Archive for September, 2011

Growing old is s***e!

September 22, 2011


Advertising’s idea of the over-50s

The reality

I’m a mature traveller. They are usually defined as 50 or 55 and over – and I’m a bloody long way over 50 – or 55 come to that. Apparently it’s the fastest growing group of consumers in the industry, with tour companies promising greater attention to health and mobility concerns.

Frankly, it terrifies me. Not the fact that I’m knocking on a bit, but that in the unlikely event that I should – God forbid – go on a holiday with one of these groups, they would be more concerned about my ability to shuffle around without a Zimmer frame than pulling that neat bit of totty that has just celebrated her half-century. Believe me, from my perspective, she’s a bit of a spring chicken.

Fortunately, I need never worry about going on one of these over 50s group hols, because even I was offered one as a freebie I’d turn it down, on the premise that

a    I’m an intolerant old sod and can’t abide being shepherded around in a group,

b    like Groucho Marx, I wouldn’t want to be part of a group that would have me as a member, especially one that is supposedly bent on jollification, and

c    the only time I went on a group holiday, almost thirty years ago, I ended up having to slip out the back door to avoid the group of hand-holding ninnies that couldn’t order a cup of coffee for themselves in a French caff without a deep consultation and a professional translator – or me if there wasn’t one around.

These holiday companies all have names like Eldertrecks or Elderhostal or Senior Cycling. I am old, but I don’t need to have it friggin’-well rubbed in my face just because I’ve reached the point of no return. I think I’ll start a travel company called ‘Intolerant Knackered Old Bastards Hapless Holidays’ and offer such exciting possibilities as ‘Getting Rat-Arsed in Amsterdam Weekend’ (which means getting drunk, to non-English English speakers) or residential courses such as ‘How Not to Look Like a Total Dickhead if You Actually Do Pull That Nifty Fifty Year-old and Can’t Raise a Smile’. At least they’d be honest. And I wouldn’t use photos of some silver-haired, sveltely-tanned pair of retirees in while linen, either. I’d rather use models from the Ugly Agency. Probably fat ones with shaved heads and tattoos. And I’d probably use blokes that look the same. (Boom boom!)

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, , and Spain Uncovered. Articles and books can also be found at Digital Paparazzi.


What a carve up!

September 21, 2011


I’ve just signed the forms to donate my body to science. This isn’t an altruistic gesture, it’s simply to save my sons the cost of shipping my carcass back to the UK or paying an arm-and-a-leg to have something done with it in Spain. They are preferring to see it as some sort of noble gesture on my part but I suspect they are more than grateful that the old stiff won’t be as big a pain in the arse in death as he has been in life.

And ‘stiff’ isn’t necessarily what the carcass will be when the ambulance arrives to cart it away. I live alone, have precious little social life, and I always say that if I paid only for the phone calls I received I’d have a bloody small phone bill. I suspect that one day I’ll simple cark it and the only way anyone will know is when the smell of rancid meat starts seeping out into the stair well. About five weeks, I’m told. Three if we have another summer like the last one.

Frankly, I don’t care. Once I’m gone, I’m gone, whether I’m carried out in a box or ladled into a bucket. It’s all one to me. But I did have a momentary shimmer in my certitude while I was flitting around the internet trying to find out what to do, and came across a photo in Levante, one of Valencia’s dailies. In all the other articles I’d read, if there was a photo it was usually of a reclining corpse covered with a white sheet, or a group of studious students engrossed in some skeletal part. But not in Levante, oh no, they cut to the chase.

There was the cadaver, arse up in the air – or at least it would have been if the arse hadn’t been split open to expose the whole of the innards, which, curiously enough, are mostly a pale shade of yellow, once the guts have been removed.

I know that to become highly-honed medical specialists, ham-fisted students have to practise on something and the piece of meat that constitutes my body at the moment it probably as good as any, but it all seemed so …. inelegant. No more inelegant than having your insides lifted out and dispersed as life-enhancing transplants, I suppose, (‘harvesting’, as they euphemistically call it), but I think I’d rather have maintained the image of some caring young think carefully wielding a scalpel as they furthered the cause of medical knowledge than the thought of me arse up posing for a newspaper photographer. Somewhat lacking in dignity, don’t y’know.

But there again, it will save my sons a few bob, and an awful lot of paperwork.

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, , and Spain Uncovered. Articles and books can also be found at Digital Paparazzi.

Coca Policia

September 17, 2011

I read recently in the Spanish press about a town near Valencia where the police had to take to the beat because the garage where they filled up their patrol cars refused to serve them until some of the bills had been paid. But things have obviously hit the skids in Valencia City, where they can’t afford the plastic Policia Local tape that they string between lampposts to stop you parking and, presumably, at crime scenes. Thank God for Coca Cola for coming to the rescue!

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, , and Spain Uncovered. Articles and books can also be found at Digital Paparazzi.