Think pink and positive (for K and N)

Two and a half years ago when I was in El Berro, as my regular reader may recollect, I got into conversation with the owner of the small village store. The conversation was in French as she didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish. She told me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had started chemotherapy. Her hair was thinning, she was feeling horrible and was quite tearful. We hugged as I left the shop and I wished her all the best and have thought of her many times since.

A few days ago K was  very shocked and upset. She told me that one of her friends has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. N is due to start treatment tomorrow.

This morning needing one or two groceries I nervously went back to the shop hoping for the best, dreading the worst. Thankfully, there was Madame, behind the counter, looking very well with lustrous long black hair! Her treatment was successful and all is currently well with her recovery. We hugged again – several times.

There is always hope … think pink …

Cactus in bloom outside restaurant in El Berro. Only 24 hours between buds and flower images.

🙂 🙂 🙂

The (W)hole story

There’s been another incident. I was reversing up onto the levellers (and to be fair it’s not easy when you’re short, in a big van and can’t lean out of the window to see how far on you are without altering the steering) and overshot a tad. The momentum of the overshoot and subsequent bounce whilst still being in reverse gear, lead to the inevitable… the Hole is in exactly the same place, left hand rear corner, and  the previous fibreglass repair is shattered. Thank heavens for gaffer tape. The wall was not injured during the making of this Hole!

Being totally unable to afford the £2,000 the repairer charged the insurance company last time I had a Hole there and also unable to afford further additional insurance premiums should I claim, I decided to get repair estimates whilst still in Spain. Tyres, servicing and hab. checks here are much cheaper than in the UK so I started hunting around whilst waiting in Torrox for the family to arrive. Nobody in the Málaga area seemed to want my money. One on-line enquiry led to a phone call from a ‘we fight your claim’ firm, another enquiry led to a reply 2 weeks later (after I’d left the area) and another firm never got back to arrange a time for the promised meet for an inspection of the damage.

Disheartened, I decided to head north. A couple of hours later and I was in plasticland, where crops are grown under every imaginable size of plastic cover, and in the midst of all this shiny plasticness I found a lovely site, large pitches, excellent showers, friendly staff, low occupancy (most of the over-winterers had left), bar and cafe only 50 metres from the beach and 500 metres from a small town. I de-stressed for five days in warm sunshine and had an idea …

Balerma

I’ve visited Caravannas Lorca virtually every time I’ve been over to Spain and found them very friendly, knowledgeable, resourceful and reasonably priced. The Hole has been inspected, and it’s entirely as expected, a new part is needed. They will get back to me with a price and a date after they’ve spoken to Adria.

After a night spent at a site near Aguilas that I shall never visit again, I popped into Rosemary and John’s for a coffee and catch up. Coffee, catch up, G&T, hair-cut, lunch, wine, siesta, natter, snack and overnight stop later and with a plan to return for shopping with Rosemary when the Hole is needed at the repairers for mending, I headed slightly north to wait.

I’m now at one of my favourite sites at El Berro awaiting delivery of the Part. Daisy and I will explore some more of the Sierra Espuna national park and with a bit of luck Paul and Meriam may join us here, if not we’ll see them in France as soon as the Hole is sorted …

El Berro and the Sierra Espuna

🙂 🙂 🙂

Under-the-table [Pillow] talk (as requested …

… and because you’re a spoilt brat!)


Mummy?

Yes love?

I’m sulking.

I presumed that from the under-the-table position and general hang-dog air you’re giving off.

Well I AM sulking.

Despite the treats?

Hmmph! Don’t know why you had to bath me.

Because, Daisy-bella, if you will insist on rolling in dirt, sand, grass and smelly stuff and are the grey colour of white sheets not washed in Daz and then want to share my bed, you need to be cleaned up.

Still don’t like it. And you trimmed my face …

Tough.

(Long silence)

Daize?

Hmmph!

Want another treat?

S’pose

(Treat gobbled)

Daize?

What?

You look gorgeous when you’re clean and fluffy and I can see your eyes …

(Pause)

Snuggle?

