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12 April 2024
2021, week 52 logo

Week 52 of 2021 started with me in pain after too much walking last week. My leg was a bit swollen but apart from that, I was fine.

Week 52 of 2021.

Friday, December 24th.

Today was Christmas Eve. As a kid, I never really got excited by Christmas; as I get older, I like it even less. I believe people have forgotten Christmas is supposed to be a religious festival and has been hijacked by big companies and money-making entrepreneurs who want to make money out of the less fortunate who have been force-fed advertising for things they don't really want or need all year long.

I am not religious in a traditional sense, I don't believe in a God as I was taught to believe at school. I believe in a person called Jesus, but I do not believe in the religious teachings that surround this figure. The most apparent discrepancy I feel is that of Jesus being portrayed as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed man when, in reality, due to his place of birth, he would have had a darker complexion and brown eyes. I do believe in something, just not what modern religion, as I was taught, tried to tell me about a God.

Religious lecture over, I like how many people go out of their way to help others at this time of the year. I did my bit by donating to a friend's business that feeds the homeless, I hope that what I could give will help feed a few people in the New Year. I also hoped that people would realise that many people dislike Christmas for their own reasons and that many people do not experience the same joy as others because they are too cold, too hungry, too ill or just too dam scared to worry about anything other than living. Anyway, if you are reading this, I hope you enjoyed Christmas with your friends and family or how you chose to spend it.

On Christmas Eve at around 1:30 pm, I met my friends, George and Yvonne, we met for a coffee and a chat at a local Spanish bar. The Asiático coffee I had was very, very strong. I think they must have got distracted when pouring it. It is usually a strong drink, but this time, it made my eyes water with the alcohol fumes coming off of it at arm's length. It did taste extremely good, but I decided just to have the one as it's likely to be a long day.

When I left the café, I walked around to   La Playa bar, where I bumped into some friends and sat with them for a drink and a chat. I stayed late, drinking, chatting and listening to a singer and a couple of customers singing throughout the night. I must have walked too much this week as my leg became stiff and sore at night, and I had to rest it on a barstool before me.

Because of the cooler weather recently, I have been wearing jeans, unfortunately for me, they do tend to make my tree trunk legs swell up even more, and it is sometimes difficult to take my jeans off when I go to bed. Tonight was a case in point; my leg was swollen, and I had to sleep in my jeans until the early morning hours when the swelling had gone down enough for me to take them off.

Saturday, December 25th.

When I woke, my leg was still sore, and I had to take some painkillers with my coffee this morning. I spent all morning sitting in front of the TV with my feet up resting. I am due to go to La Playa bar for Christmas dinner this afternoon but by 2 p.m. I realised that because of the pain I was still in, I would be very poor company. I send Shellie a message to tell her I won't make it for Christmas dinner, then look to see what's in my freezer.

Instead of having a beautiful Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, I have defrosted, pre-cooked, microwaved ribs for my Christmas dinner. They were awful, I will have to remember not to get them again. While travelling, I have eaten some strange things in China and Peru, but these would have been perfect for one of Ant and Dec´s Bush Tucker Trials.

The rest of the day was spent watching Christmas movies and doing as little as possible. This evening, my neighbour Liz messaged me to tell me that she noticed Father Christmas had left something attached to my front door. When I looked, she was right. She must know about my leg swelling problems and how cold my feet get. Santa has left me some nice new thermal socks with little beads built into the soles so that when I walk on my marble floors, they will ensure I don't slip and keep my feet warm. Thank you very much, Santa.

Sunday, December 26th.

Today is Boxing Day, my favourite day of the Christmas period. Yes, I know it's sad, but the football is back on, and I can watch the Norwich v Arsenal match on TV this afternoon.

After getting up, I showered, stripped the bed linen from my bed and put some clothes in the washing machine. I can hear you all shouting, what are you doing washing your clothes and linen on Boxing Day, but, in my opinion, Christmas isn't just about watching football that has dodged being cancelled due to COVID.

