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

… and because you’re a spoilt brat!)


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 …


(Long silence)



Want another treat?


(Treat gobbled)



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



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 …


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” …


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.


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 …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Nor any drop to drink …

I’m slowly moving towards Córdoba to meet up with Jo for a few days – it’ll be nice to see her and sight-see with company again – and I’ve stopped at a little place called Berlanga. It appealed when I read about it in the Aires guide as it’s at a small nature park/free zoo on the outskirts of town. I hesitated to drive onto the designated parking spot for Autocaravannas as there appear to be some improvements being made and the normal entrance was closed and the diversion was via a muddy track. On finding the parking was not hardstanding I drove straight back out. I have mentioned the rain here haven’t I? In my experience sandy soil, frequent monsoon type downpours and 3.5 ton of truck do not make a happy mix. I had visions of having to be towed out. The place was deserted – did I mention the rain? – I parked in the ordinary car park.

LWD and I had a wander round; it’s an attractive, very tranquil place. They’ve diverted a culvert from the main river to make a pond before returning the water over a waterfall and back to the river. Dozens of birds were low flying over the pond feeding on the insects. We mooched until … it started raining again.

Overnight we had … wait for it … torrential rain which continued throughout the morning. LWD snuggled up with me all morning whilst I read in bed. During a short dry spell we went out for another mooch around midday and I was glad I’d picked up the camera …


The water level had dropped a couple of metres by late afternoon but it’s raining (hard) again now. I’m pretty certain we’re not in danger of floating away tho’ …

Glug, glug, glug …

🙂 🙂 🙂

The rain in Spain

I’m getting a little fed up with wind, rain, thunder storms and gloomy skies – this is not what I signed up for.

Despite the weather gods’ tantrums Merida proved to be a delight. Following my recce of the first afternoon, I determined not to let the elements spoil my sightseeing and the frequent heavy showers didn’t dampen anything other than my clothes.


The Roman amphitheatre and the theatre stand side by side at the top of the hill …


The Temple of Diana is half way down one of the main streets …

The Alcazaba which started life as a Roman fort, took a new life after restoration by the Visigoths and finally became a Moorish citadel before falling into ruin …

The Roman bridge, adjacent to the Alcazaba, across the R. Guardiana (the very same that forms the border between Spain and Portugal further south) has not suffered from flood damage as has the bridge at Avignon and is therefore superior at 732 metres long …

Lusitania as it was called in Roman times boasts two aquaducts of which the St Lázaro (tho’ it wouldn’t’ve been called that at the time) is the better preserved …


Storks (not butter) nest on pillars all along the aqueduct Los Milagros.


Spot the sunny snap – there is one!!

Well it’s sou’westers and galoshes on for another LWD walk then …

🙂 🙂 🙂