You’ll have to come out from under the table …

No licking/No licking.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Easy travel …

When I was a young, bright-eyed student nurse in London, once every 4 weeks, on my weekend off, I would travel home by train. The weekend off came after 7 night shifts and I didn’t have to be back until 3 p.m. Tuesday for late shift. I finished at 7-45 and would walk back to the nurses home, change, pick up my bag and head for the tube at Victoria. No matter how long it took me to get changed and have breakfast, incredibly the first train in would always be a circle line and when I arrived at Paddington, there would always be a train calling at Swindon already boarding ready to depart within 5 or 10 minutes – I never consulted train timetables.

I may no longer be young and bright-eyed but my to my surprise public transport still seems to run at my convenience. OK, I did look up the times of buses to Málaga but the bus for the airport rolled into Málaga bus station just as I got off the bus from Torrox. Equally, five days days later the bus at the airport rolled up and I was on my way within 5 minutes of hugging K and the Smart One goodbye and deposited me at the bus station where I found a Torrox connection immediately; as soon as I’d paid my fare and sat down we were off. Only once have I had a delayed flight (9 hours overnight wait at Corfu with Rose and four kids, due to French air traffic controllers’ strike, 30 odd years ago), in fact usually my flights leave on time and arrive early – go figure …

My daughter does not seem to have inherited my easy travel gene, their plane was late. K texted to say they had landed and 35 minutes later I was about to reply, asking her at which airport, when I heard their approach. My grandson stormed across the arrivals hall yelling “Grandma, Grandma, Grandma” almost knocking me flat (he’s nearly my height now) and proceeded to hug me á la boa constrictor – I loved every second! K was allowed to give me a brief hug, with a wry smile and a shrug to show she knows her place in the Smart One’s world, several minutes later.

Family time

The weather wasn’t as good as it had been but wasn’t as bad as it became. The Smart One spent times on the beach getting very wet, enjoyed sightseeing small Andalucian towns and tall Andalucian mountains. Much to his and K’s delight I dialled up elevation on my Sat Nag in the car we hired as we wriggled through the twisty windies around the Sierra del Chaparral, and the pair of them were gleefully shouting out the metres above sea level (we topped out at just over 1,400) if you want the exact figure ask He Who Knows All. We visited a Spanish market and had a couple of meals out (as well as ice creams, chocolate y churros and (JJ only) a chocolate crêpe).

Sierra del Chaparral

The Smart One impressed with his Spanish wherever we went, receiving beaming smiles, high fives and sincere compliments – he’d only been in the country a few minutes when he asked the car-hire chap to give him the directions to the courtesy bus stop in Spanish, repeated the directions back perfectly and guided us to it effortlessly. Go JJ …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Water restrictions 2

Derelict factory in Torrox – note the electrical wiring!

Slight inebriation may have played it’s part, but when I returned to R0X1 after a very convivial evening with The Danes, I had a eureka moment. My paternal grandfather, an engineer and inventor of a patented pump, must have been turning in his Lewisham grave that I’d taken so long to think of it. I decided I’d check in the morning …

First thing(ish) the next morning found the water tank once again exposed and me tentatively unscrewing the top of something about which I knew nothing. A few minutes later and I’d found my submersible pump. Remembering something BB had said the previous day about the water level I added 20 litres of H2O. The tank had been reading a quarter full when I started my hairwash, but I noticed that with R0X1 on a slight lean to the right and the pump in the left hand corner the water level might have become too low as BB had suggested. Now the pump was definitely covered.

I replaced the disconnected wire and turned the circuit breaker off …

Big fat nothing … not a sound … de nada …

I was once again scratching my poor head and wondering where the nearest Moho centre is to get the pump replaced (and panicking because K and the Smart One are due to arrive) when The Dane knocked on the door. Somewhere in the course of the previous evening’s bacchanalian feasting I remember pre-retirement careers being discussed. The Dane it transpired had been a lecturer in electrical engineering. He was at the door with electrical testing equipment … pump tested OK, connector block tested OK. After a search for the fuse box, fuse examined … not OK. I carry spares … fuse was changed, breath was held, tap was turned on and …

… water flowed.

