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Dai Another Day
Don't it just make you sick?
I spend a year sitting on that beach without a celebrity in sight. But no sooner do I move away than Hallé bloody Berry leaps out of the sea in a skimpy bloody bikini, a few yards from the spot normally occupied by your correspondent's lardy old arse.
Yes, gentle reader, it's now 2003 and I don't live in Spainland no more. And no doubt, out there in Cyberspace, tens of faithful readers have spent the last two years wondering what on earth happened to your aforementioned humble correspondent. It's a tragic story but at last it can be told.
Shortly after penning the last masterpiece, I headed back to Blighty to spend the
Festering Season in the bosom of the family and to check things out in the treetops of NW3.
The Yuletide jollities were enjoyably uneventful and the kid brother drove me back
to the smoke to see in the New Year. As we headed for the M1 (South), the snow-blanketed fields of
Leicestershire glistened in the feeble morning light. Oh to be in thermal underwear . . .
Wednesday January 10th 2001 saw me heading out to the bus stop at the crack of dawn, trundling my big case on wheels to catch the bus to Finchley Road, there to get on the bus to Luton airport. All went smoothly and I settled on the coach, making one last check of my travel documents … tickets and passport, all present and correct and, in the latter case, about to expire.
Saturday January 13th 2001 saw me heading out to the bus stop at the crack of dawn, trundling my big
case on wheels to catch the bus to Finchley Road, there to get on the bus to Luton airport. Good old
easyJet. Only £10 to change flight long enough to get a new
passport. In fact, that Saturday saw me heading out at uncharacteristically
high speed. I'd carefully set the alarm to start playing music to me at some ungodly hour (good old
Radio 3) but carelessly failed to switch it on.
So when I woke at an hour only slightly more godly and lay there thinking how much lighter
it seemed than on Wednesday and the alarm is bound to go off soon and, as Mr Grant so aptly put it in
Four Weddings …, "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! …"
Good old easyJet. When I turned up at the check in, mere minutes before the flight closed, with my Cádiz C.F. football scarf acting as a sling, they immediately marked me down as suspected broken arm, definite plonker and gave me special treatment which included putting me on the plane first, along with a babe-in-arms and a wheelchair-bound octogenarian, as well as pointing me out to people and laughing throughout the flight.
Malaga General hospital is way out of town, so I decided to take a taxi from the airport to the bus station oh no, there were no winter planes direct to Jerez, so I had another four hours of throbbing agony on a coach ahead of me. Let us draw a veil over the details and race ahead, past swerve of shore and Rock of Gibraltar to my city by the bay.
Off bus, cab home, dump rucksack and large case, notify neighbour of problem, taxi to hospital.
For nearly eight months I had got by with my broken Spanish, not to mention my broken heart. But with
the addition of a broken shoulder (for such it was) the language suddenly became an issue.
The half-understood banter in the bars with dentally-challenged and inebriate old locals was mere social
lubrication. Nodding and smiling was the only necessary response. But now it was crucially
important to ditinguish between what I was being told I should and shouldn't do. The Spanish word for
the broken bone, Humero, is close enough to the English Humerus for me to recognise,
if not for them to understand my corny pun.
It was a few reeking days before I regained enough movement to get my shirt off. At first I thought sweat had caused colour to leach from the navy blue fabric all around my elbow. I refer the lay reader to the dictionary, wherein they should look up the word ecchymosis.
In retrospect I was dead right to continue with my journey. It's amazing how debilitating it can be to
lose the use of just one arm, even the one less used. So many things the right hand doeth, rely
on the left hand not only knowing about it but bally well joining in.
Preparing food was all but impossible, at least for the first week but, at Cádiz prices, it was
possible to eat out three or more times a day (strength needed building up, is my excuse) and tapas can
easily be eaten unidextrously. There's no way I could have done that in London and my only hope
would have been to travel back up North and billet myself on my long-suffering sister,
who does not deserve such torture.
But I'm getting ahead of myself and this episode is far too long already. I only hope you now understand why churning out an article a week was not something I felt like doing for a while and can find it in your hearts to forgive me.
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