Omnibuses and Vampires- By Duncan Harley

It’s been a great week. We got back from Spain – well actually Gran Canaria – on Monday. As always, Booking-dot-com pestered for a review and I duly obliged.

“Arucas is slightly off the beaten track and at first sight might not be the first place of choice for tourists seeking sun in Gran Canaria. However, the area has much to offer and the Hotel Emblematico is perhaps the best place to stay in town. A traditional family house, the Emblematico has no airs or graces and offers simple easy-going accommodation within easy reach of both the coast and the mountains.
There are traditional restaurants just around corner and if you are minded, there is a chapel just down the road. We used the local Global bus services to get about. Firgas, Las Palmas and Teror can be reached for less than a fiver and a trip south to the more-busy resorts on the southern coast costs less than £14 return. All in all, a bargain.
Breakfast is described as ‘continental’, but it is more than that. A choice of local produce is augmented with warm freshly baked bread rolls, cheese and fresh fruit. We liked that. And the coffee was splendid.
Room facilities verge on the luxurious but the showers need careful tuning - they can be difficult to understand although after the first day the settings become more obvious.
If you are a 'stay at resort' type of person, then this is probably not for you.
Arucas is a base for exploration although the hotel does boast a splendid roof terrace complete with solarium and outdoor jacuzzi.”

Tui - a strangely Ryan-air-like airline company - fared much worse. The pilots are fine and even pretend to be Irish, but the cabin crew are such dicks. And on top of that, the aircraft need some deep-cleaning. Best not repeat here what I wrote in case they send bombing planes over to Inverurie to disturb my deep sleep.

Aside from these issues, I have dumped BT. Each year, when my contract ends the monthly direct-debit rises by some 100%. Well above the rate of inflation, the telecoms company justify this price increase in terms more suited to a pick-pocket. When you phone them to complain, the helpful call-centre staff forward you to a retention team who offer the earth and price-bait you to take out yet another fixed-price contract. I am not falling for that again I told myself and immediately switched to Talk Talk at a much better deal.

BT are of course now hounding me with letters and texts and e-mails and phone-calls directed to a Mrs Harley – we have been divorced for some 6 years – advising that doom awaits all who leave the corporate giant for foreign shores. I am tempted to reply rudely and report them to the telephone ombudslady if indeed there is such a thing.

So quite a week really. Plus. And it’s a big plus. My next book is available for pre-order on Amazon at a bargain price of £12 in hardback, but you’ll need to wait until March 1st next year to grab a copy.

Meantime, can I recommend Mike Shepherd’s new tome? Mike gave a splendid talk to an appreciative audience on all Hallows Night. Previously an oil insider, he has thrown caution aside and embraced vampires. His previous book was all about the black gold. In this new tome he has embraced the tale of how Bram Stoker came to write Dracula at Cruden Bay.

Personally I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

It's available right now from Amazon and I aim to review soon.

Duncan Harley is author of The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire plus the forthcoming title: The Little History of Aberdeenshire - due out in March 2019


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