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9/11

I haven’t forgotten what the date is today.  Nor will I ever forget how I got to learn of the horrific events in New York.  I was working in the Education Centre of our local hospital at the time.  One of the secretaries had her own office and always kept the radio on during the day.  I remember her coming into our office to report a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre.  Our first thoughts were that it was some small two manned thing which had accidently hit the building.  Then reports came in of a second plane and we knew something was badly wrong.  During the day more news came in; the plane which hit the Pentagon and another which was brought down by the heroic actions of the passengers, who lost their lives depriving it of its target which I believe was the White House.  What did occur to me at the time was that we seem to have been somewhat anaethsetised by the movie industry. Witnessing what happened on screen later that evening as our national news reported the days events, it looked like a disaster movie, it didn’t seem real.  Learning that a friend’s ex-wife had died, however, brought the reality of the whole thing home.  The sad thing is, over the centuries, many innocent people have died quite needlessly as misguided  idealists seek to stamp their beliefs on the world.  My own uncle lost his life at 19 years old during World War II.  We took my grandparents to visit his grave on the Dutch/German border in the late seventies.  Over 8,000 were buried in a cemetry which was beautifully kept and exuded a gentle, peaceful atmosphere.  But what struck me more than anything was the futility of it all.  Was the world really a better place?  At the time football hooliganism was rife in the UK and I wondered what these 8,000 would think about the world we now lived in, one that was probably not at all what they had dreamed they were fighting for.   And the awful thing is, we’re sadly still in the same position today. 

 

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Back to Normal

Well here we are, Tuesday morning and am gradually getting my life back together after what turned out to be a wonderful holiday.  I have to say, though, that there is no way I am ever going to catch a 6am flight again, or for that matter, get up at 5.30am to catch the return flight.  Unfortunately, if we wanted to use our local airport, that was all that was available for a rent which had a Saturday changeover.  Having said that, the flight, for both me and Mr H, is probably the worst part of the holiday.  Even at 4am in the morning Bristol Airport was heaving; a mixture of age groups.  What surprised me was the large number of young families with pre-school children and small babies.  One little girl three rows behind us in the plane cried for the whole of the flight and her mother seemed unable to pacify her.  To put small children through this seems wrong to me, but again, if they, like us, were tied to a Saturday to Saturday holiday there was no option.  There is one other flight out of Bristol, at 6pm in the evening, so if you take that effectively, you’ve lost a day’s holiday.  And it doesn’t get any better knowing that, well, it means you can stay for most of the Saturday you’re due to return home.  We had to vacate our house by 10 am, so we would have spent the whole day until the check in at 4pm wandering around with suitcases.

Anyway, enough of the downside. The holiday, all in all, was fabulous.  We ignored the rain, which fell intermittently for the first couple of days, and immersed ourselves in the wonderful Spanish town that is Pollensa.  Our house was in a narrow street with limited parking, but we had no problems leaving the car fairly near.  All that could be viewed from the road was a door and shuttered windows and nothing could have prepared us for the sight when that door was opened.  A long wide cool hall with stairs going up on the left.  Beyond this a large lounge/dining room with a glassed area containing large plants.  And then along the back of the house a huge kitchen diner with an outside BBQ and eating area and beyond that the pool.  We tossed a coin for who got the master bedroom and we won.  Outside our room was a huge sun balcony with steps down to the pool and off the balcony a door  leading to a fully equipped laundry room which also contained the hot water boiler for the house.  All in all a fabulous house!

As I said before, the first couple of days weren’t that great.  In fact once we’d unpacked we wandered into the main square in Pollensa for a coffee, only to find ourselves sitting under an umbrella as the rain fell.  We ate inside that night at a small corner restaurant which did the most amazing grilled sole.  The next day we woke up to thunder and lightening, which cleared by ten.  We wandered into Pollensa to get provisions (we had a starter pack in the house but obviously needed to top up).  We found an amazing deli and also a fantastic bakers.  I think that’s what I miss most at home now  – the little corner shops.  After lunch the sun came out and we managed some time by the pool.  Tuesday we caught the train into Palma for some retail therapy and lunch in a really lovely restaurant.  After lunch more browsing, then as we were taking our tourist shots outside Palma Cathedral the rain put in an appearance and it was time to head back to the station.

The rest of the week shot by.  I managed to read two books which I’d promised to write reviews on and also got some notes down for my own new novel.  It was the perfect place to be; away from the distractions of home, thinking about nothing other than my characters and potential scenes.

Returning home this Saturday it was good to land in brilliant sunshine and to glimpse the sort of weather we might have had earlier on in the year, but which had decided to save itself until September.

When we got home we found Max, our ginger cat had decided to disappear – apparently he’d done the same thing in the middle of the week, although my neighbour hadn’t wanted to worry me so didn’t mention it in any of her texts.  Then when I came to download my holiday shots I found somehow I had managed to put my finger across the camera lens at some point in time, which left what looked like a ghostly smudge in the middle left hand of each picture.    Happlily Max is now back with us after a 31 hour absence (probably locked in someone’s shed we think) and I’m planning to steal some of Mr H’s photos when he’s downloaded and will post them on Facebook.  So all problems resolved and life is back to normal.  But I’m already missing the gentle, relaxing place that was Pollensa.  I loved the narrow streets, the great aroma coming from the local bakery, the evening buzz in the Square as the lights came on and the restaurants began to fill up.   And of couse, the friendly Spanish who greeted us every morning as we walked into the town.  I must make a note to escape the rat race more frequently.