ACES Bridge & Chess Academy
Release 2.19o
Recent Updates
21st Nov 2021 19:03 GMT
Home Page
21st Nov 2021 14:50 GMT
Keep Bridge Alive
9th Nov 2021 09:12 GMT
Good News stories
25th Oct 2021 10:46 BST
0 0 0 0 0 0
Pages viewed in 2021


For returning bridge players who have decided that they only feel safe playing with friends, a reminder that the Tenerife Academy can loan equipment to enable you to play a competition in the comfort of your own holiday homes.

Using the golf analogy, the sets of specially prepared hands allow a “match play” competition format to be played by just four people. Comparing the two pairs` score to the `par` after playing each hand makes for a very enjoyable and keenly fought contest from the outset. As explained elsewhere on this site, the system allows for five players or more to play an equally fair and competitive individual competition where players take it in turns to sit out and rest their brains!

Because the Academy has a very large stock of new boards and bidding boxes for teaching purposes, it would be possible for players to have a different set of prepared boards every day. Provided, that is, you book this service in advance of your visit to Tenerife.

CRISTIANOS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL OFFER: 50 Euros for the hire of 3 different sets of prepared boards + four bidding boxes for one week. With free delivery / collection to any address in Los Cristianos. Note that these three sets will allow you to play at least 6 different 16 board competitions if you so desire.

Trevor 14h40 on 21/11/21


Online or Face to Face. Where does bridge go from here?

How can we play competitive F2F bridge NOW?

Will bridge clubs survive?

Will table fees increase when clubs reopen?

When will “clinically vulnerable players” be able to safely return to the bridge table?

In the perceived absence of any sensible and useful guidance from bridge administrators, I endeavour to reassure players via my diagnoses and prescriptiona for resolving common concerns. You can read my analyses on the “Keep Bridge Alive” page.

Trevor 22h40 on 10/1/21

Trevor 1838 on 22/7/21


It was certainly a very happy birthday yesterday for Valentina.

Despite her physical handicap, she made it to my party to celebrate her own big day. By her own admission she is a crazy Rumanian lady.

I can certainly go along with that self assessment after partnering her at the club the past two weeks. 

But, with equal certainty, I can say that she is a very good bridge player.

Update 23/2/21.
Update 23/2/21.

The ACES mobile club - and especially the bridge school - is now in full swing. Last week it was the French connection when Irish and English were invited to join Thierry at his home in Santa Cruz. Yesterday it was the turn of our friends in Palmmar. This time it was Gaby and Juergen from Hamburg honouring us with their presence.

Trevor 15h00 23/2/21

DINNER DATES in Tenerife

Life goes on at ACES with the ever popular Bridge (or Rummikub) sessions with dinner. For 4 persons only, they are afternoon games played outdoors starting at 3pm. Dinner is likewise served on the terrace. Charge inclusive of table fee plus 3 course dinner with drinks is E12 p.p.

Here are the home-made menus available:

Menu 1

Cream of spinach soup

Duck in orange sauce

Lemon or Chocolate Cheesecake


Menu 2

Tuna, mushroom, leek and red pepper tart

Roast chicken with three veg

Mixed fruit crumble


Menu 3

Cheese tart

Tagliatelli puttanesca

Kiwi tart 


Menu 4

Leek and potato soup with stilton

Steak and kidney pie with 3 veg

Fruit salad


Menu 5

Melon and cured Iberian ham

Salmon and potato bake

Lemon tart

Menu 6


Fish soup

Albondigas in tomato sauce

Apple pie and ice cream


Dinner dates can be enjoyed as much by beginners as by experienced players in search of competitive bridge. 

You will need to provide evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that you are not a carrier of the virus. To protect the existing members of the “ACES bubble” of which several are, like me, categorised as “clinically extremely vulnerable”. That assessment will be subjective and based on my experience over several decades of working with severely ill cystic fibrosis sufferers. They necessarily had to avoid close contact at all costs with anybody suffering from even the most innocuous of viruses (such as the common cold) which could prove fatal to CF sufferers. 

Trevor 00h05 on 20/7/21

Los GIGANTES, Tenerife
Los GIGANTES, Tenerife

An ACES bridge star finds serenity at the foot of the giant cliffs from which this coastal resort gets its name

TMW 12/2/21.

