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.

The UK Government at the weekend demanded that travellers entering Britain must have a negative Covid test.

This shock and surprise notice caused havoc for some who planned to come back on Tuesday December 7 as here there were two major public holidays throughout Spain.

Monday was the national Constitution Day and Wednesday saw the deeply religious holiday – The Immaculate Conception!

With virtually all clinics and similar test centres being closed, it put travelling back in jeopardy. This, in fact, put Elaine and I in that situation having flights, taxis and other arrangements in place.

We had to chase around searching for that all important negative test certificate provider. We joined the queues and obtained them.

Life here in sunny Spain revolves mainly around family and religion. The Immaculate Conception, first celebrated during the 8th century AD, is an annual religious occasion for mainly Catholic families to gather and celebrate the belief that Mary was born ‘sinless’ to serve God with the birth of Jesus.

Normally massive processions fill the streets but these were reduced down due to the pandemic.

Constitution Day celebrates the 1978 referendum as the country became a monarchy and democracy after the Franco regime.

Shops and stores seem to be doing good trade with an eye on the festivities ahead. Christmas Day is very much a family affair with all age groups getting together to feast and have fun, either in homes or at restaurants.

But the main, and exciting, day for youngsters here is Three Kings Day on January 6 (unlike Britain on December 25) when children always enjoy receiving their new toys from Father Christmas. This is the last day of celebration of the Christmas vacation – and, boy, do they celebrate?

Looking back with much pleasure at the memorable past summer holidays we shared with friends and families here in the 80s and 90s, one place was indeed outstanding.

Banana Beach bar in Marbella was an epic gathering place for revellers each Sunday afternoon where copious amounts of alcohol was available and live music from some of the coast’s top musicians would blast out for around eight hours!

Mingling occasionally with celebs like Rod Stewart and sports stars, it was always on the must attend bucket list on each visit to the Costa del Sol.

Sadly, in the mid-90s it was decided the property was deemed illegal and was in massive debt. It was demolished in full flight by bulldozers, causing drinkers to grab their drinks and flee!

The area is still called Banana Beach and has several tall blocks of apartments on its beach front. It is rumoured that they are also illegal!

Meanwhile, we are again to absorb yet another law here to avoid big fines. The new law requires drivers not to wear heavy clothing which could obstruct movement whilst behind the wheel.

So what constitutes ‘heavy clothing’? Answers on a postcard please!

Warm/heavy clothing, even thermals, brings me to our current trip back to Hudderfield to share some festive time with all the folks we know.

Elaine and I want to wish friends and family a most happy Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year. We do hope things improve globally for everyone in the months ahead.

I’m taking a break from this column over the festive period but I look forward to seeing you again in 2022.

READ MORE: If you miss Brian over the next few weeks you can always check out his archive of weekly blogs RIGHT HERE