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Rutland columnist Allan Grey on carnival time in Lanzarote





Well you won’t be surprised to read, now we’re in early March, that it’s home-from-home time for the Lovely Lady and I, writes columnist Allan Grey.

We landed on lava-laden Lanzarote 90 minutes late last Thursday due to the lassitude of local air traffic controllers, before heading down to Playa Blanca on the southern tip of the island.

The logistics of our journey from Rutland have been a little more complicated this year, having to take account of the Lovely Lady’s mobility challenges.

Allan Grey
Allan Grey

Another lovely - local private taxi hire Lee Secker - collected us at an unearthly hour for the trip to East Midlands Airport, four cases plus a wheelchair, and kindly assisted us all the way to Jet 2 assistance who marvellously did the rest, all the way through to collecting a hire car at Arrecife Airport.

Other mobility equipment awaited us at our resort and now some R&R lies ahead for us over the next few weeks.

We meet several old friends and exchange the latest conditions, diagnoses and prognoses, vitally important for silver surfers when reacquainting, because should any of us not reappear next year, at least we might have some notion of what carried us off.

It's carnival time for Allan and The Lovely Lady
It's carnival time for Allan and The Lovely Lady

Early in our stay it’s Carnival Time, a magical time to be in Playa Blanca, in fact anywhere on Lanzarote, or so all the locals tell us.

The roads are closed, there are marching bands, hundreds of competing floats belting out music at ear-splitting volumes, and everyone dressed and decorated in tune with this year’s theme: Animal World.

The sounds of salsa and the fast-paced beat of seemingly a thousand batucada drums can be heard from afar, as they throng their way through the streets and along the promenade.

The carnival lasts for the three days of our first weekend, with music in the town square until four o’clock each morning.

This can be heard for miles around and yet the only complaint received by Playa Blanca County Council from a couple of residents was that the music wasn’t loud enough and stopped too early.

Next year I guess we can expect jet engine take-off noise levels of 140dbA at a proximity of 100 metres from all noise-sensitive premises 24/3, which will undoubtedly include our villa’s bedroom, but there for the grace won’t disturb any of the residents adjacent to Cutts Close, whoopie do!

Fortunately, the organisers have thought of everything and have a recommended carnival cocktail this year, a Cuba Libre with a twist of lime, or to us Brits in exile, a rum and coke.

The advice is 10 of these cocktails consumed over the course of the evening should ensure that noise levels at 2am are no longer an inconvenience at all and as long as sufficient paracetamol is on hand the following morning, it should have been an enjoyable experience. Yeah, right!

To stem the flow of blood from our ears, it’s a return to our resort bar for the weekly karaoke night to be met immediately with a passable rendition of Cliff’s, The Young Ones.

‘The young ones, darling we're the young ones, and young ones, shouldn't be afraid, to live, love, while the flame is strong, ‘cause we may not be the young ones very long’.

Looking around the bar it isn’t difficult to conclude that the final line is no longer prophetic, but rather an unequivocal statement of fact, and, with beautiful irony, all The Old Ones know every word to The Young Ones and mostly sing them with gusto.

Now, Tenemos Todo Lo Que Necesite, is either the Spanish name of the Chinese owned emporium across the road from our resort, or another statement of fact.

If you haven’t succeeded at a translation already, it means ‘We Have Everything You Need’, and it is hard to deny.

As helpful as QD in Oakham when you need a left-handed screwdriver, this place is more than 10 times the size of QD, and has literally everything you need, maybe with the single exception of an angle grinder, but then there’s always Aldi when we get home.

I ask Mr Wong where I can find some pegs and some coat hangers, and he immediately offers me his phone with an app to translate my spoken English enquiry into Mandarin text.

He nods, then waves his arms explaining to me in perfect Mandarin in which aisle said pegs and coat hangers could be found, so incredibly helpful was Mr Wong.

A couple of hours later I find the items I need and use Google Maps to find my way back to the check out, only just in time, because waiting patiently outside, the Lovely Lady is just about to report me to the Guardia Civil as a missing person.

Tomorrow morning it’s back on a road bike for the first time since last September. There, I’ve admitted it. I’m not a fan of winter cycling.

Out here it’s warm and the word pòllido, Spanish for pothole, is very rarely heard as the roads are mostly billiard table smooth, making for comfortable rides.

After nearly six months, the heart, lungs and legs will most probably still handle a gentle 30 miles, however I’m not sure what chaffing effect the razor blade of a saddle on my hired bike will have on my nether regions. I’ll let you know.



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