After working on my website for a while, I realised I had nothing to eat, so I searched my freezer for something to thaw out. I didn't find abundant good-looking food that would thaw out quickly. I had a tuna pie for lunch and chicken with potatoes, peas and carrots for my tea. This is what Boxing Day is all about good food and good football. I hoped that Arsenal could produce good football now that I had the food covered.

I was very happy with the result of the Norwich vs Arsenal game.  Arsenal's young team continued where they left off in the previous game. They attacked quickly, defended pretty well and kept running for each other. They easily beat Norwich 0 - 5, and on another day, it could have been by a few more as both Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli missed chances they should have scored from. Today was a bit of a goal-fest in the Premier League. There were only 6 games played, but there were 28 goals scored, averaging at just under 5 goals per game, this was why so many supporters love Boxing Day football.

Monday, December 27th.

I slept very poorly last night. Unable to sleep, I got back up at around 2 am and watched another Christmas film. I did enjoy the film. It didn't make me fall asleep, but I did return to bed when it finished at 4 a.m. I probably fell asleep around 4:30 a.m. before getting back up, tired and sleepy at around 8:30 a.m. I made myself a coffee, drank it while checking my email and then jumped in the shower to wake myself up properly.

Today, my neighbour Liz had a dental appointment in Murcia and had been told she could not drive herself home after the appointment. She had asked me to go with her so I could drive her home after her appointment. For that reason, today I will be taking a trip to Murciá, though apart from seeing the countryside there, I don't expect to see much. At 11:00 a.m. I walked downstairs to Liz´s apartment and joined her for our trip.

We arrived in Murciá and parked near where Liz had to see her dentist. We walked to a pharmacy so that I could get some painkillers, then continued to the dentist. 

Liz went in for her appointment and I settled in a cafe nearby with a cappuccino and some churros. I had only been sat down for a short time when Liz arrived. Her dentist had called in sick, and she couldn't be seen. She sat down with me for a coffee, and afterwards, we walked back to the car. We did walk past Spiderman climbing up a building wall but he was in a hurry and couldn't stop for a chat.

Liz then drove me to IKEA so that I could look for some curtain rails and curtains for my apartment. I priced up what I would need for my curtains and purchased two Christmas cacti for my balcony and some floor mats for my bathroom. When our shopping was done, we returned to Los Alcazares. Liz hadn't had her dental appointment, I hadn't driven, but we had done some shopping.

After walking today, my leg was aching again, so I took a painkiller and spent the evening watching football on the TV.

Tuesday, December 28th.

I got up around 9 a.m., still sleepy I got a coffee to wake myself up. Whilst checking my email, I got a message from my friend Martin telling me that he can not make today's business meeting at the office, we cancelled this week's meeting, and we will continue as usual in the New Year.

As today's business meeting had been cancelled, I surfed the IKEA website to purchase new curtains and associated fittings. After yesterday's visit to the store, I knew what to look for and could make a more informed decision on my purchase. After lots of surfing, I decided on an olive colour curtain. I decided to get them for both bedrooms' Juliet balcony windows and the main patio door leading to my balcony. Unfortunately, they can not deliver them until after the day I had arranged for them to be fitted so I will have to rearrange the fitting date.

By the time I finished the order for my curtains, it was nearly 2 p.m., and I still hadn't been out for milk, so I changed out of my pyjamas and set off on my scooter to the Mercadona superstore. As I walked into the store, I saw my friend Martin's wife walking out, she told me that she and Martin were having a quick drink at La Zona bar opposite. I got the few bits of shopping I needed in the store and crossed the road to   La Zona bar. It is always awkward to get into La Zona bar in my scooter as the gates there are only ever half-open, so I have to get off the scooter, open the gate fully, get back on the scooter, go inside the garden and park the scooter, then go back to the gate to close it again. I can do this but feel for people who would not be able to do this or for mothers with wider prams who would have to do this to get a pram through the gate. It would be much easier for disabled people to open the gates fully in the mornings. I can see no reason for them not to do this. I have one drink with Martin, Kate and Aria, and then we all leave to go home.

