LWD has had a forced march along the Praia de Mei in Lagos, 3 miles of crescent shaped beach with decent pale sand and very few people. It’s hard to imagine it as crowded as it must be in high season but the number of bars and restaurants, most closed for the winter, indicate it’s a popular spot. LWD ran, rolled and rollicked.
I collected some shells and tried my hand at still life photography – I’ve got a long way to go. The idea was to arrange the individual shells in a shell shape in the sand but it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. I need lessons in arrangement.
Today found me at the dentist explaining that the 32 year old gold crown on one of my molars had cracked some time ago and I was advised that the tooth would not last long enough to be worth re-crowning. The tooth has become very painful and sensitive over the past few weeks and having made the appointment I was prepared for an extraction. After expressing his surprise at the existence of such an aged crown the offending tooth was x-rayed. Peter, dentist, said he didn’t want to remove the tooth and that he’d like to attempt a last ditch attempt to save it. The crack which had become a rough edged hole has been filled and the crown has been filed down as the bite on it was wrong. And now we suck it and see. How long will it last? … who knows, but the Crowned Tooth has a reprieve.
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!
So Monday evening found me waiting at the vets with LWD who had developed, quite unusually, bilateral ear infections. Unusual only because up to now it’s always been either one or the other ear. Silly moo had been rubbing her ears in the sand again, tho’ I’m never quite sure whether that’s the cause or the effect. Very thorough Portuguese vet who did an extreme deep clean of both ears and hair plucking of the worst affected. LWD snuggled and trembled but didn’t make a sound, the Vet was most impressedshe apparently gets snarled at and bitten quite a bit doing that procedure. She prescribed ear cleanser (which I’d run out of – lulled into a false sense of security by 9 infection free months) and an aural antibiotic. LWD was totally stressed out by the time we got back to R0X1, even the biggest cuddles didn’t calm her, so I administered Daizepam which relaxed her enough that we both got some sleep! 3 days later and her ears are slowly improving, we go back for a check up on Friday.
My plans haven’t changed much, I shall just be a day later arriving at Pria-de-Luz than I expected. We’re currently up in the hills about 20 miles inland but still by the Spanish border. The weather is foggy first thing, some days like yesterday the cloud lifts and we get a warm afternoon. Not looking that promising today but we shall get a good walk in later and it’s so peaceful up here who cares about the weather!
Alcoutim was our first stop in this neck of the woods. The drive alongside the river Guardiana was winding and would on a nicer day have been stunning. I didn’t see Alcoutim at its best either, dull and deserted – but hey ho, I had high hopes for our lakeside overnight stop. Except the lake was almost empty, the dam virtually completely exposed and the water left was not much larger than Hurst village pond and, with only two water birds, a lot less populated. Walking around what used to be the reservoir bed I found it quite a depressing place.
Castle wall and R. Guardiana Alcoutim
From reservoir to pond
Grey heron and friend
Alcoutim and Pereiro reservoir
It was with a heavy heart and little hope that I drove to our current stop at Odeleite. So I was delighted to find one of the best aires I’ve ever used; large marked out pitches all with water and electricity should you want it (gimme, gimme, I have a blog to write and photos to edit and upload). Despite it not being high season, there’s a cafe and bar on site which is open, and a laundry room. Price? €7.50 per night (only €4.50 if you don’t want hook up). The views are stunning and it’s so quiet I can hear my tinnitus! Add to that a bread delivery van arrived at seven this morning; unsurprisingly I went straight back to bed after purchasing my day’s requirements.
I now know that the leisure battery will give me four nights 12 amp as long as I don’t do any photo editing on the MacBook; the poor old inverter struggles with that. I may have to reconsider the solar panel issue as I’m finding I’m wanting to spend more and more time off grid. The Aire I’ve been at for the past few nights does 24hrs electricity for €2.50, which is very good but not that many places do it at all let alone that cheap, so today I’m treating myself to power and charging every battery I can find. And as today’s weather is not as warm and sunny as it’s been the last week I’m catching up with aforementioned photo editing and blogging.
First night in Portugal was in Castro Marim, tiny place with an interesting medieval castle and an exhibition of torture tools from the Inquisition. I must be getting squeamish in my old age – the heavy wooden chair with leg, arm, waist and neck straps was studded all over the seat, back and armrests with large iron spikes and was my unfavourite; of all the torture instruments I found it especially gross. All in the name of Christianity … yesteryear’s terrorists if you ask me. I decided to spare you dear regular reader, and didn’t take photos of the exhibition.
From the battlements
Livestock pens and chapel housing the grim exhibition.
Inner bailey walls
Second up is Vila Real de San António a quiet, well in January it is, border town. The Aire is riverside to the Guardiano with Ayamonte (Spain) on the other bank. VRSA as it is known locally, in its heyday was a busy port and fishing town, catering now mostly to tourists. I met and spent a lot of time over the weekend with convivial companions Sharon and Matt who are in the process of giving a forever home to Rrrita (short for Señorita – don’t forget to roll the R). She’s an indeterminate breed of around LWDs size with the prettiest of faces and light brown velvety fur. Daize and Rita hit it off, had a great time together on the tiny beach here and both were very tolerant of the frequent wine-o’clock stops!
Old “grid” style town
Tiny beach …
Spain viewed from the “wine-o’clock” terrace
Vila Real de Santo António
Matt and Sharon are off to the rescue centre today to sign the adoption papers and get Rita’s passport. I’m off tomorrow after I’m fully charged, for a side trip up to the the lakes before heading to Luz at the end of the week.
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.
Daize and I have both had hair cuts this week. LWD’s grooming session was done at the neighbours. Using my new clippers Jo and I, but mostly Jo, removed quite a lot of fur from LWD’s coat. Amazingly the result was much better than the previous groom she had in Spain two years ago. But it did make a bit of a mess …
Gone – (well sort of)
This morning Jo and I had trims and Karina a complete restyle by a Spanish hairdresser recommended by a fellow camper. It was done at her home where she has a tiny salon, those waiting were invited to sit in the lounge and coffee was offered. The multi-generational family own and live together on a small holding and our hairdresser, Natalie does waitressing as well as hairdressing to make ends meet. Lovely, lovely people and so generous.
We didn’t make quite such a mess as LWD but then we didn’t keep shaking …
This evening “4 foxy ladies and a gigolo” became PIST (Pinar International Seniors Trophy) champions at the Pinar quiz. My fellow Championship winning teammates were Julie, Karina, Diana and Gary. It was the most utterly trivial of quizzes I’ve ever done and we were all totally gobsmacked that we won.
4 foxey ladies and a gigolo
L to R; Diana, Karina, Julie, me, Gary.
Within half an hour our Champions cup had been stolen – we await the ransom demand. Interpol have been informed and are to head up the investigation.