The further Adventures of Dr. Burlap


The prequel: Malaga

We flew out of Belfast bound for Malaga sometime mid-November. A party of five, three golfers with an all-in-deal in Marbella, and the Doctor and me on a cultural road trip, well maybe. The Doctor had been suffering the ravages of a dank, dull Belfast winter and his chest was making the sort of noises that demanded medicine and sunshine. We emerged from Malaga airport the golfers going south and we north to the city.

No prior arrangements for a hotel been made. We were reliant on the time honoured tradition of ‘spot the hotel’ from the city bound bus. Not a great plan but effective in it’s simplicity.


Ding ding. Bus pulled over. We stepped off, a little too hastily as it turned out. We climbed the steps to the hotel lobby, approached the desk.

“Una habitacion doble, por favor”

“Si senior, los pasaportes.”

Availability excellent, central location excellent. Ah, big problem. In our haste the Doctor had left an essential bit of kit on the bus; passport, medication, money. Shit! With a zero option the Doctor set off to find that bus while I sorted the room. Then I waited. I’m not good at waiting so set off in search of the Doctor, the bag, and the bus. The bus station seemed the best option except for it’s locked offices, abandoned quays, and total lack of people to include Dr.Burlap. A deep despair coated me inch by centimeter. I had no idea where the hotel was, nor had Burlap, nor I him, nor he me. The litany of missing things was multiplying.

There were no epiphanies just a homing pigeon determination that all roads led to the unnamed hotel. As I climbed the stairs the desk clerk smiled and pointed to the room. Thank you oh god of the homing pigeon. And there he was, Burlap in all his smugness, feet up, prodding an ear with a matchstick, watching television.

“ Where have you been?”

“ Seeking the seeker of the bag, Herr Doktor.”

A tragedy averted. Burlap’s own city drama, closed kiosks and deserted bus station, was resolved by a solitary in coming bus and an honest driver but not the way he told it.

“ A bright light filled my vision as I stood in the emptiness such that I had to shade my eyes. When I looked again an angelic figure was descending to the ground and approaching. It held out to me a small bag. One small bag, one giant piece of luggage. As he approached he held it in the air and smiled. No I didn’t kiss the concrete but I may have given him a double embrace, no tongues, just short of indecency. Thank you God, thank you senior.”

The Cultural Tour could now begin. Tapas, wine and Spanish brandy hailed from somewhere close to the hotel. That seemed a good idea. A surfeit of alcohol could disorientate the already demonstrably challenged.

“Be careful, be very careful senior”

The image was taken in the house that Walt Disney was purported to have been born in Mojaca. According to the guide Walt was the bastard child of the Master and a servant girl. The child was adopted by an American couple and grew to fame and fortune.


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