Very different reflections on the past.

I’m not sure what I think about the refurbishment of the shops in Mirepoix’s medieval centre. At first I thought the new all glass fronts and revamped interiors were too modern; then I realised that the “old shabby chic” shopfronts and interiors weren’t original and that maybe I was just reacting from the point of view of my love of shabby chic. It might even be I disliked the new look because not all the shops have been completed. I shall defer from opinion until I see it finished. Anyway I found it hard to wander round with the usual enjoyment with all the plant around and decided to hightail it to the coast.

Mirepoix before the recent renovations

It wasn’t much of a hardship to drive one of my favourite routes running parallel to the Pyrenees, the views quite make up for the parts where the road surface is extremely poor and the camber frequently wrong, especially as I suspect that is what makes the road so fabulously underused!

On Sunday, the day after arriving at Argeles Plage, right down in the corner of south western France, I meandered through the pine trees heading for the promenade when I was, at first distracted by a heavy Gendarme presence, and than told I couldn’t proceed along my chosen route. There appeared to be some sort of demonstration (which I was politely informed would be over in 30 minutes) and from the flags I saw I thought it must be the Basque Separatists protesting. LWD and I detoured round and walked the promenade to the port – where I was unable to finish more than a few mouthfuls of the disappointingly cold leathery crepe that arrived along with my drinkable tea.

The next day I took LWD on the same walk up to where the beach and pinewood had been cordoned off. On the beach I discovered an exhibition of photos of the camp that was set up in 1939 to house the 100,000 Basque refugees who escaped over the mountains from Franco’s forces in Spain. The previous day had not been a protest but the 80th anniversary of the events. The camp was set up right on the beach, it was early  February when the first refugees arrived and the conditions must have been horrendous. Exposed to the elements, families were split, as women and children were housed in one camp and men in another, taking up 1.5 kilometres of beach. The camp remained open for two years before all the refugees were dispersed to more permanent accommodation.

Argeles Plage

And I, 80 years later, find myself camping in almost the exact spot, although parked somewhat more comfortably and for far more pleasant reasons. The story does go to show that in 80 years dictators have not disappeared, and that ordinary folk are always the ones who suffer most. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


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 …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Royal reprieve

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.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Gone fishing

Today LWDs forced march was around the fishing port of Sagres. I was in full on photography mode so she also had a lot of standing around.



Then as she’d been reasonably good and because it was beautifully sunny, we moved on to the beach at Praia de Cordoama where she had an off lead romp.



The lads doing the paragliding were really showing off for the few beach walkers braving the icily cold northerly wind.

Really pleased with today’s camera workout.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Family split

The last day of this years holiday, there was a family split and the others cleared off for a day on the beach. What a scorcher! Someone, who should have known better, returned with blotchy red bits on her legs as she forgot to include them in her suncream routine. Self inflicted, so no sympathy from this former nurse; Numpty!

Apparently it was an extremely large dog-friendly beach and the LWD would have loved it. I however, in my Grumpy Old Woman persona, had refused to take her; I wasn’t prepared for her to, as she would’ve constantly, rub her ears in the sand after all the expense (£231) and hard work (cleaning and instilling drops twice daily) that has gone into getting the left one almost healed. As we hadn’t mentioned the B word in front of her she didn’t know what she was missing and therefore enjoyed our amble (too hot and humid to walk energetically) around the village a mile away from site.

Ashill, Norfolk

General consensus amongst the adults was that High Yedmandale Farm, Yorkshire should be awarded site of the holiday as it was the more tranquil and had those fantastic views.

🙂 🙂 🙂