Although I'd crossed over the border to 'la linea de la corrupcion' when I was stationed in Gibraltar in '89 I hadn't really seen much of spain. In '91 I spent a week in Madrid looking for work (with some awful girl from Vancouver whose friends were all 'famous actors, famous poets, famous playwrites etc....but none had names.) After only one week of this I decided that enough needless name dropping had been suffered and I moved to La Linea to find work in Gib.

I spent four months in Gibraltar but still didn't see so much of Spain. This changed slightly on my way back home when I stopped off at Cordoba, Barcelona and Valencia,

In '93 I went on a really great 18 day holiday that I found in my local travel agent with Claire to Benalmedina on the Costa del Sol.

Even later, in '95 I went on a day trip to Bilbao (honest) with my good friend Steve Goodman.

Here are some of the people I've met and some of the places I've seen.

People I've met in Spain

Jose Maria Seria

One day while serving sandwiches in the Paparazzi Boulangerie, Gib. I had a customer request 'bocadillo de pavo'. Not yet being familiar with the word pavo (turkey) I proceeded to barrage the customer with my repetoire of farmyard animals to his delight. When I indicated the turkey with a 'gobble-obble-obble' he controlled his laughter with a "Si,si,si!"

Only the next day I was painting a t-shirt in a cafe in La Linea when a stranger approached me and commented on my painting.

We chatted for a while and call me slow but it was after we had gone on together to another bar that it clicked that this was the very same guy who wanted turkey sandwich from the previous day. The picture shows Jose-Marie and the chap with an amazingly good head of hair behind him is a local publican named Angel (pron. as in Spanish 'an-ghel') whose bar we haunted often.

We met frequently and this was good for me as I didn't know many people yet. He helped me meet the local community (I fell about laughing at the way he'd call the older ladies of the Church 'las virgenes') and I helped decorate the Church in preperation for Christmas. He taught me much of Spanish cuisine, culture and art, especially the paintings of Cruz-Herrera who is a celebrated La Linean artist.

Raisa Gorbachev

As I say, I didn't exactly get to meet the wife of the former Russian Premier but I did take a snapshot of her as I was walking through the Plaza del Sol in Madrid. She was on a walkabout while her husband was attending the '91 Middle East Peace summit and I ... well I was just on a walkabout.

Jane, Lisa and Dylan

Killing time and going against the grain by doing what the guide book says 'not' to do (Don't stop in Malaga) I took in the lesser sights of Malaga and I'm glad I did. Whilst wandering around and looking to buy a ticket to Perpignan I ran into a couple of girls from London who'd told me that they were on their way to France via (first of all) Cordoba. We hung around for a while and then the girls left. I bought my ticket and discovered that I could stop off on the way and it wouldn't affect the price of the ticket. Seeing that Cordoba was on the way I decided to stop off and see what was so special about the place.

I arrived in Cordoba at night, around ten, and wandered the myriad of steep cobbled streets in search of the Youth Hostel. When checking into said hostel I noticed the names of Jane and Lisa on the checking in book. Thus when I went down to breakfast the next morning and casually walked past the girls simply bidding them good morning it was all I could do to stop myself from laughing at their chins hitting the breakfast table.

We had breakfast together and along with Dylan Carp,(pictured above) an American student, we toured Cordoba, Valencia, Barcelona (where we sampled Sangria in a carton - 'Do you sell straws?') and met up again in Nice and later in Amsterdam as the girls planned to celebrate their birthdays (25th and 26th March) in Amsterdam.

Several years later in '96 I ran into Jane on a train platform in London but hey, lost touch again.


It really gets to me when I can't remember names and almost as bad is when I can't remember surnames. We met at the Hotel El Dorado in Benalmedina where I spent a great holiday with my then fiancee Claire. Tony, a travel agent from Sheffield, is a great joker and was a vital element in our having such a great holiday.

Tony is on the far right of this picture (just after having caught a little too much sun.) and to my left is Claire and between us all is a young lady who starred in a BBC soap set on the Costa del Sol entitled El Dorado.

There was everything and it's uncle wrong with the hotel and I can remember that the thing that got Tony the most was the red wax the cleaners used on the floors because it'd leave peoples feet red.

One night we went to see a comedian in a nearby pub and we were heckling a little. The comedian eyed us and as quick as a flash said to Tony, "Flaming Hell! You actually underline a nose like that!"

Bar Miguel

Bar Miguel, in Benaldmedina is one of the most fun bars I have ever experienced in my life.

True, the owner Miguel and his sidekick Arturo are in drag but once you get over that you'll not stop laughing. Even if you don't particularly like flamenco (which I do) You'll enjoy the dancing of the two and Miguel's own shows. I'm not at all homophobic but on the other side I'm not totally into the gay scene but I must say that we kept on going back, night after night.

If anyone ever wondered where my bottle-top party trick came from - wonder no more, the picture says it all.

The next picture shows Arturo who was a real balance of comical facial expressions to go against Miguels deadpan look. With Arturo is Tony from Sheffield who we met on the holiday and with whom we had a great time.

Sally and Sandra

My good man Steve Goodfriend ... or rather good friend Steve Goodman and I decided to duck out of the high life of Grimsby for a few days and take a day trip (Believe it!) to Bilbao, northern Spain in March of '95. I'd seen the advert somewhere and the trip was ridiculously cheap so 'wayhey!' and off to spain we went.

The trip itself consisted mainly of drinking and looking at the sea so we were highly thankful for the chance of company (especially female company) when I rescued a pair of girls who were being unsuccessfully 'chatted up' by a drunk Norwegian.

At first, as the girls were speaking German, I mistook both to be German, however although Sandra Kosanke (far right) does come from Germany, Sally Northeast (second from left) is a reporter from Bournemouth.

Understandably my Bournemouth / Pensioner city jokes went down like a lead balloon but notwithstanding a good time was had by all (As can be seen from the photo below).

Later in the year I'd just seen Li Aguiar off at Heathrow on her way back to Brazil and was walking towards a coffee bar at the airport when through the crowds came Sandra walking completely in the opposite direction in a straight line towards me. We sat and chatted for a while but there was absolutely no reason for my sudden craving for a coffee (not at airport prices) save for the invisible forces that often bring us together time and time again.

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