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.

Health services everywhere are often much-maligned but I want to express my immense gratitude to the Spanish Health Service.

Two weeks ago I had a hip replacement operation and, I’m happy to report, my recovery is going well. Suffice to say I needed some pretty strong painkillers in the first week, those are some of the tablets in the photo above.

It’s understandable there are waiting lists for non-emergency operations but the system in Spain is dealing very well with a backlog of those needing surgery.

Every operation, procedure and prescription is carefully recorded and the Spanish authorities make a claim to the UK for all treatments, as if we were there. Of course, patients do have to have fulfilled the National Health payments in the UK.

I had a morning shock phone call informing me of a cancellation. A voice said: “Mr Brian, we have a replacement hip operation for you tomorrow morning at 6.30 and you must go for tests today. You will be in Costa del Sol Hospital about three days!”

For the thousands of others who have had a hip replacement they will appreciate this invite.

With the new hospital wing in full construction flow, finding a parking spot is like striking gold. The mayhem in the entrance is left behind as the calm and quiet of a ward approaches.

There is a constant flow of specialist nurses, doctors and catering staff who keep bringing in three meals daily, which is great if you’re hungry but a lack of exercise alas meant no appetite for me.

Hospital food

I was a mid-war baby and any of the meals offered here would have been a banquet for our growing family back then.

Heartfelt thanks to all who have given advice, the medical team for support and encouragement, but especially my wife Elaine. Without her, my rehab would not have been possible.

How do people on their own cope in these circumstances? Peter Kay would make a hilarious sketch about my efforts to put on my right sock as I struggle to locate it past my big toe!

The withdrawal symptoms from the morphine drip were strange, and I am not enjoying injecting my stomach daily to prevent thrombosis. I’m walking freely now and grateful to have it done.

Onto lighter topics and some great news for those travelling in and out of Spanish airports with the pending introduction of high power 3D scanners which will eliminate having to deposit liquids and electronics in security check trays.

We have all endured the undignified procedure of removing belts and clinging on to trousers, and ladies shuffling about without their footwear.

The new technology, due to be implemented by next year, will revolutionise and speed up security controls at major airports here. The airport authorities aim to streamline the flow of passengers, and not before time I say.

It’s puzzling that some resorts want to limit tourism

A baffling headline which caught my eye recently was the announcement of plans to limit the number of tourists visiting some regions!

For example, Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau said she aims to cut the number of cruise ships visiting the city port.

There has been no reason given for these tourist cutbacks especially as most regions have struggled through the pandemic and related problems and, clearly, recovery is on the horizon. Probably overcrowding or pollution?

I say baffling because there have been endless tourism promotions and travel fairs, hoping to attract more people to these sunny shores. It’s a puzzle and I will be looking into this.

Catch up on Brian’s previous blogs HERE

Finally, the fruit and veg shortage in the UK is in complete contrast to here. The shelves are overflowing with all commodities.

The main reason for the shortage of exports from Spain has mostly been the extreme disastrous weather, varying from brutal heatwaves and drought, to snow-clad fields preventing growth.

It seems the government and farmers are looking after their own first. Farmers say: “Supermarkets should pay a fair price.”

We hope the situation will soon be resolved.