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.

Firstly, I am privileged to be able to use this column for Elaine and I to wish our family and friends in and around Yorkshire, plus those pals back in Spain, a happy New Year and hope for a brighter future as we leave problem riddled 2021 behind.

We have been back in our home town – Huddersfield – for the festive season and despite Covid causing issues with some, we managed to catch up with people we have not seen for ages.

The month-long trip started at a warm, calm Malaga which was a real contrast to the windswept Liverpool airport as Elaine and I clung onto the handrail on our way down disembarking onto the rain-soaked tarmac.

It was suggested, whilst here, that I make some comparisons with life on the Costa and the old town. There are obviously some stark differences with life where I was born, and what we get up to on the Costa del Sol.

So here, with a few photos, is a brief snapshot, a few observations, some likes and a few dislikes. I have enlarged a little and included brief history for those non-Huddersfield folks who might read the Hub abroad.

I was shocked to read that Huddersfield was voted the 2nd worst town in which to live in England!

The article did not say how they arrived at that. All I know is that virtually anywhere you stand in the town you can see green fields around you.

This is something we do miss, and there are some incredible architectural features on many buildings we can easily take for granted.

Our beautiful grade 1 listed Railway Station is the second busiest in Yorkshire. Built in 1847, it has a bronze statue in the square of former Prime Minister Harold Wilson who was born in the town.

Also on the right is the iconic George Hotel. It closed nine years ago and is undergoing a massive restoration.

I do hope that finally this grade II* listed building, built in 1851, will house the National Rugby League Museum, the birthplace of the sport formed there in 1895.

READ MORE: Find out more about the RL museum and the George Hotel HERE

Gymnast Nadia Comaneci stayed there with the Romanian team in 1979 – competing at the Sports Centre, as I recall.

Walking through the town centre we were shocked but not surprised to see so many shops/units closed down. But our few trips were brightened up occasionally by people in fancy dress, some collecting donations for homeless people.

Several things we do miss are – of course – family as shown in the main image above, celebrating just prior to Christmas. We also miss a good old British pub with typical timber features and brass hand rails, something we rarely see on the Costas. And not forgetting a good chippy offering fish and chips with bits on!

Obviously one of the big attractions of Southern Spain is the weather. During our time here we have seen some bright spells towards the end but much wind, rain and some snow as depicted here in our favourite village – Lindley. We saw temperatures of -4C to the warmest New Year on record.

Aspley Marina, seen below in a lovely photograph by Huddersfield Hub photographer Sean Doyle, was a Christmas scene to behold. The picture also shows the beautifully-illuminated Oastler Building, part of the University of Huddersfield, in the background. See more great images by Sean Doyle HERE.

Looking at the amount of accommodation being abundantly created – this is surely going to be a student town.

We had a wonderful visit and, despite having to by-pass a trip to Edinburgh, it was memorable in many ways, mainly revolving around friends, ex-staff and family.

READ MORE: Catch up with Brian Hayhurst’s blogs throughout 2021 HERE