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 wasvery 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.
Storm Emma confined us to barracks, we hung on, and on, and on, at Espiche where we were sheltered from the worst of it. LWD wasn’t that much interested in going out, neither was I, well apart from socialising with old and new friends in the bar and or restaurant! It was great to see Anne and Bob again from the last time I was there, Penny and David who I’d met at Pinar at Christmas turned up, and lovely to meet Patricia and Jim, whom I hope to meet again when I go to Scotland in the early autumn. Who’d’ve thought I’d get such a busy social life from driving around Europe?
Half the sand from the beach at Luz was washed away thanks to Emma. The tide lines have altered considerably.
Escape from incipient alcoholism came after I saw a forecast that the weather was better in Spain and LWD and I headed back across the border – all my playmates were also gone or going. The weather however did not play ball – it was a BBC forecast so no surprise there then. All bets were off and I just made it up as I went along. Manta Rota, last stop in Portugal was beautiful, the Aire was free and there were really great board walks along to the dunes and beach for LWD.
The beach at Manta Rota
The campsite at Isla Christina, due to be my first stop in Spain, however looked dismal and dark with the inevitable pine trees blotting out light. I pressed on – to Seville! I went to an Aire that I knew had a workshop. A mechanic there changed my blown headlight bulb. It’s a relief to be legal again, and to be able to see …
After a very noisy evening and early morning, we got peace from midnight til six a.m. from whatever they were doing on the docks there; it sounded like tons of metal being thrown around. Yes I know Seville is well inland, but the river Guardiana is navigable and a lot of “stuff” gets shipped to the port there and unfortunately that’s the area this particular Aire is sited. At leastI now know how to change R0X1’s headlight bulbs – trouble is I’m too short to reach where I need to get to do it myself anyway …
So where to go next? Forecast is more of the wet stuff in every direction until next week.
So we’ve headed north and we’re now at an Aire in Merida to visit it’s many Roman ruins. Well I am; LWD is not allowed in and will have to stay home tomorrow, but I did walk her round the town this afternoon for a quick glimpse of what she’ll be missing.
LWD was pronounced “improving” by the vet on Friday morning and we hot tyred along the much improved N125 west to Luz. The Portuguese are the latest country to have caught the English roundabout disease and as well as ironing the road surface they’ve added loads of the damned things.
I arrived at my hosts nearly a month late and luckily they didn’t hold it against me. Linda and Trev’s springer isdead ringer for BB’s Sally, identical features, they both half close their eyes when content, brown fur growing longer and rougher than the white, hardly surprising then I was struggling to remember to call her Ruby; definitely related to Sally. Trev very kindly researched solar panels for me and I’ve decided which I’m having. I did think about getting it delivered out here but currently I would have had to have taken the side sofa apart every time I wanted to plug it into the leisure battery, not an option, so I’ll wait til I get back. (BB got a tiny little electrical job for you in the summer …)
Linda and I managed to natter away a couple of days!
Me ‘n the Scouse
Linda and Trev
Monday morning, and we had breakfast of bacon butties and fizz whilst sitting on the very warm patio before I left. They’re back off to UK this week as Linda’s having her second hip replaced in a week or so. It was super to see them and I had a great time, thanks guys.
Arriving my pitch at the campsite at Espiche and manoeuvering on to the levellers I managed to overshoot and bash R0X1’s left hand rear corner AGAIN, leaving a small amount of red glass on the ground. Waste of money to do anything other than gaffer tape it until I can afford to get distance sensors put on (and anyway the lights still work). There was also a bit of a Hokey Cokey with a camp fridge/freezer until I realised that for some reason the circuit breaker had tripped and that was why my fridge/freezer wasn’t working.
Perhaps I should rethink my dark night policy and not continue to cover up the little “I’m working” lights on the main panel … I’m sure the lovely lad who danced the Hokey Cokey to my pitch and back with the fridge/freezer would have appreciated it!
On Monday I dragged myself away from Pinar and my amazing social life. I was out nearly every afternoon and/or night for wine or gin o’clock most of my stay there, and that hasn’t happened in a couple of decades.
Drunken Pinar People
So what could follow that? Well Seville could. I now find myself tossing up which city I prefer Barcelona or Seville … and then there’s Amsterdam …
Unfortunately I saw an unpleasant incident yesterday. I was waiting for several horses and traps with tourists aboard to trot past before crossing a narrow street. Suddenly there was a bit of a commotion and I looked over to see another horse and trap with only the driver on board approaching at what seemed like breakneck speed – probably only a canter rather than a full on gallop – the driver whipping his horse like blazes. Overtaking the other traps to the startled looks of their drivers, passengers and onlookers, he entered a slight bend, the poor horse slipped on the cobbles and fell to it’s side. The driver just hauled at the reins and whipped the horse again until it got up, and with that he was gone. Everyone around me looked as shocked and upset as I felt.
Apart from that Seville has delighted me once more. LWD has suffered several forced marches around parks, along riverside walks and city streets. It’s a hard life for her!
Tomorrow’s route takes us into Portugal. The weather is settled fair tho’ it’s cold at night and the mornings are chilly.
Maria Luisa Park
🙂 🙂 🙂
P.S. I think it’s Barcelona by a whisker (simply because of Gaudi) with Seville and Amsterdam in joint second.
Silly moo LWD is not a happy puppy; she does not learn.