Good News stories
Bridge MARATHONS are back


They may be a novelty for most Europeans, but certainly not in France where bridge marathons have long been a tradition in clubs. What better than a day out sampling the gastronomic delights of French cuisine combined with beaucoup de bridge. Sometimes playing as many as 50 boards spread over two or three sessions.

The inaugural Spanish version - with some French dishes included - will be held on 28th November. A leisurely version playing 36 boards. Here is the programme:

10h00  Welcome coffee & croissant

10h30–13h00  Bridge session - 18 boards

13h15 -14h30  Lunch - 2 courses

14h45–17h30 Bridge session - 18 boards

(with afternoon tea break 16h15)

18h00 aperitif

18h30–20h30 Dinner - 3 courses

Limited to EIGHT players - with TWO extra places available at dinner for guests (spouses) to join us 

The all-inclusive charge for bridge + meals and refreshments will be 

only 25 euros per person


Update on the Academy`s schedule at it`s new home


From 25th October 2021, ACES will really take off with the Tenerife Academy operating 7 days a week using three locations for

Chess, Rummikub, Cribbage, Backgammon, Scrabble, Bridge

A Social club where players can also just meet with friends for Morning coffee or Afternoon tea 

However, only members can use the premisesAnnual and seasonal membership options are available. For the peace of mind of all existing members, newcomers will have to satisfy the club`s strict rules relating to health protocols - and agree to abide by the Academy`s Ethics Charter.  

As far as the bridge is concerned, new courses for beginners and improvers are being scheduled, Initially five weekly bridge competitions will also be scheduled. Here are some features of those competitions and our playsafe policy:

- Every player will stay at the same table throughout the session.

- Depending on which location, maximum 8, 12 or 20 persons on the premises at any one time. Prebooking obligatory.

- Choice of morning, afternoon and evening sessions.  

Each member will be given a rating certificate after 5 sessions.

- Free personalised Academy shirt (with club logo and your name) after 10 sessions.

- Number of boards: Normally 20 or 24 boards depending on preferred speed of play.  

- Option to hire bidding boxes & boards to play the competition at home with friends. 

Further details of membership and reservation procedures + charges available on request

Trevor 04h45 on 4/8/21



After a long search, I announced at my birthday bash that we have at last found the perfect place for bridge competitions and lessons in Los Cristianos on a long term basis for so-called "clinically vulnerable" players of all standards. Whatever the local pandemic alert level. 

Located on the seafront, it has a terrace overlooking the harbour and beach. The accommodation allows two tables to play safely in separate rooms - with the possibility of one table playing on the terrace.  

It has been adapted to safely accommodate players who can NOT wear masks and who can NOT be vaccinated. Plus those of nervous disposition who do not like crowded bridge clubs. They will all be well looked after. They should thus be confident enough to play with friends at the club in a relaxed atmosphere. At a time of their choosing. Prebooking essential.  

From end October, the club will be open EVERY DAY of the week.

I think we should all toast that exciting news

Trevor 04h15 on 23/7/21


When a bridge "FOUR"  = FIVE

Our modus operandi at the Academy  - with prepared boards where each one has a middle score for either pair to beat - has two significant advantages over traditional comps. It not only allows just one table of four to have a competitive game, but it allows five people to likewise compete against each other via a very fair individual competition where you chop and change partners.

There is always one sitting out, of course, but the players can change partners as often as they want. Moreover, the planned changeovers can be revised at any time during the session. Perhaps to allow an individual to have a longer break to rest their brains or have a cuppa on the terrace. 

It matters not if some players want a longer or shorter break. Irrespective of the number of boards played, all scores quickly translate to a percentage at the end. As long as everyone has partnered at least two of the other four players, there will always be an outright winner. And someone who deserves the wooden spoon as well.




are the ultimate test of whether your bridge club is a friendly place to play

If you`ve never played one, come and try ours to discover why I say that. We will be playing them frequently.


PADELLING in Chayofa
PADELLING in Chayofa


Dateline Saturday 3 Apri 2021

Two bridge players,

three squash players,

four tennis players,

five padellers - and one Mum .

