It's not been a great British summer. We've had sunny days, but those days have mostly fallen when I've been busy or at work. But I managed to tolerate the not so great weather knowing that I would be jetting off to Spain in September. And now, now that the holiday is over and done with, it's not just sunshine that I've enjoyed. I've enjoyed simple pleasures that all too often get forgotten about in day-to-day life.
Who knew something so simple as drinking a morning cup of tea on the balcony could be so lovely? Especially with a view of the sea, a light breeze and sounds of holiday activity. And then, if seeing the sea from afar isn't enough, having a wander down to the beach after breakfast to dip your toes in the water, or taking a walk along the prom or into town, with no time constraints, no obligations.
Freedom was certainly the theme of the holiday, like being able to sit around reading for as long as I wanted, or eat whatever I wanted, whether that's refreshing fruit and salad or something a little more naughty (cake anyone?). And this freedom can only come when you are spending time with friends and loved ones who are happy to enjoy the same things as yourself, and I'm thankful for that.
As well as freedom, I've been reminded not just of the simple things, but of things I grew up loving. We have all this digitally enhanced pop music on the radio these days, but there is nothing more beautiful than raw, live music, a guitar and a voice, whether that be blues, jazz or flamenco. One of the best nights of the 10 days was when a male and female duo got up on stage to entertain us with some typical flamenco. Stunning guitar and a passionate voice got everyone up dancing and clapping along to the music.
And then you have the things man never made: the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, the ever-changing sky... and the sea. Always the sea. You could go back to your home town and buildings could have been knocked down, parks dug up, friends and local businesses gone, but the sea will always be both the same and constantly changing.
They talk about soul vacations. I always thought a soul vacation is going to some far-flung destination and seeing things you've never seen before. But I've realised that sun, sea and time to reflect and relax is sometimes all the food the soul needs.