It had been 7 1/2 weeks since their last jaunt abroad and they were struggling with the gloom and the grey. At the forefront of their minds was their October sunshine in Spain. Now it was the morning of their packing.
Usually G left this task in Grimble’s capable claws and, normally, she didn’t fail him in selecting a colour coordinated range of holiday suitable attire. However, this season, Grimble’s packing had been curtailed by G’s insistence at keeping an hourly weather watch via accuweather for the previous week. Despite Grimble’s attempts to thwart the negativity of G towards a temperature of 22 degrees with her trusty Met office app that heralded a highly clement warm spell ranging from 25 to 27, he was not to be convinced. He sent messages from work throughout the week where he debated the wisdom of shorts over long pants, jumpers and long socks.
Grimble poopahed his attitude but he was supported by their friends in Spain: the Emster and the M. Grimble patiently pointed out his flawed logic. Their ex pat chums believed any temperature that did not commence with at least a 3 was winter. Moreover, the Emster was notorious for her inability to deal with any temperature that decreased below 32 or increased above 35, claiming it was either too cold or too hot, ensuring that there was only really about nine days out of a possible 365 where she felt anything akin to weather happy. G was being guided from Blighty by these two faulty weather gauges and, finally, Grimble had enough and sacked attempting to pack for him altogether.
Thus, she knew that the morning would be fraught as G attempted to pack his own clothes. In an attempt to offset the trauma, Grimble had counted out his favourite undercrackers: the Union Jack ones, his Star Wars range and his wittily logoed crown Joules. She had pre packed a range of socks and left him a display of T shirts and shorts. She refused, on principle, to entertain any long sleeved shirts or jumpers. G fumbled through the items on display, declaring some too thin, some too shabby and some in the wrong hue of pale blue. He selected two pair of shorts from a possible four which was an increase on his messages of the week, where he declared he would need none at all. Jumpers were selected and packed as he continued to mutter that the weather would not be much better than UK.
As Grimble looked out over the densely foggy, drizzly grim vista from their window, she sighed deeply and requested an update from Alexa. This was never easy, as Alexa struggled to recognise Grimble’s Northern lilt but Grimble had a cunning plan. She was now 44% proficient in Spanish according to Duolingo so, adopting a pronounced Spanish accent, she asked Alexa for the temperature in Nerja, Spain. Ensuring she emphasised Ner ha as instructed. Alexa dutifully responded with a weather update somewhere in Japan. Grimble replied FFS, Alexa which got little response at all and asked again in pure English abroad for Ner JA. This time the update was 25 in the day and 15 at night.
As this was announced, G asked Grimble what coat she would be taking and she replied that she was not taking a fucking coat, it was going to be too fucking warm but she would take a cardy for the evening…maybe. G returned his raincoat to the wardrobe.
The next stage of this logistical nightmare was the much feared G toiletries ensemble. He had placed his many necessities on the bed. From which Grimble was able to select one item: a small tube of E45 cream. G held up his deodorant: 150ml exclaimed Grimble, half used retorted G, the security screeners couldn’t give a shit, she responded. Grimble made a mental note of the desired items and entered the bathroom. Five minutes later, she returned with complete product replacements of the size necessary for a cabin bag and they were ready to go.
Unusually, they had paid a supplement to sit together on the plane. They normally didn’t bother and, secretly, G looked forward to two and a half hours of quiet time. However, they were on a Ryanair flight and, in order to guarantee seats were purchased, Mr O Leary, gave those passengers who let him pick their seats, the most uncomfortable ones of all. Thus, on initial online check in, they found themselves both in the middle seats miles apart. They paid the additional £10 for a window seat and middle: together. G loved a window seat. He liked to look at the sky and watch the plane speed down the runway. Grimble would be able to borrow G’s headphones as, in her effort to prepare G for his journey, she had forgotten her own and listen to endless tunes on Spotify.
She mentioned this to G as they walked about Bristol airport and how lovely it would be to sit on the patio of their Nerja villa listening to ambient sounds. At that moment, they both realised, the fatal flaw in this plan. Neither of them had remembered the Bluetooth speaker. Was this the first time? Oh no. Their home was practically a Bluetooth speaker per room establishment and that included walk in cupboards and even a waterproof one in the ensuite shower room as well as two on the boat. This holiday would add to their collection and they scoured the duty free selection at Dixons, finally opting for a compact round thing.
As they approached the plane, the Bristol rain lashed relentlessly and Grimble knew G muttered something about the necessity for a raincoat. She adopted temporary deafness, aware that he would be soon happily sat in seat 11A staring into the skies. It came as a bit of a surprise, then, when they got to their seats to find that, for no discernible reason, row 11ABC were the only seats on the plane without a window at all: not even the slither of the seat in front’s glass pane to the one behind. Between fits of giggles at G’s incredulous expression at the wall he was facing, Grimble offered to place her phone with a suitable image on the wall or crayon on a picture. Then the horrible realisation hit her. G would be demanding. Demanding the headphones, demanding coffee and demanding attention. In addition, Mr fucking O Leary had conned 10 fucking quid out of her for a fucking wall seat. As she paid, 70 trillion pounds for a thimble of orange juice and a lukewarm brown water for G, she couldn’t wait until landing, warm nights and being back on tour.
