Here I am back in cold Ireland. I have been to Spain, Puerto Banus to be precise, to stay with my young son Ben. He and his mate Brett run a bar there called Zoo Lounge.
I had a lovely time, relaxing, sitting in the bar, chatting with the regulars and playing with Ben's gorgeous dog Teddy, an American Cocker Spaniel. Ben has an odd life, opening the bar around 7pm at the moment as it's winter and very quiet, then he stays open until about 3 or 4 or 5 depending on who's there. Then it's home, often something to eat then bed until about 2pm the next day! While I was there he got up a bit earlier so we had time together.
I fell in love with Teddy completely. He is gorgeous and well behaved and a bundle of fun. We took him for walks every day, which he loved of course. The weather was quite warm, though one day was pretty cloudy with a stiff breeze, so coats were in order, but it was still much much warmer than Ireland.
I spent some time on my own wandering around the port, taking photos, drinking coffee and people watching. I treated Ben and Brett to late lunch each day so we didn't bother about much food in the evenings. They live pretty well hand to mouth, the takings from the bar being used to pay the most outstanding bill! Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are pretty busy, but the rest of the week is a bit dead. Hopefully things will pick up around Easter.
The last day I was there, Ben and Brett spent their time wiggling wires about the ceiling, trying to get their speakers in the best places. While they did that I gave the toilet a good spring clean. What else are Mums for?
Puerto Banus has a marina full of massive motor boats owned by very rich people. Hugh Grant was there last year and Ben sat next to him but he was a bit aloof apparently. Bruce Willis turns up now and then too. The owner of Chelsea football Club also has a yacht but when he comes, he has to moor up outside the marina as his yacht is too big to fit inside. One of Ben's friends looks after one of the yachts and gave us a guided tour. It was stunning. The bridge itself was like something from a spaceship. There were several bathrooms and bedrooms and a huge plasma tv. This was a pretty small boat compared to others moored nearby. In spite of the credit crunch, some people clearly still have money.
So, it's a great place for people watching too, with shops like Versace, Jimmy Choo and all those designer names on the front. Some of the ladies are beautifully dressed but others look a mess! (I was there in my t shirts, trousers, etc). One thing which struck me is the attitude of the shop keepers. Not all of them, but the majority in the supermarkets and big stores are really miserable, never smile and hardly acknowledge your existence.
Ben seems to know everyone in the port and we couldn't walk a few yards without someone rushing over and shaking his hand. In his bar, everyone I met told me what a wonderful son I had and how lovely he is. It was gratifying to hear that he is so well liked. It was clear that they were genuine remarks too, not forced in any way. Ben and Brett are like a married couple, except they never argue. It's a seamless relationship and they obviously trust each other implicitly.
So all in all a good break that went far too quickly. I took far too many photos as usual, so I'll try and be a bit selective with them. The whole set is on Facebook if anyone's interested. I can give you the link if you'd like to look.
I'm in love!
One eyed Teddy!
A catholic shrine down a side street
Wrought Iron archway and tiled steps, typical of the area
One of the beaches with a rather odd, Eastern style hotel
Ben and Teddy. Brett is on his mobile phone in the background. Note the Irish Tavern behind.
At the edge of the main square, fountains in the foreground, benches and Ben, Brett and Teddy at the back.
Ben's name is Ben Bowler so we were highly amused on seeing the hotel Benabola!! Jim and I stayed there on our last trip.
This is the view that greeted me in the morning, from Ben's garden
Bougainvillea in Ben's garden. The flowers look like paper
One of the yachts in the marina, Puerto Banus
It's strange what you can buy in some shops
I loved this above the 'Cadillac Bar'
An expensive cappuccino in a marina front bar
It seemed a little cruel to chain this lady round her neck!
This very overweight chap was indulging in a cigar. On his way to a heart attack I think.
The side of a rather lovely fern covered bench
Life belt in front of the Marina, Puerto Banus
A splendid rusty lion's head at the base of a lamp post
One of the designer shop windows, all silver and black
Versace Shop Window
Inside Zoo Lounge with the 2 new televisions
The Marina, Puerto Banus
Ben, Teddy and the mountain
We ate in this bar called 'Diva' every day. They have computers.... Brett, right on computer, Ben, left on computer and Louis Walsh look alike in the centre, on computer! Note Brett's 'Zoo Lounge' hoody.
Louis Walsh in Diva
A lovely view over the sea, masts in the marina, the round house and mountains
Brett and Ben deep in discussion, Teddy waiting. New Heineken fridge!
Just to finish off, Teddy!
There are about another 50 photos! But I think that's enough. Can't wait to go back again.