Under and Up

As we came in to moor John had a nasty moment when reverse gear would not engage. Rapid working of the lever while revving hard sorted it out, but he was concerned something was round the propeller shaft. The beautiful clear water of the harbour here persuaded him it would be a good idea to dive down to have a look. Neither of us relished the idea, so both vied to be the one to do it. Then John spotted the dive school offices at the side of the restaurant and wandered over to have a word with them. The upshot being, yes they could carry out a survey, provided we booked through the marina office. A man would be along between diving trips. We sat on the restaurant terrace overlooking Lyra with a coffee and a frogman arrived ten minutes later. In he jumped, spat in his mask and disappeared with a flick of his odd coloured flippers. Moments later he resurfaced holding an astonishingly long snake of black and white rope and a smaller piece of leather chord. He suggested we could take them home for our Christmas tree, but John gratefully dumped them straight in the bin. Relieved of the need to exert ourselves in the water, we decided to walk up to the lighthouse we could see at the top of the cliffs.

On family days out a special treat was to go to Lincoln market. As we wound past the racetrack part of the fun was to spot the Cathedral move from one side of the road to the other. The lighthouse employed similar trickery on our walk there. At first it seemed easy, we walked to the end of the harbour, along the road to the beach and up a steep concrete path, leading through the scrub to some steps climbing the hill below the lighthouse. Just as the sloped eased into road past a development of apartments there was a locked gate and a high metal fence. Back down the hill we trudged, past the beach again to tackle the same hill using the winding road. There was only a narrow pavement on one side, so we went in single file climbing back up the steep hairpins, this time without the shade of the scrubby trees. John walked in front, thoughtfully pointing out excrement to me as he went. Eventually we reached a sharp right hand bend, there was a dead end signposted to the left, but the mast from the lighthouse seemed to be to the right, so we followed the main road. We began to level off. At the summit sat the Best Alcazar Hotel, which boasted all one could wish for including its own skittle alley. Heading down from this we could see the sea at the other side of the point starting to open up before us. We had missed the lighthouse. Back we went, past the hotel and to the dead end we had ignored earlier. Up through the trees we hiked until we reached another big gate, also locked. Beside the gate a rough dirt track scrambled upwards in an unofficial looking manner. We debated following it, but given that we knew the lighthouse stood on the edge of a precipice, decided against it. Back down the hill, feeling like the Grand Old Duke of York and his men. There was the sodding lighthouse, much further over to the left than we thought and on a different hill. Back at the beach we stopped under the umbrellas for a beer.

Oddly there were sparrows and pigeons on the beech. One pigeon was walking about with all its feathers fluffed out, turning tight circles and generally preening, like a teenager practicing dance moves in front of a mirror. Eventually it spotted a couple of females and ran over to go through its routine, which they studiously chose to ignore, turning pointedly away. They were still patrolling up and down as we left.

That evening we walked to the far end of the restaurant for a change of scenery. David and all of his waiting staff were stood around as two of them wrestled to hand a gigantic flat screen TV on a bracket outside the restaurant. David, who is a stocky individual, slightly shorter than myself with a shock of silver hair and an impressive moustache, came over to us. He informed us he was Andalusian, his team, Spain, were in Brazil, we all nodded solemnly at each other. John and I sat and watched proceedings. One of them broke off to take our order and bring us complimentary tapas. Once the set was hung to the satisfaction of David, a dangling arrangement of flex was installed to link it with the power inside and on it came. All five waiters stood looking up at the TV, taking turns to point the remote control at the screen and press buttons. A cooking program came on to much groaning and swapping of the remote. I guess if you work in a restaurant day and night it’s not much of a thrill to see cooking on the telly. One chap seemed to know what he was doing, but kept being hampered by the others, for whom things were not happening fast enough. Time and again one of them would take over the controller and interrupt the tuning process, setting it all back to the beginning. Suddenly, beside me, John shouted, “English, English!” as the screen gave a choice of language. They all turned, laughed and turned back, stepping closer together. Then came a moment of fleeting excitement, the auto-tune was finally cycling through the stations and the desired channel appeared to much cheering, rapidly curtailed as the tuning moved on. Finally it was working to everyone’s satisfaction, at which point they turned it off, lifted it from the bracket and took it back inside.

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