Rest, Relaxation and Reminiscing

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Could it be true? Am I actually writing about my holiday within a week of returning? You bet I am! Here’s my round up of holiday número dos for 2016.

On the Friday afternoon Mum and I drive to Gatwick and had a quick drink (my first Koppaberg in MONTHS – I may be exaggerating a little; it may only be a month and a half) before getting on our flight to Murcia San Javier. We didn’t land until gone 9pm so we were quite tired, but Dad and Caroline told us that there was a Rock ‘n’ Roll band playing up in the main square so we decided to go along. We dropped our luggage off at the villa, quickly got changed and walked into town. Peter, Shelia, John and Denise (and a few others I didn’t know) were already up there when we arrived so we joined them for a drink and some chips. Mmmm, chips… When the band were playing you could hardly hear yourself think, let alone have a chat, but they were really good. They didn’t properly get going until late (it is Spain after all) and I think we gave up around midnight which is an astounding feat for me.
In the run up to the holiday my dad and Caroline asked what I would like to do while I was out there. My response was an emphatic, “Nothing!” I had spent the two weeks prior to going away helping my manager to set up a big contract at work. Although it made the fortnight pass in the blink of an eye, it also left me exhausted and so I was glad for the opportunity to sit by the pool and read a few books while drinking WKD Blue and eating Brie and bread (there are no syns on holiday!). And they were happy to oblige.

The first full day was not as lazy as I had planned, but it was so much fun! We walked into town to have breakfast at El Artesano and then popped to the supermarket to get a few bits for lunch. At 11am the horde arrived en masse for a pool party. When I say the horde I mean Simon, Abi, Ben, Scarlett, Peter and Shelia. Of course Ben and Scarlett wanted to get straight into the pool and since no-one else wanted to at that moment, it was down to Auntie Tracy to jump in (not literally) and keep them entertained. That was easy enough as they decided attacking me with the water shooters was the most fun ever. I got my revenge though.
After a while Peter came in too and the kids decided we should get into teams. I say get into teams, but they both wanted to be on mine so poor Peter got the rough end of the deal as all three of us proceeded to attack him with brute force. After a while Scarlett started swimming down the other end of the pool telling Peter that she wanted to be on his team. Traitor! However when she got down the other end, she grabbed another shooter and started swimming back shouting, “I pretended so I could get the gun.” I can assure you she did not learn how to be that devious from me, but I have to say I was proud of my little double agent.
Eventually nearly everyone ended up in the pool and it was absolute carnage. Normally I don’t tend to join in that much as I’m not a very good swimmer and as a result and not overly keen on being in the water, but I am so glad I did because I had the best time and felt truly happy for a change. I’m not saying I’m not usually happy, but it was one of those moments when you think, “Yeah, this is what happiness feels like.”
We had a break for lunch during which we ate lots of bread, cheese, crisps and cold meats and after a rest went back in to start it all again. I don’t know what time everyone headed off, but we certainly deserved our siesta when the time came. Well, I would have had a siesta, but I was still reading On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher and I’d got to the point where I was gripped and couldn’t put it down so no nap for me. In the evening Caroline cooked the most amazing paella and we curled up on the sofa to watch a film. It was a fantastic start to the holiday and I certainly slept well that night.
The following morning we all got up early (sorry Dad) and jumped in the car to go to the Benijófar Sunday market. It’s quite far away from Sucina, but it’s huge and there is such a wide variety of stalls. We found somewhere to have breakfast and then went for a wander. I found a lovely corally pink dress perfect to wear around the pool and a pair of lightweight baggy trousers ideal for the hot weather. I suggested getting a cooked chicken to have for dinner that evening so Dad and Caroline went to buy that while Mum and I stopped at a stall as I saw a lady doing tarot readings and I hadn’t had one for ages (I don’t count the ones I do for myself as I not that confident at it). It was really interesting and I could see Mum nodding or grinning out of the corner of my eye if the lady said something she agreed with (so I should aim to be tidier - what’s new?!). I wish I had thought to record it as I’ve forgotten a lot of what she said, but it was all very positive and matched what I’ve been working on for myself anyway.

