Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The rain in Spain....

We're back! The first thing to report is that Jake was an angel, there and back. Both flights, not a whimper to be heard. I remember thinking that he must look quite cute in his pyjamas as I was carrying him through the plane - we were last on - but I'm sure everyone with a spare seat in spitting distance was thinking 'don't you dare'.

Glass half full, I'd describe the week as relaxing, warm and a welcome break. Half empty and it's more like frustrating, a bit boring and expensive.

It was kind of a week of two moods and two weather systems although not linked as you would imagine. The weather for the first 3 days was lovely, almost 22 degrees,a gentle breeze and I even managed a slight tan. Out of principle I went in the pool but it felt like diving into liquid nitrogen so got out immediately.

So while the weather was good, my temperament was less so. Firstly I was still wound up and full of work stress and secondly I was having to adjust to spending all day long with Jake, day after day. This was the longest period of time that I have done that. Even during my paternity leave, I had to come into work every second or third day and he slept most of the time then. I'm not after a medal here, I know he's my son and I should want to spend time with him, but it's a shock to the system. Clare, on the other hand, took it all in her stride as she's used to it. This is her life...everything's routine, even crying, screaming and random nappy explosions are routine. For me, anything unexpected equals stress and when you can't get away, as you are usually able to, it's hard to unwind.

This trip was always an experiment to give us the heads up on what to expect when we go to Italy in June and back to Spain in September. It's difficult though to not hanker after the experiences of previous trips now that you are unable to recreate them. We've been going to the villa for 13 years and it's my favourite place anywhere. Lovely weather, great views, wonderful food but the first part of this trip made me miss the old Spain. Not the most recent pre-Jake trips but the original Spain I remember: the Peseta one. When fags were a pound a packet and my lack of conscience / wife allowed me to smoke as many as I could. Where Bianca would wait on us at La Cucaracha, bringing tray after tray of Red Bull y vodkas and only charging us for half. Having horrendous hangovers which miraculously got better by lunch time and no cares in the world. Don't get me wrong, I was young and foolish then and have (almost) grown up now and my life is immeasurably better but suddenly Jake was in charge. In charge of everything we could and (more significantly) could not do. Whereas before, the most stressful part of the day was deciding which beach to go to, now we would have to wait until the morning nap was over, pack everything we took on holiday in the world's smallest hire car, then struggle through Jake's lunch and then, maybe go the beach and spend 2 hours holding him upright and trying to stop him eating the sand!

I'm sure anyone else who's been through the first holiday with baby experience will understand, but after having read through this, I'm not sure anyone else will.

The other issue was that our satellite system is archaic and I forgot to take a key component which would have given us a few channels to watch. Instead we watched Sky News, with their identical 15 minute bulletins, for the entire week. I did take a laptop with some films on it so we were able to turn the news off at night but some variety would have been welcome. Also Spain just got really expensive. The exchange rate meant that I got 25% less then 18 months ago and prices have gone up across the board too. Gone are the days where £300 got you a meal out every night and as much booze as you could drink.

Then, half way through the holiday the weather turned and ironically so did our mood. Clare sent me off for some 'me time' and I drove to Calpe to watch walkers climbing the Ifach and all of a sudden felt like I was on holiday. Even though the sunshine had gone, I was relaxed and feeling good. Jake's routine actually became enjoyable and I like to think he had fun on his first holiday and appreciated that Daddy and Mummy were there for the whole week.

Saturday was Clare's birthday and we had the most 'normal' holiday evening. We started at Algas, a cocktail bar with a view across the beach to the harbour and then onto the Olive Tree, our favourite restaurant. It was great to get out and even if Algas wasn't serving cocktails and my pint glass broke in my hand, soaking my jeans in beer, or having to juggle Jake and a thai green curry, it was just what we needed.

The weather never cheered up but it didn't matter and we had a lovely trip anyway. Aside from Sky News we watched a load of films and I read a great book, 'What Would Google Do?' by Jeff Jarvis. It's a brilliant book which tells the story of Google and their '10 things...' and how all businesses can and should adapt to the new online order. Adapt or die is the basic message. A lot of what's in the book resonated with me as I've been telling it to clients for years. It's good to be vindicated but I'd like to turn that into money. Smug and poor isn't the look I'm after! By comparison I remember writing here last June about the four books I read in Egypt. I think those days are over or at least numbered but actually I don't mind. I'm looking forward to when Jake nags me to build him another sand castle or buy him an ice cream or play bat and ball and THAT's when holidays will be great again.

Now, if you don't mind, there's 400 emails waiting to be deleted.


Herman said...

Cool book, how did you hear about it?

James Fernie said...

Oh yeah, forgot to credit the fantastic chap who sent to me. Cheers Herminator!