MISSING THE MOTHERLAND

Duncan Oldham

I’ve lived in Spain now for 13 years and I’m starting to think that it’s time for me to return the Motherland. When I moved to Spain my mother was here, she’s now deceased, and my kids were young and visiting every 6 weeks, they’re now living their own adult lives. A once busy house is now very quiet in comparison. I used to sit by the pool with a cuppa and hear laughter and watch the water being splashed all over the place, these days there’s barely a whisper or a ripple. It’s a constant reminder of how life has changed. I also now have a grandson back in the UK and I’ve only met him a handful of times which doesn’t sit right with me. I miss my family and even though my mum’s no longer with me, at least I can visit her grave and still talk to her.

There are many positives to living in Spain. Most of the time I’m happy here. The weather is nice, of course, but the months of July and August are too much for me. I’m not arsed about the sun if I’m honest. I’ve always been someone who prefers the bad weather and there’s plenty of that back in Yorkshire. I’d swap the aircon for a roaring log fire any day. Looking out to the sun beaming down may be appealing to most people but I’d much rather watch the rain being blown against the window. A night out here in the nearby resort of Benidorm can’t be beaten in England that’s for sure and I’d miss my mates, many of whom work the circuit here with their fabulous acts. But, truth be told, I’m just as happy at home with a movie and a take-away.

I’m not one to participate in the cliquey, ex-pat community. Everyone knows everybody and there’s a lot of chancers that duck and dive and play the system while the rest of us pay our taxes and try and do things right. I’m fortunate that I live in a mainly Spanish community. I couldn’t bear living amongst my fellow Brits. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got plenty of British pals here, I just prefer a brief hello in the morning than having to spend an hour listening to Janice and Malcolm tell me how fucking great their shitty motorhome is.

My best friend lives in America which is somewhere I would consider living but it would be such a ballache trying to get a permanent visa. I can’t be arsed signing my name when the postman brings me a parcel so can I fuck be arsed to go through all that bureaucracy. Malta is my favourite country in the world and is somewhere I’ve considered moving to before. Even Thailand should get a mention, who wouldn’t want to live in the Land of Smiles? I’d rather be surrounded by people with fuck all that can manage a smile than people with fuck all who drone on about all the immigrants back in the UK despite the fact they’re happy to dodge the system here in Spain.

I’m an adventurous kind of person, I’d be up for most places, but right now I’m desperately missing home. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been since February. Usually, when I feel a little homesick, I fly over and after about 2 days back home I wonder what the fuck I was thinking!

In a couple of weeks I’m popping over to England for a weekend in Newcastle. I’m counting down the days because I just can’t wait to breath that fresh air and hold a proper conversation with someone when ordering my grub in Pizza Hut. Oh I may be on a lifestyle change but on this trip I’m gonna do all the things I miss and that’s gonna include eating some dirty food, having a proper pint in a real pub and going to a decent cinema and trust me, that pick ‘n’ mix bag will be rammed! Maybe after that trip I’ll feel a little recharged and will appreciate what I have here in Spain; I usually return and when the door of the plane opens out onto Alicante airport, I do feel like I’m back home. At the moment, though, when I see my mates posting about their days out at York races or the football I feel a bit envious yet bizarrely they envy my life out here. It’s fucked up isn’t it?

Maybe it’s just my current state of mind. Although I have many people in my life that love me and make me happy, I’m missing one person and my life hasn’t been the same since she died 7 years ago. Life has seemed utterly pointless ever since my mum passed away. I find it a struggle. Sometimes I think if I was back home I could spend more time with my family and then it might not feel so shit. Equally, I know that by having my place out here than I can offer them and especially my children and grandson an escape. I feel that being here I’m able to offer them something special. Maybe one day they will return to the swimming pool with their families and create their own noise and fun memories.

I have no plans on leaving Spain at the present time because there are people here who have been in my life for years and I certainly won’t leave them behind. However, I do think it’s time to find a bolthole. Maybe I just need to pop back a bit more often. It’s been a while and maybe that’s why I’m feeling it. The last time I spent a couple of weeks in England I couldn’t wait to get back. I know, I know, I’m a numptie!

I appreciate the above probably sounds like a load of drivel but I actually feel better for spouting it. Someone will understand. And besides, we all know that after my weekend in England later this month that I’ll be telling you how fucking glad I am to be back in Spain! I’ll be moaning like fuck when ‘last orders’ is called at the bar. WTF is that shit all about? See, I’m already starting to convince myself that I’m talking shite.

Ok, I’ll be honest, I’m missing Greggs

Duncan