Sheila is a nonegenarian and the mother of the birthday girl in this group

She has never played any of the games mentioned, Not yet.

But now set to become the doyenne of ACES when she has her first bridge lesson next weekend.

Trevor 13h45 on 12/4/21


"Apres bridge" Tenerife style


Jenny and co. toast our absent, locked-down, friends elsewhere


Dateline:  Saturday 28 November

Place:  Los Cristianos, Tenerife

Activity:  Face to face duplicate bridge


The smiling faces

at the end of a lovely F2F competition tell the story:

Here in the Canaries

Everyone is a winner






Another busy week at ACES - in pictures
Another busy week at ACES - in pictures



Andalucia v Tenerife

Congrats to our friends from Fuengirola

Julie and Andy

who narrowly beat the Tinerfenos 

Juanita and Linda





Locked down in Tenerife 

but John and Gill are not complaining either.  

Not when you can join in the fun playing poolside 



You don`t have to be a card or chess player to enjoy life at ACES


Backgammon is also on the menu at the club

And don`t forget we also play Rummicub




Graham and Laura


Brian and Eddie

for the inevitable aperitif at the end of the latter`s first bridge lesson. 



I SPY...

the retired President of the Los Cristianos bridge club

 back at the bridge table enjoying a game with 

Terry and yours truly

Trevor 04h55  4/12/20





Back to the bridge tables


ACES has already resumed playing F2F duplicate competitions of 24 boards.

The plan from 1st January 2021 is for weekly tournaments comprising two 16 board sessions - or, if preferred, one 32 board session. To be played by groups of (the same) four players at different locations. Invariably these venues will be one of the quartet`s domicile.

Cream will always come to the top

A unique feature of this format is that different forms of competition are usually played simultaneously: 

Individual, traditional pairs, and a team event

The amalgamation of results from the three competitions produces one deserving outright individual winner and one winning pair each week. With a level playing field for all participants and with all boards played by every particpant. Usually, half the boards (8) at each session will be played by your 1st choice partner for the overall pairs event. The other eight will be played partnering one of the opposing players - but making sure you play eight boards in total with both over the two sessions. All those who might be interested to let me know asap. 1st come, 1st served if you need me to deliver  the requisite 32 boards and a set of bidding boxes.

IMPROVISATION is the name of the game

I used this formula at ACES in Thailand. To allow children all over the island of Koh Samui to play competitive tournaments with their friends living nearby in a bubble of four. Effectively it is a mobile bridge club which, in this Covid era, enables handicapped, infirm and other "at risk" people of all ages to play duplicate competitions with friends. At their own speed in the comfort of their own homes.    

Trevor 04h35 30/11/20 




Residential Bridge Courses in Tenerife
Residential Bridge Courses in Tenerife


Starting Autumn 2020 

at the GUAZA bridge club   

One* to four week courses are available throughout the winter near Los Cristianos in South Tenerife. Courses for both beginners and for intermediate players wanting to improve their game.

To complete the joyful experience in this truly peaceful and tranquil countryside setting, there will be a lovely garden and terrace for visitors to simply relax, read a book - and listen to the birds. Which makes the holiday suitable for couples and small groups where one or more persons prefer not to take up the game. 

*Complete beginners may wish to note that just 10 hours of tuition spread over five days in this environment will normally be sufficient to attain the standard where they can compete in tournaments at the Guaza club. For those solo visitors with this ambition, an experienced partner / mentor will always be available for the competitions.

Please use the contact mail address or telephone number given on the same page.

Trevor 16h00 on 21/5//20


ASIAN youth team to take on EUROPEAN youngsters



A team of youngsters from Asia will take on the best of Europe

in two age groups (U16 and U18)

for the inaugural bridge



to be held in 2021 

in recognitionn and appreciation of the special ties between

Tenerife and China


The proposed format is for points to be awarded in both pairs and team competions.

There will be a side event where a world under 18 youth team will compete against a team of resident Canary Islands bridge players (of any age and irrespective of whether Spanish or part of the Canaries ex-pat community 

Full details of the format and schedule will be published on the Schools page of this website end June.

