Enough was enough.
In the 11th month of this rubbish year it was time to call a halt to the pity party and haul that mojo of mine up out of the doldrums, polish it up and return to real life.
It all started one Saturday three weeks ago when I woke up crying and pretty much stayed that way all day. “If I don’t have a holiday soon I think I will explode,” I spluttered to Ian through the sobs. “I am just so tired.”
Earlier that week Eva had come round for tea and I’d told her how much I was missing Malaysia – the swimming pool, the massages, the warmth.
“There is an open day at Caesar’s this weekend,” she told us. “They have a pool, saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms, massages, classes. Want me to sign you in? Would Ian like it too?” Would Ian like it? Going to a spa was probably the only way I could lure him from his desk at the weekend other than a roast dinner or the chance to jam with friends.
And so, the day after my sob fest we went sample Caesar’s. It was heaven on earth and only ten minutes from our own front door. The pool is under a glass roof and being there makes any grey day outside disappear. Lying back in the biggest jacuzzi we have ever seen, we could float on a sea of blissful bubbles, hair floating behind us like sea anemones and drift away. Away from the pain, the sadness, days that felt like I was dragging my body through mud.
Three hours later, with massive grins on our faces we took out membership and pledged to go indulge and escape there three times a week. Thank you, Eva, for showing us there was another way.
The smile returned to my face.
By that very afternoon Ian had booked us five nights in Malaga, Spain. I think I clapped my hands together with glee and started to sing, “We’re going to Spa-in! We’re going to Spa-in!”
We have kept our promise. Going to Caesar’s is the silver lining to a cold, grey, Malaysia-less winter. But you know, doing something for ourselves, stretching our bodies, doing circuits in the fabulously equipped gym, entering that magical meditative state in the jacuzzi, has kick-started so many other good things in life. By making time for ourselves we have found we have more time to spare and we smile more.
I write this on the plane home after a delightful, sunny few days in Andalucia. We stayed in a parador high up the mountainside and looked down over views so wide that sunrise and sunset bookended the flat, calm, turquoise Mediterranean sea.
We visited our friends Ar’nie and Anders and their children, who have moved to a secluded hillside villa and enjoyed a long and lazy lunch on their terrace.
We dined on fresh octopus outside the market and grilled turbot at Amador, dipped crusty bread in deep green olive oil and grated tomatoes and wandered the distinctly civilized city where Picasso was born. Autumn leaves lay on the ground beside palm trees chattering with green parakeets and the glittering lights of Christmas decorations. We walked and we talked and life felt good. Very good indeed. The tiredness has gone.