Firstly, on my return from a welcome warm and ebullient trip to Sunny Costa del Sol in Spain, I found my local newspaper, Chester Evening Leader had published a piece about me and daughter traipsing across to Groningen last month to receive my unpublished novel award for Hot Air. The write up and photo is here. You can just see my living room in the background, so maybe a welcome distraction from my silly smiley mugshot. One US friend says his Internet system cannot see the article whereas others abroad can – so let me know if your country or ISP has blocked it. Same seems to be true for BBC news links, which is a shame since we, in the UK, can see CNN.
To explain the heading of this blog I was pickpocketed at the central bus station in Fuengirola! But I nabbed him – haha! The Spanish don’t seem as fond of orderly queues as us Brits so it was no surprise to find body contact in the mob attempting entry onto the 22o to Marbella bendy bus. I was perturbed, however, when the 60+ years-old bewhiskered bloke to my left and rear kept brushing his bare arm next to mine after I’d shuffled twice away from him. Then the distant cracked alarm bell clunked in my head so I put down my hand and found my pocket contained an extra lump. The thief might have watched me use my small wallet at the ticket office five minutes earlier, but I thought I was relatively safe because I’d replaced the wallet into my zipped pocket. He must have had at least two attempts, one to unzip and then to dive in. Anyway I gripped his wrist with my left hand, checked my wallet was still a pocketed lump with my right, and into his face yelled with schoolteacher-practised volume: “Get your **** hand out of my pocket!!”
He blanched, and his face quivered. He looked rather familiar actually – rather like a downtrodden version of a headteacher I used to work with in Chester — ummm. The thief looked his watery pleading eyes into mine and like a softy I released him sans wallet. (sorry, in Spanish that should be sin wallet – quite appropriate!) He scuttled off through the booing and hissing bus crowd – off, no doubt, to catch a bus going in the opposite direction to Malaga. The mostly local Spanish bus crowd smiled at me and a few thumbs up – they probably get pickpocketed too. I’m glad he didn’t get away with my wallet, not because of the few Euros it contained, or the nuisance of cancelling the credit card – again; I was pickpocketed in Barcelona ages ago – I must have a mug face – but because my wallet is one from Vegetarian Shoes – no animal was skinned to make it!