Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every fortnight for Huddersfield Hub.

After two years of upheaval and a string of natural disasters, the Costa del Sol is ready for summer.

For those who have managed to escape the turmoil at UK airports, there is much to savour and enjoy here.

After the worst drought for decades much-needed torrential rains came – but they also caused floods.

The heavy rains, including gales and tsunami-type waves in March, caused havoc when beach front structures and cafes were wrecked.

The whole of Southern Spain then experienced the extraordinary Sahara fog, turning the skies blood orange, leaving properties and vehicles thickly-coated in red dust, and that’s after dealing with the pandemic. Not to mention Brexit!

Firefighters have now contained the 3,500 hectares of wild fires in the hills surrounding Marbella but several men were hospitalised as I write.

Last week the beautiful town of Benhavis, which has hundreds of high-end properties, had over 3,000 residents evacuated as flames came uncomfortably close to the main living areas.

Four men have been arrested after sparks from machinery caused the fires whilst they worked on a project with no licence.

All fires, barbecues and burning rubbish are strictly forbidden. Heatwave conditions and strong winds fan the flames rapidly. A nightmare for those living up there and, of course, the firefighters.

Ironically, this week saw the return, after two years, of the annual festival ‘The Night of San Juan’, an ancient, pagan tradition celebrated throughout Spain on June 23 with beach bonfires and fireworks ‘til dawn, as a way of marking mid-summer.

There is a rather frightening part of the evening when those daring, or stupid enough, will jump over the fires bare-footed.

According to legend, this is said to cleanse the soul, drive evil away and bring luck. They often will then leap into the sea to help recuperate, make a wish and – for some – return to their alcohol and allowable music.

READ MORE: Catch up on Brian’s back catalogue of blogs HERE

In the past I have seen the beaches the following day. Piles of rubbish to clear and get ready for tourists to resume.

This week, former US President Barak Obama was here playing golf prior to him addressing delegates at a three-day world leading ‘Digital Enterprise’ convention in Malaga where 14,000 people attended.

Some delegates paid €1,900 each for the top-tier tickets but some complained that there was no simultaneous translation from his English dialogue. But the event was hailed a great success.

Ruth Fidler and son Graham

Meanwhile, the popular and caring matriarch of Northern gymnastics Ruth Fidler celebrated her 91st birthday this week.

Ruth, along with late husband Ken, played a vital role in the Huddersfield Gym Club during the 70s and 80s when the girls’ side of the club expanded due to the surge in interest following the Olga Korbut era. Ken was a BAGA board member and chief accountant for the association.

Her son Graham helped an army team win the British team trophy. And her daughter Janet (married name Mitchell) was senior coach in Huddersfield producing many international performers and Olympians at the Paddock-based club.

The family emigrated to South Africa in the late 80s where Graham and Janet became national coaches producing medals for Africa and the Commonwealth.

Ruth has four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Many ex-gymnasts and coaches have sent Ruth their best wishes.