I rather like and identify with the long-running TV advert for the fabric softener where, in pouring rain, they sing passionately, "Where Is The Sun?" It rather sums up perfectly our relentless dreich weather.

So, as your intrepid globe-trotting columnist, I'm pleased to report back from the blue skies of Benalmadena that the sun is still stuck sizzling around the aptly named Costa Del Sol.

It hasn't moved since my previous trip at New Year, but is more than a tad hotter. I'm not so much a man with a tan; more a redder shade of rust (good title for a song, methinks).

I couldn't help feeling for my fellow Largs walking footballers (yes, madam, old fogeys, if you insist) confined to playing outdoors in our fickle climate, as I tripped - gaily?? - through the Jacaranda blossom while admiring the vibrant sun-licked bougainvillea this past fortnight in Spain.

I will be back trotting, erm, walking among their ranks at rain-lashed Inverclyde Centre before you read this, but I'm betting it won't be anything like the 80 degrees temperature I left behind. In fact, it gets so hot on the Costa that you simply must head for the nearest bar, where a pint sets you back no more than £3 and a coffee about £1.20. And, no, I'm not employed by the Spanish Tourist Authority...yet.

It helps that I have some amigos who live all year round in Benalmadena and, at our one o'clock coffee gang in Arroya de la Miel, we compare notes.

Naturally, they don't like Brexit, as it has forced them to become tax-paying residents of Spain, vowing allegiance to King Felipe VI. Bet you didn't know that the Spanish monarch is about 570th in line to the British throne. Strange but true.

Mind you, I'm maybe about 490th in line as my late father was adopted and recalled hearing his mum say he came from the Bowes-Lyon family (you can look it up somewhere, sir).

While admitting that Boris and the UK government have made a right hash of implementing Brexit 'freedoms', why is it that the Europeans have the same problems as we do, like strikes, soaring supermarket and energy price hikes, a cost-of-living crisis, EU fishing bans and a constant struggle to fill job vacancies?

As I said to my Costa compatriots, why is it that Spain, which hasn't had a Spexit, is struggling to attract enough workers in sectors like hospitality and construction? Could it be that the younger generations in both countries are getting lazier? Si, senor.

Similarly, why have their shop prices shot up by 14 per cent alone this year? Nothing to do with Brexit. Next week, when the Spaniards go to the polls, the left-wing Podemos Party proposes to create a state-owned supermarket. Hmmm, sounds similar to the SNP ideas of a national bank and state energy company. Aye, that'll be shining bright, as my late Uncle Harry used to say.

And the newspaper stories are pretty similar too. For instance, both Spain and the UK are bringing in a law that the staff get a full share of the tips from employers. It was okay in "the old days" as a waiter in Nardini's Cafe, when customers paid their 15p for a Knickerbocker Glory and the 5p tip went straight into my pocket. (Editor's note: You're reminiscing again.)

One new law that won't be transported over here, mucho pronto, is the Spanish proposal that outdoor work will be banned in hot weather. Isn't that why they invented the siesta?

If this homecoming column has a message (what do you mean, sir, 'does it ever'?), it is about the EU.

The mayor of a Greek town who visited the mayor of a Spanish town admired his palatial mansion. "How did you afford it?" he asked.

"Well, you see, the EU gave us millions to build a two-lane bridge," he replied. "I built a one-lane bridge with lights at either end, so, I'd enough left for the mansion."

Later, the Spanish mayor went to Greece and was gobsmacked at the Greek's home, full of gold and marble. He asked: "How did you afford it?"

The Greek politician replied: "We also got millions from the EU. See that bridge over there?" The Spaniard said: "No."

Yes, dear readers, the Svengali of jokes is back in my happy place of Largs, but Benalmadena is also 'mi lugar feliz'.

P.S. Not only do they walk their dogs in Spain but also their felines. Why? You can't leave a Catalonia.


Thought for the Week: Woke folk want to tear down the statues of Morecambe and Wise because they remind us of the age when you were allowed to have a right good old laugh.


I have been surrounded by sheep and cows all of my life on the Ayrshire coast and only now I learn I've been in danger.

No sooner had I read an article in a Spanish newspaper about how a single cow belches and farts about 220 pounds of greenhouse gas methane a year, then I looked on the BBC Scotland news website to learn that our woolly pals are at it too. 

The Green vegetarian journalist quoted from an Oxford University study claiming that meat eaters were to blame for twice as many "dietary" gas emissions as climate activists like himself. His reaction was "Wow!"

I had a similar response when the BBC story informed me that Scotland's Rural College were using testing equipment to measure greenhouse gas release from the sheep around us. A smelly job, but someone has to do it, apparently.

The earnest scientist pointed out that methane is the most common gas after CO2 carbon dioxide and it was "urgent" to mitigate the emissions from sheep.

What was the Scottish scientist's name? Dr Lambe. Ewe couldnae make it up.