David Worboys – Living In A Comfort Zone

plane coming in to land

This is a boring story. Difficult to believe, but amazingly it’s true.

About fifteen years ago I got to know a couple in their sixties from Cheshire. Albert and his wife Kathleen have a holiday home on the Costa del Sol which they occupy for the month of April. For the past thirteen years they have always turned up on a Wednesday as close to the first of April as possible, arriving late morning on the same flight. Once settled in, after a light snack on their terrace they take an afternoon siesta before changing for their evening meal at La Golondrina, a small restaurant by the beach.

They are not sufficiently confident to say “Hola” or “Gracias” in Spanish. However, when they arrive at the restaurant at 7 o’clock, they are expected.

Owner: “ Hola, amigos. Good to see you again. Here is your table by the window.”

The following day, a Thursday, the evening routine is repeated. At the crack of 7 pm (opening time) they arrive at La Golondrina and are welcomed again by the owner, Paco. Having accompanied Albert and Kathy on a couple of occasions, I can imagine the conversation:

“ Hola, amigos. Good to see you again. Here is your table by the window.”                                       

”Thank you, Paco”.

The procedure is repeated on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They always arrive at opening time and sit at the same table by the window. Almost all the customers are English and each day there is a special of the day. On Tuesdays it is roast pork, on Wednesday roast chicken, Thursday roast lamb, Friday fish and chips, Saturday vegetable curry and Sunday roast beef. Apart from Fridays and Saturdays, the vegetables are always the same. They both have the special every day with a shared bottle of mineral water and no dessert. Barring illness or exceptional circumstances they are there from Tuesday to Sunday every night of their holiday. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.

On Mondays Albert and Kathy patronise Big Ben’s Steakhouse in the town. Every Monday!

On the last day of the holiday, at the end of April, Paco awards them a free brandy at the end of the meal and they reserve the same table by the window for 7 o’clock for the following year. A week before they return next year Albert will phone the restaurant to confirm that all is in order.

On very rare occasions, I have encouraged them to be driven along the coast to a Spanish restaurant for lunch. They were never interested in trying the paella but, being carnivores, normally settled for a steak. Being out of their comfort zone, they would then have to decide whether or not they had the appetite to support Paco at La Golondrina that evening.

They probably enjoyed a stress-free holiday – except, perhaps, when I broke their routine.

picture of a restaurant
Choosing the same flight every year and the same window table
every evening can make for a stress-free holiday – if the routine is not broken

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Written by

David Worboys

Offering a unique insight into everything from politics to food to sport, David is one of the Euro Weekly News´ most popular columnists.