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 week for Huddersfield Hub.
This week the entire coastline of Southern Spain has experienced some of the worst storm damage in recent history.
High winds and lashing rain – the longest rainy spells in Andalucian history – has totally annihilated many small family businesses like beach bars and cafes.
Beach sand has been washed away, wall toppings have been demolished and trees have been up-rooted. These trees include palm trees which can normally withstand tropical storms worldwide.
I was at a local town hall midweek and an official (long-time resident) agreed that she had never seen such ferocious storms, which followed the recent red desert dust brought over from the Sahara.
She also agreed with me that if there are any badly damaged, popular timber-clad board walk paths along kilometres of the Costa coast may need to be strengthened with concrete or walling. There is evidence that some stages have been taken out as far back as adjacent roads in places!
Authority workers are working furiously to clean up the damage and prepare for the expected Easter crowds.
However, with chaos at UK airports, forecast rain throughout Easter and some hotels (with up to 90% occupancy expected in places) still affected by food supply shortages, might some holidaymakers be put off from coming?
Having said that, the weather often makes a rapid about-turn here when the sun comes out again, as it inevitably does.
On a more positive side, the irksome locator form on returning to the UK from Spain is no longer required. Travellers should simply have the QR code available at airport check-in. The health form for travellers coming into Spain has also been scrapped.
And NO MASKS will be required throughout Spain after April 20. They will remain mandatory in hospitals and on public transport, however.
READ MORE: Catch up on Brian’s previous blogs HERE
Two sports which have really taken off here on the Costa del Sol are walking football and padel tennis. Walkingfooty.com set up in recent years has groups of men, 50+ who have enjoyed matches and now has its own league attracting many teams.
The last championship, playing 40-minute matches of seven-a-side, was won by ‘The Walking Dead’! No comment! This season so far they have raised over €5,000 for Prostate Cancer UK.
Rules of the game include – no balls over head height and, of course, no running – but plenty of dribbling!
Padel tennis, invented in Mexico in the 1960s, took a while to permeate the tennis scene in the world. But now it has taken over a lot of court spaces with multiple courts, many with overhead cover and the sport growing yearly.
The Costa has hundreds of teams and groups playing several times weekly and there are lots of mixed teams from Huddersfield who share the well-organised facilities and enjoy a pint after matches.
A court for the ‘Yorkshire gang’ costs them €7 each for a one-and-a-half hour intensive session, including a pint of ale!
Some of my mates are totally immersed in the game and play at least twice weekly. Courts have to be booked well in advance to ensure a slot.
With the growth in popularity, the UK Padel Federation was formed in 2011, and hundreds come here to the coast to play.