Trevor 12/4/20



Seclusion and tranquility in GUAZA
Seclusion and tranquility in GUAZA


To whet your appetite 


help get you through these difficult times,


here is another photo

with the view westwards



Further details of what is on offer are on the information page 


CHEER UP everyone 

The new ACES club in GUAZA is almost ready. When current restrictions are lifted, here is what you will find on the menu: 

 Bridge - Chess - Rummicub - Scrabble = Backgammon - Dominoes - Cribbage

To complete the joyful experience in this truly peaceful and tranquil countryside setting, there will be a lovely garden and terrace for non players to simply relax, read a book, or just listen to the birds singing.


There will be three en suite rooms annexed to the club

(available for short or long term stays between 1 November and 31st March 2021)

Anyone wanting further details and/or photos of the available accommodation, please use the contact mail address or telephone number given on the same page.

Trevor 22h00 on 4/4/20


Well,   WELL,   Well

The US President must be reading my blogs on this site.  He seems to have followed the advice I gave (below) on Tuesday. Relieved to have woken up to this headline today.  

"Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect"

DT showing humility! 

Better late than never. In time to save a few thousand lives.

T. 10h20 on Friday 28th March



ACES is not just a bridge Academy. Chess is also on the menu


Of the millions currently confined to their homes around the world, it is a safe bet to say that thousands of them know how to play chess. In fact chess is possibly played by more people worldwide than either bridge or football. Albeit that most people learnt it as youngsters. Playing at school before retiring prematurely from the sport. Like me.

Many golden oldies will have a chess set hidden away collecting dust in the attic. Why not get it out. It is a game that lends itself to playing online even more so than bridge. Whether you go on one of the sites to find an opponent – or simply challenge an old friend now living the other side of the world to a game - it is a great way to pass the time and keep your brain active.

A few topical quiz questions for you:

  1. Which country has the best female chess players in the world?
  2. Which country is acclaimed for having one of the best –  the best perhaps – universal healthcare systems?
  3. Which country has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world?
  4. Which country was first to send medical staff to the frontline during the Ebola outbreak - and has likewise sent them to Italy?
  5. Which country has an education system which is the envy of people all over the world?

The answer to all five questions is

CUBA        CUBA       CUBA       CUBA       CUBA

Did you know that? Probably not if you haven`t been there. Because only bad news gets reported elsewhere nowadays.

Trevor 24/3/20




Great news today from Wuhan to encourage us all

Just woke up to this heartwarming headline from the BBC website

"After more than two months, the lockdown in Wuhan - the city where the virus emerged - will be lifted on 8 April, says state media.

Other parts of Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital, will lift travel curbs on 25 March"

I met some lovely Chinese people out in Wuhan. And hundreds of their bridge players. Delighted for them.

Politicians in the west should stop decrying China`s modus operandi, and instead follow their example to get us all out of this mess.

Sorry BJ and DT, but it had to be said.

Trevor 0730 on Tuesday 24th March


There is light at the end of the tunnel

A message of hope for all my fellow Brits

I have just been following from afar the statement by the PM. Bowing to the inevitable and imposing almost the identical draconian measures we have been subjected to in Spain since Saturday 14th.

 My heart goes out to all my fellow British friends at this moment because it appears that, surprisingly, noone there could see this coming. It must be a shock for you all.

A few words of comfort from me: Whilst you may all be in shock tonight and during the next few days as the reality of the situation dawns, you will soon adapt. Even find interesting new hobies to occupy your time. And more importantly, if everyone in Britain does what is required of them, then the Wuhan turnaround and the rising optimism here in Tenerife could conceivably result in the measures being relaxed sooner rather than later in the UK. Read on to see what prompts me to offer that glimmer of hope..

Trevor 22h30 on Monday 23rd





Six months ago I was in WUHAN.

Less than 6 months ago the Chinese President was in TENERIFE.

Both on holiday. Both enjoying ourselves. Both impressed with what we saw. True or False?

100% TRUE

What took me to WUHAN in September you may ask. The answer: The chance to mingle with 1000 of the World`s best bridge players. All assembled there for the World Teams Championships. (Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup etc) Not as a player of course, but to meet friends and discuss how we could emulate in Europe the spectacular success of the youth bridge project in Asia.

