Author: Tracey McAlpine

As far as famous last words go, these will go down in our family history

Anyone who has ever rented an apartment abroad or has a holiday home will know that spending a week there is not a holiday as we know it.  There are still the beds to make, shopping to be done, tidying up and cleaning the bathroom.  It certainly is home from home.

Over the past two years Stewart has been renovating the apartment that we bought on the Costa del Sol in 1984.  This was before we were married and could jump on a plane, briefcase in hand and escape for a long weekend in the sun.  Thirty years later we seem to have much less time to fly off for a weekend away, but Stewart has found time to have the kitchen and bathroom replaced and bought some new furniture.

What we didn’t want to replace was the beds or bedroom furniture, so we opted for new mattresses and new bedding.  We didn’t realise that in the last thirty years European bed sizes have changed. So the new mattresses that we bought didn’t fit, they were in fact two inches longer than the beds.  This meant that the wooden bed frames were being pushed apart.  I am now going to cut a long story short by telling you that to accommodate the new mattresses we had to replace the sides of the bed, I’m leaving out the industrial English, the searching for the correct sized mattresses and days spent walking around furniture stores.

Replacing the sides of the beds was an ideal solution of mine, except that we couldn’t find matching wood.  Having exhausted all the local Spanish DIY stores we found the perfect match about a mile away – in London!  For the past couple of years my son Chris has been dying to drive down to Spain, so here was the ideal opportunity, enjoy the scenery and deliver the wood.  In July the beds were rebuilt and two more mattresses ordered to be delivered on our next visit.

This is why towards the end of our holiday we had to deposit two old mattresses at the ‘recycling centre’ located in the nearby car park.  When I say recycling, whatever you leave there goes in a matter of minutes, I swear people are watching to see what’s deposited only to swoop down and snap it up.  In Spain you can only put your rubbish out at night, which prevents the smell of rotting rubbish and the dustmen collect during the evening.  So it seemed logical at the time to take the mattresses out at night. 

Carrying two mattresses between us we managed to navigate the stairs, walk along the path, and climb up a step, only as I did my ankle gave way and I either heard or felt a crack, I’m not sure which, but it hurt like hell and instantly my ankle blew up to double the size.  I hobbled home to find some ice and a tea towel.