A Marbella journalist’s life is normally deciding which restaurant, club or new development lauch I should grace with my presence. The nearest I ever come to danger is the threat of being ejected from an establishment at high speed by an enraged bouncer or getting a cocktail olive wedged in my windpipe.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine might seem as far away from a Costa del Sol hack’s orbit as the Andromeda system. Having a dark and twisted sense of humour, my first thoughts were to stage a covert mission to take La Zagaletta back from the Russians (those of you with long memories may remember that old fake news story about Spain giving up all claim to Gibraltar if they could have Marbella back from the Brits). I also thought that I might impose my own sanctions by refusing to play Boney M’s dreadful disco dirge ‘Rasputin’ or anything by the equally awful Russian duo t.A.T.u on my radio shows.
The coast has already seen several demonstrations against the invasion by the expatriate Ukrainian community, which probably made life extremely uncomfortable for a number of international schools where the Svetlanas easily outnumber the Suzys, as well as the various mayor and real estate firms that had welcomed rouble rich oligarchs.
I watched my friend, the former British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, make an impassioned speech in his new role as the UK’s Man at the UN.
Later that week I conducted a live Zoom interview with my ex BBC stalwart John Sweeney, huddled in his apartment in Kiev who finished by informing me that he was just off to buy a flak jacket. Both brought home the fact that this is a conflict that will affect us all.
So, for what it is worth, from the Casita by the lake ‘Slava Ukraini’.
- Here’s what you can do to help people in Ukraine
- From Murcia building site to war zone: Expat living in Spain joins Ukraine resistance