Despite me politely suggesting she stop, she’s been rubbing her head around on the beach, grazed her ear on the sand and the inevitable has happened. Luckily I have some ear drops and, bribed with treats, she’s not making too much fuss about their administration . This morning her ear is not as red and hot. Hopefully we won’t have to make a trip to the vet for antibiotics.
So the beach is banned and yesterday we had a wander round the streets of Conil-de-Frontera. Its another white Andalucian hill town but with the added attraction of being a seaside town too. Temperature was in the 20℃s – what I have to endure whilst my family and friends in UK and northern Europe have Storm Eleanor to delight them!
My regular reader may have spotted that I’ve recently acquired a busy social life. Since arriving at Pinar San José, as well as the obvious socialising with the Bezzies whilst they were in residence, I’ve made new campals by the dozen, or more. I’ve joined small parties for dog walks, larger gatherings for afternoon drinks, live music, lunches etc. – in fact staying on here for a rest has turned out to be quite exhausting!
Last nights outing was to see the Christmas lights in Vejer. I wasn’t too keen on being the thirteenth member of the party but thankfully I wasn’t the unlucky thirteenth. We had a good wander and admired the shops (all open ’til eight/nine p.m. – this is Spain!) and the lights were beautiful. The Thirteen then popped into a bar, rearranged all the tables and chairs to their own satisfaction and flummoxed the poor barman/waiter/cook who was on his own, expecting a quiet Tuesday evening no doubt. After ordering 13 drinks, we considered, to great mirth, ordering 13 different meals but decided that might be a joke too far.
Despite the site being at almost 100% pitch occupancy, I woke this morning at 9 a.m. to absolute silence and stillness. Hardly surprising considering that as I was giving LWD her final walk of yesterday/first of today at nearly 3 a.m., the site was still full of revellers returning to their places of rest.
New Years Eve was an Event here at Pinar San José. LWD and I wandered to the beach late morning, not our first expedition of the day. On the tide line was a busted dinghy with contents all strewn around. The general opinion was that all was abandoned by illegal immigrants who did not dare to stop and pick up their scattered possessions. The presence of the Guardia parked in a 4×4 overlooking the spot seemed to back up the supposition. Here’s hoping the occupants are safe and well.
I met up with Penny, David and Ghandi the Dog (campals) on the beach and we had a coffee before returning to site to ready ourselves for the festivities.
Said festivities commenced at 2.30 p.m. when a bunch of about 30 of us (mixed nationalities, no Brexit here) gathered in the bar/restaurant for the three course “menu del dia”, excellent meal for €11. Then after another “let’s tire out the dogs walk” with Dean, Rob and Sarah – Daize and Peaches did their mad chasing each other around in circles whilst labradors Star and Molly looked disdainfully on – back to respective mohos to rest up before the main attraction. I tarted up, even managed to find a pair of heels and wear them despite knowing my feet would regret the choice, which they did!
At about 9 p.m. I returned to the bar to suffer an evening of live music, disco, friendly banter (and some deep and meaningful discussion), drinking and dancing with our multi-national community. At midnight we celebrated the New Year with hugs, kisses and white grapes (Spanish tradition) then we danced some more; at 1 a.m. CET we celebrated New Year with the UK and had our English traditional songs for the sake of whomever with the Dutch and Germans, whilst the Spanish watched (and filmed) with a certain amount of bemusement. It was a fabulous day/night made all the better for its international flavour.
One moment really stood out for me; one of our own Jo, who happens to be gay, grabbed a chair plonked it down in front of a Spanish lad with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair, she sat down and proceeded to dance with him – he loved it and his smiling, spasming face was a joy to behold. It was a day of human behaviour at it’s best; age, nationality, disability, sexual preference all ignored.
I can only hope that these sort of moments happen more frequently in my life and in yours, dear reader, and wish you many moments of joy in 2018.
Christmas lunch in the site restaurant was brilliant.
The starters (to share);
Goats cheese salad
Red peppers stuffed with fish in white sauce
Beef and mushroom croquettes
Main course and dessert;
Skewered pork marinated in sherry
Dessert selection (unfortunately not all for me)
Afterwards the chef, the bar and waiting staff all received a standing ovation (and a large ice bucket full of tips rather than ice). There are several good musicians on site, and after the meal a not quite impromptu gig took place with loads of us joining in the sing-along. It all wound up with everyone staggering home to various motorhomes, campers, caravans and bungalows at about 8p.m. – not bad after a 1p.m. start!
Boxing Day saw us strolling on the beach in warm sunshine between showers.
Sadly, I’ve just waved off the Bezzies who are on their way up to Malaga and fly home on Friday. We’ve had a great time, loads of laughter as ever and they’ve decided, having been in a T6 for a few days that there are too many alterations to be done to get one how they want it. So when they get home they’ll be looking for a donor van for Simon to convert himself, that way it will be to their own design and exactly how they’d like. Hard work doubtless but what a sense of ownership and pride to come. Good luck Guys!
I’ve had a change of plan too … I feel in need of a bit of downtime so I’m staying here at least until mid-Jan. It’s a lovely site, very friendly, close to the beach, and lots of great dog walks as well. I do have to change pitch as someone has booked this one but I’ll wait until the weather dries up a bit.
For the past couple of days Spain has been and still is enjoying a fair bit of much needed rainfall (snow on the mountains) over the whole country. It will take a lot, lot more rain before the reservoirs are even a third full however.
Virtually empty reservoir in Castile y Léon
The temperature is still in the teens tho’ so I’m quite happy.