What I helped achieve in Thailand working with the President of the Asia Pacific zone of the WBF, Esther Sophonpanich, was only the tip of the iceberg: Children as young as 8 setting world bridge records in pucker adult tournaments – and schoolkids from seven upwards now being taught bridge in schools all over the kingdom. By numbers, however, the figures for schoolchildren now playing bridge in China is staggering. 850 bridge pupils at just one school in Shanghai, for example.

As for what brought the Chinese President and his wife to Tenerife in November for a two day break, it was his love of nature and his ambition to go to the top of the island`s impressive volcano. Mount Teide is, incidentally, three times higher than Ben Nevis. Given the pollution levels I had witnessed in all the Chinese cities like Wuhan, his affection for Tenerife was understandable. It was in fact the second time he had been here in just three years.

Fast forward six months and I find it no coincidence that Wuhan and Tenerife are today making the headlines for all the right reasons. Despite going through a period where they were the last places on earth anyone would dare go. Due, of course, to the fact that the dreaded virus started in Wuhan, whilst the first case in Europe was treated in the hospital at Candelara round the corner from me here in Tenerife.

As I write this, Wuhan has gone three days without any new cases. A remarkably quick turnaround in a city with 12 million inhabitants concentrated over an area a tenth of the size of Greater London. The unexpected bonus for those twelve million residents is that they are at last now able to see blue skies for the first time in their lives. Because pollution levels have dramatically fallen as a result of the factory shutdowns and the transport restrictions. What brilliant news. 

Meanwhile, in Tenerife the authorities have been following the Wuhan model and it already looks like it is working here***. I strongly suspect Xi Jin Ping deserves some credit for that too. He said during his recent stay in Guia de Isora that he intends to return to Tenerife for a third time. If my current optimism and rationale proves well founded, he is sure to be given an even bigger welcome next time round.


Sunday 22nd March

***LIVE UPDATES to this report:

1. A few minutes ago, the daily update for the number of victims in Spain as a whole were released at a live televised press conference. As expected, they are pretty grim with Saturday`s figures for the number of mortalities and new cases on the mainland still on a sharply rising curve. However, in the Canaries the situation seems to have stabilised. Numbers of new cases the past three days are as follows: Thursday 67, Friday 61 and yesterday 66.

2. The Spanish President, Pedro Sanchez, spoke at length on TV last night. He talked a lot of sense. Enough for me to be reasonably confident that the stabilisation point can be attained on the mainland before their health service is overwhelmed as is sadly the case in Italy.

3. It looks like the Spanish government are going to confirm later today a 15 day extension to their state of emergency. i.e. to the middle of April. But only 15 days for the time being. Fingers crossed that by end of April we can start slowly returning to normality - and to the bridge tables. As they have in Wuhan!

T. 12h50 Sunday 22nd


UPDATE to above story MONDAY 23rd

The Sunday figures showed that the Canaries are now the region in Spain with the lowest proportion of cases. Despite being the first and ONLY region to register a case seven weeks ago. The number of new cases on Sunday (67) reinforcing the impression that the situation has stabilised. As for the national total, the spread of the virus slowed considerably compared to its previous sharp upward curve. The BBC report on the figures not only overlooked that point, but it also failed to mention that several leading figures are cautiously suggesting that the situation could allow a relaxing of some regulations once the current state of emergency ends on 11 April. Light indeed at the end of the tunnel.

Spain will probably come out of this crisis far quicker than Italy because the latter nation`s health service was simply overwhelmed with the number of people requiring intensive care treatment. Full marks then to the Spanish for getting to grips with the situation in time. To the extent that they have just managed to open a makeshift hospital in Madrid - now the biggest hospital in Spain - in three days. Wow. Copying the Chinese initiative. Amazing how quickly people can work when needs must.   





later that day

Costa del Silencio bridge stalwart 

enjoying the aperitif

at his birthday bash



Look who is on the cover of the book

Could it be a younger version of

El Presidente

of the Cristianos club





UPDATE 07h30 20/3/20

A new day dawns on sunny Tenerife. The eve of the deadline for getting off the island before the airport closes. Although I am expecting a few callouts today to help British expats still struggling to cope, the future is looking rosy for all the local bridge players still on the island. Thanks to a few words of wisdom from the motor cycle cop who pulled me up on a cycle path last night.

