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I need someone to stand on my thigh for me,” said Jésus.

It’s not a request you hear that often.

Jack, Jo and I looked at each other. No-one said anything.

It was approaching midnight on the dying embers of my birthday and the three of us were sitting on the back terrace after a very pleasant evening of food, cava and rosé wine. We had the patio doors open wide and Massive Attack was supplying the sounds from the living room stereo.

Then Jésus arrived, made his strange request and sat on the terrace steps while Jack poured him a wine.
Twenty minutes or so had passed in pleasant conversation when I made my decision.
“Okay,” I said. “I’ll do it.”
I’d had a few glasses by then and I thought it might make an interesting and amusing end to my birthday.

Jésus unrolled the exercise mat on the terrace, lay face down on it and placed the heel of my left foot precisely at the point where buttock meets thigh.
“Can you feel the muscle?” he asked.
I jiggled my heel slightly, my weight entirely resting on the other foot and felt the softer tissue of muscle.
“Yep.”
“Okay then, slowly put your weight onto your heel holding it right on that muscle.”
Holding the terrace rail for balance I carefully and gingerly transferred my weight to my left heel, concentrating hard so that the wobble stopped and I could feel the sinewy muscle.
“That’s great,” said Jésus. “Now press harder.”

I did as he asked, suddenly aware that this was going to involve a lot more work on my part than a) I had bargained for and b) I was probably capable of at this stage in the proceedings.

“Now follow the line of the muscle a little bit farther down,” said Jésus, directing my heel fractionally away from his buttock.
“Aaargh” he said “that’s it”.
I could sense his pain as I placed more pressure on my heel.
“Harder” he grimaced through the pain.
I was torn. I wanted to lift my foot and reduce his pain levels but clearly this was precisely what he was looking for.
“Harder,” he said.

Things to do on your birthday, Number 142

Things to do on your birthday, Number 142

By this time Jack and Jo had got bored with the proceedings and had gone back to drinking and chatting leaving me with my foot on the agony-ridden Jésus and a minor cramp spreading through my left buttock.
“How much do you weigh?” asked Jésus.

I felt this was a bit akin to ‘how old are you’ in the personal questioning department and would normally try for some witty retort but under the circumstances…
“Ten stone.” I said
“How much is that in kilos?”
There was a lengthy and rather pathetic discussion between Jack, Jo and me that involved a great deal of attempted and failed mental arithmetic before Jésus said;
“You feel about 65 kilos to me,” and I settled for that.

Our strange dance continued for twenty minutes or so while I inched my heel further along the muscle and Jésus grimaced and gritted his teeth. Eventually he said he was done and I was able to take my numb buttock and return to the serious business of catching up with Jack and Jo.

Earlier in the day Jésus had offered to give me a massage for my birthday and I had rather cruelly retorted;
“You’re supposed to get nice things on your birthday.”
I’d regretted saying that as it looked as if I’d hurt his feelings. But as I hobbled back to my chair and left Jésus contorted in a vaguely slip knot position on the mat while he re-aligned the muscle, I think my earlier comment may have been guilty of no more than understatement.

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Life here at Casa Monty has been hectic of late.

All summer we’ve been fully occupied producing a new guide to Tenerife, or should I say the new guide to Tenerife, as it knocks the spots off everything hitherto produced. Jam packed with insightful information, witticisms, priceless tips and tried and tested recommendations, ‘Going Native Tenerife’ should be available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com by the year’s end and will provide a shortcut to the accumulated knowledge and experience of ourselves and others over the course of years spent living on the island.

With the early rains came Teides first snow of the winter

With the early rains came Teide's first snow of the winter

Squeezed into small pockets of leisure time in between researching and writing have been island exploring exploits with visiting friends and family, the latest of whom was Mary, Jack’s mum, for whom tan topping was high on her agenda. Unfortunately, Mary’s trip coincided with the early arrival of the November rains and we’ve had to travel the length and breadth of the island to try to find the illusive ‘sol’, largely without a great deal of success.

So amidst all this activity, it’s hardly surprising that I haven’t had time to keep you up to date with all the goings-on in our very own little patch of Tenerife paradise, including the arrival of our new neighbour.
It was at the beginning of September that we first noticed lights on in the little house (we call it the ‘casita’) that borders our path and a few enquiries at the golf club revealed that indeed someone had moved in.

A week or so passed without sightings of the elusive new resident until one night when we were on our way into town with Bryan who was staying with us at the time. As we closed the gate behind us, a voice called “Hola” in the darkness and we went back through the gate to be greeted by Jesús, our new neighbour.
Not much more than a slip of a lad (mid-twenties), Jesús is from the Basque Country and is lately moved here from Thailand where he has been studying and practicing the ancient massage techniques of Sen healing; the loosening of the flow of energy from the body’s natural network of energy lines in order to alleviate muscular and skeletal problems.

Over the course of the ensuing weeks, we’ve gotten to know Jesús very well and he’s now a regular accompaniment on our Friday morning shopping trips and an habitual visitor to Casa Monty where we have ‘cook-ins’. He’s a very good chef and he brings us traditional Basque dishes in exchange for our culture-crossing repertoire of meals. He’s still waiting for us to cook something ‘typically British’ and I guess we’re going to have produce fish and chips at some stage.

Needless to say, having Jesus living at the bottom of our garden has been the source of endless puns and ‘double-entendres’ for our friends and family and the fact that he is a healer by the laying on of hands has naturally added fuel to the quips. But for me, the crowning glory of our juvenile blasphemy came last week when we introduced him to Jack’s mum:

“Jesus, meet Mary”.

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