. The town consists mainly of low rise blocks of flats and sadly lacks the charm of some of the more traditional Andalucian towns dotted around it. There are nevertheless a few nice buildings. There is a pleasant little square, "Plaza de la Inmaculada" with the Town Hall on one side and an ancient Church on the other. The high street, which slices the town in two is never empty and is therefore colourful and lively.

    Barbate is popular in the summer with Spanish holiday makers. Its a typical Spanish resort and is quite different from the famed holiday resorts on the east coast of Spain. Here you’ll find no one serving an all day English breakfast, thankfully. It sees few foreign tourists, mainly because it gets too hot in the summer and the nearest airport is sixty miles away. So its unspoilt. In July they throw a wonderful festival where they burn effigies of politicians they don’t like on the beach. This is deffo something we should do it the UK, although I'd go with burning the real ones.

    On our visit we walked along the long promenade. It had a pleasant lazy atmosphere. This time of the year its quiet and there are only a few places open along the sea front. But there were plenty of locals taking dogs for walks, teenagers lovers strolling hand in hand and people eating in one of the open air cafés. We stopped for coffee and tapas. Tapas are small portions of food served in a bowl or small plate, a snack. Hazel ordered two based solely on the fact that they were the only two she could pronounce. One turned out to be half a sandwich, why only half a sandwich is any ones guess. The second was a bowl of white pasty stuff. I gingerly ate that, I'm not hugely adventurous when eating out. It tasted fishy but not unpleasant. Hazel offered to find out what it was but I stopped her. Sometimes it's best just not to know, especially where fish is concerned. If, for example, it turned out to be stewed Tuna eyeballs I'm not sure I could have kept it from making a reappearance.





  Friday 31st January 2014 week 136 Spain

    What’s on my mind

    I had something mildly amusing to get off my chest today, that is until.... Well, can I ask you a couple of hypothetical questions? Yes? Good. OK, well lets assume you smoke and have kids.

    Q1: Would you smoke in the car, if your kids were with you?. 84% of smokers answered 'no' to that question. The other 16% presumably said it would be their kids who would be lighting up.

    Q2: Who is responsible for the health of your children, you, or the Government?

    Q3: Do we elect Governments to run our countries, or do we elect them because we're all a bunch of sheep and need them to shepherd us through life?

    Why have I asked these questions?. Well you may have seen this headline: 'Smoking to be banned in cars carrying children'. Labour wants to see the creation of a specific offence. They want to be able to haul parents up before a magistrate and charge them with what? Reckless endangerment of a child’s health? Smoking while under the influence of children? The transportation of a minor in bit of a smokey atmosphere?

    The Government say this ban is already in place in some states in America, Australia, Canada and a few countries in Europe. Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham stated.........'it about time Britain followed suit!.' Why? just because those countries have it? Many countries have capital punishment but I don’t see our home secretary saying: “its about time Britain followed suit.” That's a sound bite, not an argument.

Edwards got a girl friend.

    What I do find frightening is not that politicians want to meddle in our lives even more than they already do, they always want to do that, their hands are permanently in our pockets, it's that according to them, and a online poll, parents are actually in favour of this. They are seemingly happy and feel the need, obviously, to have laws forcing them to be better parents. They are now not just looking for guidance, which is bad enough, but intervention. And the Government is only too happy to oblige. That is what this legislation is really about, make no mistake. -I have to say I do find it slightly perverse that we, in the Uk, live in a society where parents have a 'right' to hit their children, but not, it would seem, to smoke around them, odd-

    It's ludicrous to make laws which set out to modify our habits, or seek to punish those that don’t know better when, for perhaps just 16% of us, its only education that's required. Maybe its far cheaper to make a law than run an advertising campaign and perhaps nowhere near as profitable.

    In my book its better if you don’t smoke. I don't. Thankfully however we live in a free country (just) and if you choose to smoke that’s entirely up to you. All non smokers ask is that your a considerate smoker, and most are that I meet. I'll tolerant your habit if you accept the fact I don't want to breathe in your smoke. We don’t need legislation to be better parents nor do we need laws designed to make us more thoughtful or tolerant of others. And at the risk of losing even more readers, I feel sorry for you if you think you do....... but I'm confident you don't

    You have a smoke free weekend.




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