The sun is beating down, our walk along the front has led us to a complex advertising a poolside bar, open to all. In need of liquid refreshment and a napkin to wipe my sweaty brow, we venture in, pick a table in the shade, order a couple of Sangrias and sit back hoping to cool down.
Poolside, it’s starting to fill up on this mid January early afternoon. Bulbous, skin with that leather look effect, bikini clad bodies emerge into the bright sunshine followed by Hawaiian shorts pulled tightly around expanding waistlines of their husbands. Cups of tea for the women, bottles of beer for the men. Sun cream, books, glasses, insulated little bags containing more beer and a bottle of water, all strategically placed under the sun beds in the shade on the opposite side of the small pool. They aren’t paying bar prices for their refreshments.
People watching is one of my favourite hobbies. Observing and wondering what people’s stories are. The world is full of Stan and Hildas, George and Mildreds and Tom and Barbara’s. All from different walks of life, collectively here, thrown together by a a bit of sun and a few beers.
Once in position, the conversation flows as positions are assumed. It’s Saturday and the men are talking sport, football and cricket mainly. Who is playing who later this afternoon and which players have shifted from team to team. Cricket scores are loudly, bandied around by a gent sat on his balcony listening on the radio.
Discussions as to where they are all from, one man announces he’s from Ilkley, in Yorkshire. We are seranaded to a rendition of ‘On Ilkley Moor ’bout ‘At.’
The women turn over every half hour, spit roast style, reading whilst they’re laid on their tummies and chatting whilst laid on the backs. Chats switch from what book are you reading to getting your nails done and what’s the meaning of the tattoo on your ankles. The best cosmetics from Avon and Clinique and where they are going to eat tea tonight. Phones ring and they feel no need to move to take the call, poor phone signal means conversations are conducted Dom Joly style, ‘Ello! Can you hear me?
Back on their fronts, books propped open the women go quiet, meanwhile our Lanzarote poolside choir, the men, seem to be able to find song from most conversations and sparodically burst into song.
The TV further up the complex starts to air matches played back in the UK, our choir squint trying to see the distant screen and chat about great English players of the 60s.
Sun beds are dragged round, following the sun. Sun cream bottles are squeezed and bikinis adjusted. The beer’s still flowing and despite the age of my fellow poolside companions I’m surprised as the conversations and language slide towards the gutter.
Splash! We all jump and the choir have just had ten years taken off their lives. A young whipper snapper, aged about 40 has braved the elements and dived into the unheated pool. Freezing his bits off he attempts a pose for a photo destined for Instagram later.
The more rays the choir absorb, they become a rowdy bunch of swearing teenage pensioners. Bizarre, a group of six or so teenage males would be intimidating, the choir, loud and boisterous and surprisingly in tune with each other are anything but intimidating. Comical if anything.
Our drinks are finished, well actually, we had a couple, we summon the waiter for the bill. The motley choir lubricate their vocal chords some more and blasts of ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’ follow us out as we head back to the strip to continue our walk.