Well, where do I begin to tell you about my lovely week in warmer climes? No camels, no pyramids, but if you count a glimpse of a whale and a lesser-spotted tour guide, there was still a fair bit of wildlife to keep us amused!
If you didn’t know, we didn’t make it to Egypt – for obvious reasons. Talk about not meant to be. But what was?
So with the foreign office advice not to go to Luxor unless ‘essential’ (not even I could argue that one!), and a refund cheque promised, we found a last minute package deal to a lovely five star, all inclusive hotel on the southern tip of Gran Canaria. Even better, it was right on the beach, with some lovely bars overlooking the bay for us to while away the hours reading our Kindles and soaking up the atmosphere.
Kipling Kerena and I saved some suitcase kilo’s by making full use of our Kindles, packed with novels to read on the weeklong rest-fest. Never being bothered about the sun, and slathered in Ultrasun factor 30, I found my favourite place – Ciao Ciao’s down on Meloneras promenade.
You’ll note the hat and the white shirt. Due to my skin not being able to stand the sun in years gone by (you’ll know this if you’re a regular!), I’ve never got into the habit of baking my body by a pool for hours, but instead I’ve loved reading in a gentle breeze, slightly out of the sun, knowing I have all the time in the world to enjoy it and relax. So this place was perfect! Great latte machiatto too and so relaxing.
Didn’t mean I didn’t get a little bit brown though with the help of pre-tan accelerator and L-Tyrosine tablets, as well as the high once-a-day SPF – it was almost hitch-free as far as the sun’s concerned.
This, if you knew what I used to be like, is worlds apart as my dear old pal (and childhood sweetheart) Martin Doe reminded me, when he emailed recently. Thanks Martin – yes times have changed immensely eh? Glad you got back in touch with me via my blog! Special hi to you and family. Now I just need to locate a certain Mark Bannister and I’ve got the ‘set’ – lol!
Needless to say, as every writer will be aware of, much time is spent in ‘distraction’ when you’re supposed to be writing your 1000 words a day (see below), and writing a missive to Martin to bring him up to speed on the missing years was also on my agenda for my poolside sessions!
The pool area was very picturesque, and the views from some parts of the hotel were amazing. If you stayed out of the wind it was actually very hot, up to 25 degrees, so the weather didn’t disappoint.
Whiling the days and nights away…
Apart from one or two excursions, we spent the days and some nights around the pool, down in the café, on the veranda or in the spa centre. Had a couple of fabulous massages too – one back massage with hot stones was heavenly and highly recommended. Lovely!
In the evenings after the pianist finished playing his stint, gently accompanying pre-dinner drinks, and the children’s disco torture (I mean disco-fun) was finished, there was always some sort of cabaret, albeit very basic.
Abbalike weren’t bad, neither was the flamenco dancing. But after the third night of very Phoenix Nights-style medleys – you know the kind, Quando Quando/O sole mio/Tie a Yellow Ribbon – I have to say that’s the one element I would have liked to be better. After all, there’s only so much Sudoku a girl can do!
We did go out one night (see below) and the Friday night’s entertainment was particularly memorable, but to give you an idea of what we had most nights, here’s a sample.
This is the inside of the sophisticated H10 Meloneras Palace, along with a snippet of a typical cabaret – reminded me very much of Combe Haven, Hastings, circa 1978. Or the London Borough of Merton Sports and Social Club my old dad used to run in Haydns Road, Wimbledon in the early 80’s. I can’t watch this now without feeling the urge for an Irish Coffee without the Irish, or a ‘menta poleo’ courtesy of Carlos or Alejandro (yes like the Gaga song) - I know how to live it up! Hehe.
The food was great – no complaints there. Someone else worrying about meals is one of the joys of all-inclusive. Plus bottled water and coffee on tap, so to speak! And there was lots to do if I wanted to, and no-one to mind if I didn’t. That basically sums up the holiday in fact!
I resisted the temptation to go join in the singing and dancing – Kerena was pleased about that. What we did do on one of the days though, was go out on a dolphin hunt. ‘Dolphin Hunt’ as opposed to ‘See the Dolphins’ since they remained rather elusive on our trip. Probably the wind had blown them half way across to Africa, considering how windy it was out on the SeaCat. But nice to have gone out for a couple of hours, even if our ears were ringing by the time we returned. Needed a hot bath after that one I can tell you! We did get to see a whale though – well, a glimpse of one but a whale nonetheless.
The same day we went to a great evening out at a place called Garbo’s, where the waiter and waitresses suddenly jump up on the stage and become the entertainment, singing and dancing their hearts out. I was gobsmacked at how good they were, doing a 50s – 70s act. Some of them could be in the West End they were that good. Part of it was Grease-inspired and some of the arrangements and choreography was sheer genius and very, very entertaining.
But when they’d finished each act, unbelievably, having sung their hearts out, they’d be back bringing us the next course! Anyway if you go there, it’s highly recommended.
The other excursion we chose was what they called a ‘blanket trip’ – a curiosity I couldn’t possibly ignore. It was a freebie – a coach picks you up for an afternoon visit to a quaint part of the island including a look at some ‘cave homes’, and all you needed to do was sit and listen to a talk about lambs wool and sleep systems for an hour.
Other couples were on their third or fourth repeat visit so it obviously wasn’t scary. And anyway, you know me, I wondered what sort of thing they’d say – maybe pick up some facts for Northern Nights hours! Anyway the talk was fine, quite bearable and yes I did find out some things about lanolin and bed sores I never knew before (yes really) but it was only for an hour. Then the afternoon excursion began. The next stop was Guayadeque cave-houses and a tapas lunch in the cave café.
The tour inside a cave house sounded intriguing, but if you closed the door, you could be anywhere – they had furniture, whitewashed walls, tiled floors and an LCD TV with satellite telly! But step outside and it was like going back in time.
Well worth going for, as was the detour to the pretty town of Aquimes with its unusual statues – including a bronze camel. Ok so I didn’t get to Egypt but this was the nearest thing I could find in Gran Canaria!
But what made the trip most memorable was the tour guide on the coach. I think I know now where Alan Partridge got his inspiration from. Here’s a snippet – stick it out till the end and you’ll see what I mean!
Anyway the main focus of the holiday was of course to relax. And read. And write. Mission accomplished. Hot book recommendation? David Nicholl’s ‘One Day’ – so well written and very funny. Plus I got back into the swing of writing my own novel – I’m up to 30000 words now!
Thing is, it’s only supposed to be 50000-70000 in total for a Mills and Boon, but they’re not even in Hawaii yet. Bit of a problem since it’s called ‘The Playboy Billionaire’s Hawaiian Affair’. Guess I’ll either have an epic on my hands, or a lot of editing to do once I’ve finished the draft. But the aim right now is to get to those magical words – ‘the end’.
Talking of which, that’s it from my holiday update. Back to work on Friday evening, (11th) then back on for Beauty Day (13th) with a fantastic Laura Geller TSV! Nice to be back…
P.S. If you’re also a singleton, join me for a Valentine’s free zone on Monday night – I’m on for most of it! Finally, I have a sneaky suspicion I’ll have a very unexpected update about Daisy the Disappearing Dog soon so don’t miss it!