Once home, I unpacked the few bits of shopping I had bought, then retired to the sofa to watch films and football for the evening. My leg is going down and is not so sore this evening, but I do massage it with some E45 cream which helps to heal the wounds and keep the skin from drying out.

Wednesday, December 29th.

I woke early this morning at around 6 a.m. I got out of bed to get a coffee before checking my emails and getting ready to go to the foreigner's office in Murcia today to collect my TIE card. As I checked my email, I noticed that it was Wednesday, not Thursday and that I had, in my still sleepy state, gotten up early for nothing as my appointment was tomorrow.

I drank my coffee, made a pot of camomile tea and sat back down at my computer to continue to work on my website administration. Just after 9:30, I took a break and went for a walk along the promenade to Restaurant La Encarnacion for my breakfast. I had a coffee, orange juice and a tostada whilst I read my Kindle for a while. After breakfast, I continued walking along the promenade towards the military base before going to the main road through Los Alcazares to walk home. Once home, I carried on working on my website.

I am going to a new health food shop in Los Alcázares this afternoon. I had seen their advert on Facebook, looked at their website and picked out a jar of honey that I thought would help my health. I have sent them a message and been told they re-open at 5 pm. I travelled up to see them on my disability scooter, and I soon possessed a jar of my chosen honey. The shop is tiny, but their website has many goods on it and is easy to use. When I got home, I made a protein shake, adding some new honey. The spoon is licked clean afterwards, and I am pleased with the taste and consistency of the honey.

This evening, I watched two films with Christmas-themed titles but quite different. The first film I watch is   Last Train To Christmas which is both funny and sad. It was a very thought-provoking film and had a good ending. The second film was   Silent Night a very dark film which I don't think will win many fans but is again thought-provoking, but the end is not as good and is entirely predictable. I would watch the first again but would swerve the second.

Thursday, December 30th.

I woke up at 7:45 am, made myself a coffee, checked my email and then got ready for my trip to Murcia to collect my new TIE card.

I joined my neighbour Liz, who kindly took me to Murcia at about 10:15 am. The car journey to Murcia was easy, and we arrived at the foreigner's office before my allotted appointment time. Luckily, when we approached the entrance, the security checked my id and waved me through, showing me which way to go. We joined a queue of around 3 people and were very quickly seen. I did not have the paperwork the person behind the desk required, as I was never given it. Maybe the person who did the initial application for me still has it. Luckily, the man is in a good mood. He checked my passport, took my old resident card and gave me my new TIE card. We left and were in the car heading back to Los Alcázares 10 minutes before my appointment was due.

When we arrived back in Los Alcázares, Liz took me to the sports centre to see if I could get my COVID booster jab. They do them for people over 55 years old today without an appointment. When we arrived, there was a huge queue, and I decided against waiting for hours on the chance that I would get the booster jab.

I told Liz that I would buy her dinner to thank her for running me around today, and we drove through Los Alcazares to go to the Venta Simon restaurant for the day's menu. When we arrived, it was closed until after the Spanish Christmas holiday celebrations finished. We then drove back to the apartment block, and as we passed the restaurant La Casa de Papel, we saw it was open. After parking the car at the apartment we walked back to the restaurant and went there for the Menu of the day.

ProfiteroleThe food was excellent at La Casa de Papel, as was the service. We were quickly given a drink, I had a lovely glass of white wine. The first thing out was a small salad, which was very nice. I generally only eat salad when I am out as you don't seem to be able to buy small salad bowls in the supermarkets, and I hate wasting food at home. The next thing I had was a white bean and mussel stew. It was lovely, and I had to dip the fresh bread in it to soak up the tasty liquid from the iron serving bowl. My main meal was a ham and chicken crusted fillet with homemade crisp/potatoes. This was also very good and filling. Liz only managed to eat half of hers. Being a growing lad, I ate all mine up. The pudding was a single large Profiterole roll covered in melted chocolate and finished the meal nicely.

