Hey Blog lovers, we are on holiday again!  Unsurprisingly it’s the usual gang (to be honest they are they only people who would put up with us for 2 weeks) and we are going to a villa in Spain.  Well we know what we like, so why change a winning formula.  For those of you new to my rambling, let me introduce you  to my co-holidayers (that’s my first new word of the holiday).  So in true Top Trump styles, here is who is in the party.

Name: Tibu Rodriquez Honduras Pinedo.
Age: Eldest in the party.
Born: Spain.
Occupation: Restaurant Manager
Languages Spoken: Fluent in Spanish & English.  Others: passable in a dozen or so other languages.
Cooking ability: Excellent.  Makes a mean paella.
Specialist Skills: Ability to find a very acceptable €2 bottle of Cava in Carrefour.
Name: Rachel Emeline Pinedo.
Age: 2nd eldest in the party.
Born: Crosby.
Occupation: Nursing Home Activities Manager
Languages Spoken: Fluent in Spanish & English.
Cooking ability: Excellent.  Makes a mean paella (under the guidance of her husband).  Tends to ask guests to make their own deserts though.
Specialist Skills: Being tidy and co-ordinated. I mean painfully tidy and co-ordinated.
Name: Nicola Prince (our parents wanted a dog) Fenner.
Age: 3rd eldest in the party/3rd youngest in the party.
Born: Ormskirk.
Occupation: Optometrist
Languages Spoken: Fluent: English.  Others – GCSE Spanish.
Cooking ability: Excellent.  Queen of the BBQ.
Specialist Skills: Attracts mosquitoes meaning the rest of the group goes unbitten.
Name: Karen Fenner.
Age: 2nd youngest in the party.
Born: Sunderland.
Occupation: Training Consultant
Languages Spoken: Fluent: English and Geordie. Others: A Level French, passable Spanish (but she needs to translate it into French first).
Cooking ability: Excellent.  Her panacalty is to die for (Google it), her Sticky Toffee muffins could win the Bake Off and she can insert any meal between bread.
Specialist Skills: A modern-day Dr Doolittle, she can/will talk to any animal (whether they understand her is another matter).
Name: Andrew Bell (yeah, laugh it up) Fenner.
Age: Youngest (by a considerable margin) in the party.
Born: Ormskirk.
Occupation: Undecided
Languages Spoken: Fluent: English.  Others -French O’Level Grade E (equivalent to a GCSE 15 on the new system).
Cooking ability: Excellent at collecting takeaways.
Specialist Skills: Freeloading off the rest of the group and then writing facetious comments about them in a blog.

We are going to El Vilosell which is village north west of Tarragona in Catalunya.  The villa looks amazing.  It has a 20 feet pool which is crazy big for a villa, and it has a hot tub.  What’s not to like.  Unlike the usual early morning flight we end up on, we are going on the 17:30, 5:30pm for those of you who don’t do 24 hour clock.

I was one of those children of the 70’s who learnt the 24 hour clock at primary school and thought “well I’m never going to use that. All proper clocks only have 12 numbers on them and these new fangled digital watches all use the 12 hour clock. Also digital watches will never catch on. James Bond would never have one as digital watches are always square and Bond could never have a revolving chain saw in a watch like I have just seen him use in Live and Let Die”. How wrong I was. I was still technologically naive (although I did have the idea for MP3’s in 1983, but that’s another story). I hadn’t seen the arrival of the video recorder.

Every child of the 80’s soon became expert in the 24 hour clock, as we were the only ones in the house that knew how to set the video to record Coronation Street. 19:30 for the record, but best to set it to 19:28 in case the Krypton Factor finishes early and set the end time to 20:02 in case it runs over. This generation doesn’t know how easy it’s got it with EPG’s and setting recorders from their phones. It’s sad but the noble skill of setting the VCR will pass away, just like skills such as rope making, lamp lighting and using a computer mouse have done. Now where was I? Oh that’s right, on holiday.

So the plan was that we flew out early evening on Sunday and arrived in Barcelona at 9:00 ish (21:00 to the cool kids). The plan was that we stayed in an Ibis hotel close to the airport and then headed off to the villa in the morning. However we had a very sad start to the holiday. On the Saturday before we flew, Tibu’s father passed away and in Spain they bury the deceased within 24 hours, so Rachel and Tibu had to book on an earlier flight on Sunday morning to get to Spain for the funeral on Sunday evening. After a bit of rearranging the plan was that the three Fenners would travel as planned and we would pick up the Pinedos from Tarragona station on Monday evening having collected the hire car, checked into the villa, done the big shop etc.

The three of us headed off (in Tibu’s car, as that had been booked into the car park) and parked up. Tibu’s car is considerably larger than Nikki’s car and also an automatic but we eventually got it parked with little damage to the car. Only kidding!!! (It was the other cars that we did the damage to).

The main problem for me was a spot had erupted on the side of my face. People have told me literally millions of times that I am prone to exaggeration, but I’m telling you, this spot was massive. It was on the right side of my chin and I couldn’t sit in the aisle seat for fear of people tripping over it as they walked down to the toilet at the the front of the plane, I sat in the window seat but poor old Karen ended up with a crick in her neck as she had the bend to avoid it,

Before we took off the worst thing that can ever happen on a flight happened…a mother and baby were moved into the seats where Rachel and Tibu should have been sat. (Yeah ok, I may be exaggerating on that one. Considerably worse things could happen on a flight. Remember last May blog aficionados?). As it turned out, this was the best behaved baby ever and Aunty Nikki kept her entertained all journey. At one point I looked across at the golden child, but when the baby saw my disfigured visage her face changed to horror as if she had just witnessed the unveiling of John Merrick in the Elephant Man (no exaggeration).

When we landed the next problem was getting through the automatic face recognition machines at passport control. Due to my spot the machine I was using was detecting a third eye on my face and couldn’t match it my passport photo. I thought one of the staff who were floating around were going to have to come along and fix it like they do at the self service check out in the supermarkets. “Unexpected spot in the face area”.

We collected our bags and the hire car and headed off to the hotel, which we found on the first attempt (unlike last time). A couple of beers, then bed. I feel a spot squeezing session is on the cards before I turn in.

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