The sun was hot. The beaches were busy and the bars were doing a roaring trade. They made Vincent’s on the corner of Carrer Mercat in the old town, a regular stop off. In addition to the Sanctuary Bar in the hotel there were also frequent visits to Rumbo’s and they could be found most nights having a drink in Marrs Bar as well. It was serious work being on holiday, San Miguel had to be drunk and cocktails were always a favourite. Harry and Spike had managed to keep up with the rest of them while staying out of the sun for a couple of days. They did get some funny looks as their skin started to migrate from their bodies. It started slowly but very quickly progressed to huge sheets being shed all at once.
‘You look like those anaconda snakes that you see on David Attenborough’s programme.’
‘Yeah, yeah, Alex.’ After the initial itching Spike and Harry were glad to be getting back to normal even if they were leaving a trail of dead skin in their wake.
Alex and Wendy were people spotting and comparing notes at the poolside. They’d met most of the regulars by now. They were the ones who stayed in the hotel grounds. Over in the corner were The Carrot Tops, a couple with two children all with the same ginger hair. Next to them were Diamond Geezer and Ruby Gal from London. Diamond Geezer seemed to carry all of the UK gold reserves round his neck and on his wrists and fingers. Ruby Gal had her trinket box at the poolside just in case she got caught out wearing the wrong kind of jewellery for that time of day. On rare occasions they would go for a walk, venturing as far as the entrance to the hotel. Diamond Geezer would be bent over double with all the weight of the gold he was carrying and just make it back before collapsing onto his sun lounger. Ruby Gal would not be far behind carrying her trinket box and panting out of breath glad that the exercise was over for another day. Next along the line of sun loungers was Miss Curvaceous, a platinum blonde who had managed to squeeze into the bottom half of a bikini. The top half was obviously too small, it was lying around on its own. She didn’t seem to be interested in mixing with the rest, instead preferring to read one romantic book after another with periodic breaks to apply more sun screen. Spike had given her the once over when he arrived but she was a little too old for him by at least twenty years. She had caught the eye of Speedo Man who was also on his own but he was not her type. In fact Alex and Wendy had surmised that he wasn’t anybody’s flavour. He was in his fifties, going bald and had a stomach that was not designed to show off Speedo trunks at their best. In the evenings he could be found in any one of the numerous bars and clubs drinking cocktails with his shirt slashed open to the waist, standing at the bar trying his best to hold in his stomach. Lying next to Miss Curvaceous were Mr and Mrs Bronze. These two were serial sunbathers with every inch of exposed flesh a rather dark copper colour. They had long since progressed from factor ten to pure baby oil and had cotton wool to stretch between their toes to get maximum coverage in that area. They could be seen on their balcony every day late in the afternoon trying to catch the last rays of the sun before it dipped out of sight. They made a mad dash in the mornings to catch it again as it ventured out for another day. The best place was round among the rubbish bins for the first hour. Sitting on their own were The Librarians, a couple from Leeds who knew everything. They would scour the resort just to enter any quiz competitions if there were pesetas involved. If there was no action in the daytime they would go on a trip that had been won by any one of the bars that preferred to dish out vouchers instead of money. They had been to visit more than one chocolate factory.
‘You know, Spain is a poor country and it is only with mass tourism that the country is prospering,’ said Mrs Librarian, speaking to Alex one day. The woman would have continued with the history of Spain had Vince not come to the rescue.