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After a longish period, with not much happening at all, the last week has been a particularly good time for reviews of my 'nostalgedy&#...

Friday, 26 August 2016

In The Drink!

This is the second instalment in my 'Back to the Balearics' mini-series of  articles which are currently appearing in the Derby Telegraph.  This is this month's article which was published today (26.08.16). This is the link to the Derby Telegraph Bygones website, Bygones.  In the meantime...



In case you can't read it from the photo above, here's the text of the article:


The accompanying picture should give you a fair idea of the theme of this month's article.  I'm willing to bet that anyone who had a holiday in Spain in the 1970s has one of these buried, and thankfully forgotten, amongst their holiday snaps.  Before you ask, it is not a photograph of someone trying to put out a fire in a horse-hair mattress, but we'll come to the explanation later.

You may recall, from last month, that I had embarked on a holiday in Majorca with my friends Kev and Den in the early 1970s?  Hotel Pollensa Park in Puerto de Pollensa, in the north of the island, was our destination for 10 days of sun, sea, sangria and anything else we could find that began with 's'.
We arrived at our hotel late in the evening and discovered, to our chagrin, that we had a room with one double bed and one single camp-type bed.   Kev was first through the door and was quick to claim the camp bed as his own, which left Den and me with the double.  Common sense should have told us to ring Reception and ask for the bed to be converted to twin singles, but we were young and unsophisticated and, as this was only the second time I had been in a hotel in my life, we just decided we would have to make the best of it.

Kev decided that he had had enough for one day and decided to turn in for the night, but Den and I were excited about arriving in Majorca and set off for the pub across the road, El Leon Dorado.  Whether this was a good idea, or not, can be judged by the fact that we burst in on Kev an hour or so later, in search of more money for alcohol and declaring that the beer was "just like Pedigree" (our usual tipple at home) It wasn't!

I have always said that the English are really only happy when they are confined by rules and regulations, particularly when it comes to the partaking of alcohol and, by the English, I really mean me.  After years of sneaking into pubs whilst under the legal age (I know, I know, I should be ashamed of myself) and dutifully heading for home each evening at 10.30 when the pubs shut, I had rather decided to take full advantage of the more liberal, continental approach to the consumption of alcohol on this holiday, starting from Day 1.

Our first night pretty much set the tone of the rest of the holiday for me.  Den was a keen cyclist, so he wasted no time in hiring a bike and setting off each day to discover more of the island.  Kev joined him on a few occasions.  I made one trip out to the nearest village with them and decided it was too much like hard work. 

Kev and Den were also keen to get a decent tan and, therefore, headed down the lane to the nearby beach quite frequently.  I, on the other hand, usually didn't surface until midday and then only to drag myself across the road to El Leon Dorado.  Any tan I got was purely accidental, usually as a result of the sun having moved so that the parasol at my bar table was no longer protecting me. 

On one occasion, I did get up enough enthusiasm to stagger down to the beach and join them.  I dimly recall deciding to have a dip in the Med. and set about demonstrating an enthusiastic front crawl (to the dismay of all in the vicinity) which later turned out to have been in roughly six inches of water, this went some way to explain the extensive cuts to my arms and legs when I tottered back up the beach.


All in all, I was single-handedly confirming the worst perceptions of the British teenager abroad, way before this became fashionable!  And the holiday was yet young, we still had two drinking highlights to go, a night at a medieval banquet (hence the photo) and another night out clubbing, all of which I'll tell you all about next time.

You can find Part 1 of this mini-series here -  Back to the Balearics

Thursday, 18 August 2016

It's me, not you!


There is absolutely no reason why anyone in their right mind would want to know more about me, and yet, in defiance of all rational thought, someone has interviewed me!  I'm afraid I can't promise any tantalising insights into my sordid existence.  In fact, it would seem to be the case that I'm just as boring as I always thought I was.  However, if you're remotely interested, then here it is:



https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/here-is-my-interview-with-philip-whiteland/

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Back to the Balearics!

Last month's Derby Telegraph article rather slipped under the radar! Not only did it appear on the wrong day (even I missed it) but it never made the DT website either.  For those who missed this particular journalistic jaunt, it's reproduced below with the text in full.  Next instalment will be (abw) in the Bygones section of the Derby Telegraph on Friday, 26th August.



Last month you left me in the not-so-splendid isolation of my 'office' at Harold Wesley Ltd., in Victoria Crescent, Burton.  I think it says something about my career choice, back in 1972, that the highlight of my week was calculating lengthy long-division sums by hand.  As I said, last time, spending at least two days per week with nothing to do, whilst trapped in an office on your own, with no excuse to go out of it, nor any need for anyone to come and see you, is enough to drive anyone to the edges of their sanity, and I probably didn't have as far to go as most.

Fortunately, there was one small light on the horizon.  Something to look forward to even when I was sure I was losing the plot.  For this, we need to take a quick trip back to my former job at the DIY Plastics warehouse. 

Regular readers, and there must be at least one of you, may remember the week's holiday I spent in Arenal, Majorca with my mate Kev during the summer holidays when we were both at Burton Technical College?  In conversation with the gang at the warehouse, I waxed lyrical about this holiday, the sun, sea and sangria, and how ridiculously cheap it all was.  One of the gang, who had been a good friend to me as I was learning the job and, for the sake of protecting the innocent, I'll call Den, was particularly interested.

The end result was that Kev, Den and I decided that it would be fun to repeat the experience.  The difference this time was that, because we had more funds to splash about (previously it had been just what we could earn in the few weeks of holiday) we could afford to have ten days instead of just a week, and we elected to go to a more exclusive (well, it was in 1972) part of Majorca.  Accordingly, we booked ourselves in to the Pollensa Park Hotel in Puerto de Pollensa.  This was largely because it looked as if it was right on to the beach from the picture in the brochure (it wasn't) and because it was within our budget.

Three is a difficult number for any group.  The potential for two to align themselves against the other one, is always quite high.  Our group was inevitably going to be a tricky one because we had very little in common.  I only knew Den as a work colleague, and I now no longer worked there, whereas I had known Kev for a couple of years by now and quite a bit of water (and beer) had flown under the bridge.  Kev, of course, only knew Den through me and so they had no common ground at all.  To try to overcome this, we met up on a relatively regular basis in the months preceding our holiday.  Thankfully, we all liked a drink and a game of darts, which was a good starting point, and we seemed to get on.  As it turned out, the main irritant in the group, once we were on holiday, was me!

My memories of this holiday are a bit fragmented, for reasons that will become obvious later.  I'm not even certain which airport we flew from.  At that time, I was panic-stricken by the thought of flying and took my then usual precaution of trying to anaesthetise myself to the whole experience by consuming quite a large quantity of alcohol before the flight.  It must have worked, because I don't remember anything about it. 

What I do recall is that we nearly missed our transfer bus from Palma airport because we were held up at Customs (I think there was some sort of strike in progress).  This could have been potentially very serious as we had no concept of just how far away our hotel was from the airport (56 kms apparently).  Finally, jammed on to a coach full of people, mostly of our own age, we set off, as night fell, for the long trip across the island of Majorca.


You can find the full shameful story of Philip's first holiday to Majorca in 'Crutches for Ducks' available from Amazon.

Passport Photo - don't have nightmares!