|Raining champions - a typical Manchester day|
So I’m going instead to over-populated, rain-sodden, ice cold, traffic-polluted Manchester, the city which was my adopted home for nearly 40 years before I came to Spain.
I am going to the capital of the north for one reason only – to spend the build-up to Christmas with my two daughters and their families. My intention is to remain there until the New Year but I already have doubts whether I’ll stay the pace.
The rain may be wetter and the football better in Manchester than it is in London. But the Spanish lifestyle offers another dimension to life – and I am enjoying it more than I could ever have hoped.
Instead of suffering Capital Punishment or Northern Frights at the hands of England’s rapidly-growing scum society, I’ve got the seaside holiday heaven of Guardamar (Guardamarvellous to me) virtually on my doorstep.
I have literally miles sandy Mediterranean beach just down the road. I can drive the 10km to the office at any time of day in less than 10 minutes – and forget about being caught in rush-hour or school-run traffic. Ever.
I have enough bars and restaurants within a few kilometres of my home to dine out every night for the next 20 years without ever going to the same place twice.
And I’ve made more friends since leaving Britain, both English and Spanish speaking, than I did in half a lifetime back home.
If I develop this any further, I can see me missing the plane to Manchester after all and breaking down in an uncontrollable flood of tears as I count the cost. Never mind the family, I paid over 50 quid for that ticket!
To be serious, for some reason I no longer feel any pull toward the land of my birth.
I’ve been living in Spain on and off for nearly seven years – and more or less fulltime since the beginning of 2011. And my first words to myself when I wake every morning is ‘’Every day’s a holiday’’.
For much of my adult life, my family and I spent our holidays predominantly in Spain, I would greet every day of those vacaciones with a special feeling – that wonderful sense of difference. Of being in a foreign land where the sun shines every day. Of freedom from the everyday grind of work and household chores.
Now I live the dream of those two or three weeks a year virtually every day of my life…even though I am arguably working harder than I have ever done.
There is something surreal about waking up almost every day of the year and squinting into the sun blazing through the bedroom window. About peering out into a leafy garden that resembles a sea of colour and tranquillity …spoilt only by the cat churning up a mound of gravel and doing an impression of a Real Madrid footballer (Kaka).
I have a confession to make. I had no idea where this article was going when I started writing it. All I know is that I am going to the home of the English football champions.
And I fear I’ll find myself up to my neck in Kaka…
Published in The Courier (www.thecourier.es) November 16, 2012