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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