G and Grimble: get hot and fight a mosquito
They were both languishing in the heat of the afternoon sun in the Nerja villa garden. Villa was perhaps a tad ambitious to describe the very acceptable doll’s house with south facing garden as was Nerja which was a couple of kms below their current location. There could be no dispute. It was hot. Very hot. G was secretly relieved that he had listened to Grimble and had packed shorts. Grimble was delighted that she had ignored G’s persistent weather warnings and had brought various sun wear. Their friend from Sevilla, M, had joined them too for a couple of days. She met them in Malaga in full Autumnal attire: boots, jeans, leather jacket, claiming it was always colder by the coast. Whilst Grimble would concede there was a slight sea breeze, it could hardly be described as bracing or chilly.
They were now sat in the Nerja garden with a glass of cava, soaking up the sunshine. M had to improvise to the conditions, though, at Grimble’s insistence, she had packed a beach towel, but, given this was her only allowance to this heatwave, it seemed somewhat superfluous. M was sat in her sports bra and rolled up PJ bottoms and luckily the garden was private and very quiet. The tranquility was briefly interrupted by the doorbell. At the threshold was stood four, very tall, stern elderly Nordic people claiming they had reserved this villa for two months. Grimble patiently explained that this was unlikely. The Nordic people were trying to insist she contacted the owner. Whereupon, M who seemed to have cava induced belligerence declared to the ensemble that as we possessed the keys, the cava and various snacks, we were doing nothing other than sitting in this garden. In most Viking unlike fashion, they backed away with no threat of pillage or destruction. They did utter something but it was Nordic and pretty hard for cava brains to decipher. Grimble did converse with them a little later and it seemed their villa was even higher up the side of the crevice like mountain that is San Juan de Capistrano.
Normally, Grimble would have been put off by the location high above the town but this villa had distinct advantages. It was October and, despite Grimble’s weather predictions, it was an unpredictable month. So it was, that each afternoon a rolling fog descended on Nerja enveloping it in a white shroud. Their location was so high that the fog was never going to get there and there was more chance of mountain snow than mist. This location guaranteed their wall to wall sunshine even if it did somewhat trap them on the Urbanization. It could have been worse as the Nordic folk would realise, the Grimble villa was in stumbling distance from the stunning panoramic pool, the eclectic English bars and the overpriced mini market where they replenished cava stock on the first night down to his last bottle. The bus that ran to its own timetable was also by their doorway.
This lack of cava had meant a trip to Nerja and even the public transport phobic G had agreed this bus was preferable than the steep mountain clamber. They went to the ubiquitous Balcon de Europe and sat still briefly whist M took a romantic photo of them shrouded in fog and mist. Grimble had the exciting notion that it was cocktail time and it had to be rooftop cocktails. Nerja was full of funky bars and they found a rooftop with a bar fashioned from a VW camper and seats from old tyres. Even Grimble conceded that the fog had lowered the temperature somewhat and M sat huddled in the bar supplied blankets. But cocktails were always fun. M had shown a level of sophistication with a cava based one, Grimble had shown her hand by ordering the equivalent of three shots in a glass which had given it a lovely rose colour and G had ordered an adult chocolate milkshake complete with sparkling tassels. After dinner, there were more but on a different rooftop: Grimble was served a cocktail in a large Buddha, G went for alcoholic Toblerone and M stuck to a simple porn star, that was the drink and not a sideline business. By 10pm they all agreed that they were fucking freezing in the fog and so ascended to their heaven like location.
M departed the next day, robed for an Antarctic expedition to return to the perennially hottest city in Europe, Seville, whist G and Grimble accompanied her dressed for the hot weather, not the season and, as a group, they looked an ill fitting combo. They agreed to meet again as soon as living in two different countries would allow and off she went. G and Grimble spent the rest of the day happily by the pool watching the fog roll in. Well G actually spent the afternoon watching Arsenal trounce Everton in an outside bar with a beer, which for him was a rare treat on all levels: Sunday afternoon beer, Sunday afternoon bar and Arsenal winning.
Their energy levels depleted from the weekend of cava and cocktails, they booked a table at the footy bar that was offering 2 steaks, trimmings and a bottle of red for 30€ because it was in stumbling distance of the villa. G once again went rogue on the dressing front, using the previous night’s fog as a guide, opted for a sweater. Grimble’s only concession was long pants but more to deter mosquitos than to keep warm. They sat on the terrace, G sweltering, and had a pretty average dinner with quite rough wine. The owners were Brummies and professed to be balti trained whatever that might mean. They were very hospitable, mediocre cooks and ex pats. However, G was content as they were the only diners and the bar had two screens, he was treated to X factor and formula one simultaneously. Their evening was unceremoniously swiftly concluded by the arrival of a Brummie family with four ridiculously noisy brats that bellowed across two bars in that unfortunate accent. As they left without making any formal complaint, just sighing and looking cross, the mother made a grudging apology saying G and Grimble had only had 40 minutes of this onslaught, she had it 24/7. As she was the parent who had made that choice, it seemed a feeble excuse for allowing poor behaviour.
G and Grimble agreed it was irritating nothing more and nothing like the irritation in the middle of the night when they realised that they were the preferred supper of a sole mosquito. Both were woken up separately by the attack and, fearing to wake up the other, suffered and defended in their own way, on their own. G made himself a strawberry milkshake and Grimble, somewhat inexplicably, decided to smother herself in coconut hair oil as a slick front line defence. She reasoned at 3am that this mozzie would struggle to penetrate the greasy coated skin. As it was, she was now sealed like a basting chicken in a coconut marinade. When they did finally wake up, the mosquito was very visible on the wall, bloated from a night on a piña colada Grimble and Grimble was sporting some quite profound bite marks.