That afternoon whilst The Dane rested, The Dane’s equally Danish wife and I went to a local bar and enjoyed live music and drank shandy to celebrate!

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Water restrictions

The weather is slowly improving and there have been quite a few t-shirt and shorts, but don’t go in the shade, days. LWD has had some forced marches locally there’s a nice track by the river that I can let her run free along. For the past eight years, had I been coming here for the past eight years, I would have had to have said “the nice track by the river bed”. This year however, due to the “torrentials” the R. Torrox and most of the other local rivers have water in them and there’s been enough rain, and therefore more water in the reservoirs, that the local government have reduced the restrictions for crop irrigation a little.

 

 

 

Meantime I’ve had water problems of my own, no I’m not in need of Tenalady, the water pump for the taps, shower and toilet had another hissy fit (see Watery subjects). I had just washed my hair in the on-board shower and came out to hear an odd noise. I assumed it was coming from outside, possibly a street cleaning truck, so I opened the hab door to find out. The noise faded as I set my foot outside; no trucks in evidence, street cleaning or otherwise. Back in the van I tried to isolate where the sound was coming from – ah, the bench alongside the table and what’s under the bench – the water tank. (Cushions flew everywhere – where’s me screwdriver I need to take the seat out?) Yup, it was the water pump. I flicked the habitation circuit breaker and peace descended.

I’d found the electrical connector but there were five wires in total and I hadn’t a scoobies which one would isolate the pump. Who to phone? Bomb disposal, they’re good with wires aren’t they? Nah. Lets call Superbro, BB the electrical engineer (rtd). “Basically” says he “It’s a process of elimination. It’s definitely not the blue wire or the brown wire, try removing each of the other three in turn and see which stops it (it was the second so I didn’t bother with the third). Then you need to find the pump, if there’s a reset switch press it, if that doesn’t work try a light tap with a hammer … “

Heading back into the depths of the water tank space, I tried to follow the wires back to the pump but they disappeared under the heating pipes with nary a sign of the offending article. I attempted to go in under another shelf but having moved all the equipment stored there and a couple of screws it clearly wasn’t the route to the water pump so I put it all back together (and whilst I was there sorted out the mess that the cables from aforementioned equipment had twisted themselves into).

At this point a lot of head scratching went on. BB had said the pump would be close to the tank, I got desperate enough to search further afield. Having no luck and knowing that the pump was now safely isolated electrically I went even further afield – to the Danish neighbours for drinkies and dinner – who needs a flushing loo anyway?

To be continued …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Soggy Córdoba

With the arrangement to meet up at the Aire in Córdoba vaguely set for “lunchtime”, Jo and I arrived from opposite directions within minutes of one another and had no problems parking side by side. An auspicious start to our few days stay. Unfortunately the weather continued as it has for most of the winter, very inclement and disappointingly unconducive for photography in a very photographic location.

Umbrella’d we explored the streets and monuments of the city …

The christian cathedral was built within the vast moorish mosque

The roman bridge and the decorative plinth to a monument

Jo was very taken with an artist’s studio and waterboarded him for details of his techniques …

fullsizeoutput_3d50

Wall art

We both enjoyed the many patios, indoor courtyards, some of which you could visit gratis, others in cafe’s costa cuppa coffee – but we were too mean to splash out for the “tour” …

Patios

Our evening of dinner with entertainment thankfully, did not force liquidation of our assets. Remembering the size of Spanish starters, we shared one (pumpkin soup) and also dessert (chocolate gateaux). Jo had a salmon main course and I, a lamb timbale. All in all an excellent meal – but the exhibition of Flamenco dancing that followed was beyond excellent, aside from the fact that as a Flamenco “virgin” I was totally awestruck, I was informed by a Spanish fellow diner that the Troupe was one of the best she’s seen.

Flamenco

We stayed for 3 nights and but for the unrelenting wetness would’ve stayed longer; still always leave with a reason to return, and there was still plenty left to see next time …

🙂 🙂 🙂