Sunday, March 24, 2013


Although I count the moment I stepped through the Green Door and left the school the day before yesterday afternoon just after 2.00 pm as the first start of the holiday and yesterday, Saturday as the second start of the holiday, I consider the first would-have-been working day (or the fourth start of the holiday, don’t forget Sunday) as the real beginning of the vacation. 

My joy has to be tempered by the fact that the Easter Break is also the time for the Scumbags to move into their “holiday home” next door for the period up to and including Easter, so the next couple of days will see their much hated dysfunctional personalities (if that is not too flattering a description of their execrated presences) noise their way into our lives again giving us valuable limbering up time to cope with their lowering, extended visit in the summer.

Still, lunchtime on Saturday and they had still not broken the tranquillity with their shrieks, clumpings, arguing, singing (!), smoking, smashing, crashing, entertaining (!), talking over, talking through, talking mindlessly and with the simple fact of their existence.  All of which is objectionable and vile.  But they were not there yet and we were enjoying the delay, no matter how short it might be.

I started the holiday by paying a visit to the local pool and did my lengths.  As I have no glasses (or at least no glasses that I am prepared to wear) I am reduced to using my contact lenses.  The battle between my eyes continues with my brain stubbornly refusing to play ball and read through one and use the other for distance as the optician intended when I was given the new set of contact lenses.  I understand that other people’s brains are well adjusted to this sort of juggling – well, mine isn’t and I have always failed to budge it when I have attempted this in the past.

This time I am going to be a week or two without glasses and so I will, of necessity have another period in which The Change can be attempted all over again.  I have no lively expectations of success, but I will manfully persevere and then admit elegant failure in the usual way!

I think that I will try and wear contacts next term as well and see how they cope with study in my next course. 

Which can’t start soon enough for me!

It is now Sunday morning and the Scumbags moved in yesterday afternoon to general gloom and despondency.  

It would appear that the full range of dysfunctionality is not yet assembled with the younger element not having yet made her appearance – probably still sleeping at home.  She is the catalyst which sets the others off on the rants for which they are infamous as they try and “reason” with her to get up, go out, stay in etc.  

So far, so quiet but this is very much the lull before the storm.  

Soon the television will be blaring in the outside seating area so that we can have the full benefit of a commentary on the F1 races; the mother will be smoking by an open window so that the smoke comes directly into our house (the stub ends will, of course, be flicked into our garden); the father will start singing; the daughter will refuse to get out of bed and the aged relative (they always have one or two hanging around) will be the sole voice of reason as the family disintegrates for the umpteenth time.  

Still, holidays wouldn’t be the same without our favourite hate figures concentrating and sharpening our fully justified ire!

And it’s a sullen start to the day with unreasonable amounts of cloud forcing me to have my tea inside rather than on the Third Floor.  But this is Spain, and there is a whole day for the weather to improve. 

And I have faith!

"Sea View” is a much-misused tag.  

How many times have hapless Brits gone abroad expecting a view of ocean or sea and had to end up not with the expansive vista of rolling waves, but rather a small patch of blue which could only be seen by standing on the toilet seat, hanging half-way out of the window and using a small pocket mirror.

Our “sea view” is just as problematic.  

Dianne has a simple rule of thumb about this elusive perk: if you can’t hear it (i.e. the sea) it doesn’t really count.  We can hear it, but seeing it is rather more elusive.

It is only from the Third Floor that our proximity to the Med becomes clear.  We used to be able to see a sort of triangle of blue if you looked down directly to where the sea should be.  On a calm day you simply had to take on trust that the colour was actual “sea view” and not some part of the sky.  If one pushed the definition of the term there were also a few (well a couple to be absolutely truthful) scraps of sea that could possibly count, glimpsed between buildings and trees, but pointing them out was more embarrassing needy than any possible compensating kudos that could be gained.

The growth of the native pines that infest this part of the world even threatened to slim down the recognizable triangle of water and make us visually land locked.

All this has changed. 

I think that there has been some fairly radical pruning of the light-denying evergreen (or unbelievable lack of observation on my part) with the result that we now have a view, not only of the blue but also of the waves and even of sand.  And not just from one direction!  No, from where I am sitting at the moment in the Toni-created “Tea Room” on the Third Floor I can actually see the beach, waves and sea.  Admittedly it is through a small funnel of a sight line where the branches have momentarily parted to allow it, but nevertheless it is recognizable.  Small, but there!

Our triangle has now changed into some heretofore-unknown geometrical construction and that too gives small, but unparalleled vistas to the paseo, road, beach, waves and sea!


Though again, with a brisk wind vegetation usually gets in the way and makes even more problematic what is tenuous at best!  Still, even a glimpse of the (audible) sea is better than none.  And at some point in the holiday I fully intend (climate permitting) to place my body on the beach and soak up some sun.  Throwing myself into the foaming deep – or at least what passes for that in our generally calm, domestic waters – will have to wait for another more congenial month.

This morning I actually put on sun tan lotion for the first time this year!  

I have already used after-sun, as sitting in the playground on Friday morning without a hat was not a good plan.  I now have that summery smell of lotion about me and I feel much more inclined to be positive about the world.  This is in spite of the fact that it has rained in a petty and spotty sort of way today.  I am holding faith with an imaginary weather forecast that I have in my mind that promises golden sunshine for the duration of the Easter Week and beyond.  And I am thinking that the holiday proper starts on Monday – this weekend was merely a run-up to the main event!

The Scumbags have been well behaved so far.  

That may well have been a foolish thing to say, as all the laws of schadenfreude will now come into play, but it is a Sunday and the well-known “Holiday Sunday Effect” is in full swing.  This is the changing of a day of grief that is a Sunday in term time (it being the day before a Monday and therefore another full week of misery) is magically transformed into a day of delight, not only because it is a holiday, but also because the curse of work-related foreboding is banished by the heady vista of freedom!  It is difficult on a Holiday Sunday therefore to be truly miserable because the casual remembering that tomorrow is Monday and It Doesn’t Matter keeps giving little bursts of happiness each time realization hits!

It has, however, rained again.  And heavily.  And it’s raining now!  Again, again!

But tomorrow, as all the best films say, is another day – and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!

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