The rest of the week was even more relaxed. On Monday morning we strolled up to town and had some breakfast at Em’s Bistro before returning to the villa to chill by the pool and read (I was on my second book by now). In the evening we went out to dinner for belated birthday celebrations at a German restaurant called Lilly’s. I had pizza because I hadn’t had one for ages, but part of me really wishes I’d had the schnitzel as they looked so yummy when they arrived, especially the house potatoes. I loved my chocolate dessert though.
Wednesday was our last day and so we had a family day at the beach. We set off early to beat the crowds and after picking out what sun loungers we wanted, we headed up to the bar to have some breakfast. After breakfast I settled on my lounger and got stuck into my book, but the kids kept asking when I was going to go in the sea with them. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went in the sea. I dipped my feet in when I went to Thailand, but I didn’t properly go it. I went in to keep them happy and ended up really enjoying it.
Once we got back from the beach, we showered, finished packing and chilled out until it was time to go out to dinner. We went back to Em’s Bistro as it’s one of my favourites, but the grown-ups (I realise I’m a grown-up too, but I seriously don’t feel like it most of the time) didn’t mind because it was fish and chips night. After dinner, which included a filling dessert, we headed off to the airport where we discovered that our flight was delayed by over an hour. We decided that there was no point in going back to the villa so Mum and I checked in and then sat and read our books.
My holiday may have been over, but I had another wonderful day to add to the memory bank on Sunday as my friends and I returned to the University of Surrey to have a picnic and see what’s changed in the ten years since we graduated. I am extremely lucky to have such an amazing group of friends. I don’t know how many people stay in touch with people they met at uni, but our (not so little) posse seems to be stronger than ever.

It helps that I went to school with Katie, Louise, Nicola and Joyce so we already had well established friendships, but I consider the likes of Mike, Becky, Emma, Ruth and Will to be very good friends too. Then there are the partners that we’ve all welcomed into the fold – Patrice, Ryan, Nicky P, JG and Claire. It’s like they’ve been there since day one and it would feel so weird without them. In fact there are times when we all sit there reminiscing and realise that half the group don’t have a clue what we are talking about as they weren’t a part of our crazy little family back then.
I want to just take a moment to also mention two friends for life who I met on my course, but weren’t part of this reunion (the reprobates mentioned above were mainly Business Management students and two Maths students, one Computing student and one Language student got dragged along for the ride). I truly believe that Jo and Emmi will always be a part of my life. We’ve been through too much together and I love them to bits. *Wipes tears, blows nose and continues in a composed manner*

Anyway, back to Sunday. We had our picnic in the same spot by the lake where we had our graduation picnic in June 2006. Everyone brought a packed lunch with them (I told myself syns don’t count on picnics either, but apparently they do) and Ruth did a mountain of baking worthy of the Great British Bake off. After we were all full of goodies, we went for a stroll around campus to see what has changed. Mike and I used to live opposite each other so we went off to find numbers 6 and 11 Stag Hill Court before running around to number 19 where Katie, Louise, Nicola and Joyce used to live. I was always so jealous that Mike, Graham, Louise and Nicola had the rooms with the fire escapes as we used to climb the ladders and knock to get in. I didn’t have a fire escape in my room so if some called for me I actually had to go and answer the front door. I know I sound lazy. I don’t care.
It was so strange to be back there after so long, but being there felt so right to me. I still remembered where to go even though so much different to how it was. Every place where we used to eat or drink has changed in some way or another. The laundrette is no more. In its place is an extension to the library and a supermarket. A SUPERMARKET! Could’ve done with that when we were there. One Stop was tiny and Tesco was a fair old trek. I was most annoyed that you can now buy hair dye on campus. The strangest thing for me though was that the building where I had the majority of my lectures is now dedicated to Hospitality and Tourism. I wonder if you can still study languages at Surrey. We didn’t go to One Stop or the Bookshop, but I don’t know if I could’ve handled anymore changes.

So that is a rather lengthy summary of my holiday and day in Guildford. If you’re still reading this then thank you. Thanks to Simon and Nicola for the extra photos from Spain and uni. I always get caught up in the moment and forget to take them. What would I do without you?

As always if there is anything you would like me to write about on this blog, please let me know in the comments.
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