Well, we made it to Agadir. But first a bit of Christmas. Jo has very wisely decided to marry Ben – rather than any other hypothetical suitor – so we were treated to a superb Christmas meal. Ben is an excellent cook: he claims not to be a chef, and I suppose he’s technically correct but his long-standing interest in food, his practical experience and his academic background all combine to stand him in very good stead. Christmas lunch was roast lamb and truly superb. In case some of you have started your diets early, I won’t go into further detail about this or any of the other great meals. We visited some of Ben’s relatives in the area, collected his Mum, brought her back to Southampton and went out and about a bit.


National Rail – or whatever we’re supposed to call them nowadays – have chosen the holiday period to dig up the rails or something, so we took the bus to Gatwick in the afternoon of the 28th. It was a remarkably easy journey and we booked into the Bloc hotel in the S terminal. This is a multistorey integral part of the terminal and consists of a myriad of small rooms without windows. It’s comfortable, compact, windowless and convenient. Bijou in the costume jewelry sense of the word, but ideal if you’ve to get a 7:10am plane from the south terminal, as we did.


Easyjet were fairly efficient and our wait at “bag drop” was tolerably short. The flight was on time and – apart from turbulence over the Pyrenees – unremarkable. The hotel we’ve booked is very comfortable: a good sized room with all the things we could expect. A rather lacklustre salad each was accompanied by a cat doing peacock impersonations (calls, not attempts at flying). Sonia took photos of the beast but I preferred a snapshot of my beer bottle.


We were up early, so Mrs M fancied an afternoon snooze and I went down to their gym in order to burn off some of the last few days’ excesses. We had been told to expect a meeting with some rep. from Easyjet who would show us the ropes: he didn’t turn up and the hotel disclaimed any knowledge of him.


Our hotel has its own pool etc., being about 300m from the beach. I suspect we won’t make much use of the beach as – whilst long – it is not all that attractive. We have, however, been looking at things to do in the area and are thinking of a couple of excursions. I’ll keep you in suspense for the meantime.


When I was in sixth year at school – admittedly not yesterday – a classmate went to Morocco and sent home a box of “biscuits” actually full of cannabis. He was caught by customs – Morocco isn’t famed for its bikkies – and his father unwisely tried to be helpful by saying his son didn’t intend smoking it, but was going to sell it… I don’t intend emulating my old classmate, even though my own Dad died a few years back.


In the minibus that transferred us to the hotel were a young mother and her wee daughter – the latter aged about 7. The very London-sounding mum kept pointing out the “pineapple trees” to the daughter: I was very restrained and untypically kept my gob shut. However I couldn’t help comparing her with the mother on the plane who was giving clear, though simplified, scientific explanations of the principles of flight and the reasons for ears popping to her much-younger child. I was also dubious about another guy pointing out to his child that the long slab-topped wall running alongside the dual carriageway was made of mud. It may have been, but I remain to be convinced.


On our walk to the beach I spotted a very tall “pineapple tree” that was actually a disguised radio mast. The last time I saw one of those was in Gaborone, Botswana: though I think there may still be a Scottish pine tree variant visible from the A9.


Anyway, that’s it for now. I hope the weather’s not too awful back in the UK, or indeed wherever you are.


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