After the meal and walking home, I sat in front of the television and remembered my phone beeping while I was in the restaurant. When I checked, it was a message on Facebook from the town hall saying that so many people had turned up for the COVID booster jab they would not be giving it to people without an appointment. This was annoying because they had posted that you didn't need an appointment earlier in the day. At least I hadn't waited for hours to be turned away. After eating such a big meal I was soon fast asleep, waking in time to watch some football later in the night before going to bed.

Friday, December 31st.

When I woke up this morning, it was very foggy outside. I drank my coffee as the fog slowly cleared outside, but it was some time before the sea was visible from my apartment. I was sent an email saying I will have a delivery today. It did not, however, say for what. It could be for the curtains I ordered from IKEA. When I made the order it did say that the delivery would be in two packages arriving on different days.  

Because of the growing worry about the new variant of COVID spreading worldwide, I have decided against going out to a pub to celebrate the New Year tonight. There will be too many people travelling from the UK, where I believe the concern for COVID is not as great as elsewhere. I feel unsafe about joining in any celebrations with people I do not know. If the delivery I am expecting does arrive in time, I will go out for a pint or an Asiática coffee this afternoon to celebrate and to remember many of my friends who did not survive this year.

I see the New Year arrive at home without leaving the apartment. I waited all day for a delivery that hadn't arrived. By 10:20 pm, I was in bed and saw the New Year from behind closed eyelids in the land of nod.

2021 in summary.

I lost a few good friends and family members in 2021. My Aunt Evelyn passed away in January, my friend Graham Moss passed away in March, and I found my good friend and neighbour, Russ, dead in his apartment in May. In October, my friend Mark McGee passed away, and my good friend Paul Hooper passed away in a hospital in the UK. My thoughts go out to the friends and family of all of these people.

I was ill later in the year and had to go to the hospital for different tests. I had all sorts of tests at the doctor's and in the hospital throughout the year, and I am pleased to say nothing was found. The specialists did decide that the hernia I have had for a while could be dangerous, though and took me into the hospital to operate on it. After the operation, I was unbelievably sent home less than 12 hours after being opened up, way too early, in my opinion. Six days later, I had to get an ambulance back to the hospital because I was in terrific pain, and the wound in my stomach was oozing fluid so much that it dripped on the floor when I moved. I was then kept in the hospital for a further 11 days, and the wound was opened up again. My insides were shifted around again, and this time, I was sown up more securely and put on a course of antibiotics. The antibiotics continued to be taken for 10 days after I was released from the hospital, but thankfully, I recovered, felt a lot better and now, for the first time in a long time, I have a belly button.

COVID restrictions have stopped me from going very far at all this year, but like everyone else, I have managed to get used to this new way of life. The restrictions have kept me safe, I wish more people could understand this instead of whinging about them and the people who enforce them.

After starting my 7th year of living in Los Alcázares in November, I finally ordered some curtains for my windows and hope to have them installed in January 2022. I plan to start enjoying my photography hobby more in 2022 and plan to start publishing more of my artwork on my website more regularly. I am looking forward to the warmer weather. Now that my hernia operation has healed, I hope to get back to my morning swims, and hopefully, this year, I will be able to get more use of the kayak I bought myself last year.

Depending on COVID's restrictions on all of us, I also hope to get away for a holiday this year, even if it is only short trips in Spain or neighbouring European countries. I hope to return to visit my sister in England at some point and make a trip to Wales to see some of my extended family there while learning more about my family tree while I do my genealogy research.

Whatever 2021 dealt you, I hope 2022 is a kinder and more generous year for you all. To all my friends and family, I leave you with these famous words from a famous traveller: Live long and Prosper.