Pandemonium on the A7

I realise I have not yet reported in full the visit of Paul and Meriam, however I beg the indulgence of my regular reader to bring you breaking/braking news. I will return to the Dutch folk at a later date.

If the written word gets a bit slurred it’s because I’m gulping an XXXL G&T – it has been a  l o n g day.

It started well enough with the Terrible Trio leaving Jávea and heading for the hills, as we are wont. With a quick diesel fill and Lidl top up on vino blanco, I headed off. South of Valencia I joined the A7 motorway and was bowling along quite nicely. I was way behind P&M as I’d made a coffee and dog convenience stop. Suddenly there was a very loud bang and R0X1 started wandering about the carriageways without my permission. I braked firmly but gently, hit the hazard lights and carefully checking mirrors etc. brought my wagon safely to rest on the hard shoulder. I donned my hi-viz vest and as I deployed my red triangle noted that an awful lot of the rear left tyre was on the carriageway rather than on the wheel. I phoned the RAC. Unfortunately I seem to have overstayed my welcome as far as my breakdown insurance goes – I should have left a couple of months ago – I shall have to foot the recovery bill myself.

Two lovely motorcycle cops came, one retrieved the remains of the tyre from the carriageway – brave lass. The other set about organising a recovery vehicle. The van with the flashing arrow lights – “move over” – parked behind and the driver distributed loads of traffic cones along lane 1 (of 4). Completely unsurprisingly, the cops still had to direct cars into the outer lanes as quite a few drivers thought the instructions didn’t apply to them. They were both very sweet and kind especially when I watched R0X being winched up onto the recovery truck and got a bit upset, reaction I guess, but LWD seemed to enjoy the view from its cab. I was just terrified that R0X would somehow escape her bonds and fall off.

By the time we arrived at the garage in the middle of an industrial estate it was siesta and Señor directed me to a nearby cafe and ordered me to return at 5pm. One menu del dia and a lot of thumb twiddling later, I got back to the garage at the arranged time. 40 minutes later, the temperature had dropped alarmingly, it was trying to rain and I couldn’t get into R0X as she was still up on the reccy truck. I really was starting to panic, I had no idea where I was, let alone the recovery Señor and there was no one around to ask. I was beginning to wonder if I was being set up for a robbery or worse (I really must stop reading so many murder procedurals) and one or two tears could not be held back. My phone had run out of battery earlier whilst I was keeping P&M updated. So I was mightily relieved when another Señor turned up, shortly followed by the Recovery Señor (hereinafter called the Boss). They had been trying to track down 2 tyres (I decided not to trust the one remaining  el-cheapo tyre). No Michelin camper tyres in Valencia. I might be here for the weekend.

Señor Boss asked me via the other Señor (he and I were communicating in French) if I’d like him to take me to a hotel or would I like to stay on the forecourt. I went for the cheaper option. They got a step ladder so I could shelter in R0X bless them.

It was interesting, to say the least, to be sitting in R0X whilst she was backed into the forecourt and then jerkily winched down. LWD, not renowned for her bravery, shivered and whimpered, to be honest as I was already shivering from cold I almost joined in to make it a shiver/whimper duet.

Safely ensconced for the night on the forecourt, I was pouring my XXXL G&T when there was a knock at the door. Señor Boss beckoned me outside to show me two shiny new Vanco Camper tyres and told me he’d put them on tomorrow.

There’s now not a lot of G&T left in my glass and I’m feeling considerably calmer.  LWD has forgotten all about it and is blotto under the table …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Ne’er cast a clout …

… ’til May April be out. (Anon)

The Spanish have just had a long warm May Day weekend and have celebrated by casting off their winter garments in favour of something cooler which leaves us Brits, who dive into T-shirt and shorts the moment the temperatures hit double figures, standing out a little less. (For some reason a lot of Spanish folk, including yesterday’s waiter, seem to think I’m French and frequently start conversations with me in that language.)

It was a glorious weekend, the beach was crowded and cafe lifestyle in full swing here in Jávea/Xàbia. Although definitely at the tourist end of the town, this is a quiet site a short walk from the beach, prom and shops. The necessities are clean and roomy and bar/restaurant, crazy golf and go-cart track all within 100 metres of the site entrance.

 

 

I’ve sorted the dates for visiting folks in early summer in UK, now all I have to do is work out a leisurely route back to Dieppe and book the crossing. I might go to Zarragoza if the weather there warms up a bit and then on to Figueres and the coastal road into France …

But then Meriam and Paul are due to arrive here in about an hour, so everything planned for the next seven weeks could change …

🙂 🙂 🙂

An official nursing expression

It’s a twisty windy narrow road, a lot potholier than it was 2 years ago, up to El Berro, a mountain village 600metres (1,969 feet) up in the Sierra Espuna, a beautiful natural park beloved by mountain bikers, hikers, Daisy and me.

 

 

 

There’s a warning in the ACSI (camping) guide for approaching the El Berro site, it reads; C3315 take 2nd exit El Berro (1st exit unsuitable). Don’t go through the village. Assistance available. Call in advance!

The route around the outside edge of the village is now well signed and keeps large vehicles from become stuck in the extremely narrow twisting lanes in the village centre, and is only seriously narrow at one point. I arrived onsite without any problems; no oncoming traffic at the critical point!

Three days after my arrival the upgrading of the local  water supply moved from the village centre to the outer lanes and by the time of my planned departure involved the vital route out with an abundance of deep trenches crossing the road at 90° (without ramps or covers) and severe width restrictions, plus barriers preventing anything larger than Noddy’s parp-parp car entering the affected lane. There weren’t many pitches occupied by the end of the week – no-one could get in – well one stubborn Irishman could and I decided if he could get in I could get out ………. I would go through the village centre!

My life was not made any easier by cars parked on narrow right angled bends (2), oncoming traffic, and finally the blocked by a delivery van, one and only straight lane, which meant I’d have to do another right angled bend and then attempt the tight chicane … R0X1 came through it all, if you’ll excuse the official nursing expression, like sh*t out of an enema’d bum!

We are safely ensconced at a site in Jávea on the coast.

🙂 🙂 🙂

P.S. Thanks for the assist Jim.

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 …

🙂 🙂 🙂