Friday, 7 January 2011

Under the Influenza

Oh my, New Year’s Eve was messy! I was to be found, once again in Fuengirola with chums and a reason to party – and I did. The drive into Fuengirola was surreal. There were very few cars on the street and even fewer people walking; it was like a scene from a 1960s horror film. Zombies seemed imminent. The Christmas lights were attractive; each street with a different colour and style. We parked in the port and made our way to the pub which was scarily empty for 10.30 on New Year’s Eve. Spanish New Year was seen in with champagne and tequila and at some time around 2am I found myself in Lonnie Donnegan’s bar at the port. The bar is for all intents and purposes a working man’s club with karaoke and that was my downfall – literally! We made our way, one of the worst trios ever to don the stage, and started to give voice to Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’. The crowd wanted more umph, so I gave it to them, getting down close and personal with the enthusiastic crowd – a bit too low in hindsight. I leant into the well-known pose of a rock star, bended knees, singing for all my worth into the mike, and then my good knee gave way and back I toppled into the Christmas tree. As I sat on the floor thinking how much that had hurt, my gallant co-stars kept the show going. Mortifying isn’t the word; but trooper that I am started to sing from my position prone on the stage. Thankfully, we are not talking a track the length of a Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull or Emerson, Lake and Palmer epic and before long I was back at the bar wondering how yet again I had found myself in the company of Jan, drunk in charge of a Karaoke mike. New Year’s Resolution 1: No more public Karaoke.
5am found me seeking the sanctuary of my bed. Due at the airport at 11am to pick up friends staying in Fuengirola I was surprisingly with it enough to remember to set the alarm. I awoke before the alarm and sat on the terrace and drank successive cups of tea in an effort to rehydrate. I obviously managed it well enough as I got to the airport and back without incident. Well, apart from ending up on the toll road instead of the motorway. As I drove over a bridge I looked down and realised that I was looking at the front of Jan’s apartment block – bugger. A trip to Calahonda, 2.40 in toll fees, a tour of Sitio de Calahonda and a trip back on the correct motorway was a relatively small price to pay for the fact that I had only had 4 ½ hours’ sleep.  The traffic on my way to the airport had been very light – and there was barely a soul to be seen outside of a vehicle.  By now it was about 12.30, the traffic was flowing more energetically and the first brave souls could be seen gingerly walking in the gentle sunshine of the New Year. Surprisingly there was life in the apartment upon my return – a stew was made for the evening meal and stuck in the oven for a long, slow cook. Dogs walked we repaired to the bar for the NY football. Quite obviously we were in no fit state for more alcohol, we didn’t even really want it – but we drank it. I will never know why. New Year’s Resolution 2: Don’t drink alcohol just because I’m in a bar.
January 2nd was as messy as New Year’s Eve, though thankfully I seemed to have avoided the microphone. I should have gone home that day, back to my mountain, the fresh air and my limited stores of alcohol… We hit Mijas village. I’d like to tell you more but I have little recollection, which is probably a good thing as I know I did some maniacal dancing at one point.  Suffice it to say that the following morning I was tired, run down and ready for mountain life and air again. Still, I had one last thing to do and that was to meet my friends in Fuengirola for a coffee.  God-daughter dropped off to meet her friend, I found the carousel and my friends and had coke (the drink) and a meal at the port looking towards the scene of my New Year’s Eve humiliation. I can dip into the archetypal ex-pat lifestyle of too much alcohol imbibed in English bars, but I am more than happy to jump back out and enjoy a slightly more sober existence. My friends and I discussed the pros and cons of life in Spain, they having lived here before, and the general consensus was you can only live the alcohol fuelled version of ex-pat life for so long before something will break. I left them enjoying the sunny day in Fuengirola, which in off-season is quite a nice place to be, and headed back to Sedella. My ability to live such a hedonistic lifestyle has quite clearly diminished over the years. I like my solitude, the countryside, OK and a few glasses of wine, but nothing on this scale anymore.  My immune system gave in to the influenza virus and by 7 o’clock that evening I was in bed with all the symptoms at once. If it had been for just one night I would have put it down to alcohol poisoning; but as Friday was the first day which saw me leave my bedroom, I think not. New Year’s Resolution 3: No more 3 day benders!
I am an appalling patient and make a far worse nurse. I therefore lay almost silently for two days as the worst of the virus hit me. The downside to living alone is not having anyone to call on to make your drinks or wipe your fevered brow. So, whenever the strength in me was sufficient I would shamble to the kitchen, make another hot water with lemon, honey and cloves (a good drink as it is still drinkable when cold) and to refill my hot water bottle. Hydration was key I told myself. And so even when my aching bones would only allow me to walk with the semblance of a ninety year-old with rickets, I made sure I had fluids. I was going to make ‘Be more tolerant when others are ill’ as my fourth NY resolution but I have decided against it. I may be a tough nurse but sometimes tough love is called for! (You can tell I’m getting better!)
I have now worn myself out – sad but true, and so it just leaves me to wish one and all a belated but heartfelt

Drink Problem! What drink problem?