Unfortunately my creative juices, tho’ flowing again, are not yet up to par. I am pleased that I’ve actually had the camera out of the drawer for the first time in a couple of months, not so pleased with the results which seem a little lacklustre to me.
[One of the problems with my PTSD is that it hits me very unexpectedly. I’ve been well for such a long time that it surprised the hell out of me and this time, believe it or not, it was my GP who triggered it! At my meet and greet appointment she demanded “Why do you take anti-depressants?” on hearing I have PTSD she then demanded to know the details of why I “presumed ” I have it. I very rarely discuss it and if I do it’s because I have made the choice; I’m in control of how much and what I say and the person to whom I am talking is familiar and trusted. I felt bullied. Suffice to say that following that appointment I started to have nightmares (this time about going to the surgery!), my startle reflex went into overdrive, my anxiety levels rocketed and my mood slumped. I have no intention of consulting that particular GP again.]
Hopefully the photography will improve soon, for the moment I’m just happy that the shutter is beckoning once more.
My intermittent next pitch neighbours, depending on whether any overnighters come between us, drove us up to Vejer today to watch the Three Kings parade.
It was like a very small carnival procession. The Three Kings were each in a separate float rather than on camels but there were also small children on donkeys and a marching band, lots of Guardia Civil and ambulances.
Sugar time band
We understood the necessity of the following ambulances when the Kings, their helpers and the children on donkeys started chucking sweeties into the air and all the kids (and a fair few of the adults, including Jo) started scrambling around on the road like vacuum cleaners trying to hoover them up – some were holding umbrellas upside down as catchers, others had open bin liners, shopping bags etc., but no matter the method, the determination to harvest sweeties was the same. Jo said she only kept five, she gave the rest to some kiddies – Karina and I good-naturedly expressed our doubts about her counting ability.
The atmosphere was noisy, upbeat and exited, the Spanish didn’t seem to mind us foreigners in their midst and a good time was had by all. I’m sure I even spotted a few smiling dentists there, rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of charging for all those new dental caries they’re about to fill!
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.
Over recent years K and I have fallen into the habit of having an afternoon of girlie time each December admiring all the glitter, bling, tinsel and bauble of Christmas decorations. We mostly go to garden centres, the one at Henry Street, Aborfield being our favourite locally. After discovering that Liberty’s Christmas shop is already open and as we’ve missed the last two years because in ’15 I was in Spain and in ’16 K was unable to walk, K decided a return to Liberty of London was called for – we haven’t been for several years. Okay it’s only September but I leave for the winter in a few days. There was a certain lack of yuletide excitement but there was sparkle and colour in abundance, all inside that wonderful Tudor revival building –and there was Afternoon Tea …