Although the above photo is a rather blatant attempt to awake Jim Froggatt from his 10-day afternoon nap (or forty
I guess that - unlike Jim - I would have been a child when this photo was taken, and I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about the sort of upbringing I had. My parents used to take me to an aunt in Brighton for two weeks of the year, so even then my annual holidays were city-based.
One 1960s summer, I stood on the sea-front and watched the first wave of motorbikes roar into town, carrying hundreds of Rockers and their girlfriends. About half an hour later, the air was filled with the thin, blue smoke of two-stroke engines as the Mods turned up on 500cc scooters, and they all parked up on opposite sides of the stony beach to discuss battle-plans.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in ritual violence, with bottles being thrown, heads being kicked in and limited numbers of police doing their best to intervene to prevent it. I never did understand why they hated each other so much, and neither did they. It did teach me a lesson though - even youths in sharp suits and narrow ties can be as vicious as the old Teds in leathers who made my trips into Woking so terrifying in the late 1950s.
For various reasons, we have not been out of the country (except for necessary trips to Germany) since visiting friends in the mountains near Malaga a few years ago, but I am now desperate to go to a hot country again, possibly because of the weather and other climate here for the last few years.
I had always thought of Malaga in the same way as I thought of Torremolinos - packed full of ex-pat Brits escaping the law as well as the rain. In fact, Malaga is a charming little town, with ancient bars selling the famous wine from gigantic oak barrels, and a proper promenade fringed with tasteful parks and palms.
Our friends were at the recent wedding, and they told us that they were just about to buy a flat in the old part of town, which we are welcome to stay in when we come. Great - I can't wait.
When we were last driving through Malaga, all the city busses looked vaguely familiar to me, and I found out why.
When the City of Bath got rid of the diesel busses to make way for the quieter and cleaner gas-powered ones, they sold the entire fleet to Malaga. I wonder what they used before then, and who they sold them to?