It’s still only January and yet here I am writing another ‘Thoughts from a Sun Lounger’ post. I love it! Yes, I’ve left behind the cold and wintery UK for the Spanish island of Lanzarote. It may be just a rock peeping out from the ocean but it’s a warm rock, warm and sunny, well mostly. We’ve had hot and sunny days but we’ve also had some dull and windy ones. OK so we’re not freezing in the snow and ice of the UK but I was hoping for a little more sun that we have had so far.
Travelling here wasn’t so enjoyable. Things weren’t too bad on the aircraft as I had an empty seat next to me which gave me a bit of much needed stretching room but the experience at Manchester Airport was not good. Security, which is inevitable these days was an absolute nightmare. A huge overcrowded busy scrum. I had a lot of gadgets in my hand luggage, my laptop, my iPad and camera. Those had to be x-rayed separately apparently and placed in a plastic tray and then I had to put my wallet and trouser belt in another tray which all went through at different times because of the amount of other people trying to get their things scanned and x rayed too. Our small case was held back because of a suspicious item inside which turned out to be our sandwiches. The security guy tried to hand back the case to me while I had my laptop and my belt in one hand and was holding my trousers up with the other. As it happened he could see my predicament and so a Carry On moment was happily avoided.
Security is important in order to travel safely but it can be a pain. I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of people like Dan Cooper. Dan was one of the first aircraft hijackers and he did what he did not for religious reasons or to further any kind of political cause, he just wanted money. The media have named Dan DB Cooper although there is no evidence to support those initials. Dan hijacked a Boeing 727 in November 1971 after paying cash for a flight from Portland Oregon to Seattle using the name Dan Cooper. He passed the stewardess a note demanding 200,000 dollars and a parachute and threatened to explode a bomb unless he got it. He showed the stewardess the bomb or what appeared to be a bomb inside his briefcase and then sat back chain smoking to await the outcome.
He released the passengers in Seattle and when the aircraft took off again heading to Mexico, a destination specified by Cooper, he ordered the crew to all go forward then opened the rear exit and jumped out. He was never seen again although in 1980 some of the ransom money was found by a young boy along the banks of the Columbia River. It’s a fascinating story and I’ve read quite a few articles about the affair as well as having watched a couple of TV documentaries. A number of people have been named as being Dan Cooper but so far, no one has been definitively identified. I’ve added a picture of Dan just in case you happen to recognise him although these days, if he is still alive, he will probably be getting a little long in the tooth.
It’s been over a year since we were last in Lanzarote and one thing I have noticed is that in quite a few places, prices have gone up considerably. In the Café Berrugo, one of our favourite places, the meals were looking a little smaller and rather more expensive. When we first came here the staff boasted that this was the only place on the island that didn’t charge for bread with a meal. Nowadays, they charge.
Our local contact who picks us up from the airport, his fees have gone up too and a big problem we encountered on our first trip out was that no one seemed willing to answer the taxi number that we have always used. I checked and yes, the number was correct. We later found out that, just like in the UK, it’s better to use the app. Yes Lanzarote has gone all hi tech and instead of calling the taxi company it’s better and easier to book a taxi using the app.
The villa we wanted to rent wasn’t available and as rental property seems to be snapped up pretty quickly round here, we went for a villa we have rented before. It’s a nice place within easy walking distance of the marina and all our favourite restaurants. It has a nice pool, nice rooms, a nice kitchen and a nice barbecue area. Great you might think but there is a lot missing. There was only one wine glass for instance which was a bit of a pain and we had to go out and buy two matching wine glasses so we could share our evening wine together. In rental properties there are always items left over from previous tenants, a little olive oil, a half used packet of pasta, some salt and pepper and so on.
When we last rented this villa there was nothing, the cupboards were bare. We even had to buy a scourer to use for washing up as well as washing up liquid. Seeing as we have spent quite a few thousand on this place on both of our visits, I do find that a little mean. Once, we rented a place in Portugal. It was an out of season deal and was very cheap compared to the prices at the height of the summer but when we arrived there, waiting for us was a bottle of wine, some milk, a bottle of water and a loaf of bread. There were various left over bits and pieces in the cupboards too and because of that we felt not only welcome but were happy to pass on our left overs to the next people too.
The really big issue for me though is the pool. As lovely and inviting as it looks, the pool is unheated. There is no cover either so any heat gained during the day, evaporates during the night. On our first morning at the villa a lovely warm day opened up before us. We had breakfast out on the patio. We relaxed in the warm sun for a while. Time for a swim. Not a good idea. The pool was not only freezing but incredibly freezing! I did manage to get in and do ten lengths but I came out a shivering, tingling wreck. Later it warmed up a little. It went from incredibly freezing to just freezing.
As I mentioned earlier, the weather has not been all warm and sunny. We had quite a few dull and windy days and even a little rain. The bad weather should be good for a writer like me, you might think. Less sunbathing by the pool and more writing. Yes, I thought that too but so far I’ve been a little slow in opening up my laptop and writing. I love reading and it’s great to settle down with a book by the pool and read. Then of course I’ve got emails that need reading, TikTok videos to watch and unlike this blog, I’ve no deadlines to force me to work on my books and screenplays. I got kind of excited for a while the other day when a producer showed interest in a screenplay of mine, then a few days later he declined to take it further. Pity because I had mentally planned most of my trip to Hollywood by then.
Another of my emails mentioned that I had won a prize on the national lottery. Now that isn’t much to get excited about at all as I’ve had emails like that before. You click on the lottery site and find you have won £6.70 on Thunderball. Even so I might as well check I thought. I clicked onto the lottery web site to find you can’t access the site unless you are in the UK! What the heck, I know its going to be £6.70 again but I did read about that unclaimed million pound win the other day. Nah, it’s £6.70. I know it is. Probably.
Think I might try that freezing cold pool again.
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