Friday, 12 October 2012

Burn, Booze and Snooze

Just back from a week's respite from the dreadful English weather. Lanzarote can be depended upon for this, and it must be about our 6th visit. This time we tried a not-so-upmarket self catering complex. Here's what I said on Tripadvisor: Room service was sufficient and efficient, the rooms being cleaned and the beds made up 5 days out of 7. The beds we found comfortable. There is a generous sized safe which could accommodate my laptop (Wi-fi is available, at a cost), in the reception area. For an additional payment we could have had air conditioning and the use of a television in the room. We didn’t bother with the TV as we don’t go on holiday just to sit in front of the box. Neither with the air conditioning although it was very hot in the day. We just didn’t want to come all the way from the UK to confine ourselves to our room just to keep cool.

On the not-so-good side: in the context of Spain suffering as deep a recession as has – I am sure – ever been experienced, everything looks just a tad dowdy. Outside of the complex there are great swathes of abandoned development projects and large numbers of businesses that have shut down. The holiday complex immediately adjacent to Sun Royal, advertising itself as being for the ‘over 50s on extended holidays’ seemed to have been abandoned entirely. Sun Royal itself had something of an air of neglect – small things that really could have been attended to and while these didn’t impact much upon our stay, they were irritating enough: damaged light fittings, non-functioning extractor fan in the bathroom, shower head loose, equipment listed on the inventory that just wasn’t there, plant troughs throughout the complex that would once have been full of geraniums etc. left dry and dead. Many of the sun loungers were damaged and just left. Cigarette ends thoughtlessly dropped by people who may have known no better just left where they fell.

We’ve had holidays in the past seriously spoiled by the inconsiderate behaviour of our fellow guests (see my previous reviews). But as I’ve said, at Sun Royal this was much less of a problem – the leavings of dirty cigarette smokers notwithstanding. It was generally quiet, and we were never disturbed at night. This is important to us and made up considerably for any other minor failings. But out around the pool I had to keep my nose buried in my Kindle. Talk about ‘vile bodies’! I can never quite grasp the need to abuse oneself through sloth, gluttony and addiction (far too many smokers still – but I am naturally troubled by that as I am a retired physician). And the irresistible urge for many of the men – and (shockingly) women too, to model themselves on celebrities in the context of having themselves tattooed, mostly with gross designs all too reminiscent of fascist regalia. In spite of all the health warnings too, why is it that people insist on wrecking their skins and risking some of the most aggressive forms of cancer by lying out nearly naked for hour after hour in the intense sunshine? My suspicion is that most of the offenders were British where our Welfare State is seen by some as a buffer against the consequences of what they are doing to themselves. The pity is – it isn’t. As I said, I kept my gaze firmly on my reading material - the sight of a middle aged woman, morbidly obese and without any top is, quite frankly, as good an emetic as I know. But to be fair, I never saw or heard any the worse for drink. But it’s their concern if they are content, wilfully, to wreck their health and precipitate themselves towards an early death. Thank goodness I no longer have to sit in my consulting room trying to sort out the frightful mess they get themselves in to. Overindulging in sun, cigarettes and junk food may seem fun to them. Sadly they discover, in the end and when it is far too late, that cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart attacks certainly aren’t.


  1. In pursuit of health…“There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and ever eatable, drinkable and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.” (Mark Twain)

    Mr. Twain’s thoughts echo mine and I believe in ‘everything in moderation’ for a little indulgence, a little risk-taking adds to the rich fabric of life and the joy of living…

    I drink (in moderation) and have smoked from the age of seventeen with no affect on my health – of course it could be argued that I am storing future problems for myself and perhaps I am, that said as I approach my dotage, age itself has presented me with (minor – to me) problems that are associated with aging and not smoking and drinking…although I consider myself a ‘healthy eater’ I will occasionally indulge in things thought not so healthy and although it is so that I am a tad overweight, this probably due to the (age) loss of muscle mass (which burn far more calories than fat) as I do not eat more nor exercise less…

    Despite what could be considered unhealthy aspects of my lifestyle, apart from the occasional use of topical ointments I am not in receipt of any medication – prescribed or OTC…

    The above said I am in no doubt of the truth in your words should we overindulge, I have friends, relatives etc twenty years younger than me who through sacrificing their bodies to the lure of a tan bake themselves under the sun (or especially sun-beds) and look older than me with their deeply lined (but ?wonderfully brown) faces…

    I know of those with very unhealthy BMI’s who cram their faces with rubbish and my observations see this as part-and-parcel of those with a natural tendency to be lazy…but this is a judgemental statement and I realise is not true ‘across the board.’

    I have seen and indeed work with/for those whose minds (and life) have been damaged through alcoholism and know of the hell of those who live with these souls whose solace is found in a bottle… (What took them down this road – it is more complex than we think – but far easier to judge through our ignorance…) Saying that, the actions of ‘British’ drunken louts abroad is a source of embarrassment to me – but is in no way related to those who are true alcoholics…

    In all my lifetime I have only known one person whose cancer was directly attributable to smoking but do not delude myself that smoking is not harmful to health. (My father died of a cancer highly associated with smoking and excessive drinking - he did neither – and at that time (his consultant) viewed him as a liar and said so…t’was only later that this form of cancer became highly associated with another disease (which my father had)…)

    What point am I trying to make? I guess that I will not bow to the increasing politics of the ‘Health Police’ and its associated coercive healthism – have you read this excellent book? Life is for living…

    Write more Dr. Tegner – make me think more!

    Anna :o]

  2. PS Silly old me! Have you read this book?

    Anna :o]

  3. Anna - thank you very much for your responses. Yes indeed, I have read Skrabanek. He was the most remarkable man. His book has been on my shelves for a good many years now. What a tragedy that he died young (of prostate cancer).

    My basic thesis is that people should be allowed to adopt the lifestyles they wish, but are entitled to be fully informed of the established risks of what they do. For myself, I drink more than is recommended, but never drive under the influence and neither do I or my wife when we are minding the grandchildren. I don't smoke and I don't expose myself to too much sun.
    Neither have I ever taken recreational drugs. But I am one of those who believe that it is better than these should be made available through licensed outlets: too much crime is a direct consequence of the illicit drugs trade. Too many young people die as a result of taking adulterated drugs bought from street criminals.
    The pernicious effect of 'coercive healthism' is a matter of great concern to me. People should be given the correct information in a way they can understand and then make their own decisions. I do have a problem, though, with people who expose their children to their tobacco smoke. I have seen so many children with health problems as a direct result of this.