Expert opinion (for Mr Hardy)

After five long years waiting for my Blencathra hips to show some sign of improvement, having tried every form of stretching or releasing known to man, I decided to take advantage of the National Health Service and put myself in the hands of their experts. What I needed to know was simple – was I correct in thinking that a muscle, or group of muscles, had shortened to the point where previously easy, painless movements had become difficult; if so, which muscle, or group of muscles, was it; and what could I do to undo that tightness.

Continue reading “Expert opinion (for Mr Hardy)”

Colonic irrigation

I woke up around midnight, cold, even though I was perspiring freely. Every joint in my body ached. My head throbbed. I was nauseous, my abdomen was cramping, I felt like vomiting and my bowels trembled alarmingly. I thought back to what I had eaten the previous day.

Bread, cheese, ham, oranges – nothing remotely suspicious … unless, that was, I considered the source of that bread, a wholesome ‘integral’ loaf sold in the local market by travellers who didn’t appear to wash.

I staggered down the stairs to the bathroom and had a violently explosive crap. Whatever Sir Thomas got right in the invention of the water closet, he failed to allow for these sorts of event. Continue reading “Colonic irrigation”

Santa Fe hot springs

We set off in search of these fabled pools knowing no more than that they were on the outskirts of Granada. When we got to Santa Fe, we started asking passers by for directions to the ‘agua caliente’. Somewhere in the ‘campo’, we were told. After an hour or so of driving up and down the same old roads, I suddenly caught sight of a sign marked ‘banos’. I swerved off the road, and pulled up alongside a Rasta haired girl with an enormous earring who was lugging a backpack. It turned out she was heading for the same place as us, so we offered her a lift. She was strangely silent as to the exact direction we should take when we came to the first fork in the road; she didn’t seem to understand our broken Spanish. We took a guess and turned right down a dirt track. Everything was indescribably muddy, as it had been raining for two days non-stop. We pulled up at a barricaded house, and while Michelle got out to ask for directions, I swivelled around to inquire whether the girl spoke English. No, she didn’t. French, perhaps? Indeed, she did. In fact, it turned out she was French. She told us some garbled story about living in Barcelona, coming down to Granada with friends, who had since legged it to Morocco, and having driven to the ‘banos’ at night – hence, her uncertainty about the route.

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Immanuel Kant

“At some future day it will be proved – I cannot say when and where – that the human soul is, while in earth life, already in an uninterrupted communion with those living in another world; that the human soul can act on these beings, and receive in return impressions of them without being conscious of it in the ordinary personality.”

Cold sores

A traveller should never venture far without his personal bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide and his trusty Alum stone. I took neither, to a place of insanely high heat and humidity, and suffered the indignity of smelling like a stale baby’s nappy from constant, leaking perspiration, and then having to suffer the ritual outbreak of tingling pustules on my lower lip that turned over a number of days into a crusty, pizzalike protrusion that bled every time I opened my mouth.

I thought I had the answer to the cold sores, though. I had been reliably informed that repeated applications Continue reading “Cold sores”

Bikes on planes

I had prepared two separate boxes, one for the bike frame, the other for the wheels, and stuffed both full of frying pans, muesli, flip flops, mosquito tent and assorted stuff. They weighed in at 20kg each. I made them out of original, full length bike boxes from Halfords. Big mistake!

I got them to exactly the Air France regulation size; but when we pitched up at the check in desk, lo and behold, Mr Jobsworth himself was there. What was in these boxes? Err, mostly pans and muesli and clothes. Not bikes? No, not at all. Why, then, were they in bike boxes? I explained they were not ‘bike boxes’. per se, Continue reading “Bikes on planes”

Night of the long knives

I’ve had a dodgy tooth for a while now but my dentist assured me there was nothing wrong that a bout of using mouthwash and diligent flossing wouldn’t cure.  So I embarked on a course of oral hygiene and thought things were moving along swimmingly when, the day before yesterday, I made the mistake of masticating a bowl of chilled yogurt using both sides of my mouth and a sudden jolt of pain hit me in the temples.

Since then, life has been lived on the precipice. Continue reading “Night of the long knives”

Bavarian encounters

Taking a bus from the relative tranquility of Las Palmas, in the north of Gran Canaria, to a place called Masapalomas, in the south, we discovered a weird subculture of sun worshippers living there, hundreds upon hundreds of them, who seemed to like nothing better than carving out hollows for themselves in the gritty sand, with high backs topped with flat stones collected from the beach, which they sat in all day long, for protection against the wind, while basting their skins with oil, to toast themselves more effectively in the sun.

They were mostly German, invariably naked, unusually gaunt looking, and they took particular delight in rising to their Continue reading “Bavarian encounters”