AS I sidestepped the mobility scooter making its unswerving progress in my direction outside the Queen Vic pub, at the same time and by the narrowest of margins avoiding a nasty spearing from the Nordic Walking Stick borne by the octogenarian making her determined way to buy that day’s edition of the Daily Express from the local Spar shop, it occurred to me that an early March week in Los Cristianos was neither the time or place to get the authentic Tenerife experience.
Or to meet anybody who was going to see 70 again. Imagine Eastbourne meets Benidorm, and you’ll get an idea of what greeted me when I stepped outside my hotel.
The street had several examples of the sort of establishment that is appreciated fully by the holidaymaker who goes abroad only to seek that which is familiar from home. Hence the bars that insisted of calling themselves pubs and offering “full English breakfasts”.
Judging by the number of mobility scooters and walking sticks outside, they were very popular with both factions.
Drivers and walkers alike favoured a distinctive look; to start, a baseball cap of striking hue, preferably with a pair of mirrored sunglasses perched jauntily on the peak. Below that, a short-sleeved shirt (of which only the two middle buttons should be done up), above a pair of comfortable shorts. The whole ensemble to be finished off by a pair of brown sandals, worn over beige socks.
I had already got an inkling that I had arrived in a place that could make even a Retired Bloke feel like the junior representative when I came across the daily morning aqua aerobics session.
A pool of peroxide heads were clinging to their noodles (apparently it’s a flotation aid) and their dignity, urged on by a blonde, tanned and lean German fitness instructress whose routine of jumps, twists and hops provided testimony to her vaunting ambition, in defiant disregard of the floundering reality that splashed about before her eyes.
When faced with such a situation, there is only one thing for a Retired Bloke to do. Join in. When in Tenerife, do as the Brits do.
Bacon sandwich, anyone?