Now I know that some of you will deny that you envy my life here in Marbella.
It’s the best place in the world, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Except in August.
In August it’s too hot, too crowded, and too full of plebs who should have opted for all-inclusive in Torremolinos, stuffing their faces with churros and moaning about slow service and the price of everything. And it’s too noisy. On top of all the usual noise, my neighbour is replacing his tiles for the third time in two years. Johnny Spaniard is like that – he changes his kitchen or hall tiles more often that his wife changes her dress.
I’m supposed to be on holiday this month, but so far, I haven’t noticed.
I’ve just signed a contract to ghost write a memoir for someone very famous whose name I cannot reveal because if I did, he would almost certainly kill me. I know this, because the only thing I can tell you about him is that he once shared a Miami prison cell with Manuel Antonio Noriega, and he reckons he learned a trick or two from him.
‘If you want to be the best,’ he told me, ‘You learn from the best.’
I have one year to write it or I will have my testicles cut off, sliced, and fed to the sheep on his Welsh subsistence hill farm. Whoops … did I just say Wales? Ah … maybe that was a red herring amigo, but we will come back to Wales later in the blog. Warning: if you are Welsh and female, you may not want to read the rest of this.
So apart from trying to survive the heat and dodge the hordes of sweating, sun-dried, tattooed Mancunians, what have I been doing?
I did manage to escape for the first two weeks of August, and spent a relaxing week in our Polish country retreat. It’s relaxing because there is absolutely nothing to do.
I think I’ve told you about Grodków before, but it won’t hurt to reiterate how numbingly boring a town it is. Some seven thousand souls live there, and there in a kabab-slash-pizza shop, a petrol station that serves beer, and of course, a church. Grodków is my wife’s home town so I have to tread carefully with this one.
Oh … to hell with it.
During our last stay, finding that I had very little to entertain me, I decided to take up art, and proudly unveiled my first attempt.
‘But darling, it’s just a black canvas,’ my wife exclaimed.
‘It is indeed,’ I replied, feeling unequivocally proud of my artistic creation. ‘I’m calling it “Grodków Nightlife”’.
The reason we went to Grodków was so we could pick up her car and drive to the Czech Republic for a friend’s wedding. Like Noriega’s cellmate, it’s a case of no names, no pack drill, but many of you will know the groom. He owns most of Sidmouth.
Anyway, after the wedding and subsequent festivities – during which once one’s empty beer glass touched the table, a full one replaced it – we spent a few days with friends in Prague.
Getting there wasn’t easy – full marks to Hitler for even finding the place.
There are plenty of signposts to the capital, but generally when entering a roundabout announcing an exit in the direction of Prague, we found that the road hadn’t been built yet, and to take the recommended exit would leave us in a field.
If you’ve not been there, I would recommend a visit. But not in August. I didn’t get a chance to do what I wanted to do – which was to visit the museum of historic sex toys and to take a river cruise – but I did get to walk up the 3,500 steps to an empty castle and go to a classical concert, so I mustn’t grumble.
I even tried to lose the concert tickets by surreptitiously emptying the paper contents of my “man bag” into a bin, but the girls managed to persuade the sentry on the chapel door to let us in.
Strolling through the old town my friend – who I have known since my rugby days – and I made a few observations about things other than the culture and the architecture.
‘Strange isn’t it,’ I remarked, ‘Most Czech women aren’t that good looking. In fact, most are … well, let’s not beat about the bush … actually quite plain? Apart from the beautiful bride, and her family, of course. And your average Polish woman is good looking … in fact, some are really beautiful.’
As my friend had attended our wedding in Poland, he felt qualified to concur with my very non-scientific analysis.
‘You’d think,’ I continued, warming to my theme, but having checked that our ice-cream eating wives were sufficiently engrossed so as not to overhear me, ‘that with Prague being so close to the Polish border, Czech women would be … well, a bit better looking?’
My friend thought about this for a moment before replying.
‘I see what you mean, but I suppose it’s a bit like crossing the Severn Bridge in a westerly direction.’
Let’s park that one there.
I was going to blog about the other activity that has occupied me this August, namely writing my own memoir, and post an excerpt from it, but I’ll keep that for another day.
Chic@s! I’m off to see if I can find a few unoccupied square inches on the beach.