You might be disbelieving of that claim when you look at the photo below taken in a spookily deserted Cristianos last night. As the chemist`s clock shows, that was shortly before 6pm. A time when there would normally be thousands walking along that sea front and hundreds still on sunbeds on the beach and swimming in the sea. Yet, as can be seen, access to the beach is fenced off and there is not a soul anywhere.

That is the sad news. But the extremely good news is that the one person I did meet was a nice Spanish family man. A local bobby trying likewise to make the most of a pretty depressing situation. It was not a pleasure for him to have to give me the mandatory yellow form as a warning not to do it again. Instead, he actually wanted to help expats like me. And, when I was able to explain in Spanish what I was currently doing on the island (and why I was on a bike where I wasn`t supposed to be) – he encouraged me to stay on the island. To help him and his fellow Tinerfenos to get out of a mess. This is what he said as one question led to another.

Firstly, in response to my explanation that I am required to get exercise for the condition (bronchiectasis) that led to me being carted off to the local chest hospital, Mojon, a year ago, he said politely rather than sarcastically

“Well get yourself a cycling machine and use it at home”

And then, in response to my polite conversation about all my resident bridge friends being a bit lonely because there was no club for them to visit and play, he said

"Well, have your bridge club at home”

And he was prompted to say that because, coincidentally, there was a noisy group of about a dozen people (legally) enjoying themselves in a gathering on a first floor apartment terrace overlooking us. For all I know they may have been card players.

You`ve guessed right. A bridge club at home is precisely what I am now going to organise with the blessing of the local establishment. As soon as the state of emergency regulations are relaxed. This would be a temporary measure. But it would clearly have the tacit approval of the local authorities due to the fact that any relaxation is unlikely to allow for bridge to resume immediately at the reopened restaurants / hotel venues where the clubs on the island normally play.

The even better news is that my temporary home is the perfect location. It can also comfortably accommodate the number of people that my personal stock of bidding boxes and boards can cope with. Guess I will now have to extend my current stay on the island till at least end June. 

Anyone wanting further details, please mail me.

We all need friends. In the bridge world we always have friends. Here is one ongoing case of a player in locked down Tenerife

CHARLES is his name. His real name. Born 30/6/34 Romford

The story so far:  Spent his working life in all sorts of manual jobs. Once a docker in the Port of London, one time a butcher and then a taxi driver to mention just a few.

Still has incredibly active brain. Although hard of hearing, very intelligent, very good memory and very alert. But the ravages of time have left him crippled with back and knee problems that require regular cortisone medication. Walking is not on his agenda even in self service restaurants. Getting from his table to the food counter has to be on his motorized 4 wheeler which, I was surprised to hear, gets carried free of charge on airlines. Even on Ryanair!

When Charles first arrived in November at the hotel apartment complex where he is now staying, he was mugged at the entrance by a group of five people including three women. Pushed to the ground and all the cash which he had, perhaps foolishly, carried on him to pay his hotel bill was snatched. £2000 pounds sterling and 1000 euros in total. But this gentleman is full of stoicism. Still here, still alive, still making new friends. And right now he needs all his friends.  

The current situation as at 18/3/20: In the complex where Charles stays, he has no mobile phone, no means of internet access. No English service news broadcasts to keep him updated either. None of the adjacent shops bars or restaurants are open. Security guards at the hotel exit would not want him to leave the building under the present strict lockdown measures applying to all Spanish regions. Ten days remain before his scheduled departure from Tenerife to Stansted with Jet 2. Like all the hotels on Tenerife, the hotel has to shut its doors in five days time. Not certain as I write this that he can be got out in time.

I visited Charles Sunday 15th. The day after the lockdown was ordered. Ended up dining with him in fact. To calm his fears and answer the questions which had left him naturally bemused and bewildered by the Draconian measures he was seeing implemented all around him. I scheduled the next visit for Tuesday. To take him shopping in Lidl of all places. For essential supplies as the lockdown regulations allowed.

But 48 hours is a long time in this rapidly evolving and deteriorating global health situation. He was there waiting for me. He greeted my arrival waving a bottle. Exactly the same bottle as the one given to bedridden patients in hospitals to relieve themselves. He told me he was going to have to take it with him in the car “because the worry and stress might cause me to wet myself”.

