LESLEY KEATING: Hunting for winter sun without any Canary catastrophes

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock
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It’s that time again. I know the signs.

Every Christmas, my husband Mike swears we won’t be going on holiday ever again because the expenses of Christmas have taken their toll.

Then, at this time every year, he gets twitchy and is literally climbing the walls to get away.

The weather’s been completely vile and we both work hard, so why the hell not? It won’t be a year like last when we did go a bit mad, visiting Greece, Spain, The Caribbean and Scotland. But a bit of cheap winter sun is certainly called for.

We researched destinations – It must be hot and sunny, reasonably priced and not long-haul so we were really only left with the Canaries. But which one?

There’s Tenerife, which we’ve already been to several times before. We had Christmas out there once, which was all rather bizarre with Father Christmas visiting the poolside in 27C temperatures.

The traffic in town was crazy too – one evening on a trip into Playa de las Americas, a tourist we’d been talking to had her foot run over by a random taxi, but I digress.

There’s Lanzarote, which I dubbed ‘Lanza-grotty’ after one disappointingly rainy winter break when we discovered mould all over our apartment and a crudely-patched hole the size of a potato in the bath.

Our rep was usually found sleeping off the night before on a bench in the complex and, once, sported a spectacular black eye after a guest got frustrated with his lack of customer skills.

Then there’s Fuerteventura, which you just know is going to have its challenges when the word actually means something like ‘strong winds’.

It’s fine if you like being sand-blasted on holiday and enjoy the prospect of wearing industrial goggles to prevent getting blinded. This was also where Mike discovered the hard way not to feed wild chipmunks!

We’re not expecting a cultural or aesthetic feast – just a bit of beach-side escapism. We just want a sun tan that doesn’t come out of a bottle.

So we’ve just booked Gran Canaria, the only one we don’t have any history with. Let’s see what transpires…


I had to smile when I read a headline in a Sunday Supplement – ‘How I tamed rocker Rod’ by Penny Lancaster.

Good old Rod Stewart – he of the mullet and gravelly voice – is one of our National treasures.

The former hellraiser, who wore leopard-print Lurex leggings while belting out Maggie May, is now a sedate 73-year-old crooner and a family man.

I hate to burst her bubble but I think Penny will find it’s a lot more to do with timing than taming. He’d simply reached that point in life when he wanted to stop chasing blondes, put his womanising ways behind him and settle down.

I doubt she’d have been quite so successful if they’d met when he was in his 30s.


I was watching last week’s National Television Awards and really enjoyed the anticipation of the nominees and the heightened air of expectation before the hallowed envelope is finally opened.

There is the usual wide-eyed excitement, pre-congratulatory backslaps and conspiratorial nods from their teams, the practiced, modest smiles, and then the announcement is made.

To be fair, it must be disappointing not to win, but a lot of them are lovely, taking defeat with good grace, smiling with genuine warmth for the winners.

However, a few really need to work harder on their I’m-so-pleased-for-the-winner-even-though-it-wasn’t-me face.

After all, they’re highly skilled actors, so you’d think they could do a little better.