I make no apologies for providing that detail. I say it with Charles` approval. He knows there must be so many others like him crying out for help. It is a poignant comment that sums up the sort of problems the elderly who live alone are facing as they try fending for themselves in this crisis. Readers of this article must know someone who needs similar help.

Don`t umm and aah. Contact them. Phone them NOW.

A little help often goes a lot further than we dare hope. As happened in this case. Which is why this story is the first to appear on this good news page. Here is what then transpired.

As I had hoped, no sooner had Charles found himself in the passenger seat of my car than a few calming words caused all his fears to dissipate. His aches and pains had also all but disappeared as we arrived at Lidl – and the bottle had became superfluous to requirements. The Lidl experience was interesting insofar as we weren`t allowed in together. But, with his spirits buoyed, Charles managed his shopping alone. Using this time his zimmer frame on wheels. The even better news is that, having told me at the outset he was too worried to go anywhere but the supermarket, Charles accepted my invitation to come back to my place for afternoon tea. And here he is in the picture below enjoying life. Like a king in his castle. " I cannot believe it" and "Unbelievable” he kept saying.  By the time he left, he had decided that “phenomenal” was the word most appropriate to best describe his outing. And as he got back in the car for the 10 minute journey back to his apartment, his parting words were “God willing, I will be back here next year after all”. Mission accomplished I thought. 

From the depths of despair to expressions of euphoria. Yesterday, as he cheerfully posed for the photo (left) outside his hotel complex, he told me that he had slept like a log after his day out.

Like all the other airlines, Jet 2 are still sending over empty planes and Charles should get a flight back later today or tomorrow. Updates with, hopefully, more good news about his repatriation to follow. But, ironically, when he gets back to the UK he cannot see his daughter. He spoke to her yesterday and discovered that she has just returned from Malta suffering symptoms that are typical of you know what ailment.  

What a lovely gentle man. Thanks for letting me tell your unabridged story Charles.

Finally for now, a reminder from me to do what I do each day. Just give anyone you know who is living alone a call and ask how they are. Please.

If you need more persuading, here is the message from an Irish bridge lady living in Los Cristianos that I received late on the eve of St Patrick`s day:

"Are you OK. Its like falling out of Heaven into Hell. Keep well."  

Needless to say, my St Patrick`s Day call went a long way to boosting her morale. And mine for that matter.

Enough said.

Trevor. 03h59 on 19/3/20

LIVE UPDATE on this story


Phone calls flying backwards and forwards all day resulted in Jenny at Jet 2 HQ in Leeds coming up trumps. Charles will fly to Stansted Saturday afternoon on what will be one of their last rescue flights before the airport closes completely at midnight that day.  Phew. That was a close one given that we had been warned he might have to stay at least an extra 30 days on the island waiting for the airport to reopen. All`s well that ends well then. He was all smiles and totally relaxed when I left him this evening to enjoy his Lasagna.

Trevor 20h15 on Thursday19/3/20


Afternoon tea for Charles on the terrace in Guaza. His new bridge club?
Afternoon tea for Charles on the terrace in Guaza. His new bridge club?
SILVIA`s Story

The next "good news" tale is about SILVIA. Specifically, her ten week action packed holiday in Tenerife which yesterday came to its scheduled conclusion without a hitch. 

In three of my last four games on the island I partnered her. Always smiling, never a complaint about any of my mistakes  – and never short of a tale to tell to amuse our opponents at the end of each round. Her love of life is so evident everywhere she goes. Even in these testing times. Making her a rarity in this day and age where pessimism and depressing news is the norm. She is a treasure.

I won`t give away her age because she will no doubt be proud to announce it herself. But I can say that she still has a long, long way to go to beat the ages of my two eldest bridge partners. Madeleine and Paul, both French and aged 102 and 100 respectively. You can read about them elsewhere on this site.

One of the unique natural gifts of this doyenne of the Cristianos club is that she is able to come out with serious and polite questions which have the whole table in fits of laughter. Here are my two favourites from our last game as a pair.

“Trevor, do you think it is the right time (after umpteen years of playing Acol) for me to learn and play the five card major system?” and...

“You will tell me if ever I make a mistake, won`t you Trevor”

Over to you, Silvia.