Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Those best laid schemes o’ mice and men – as I said before.

I haven’t posted for a few days, I didn’t really think that I would be now that we were settled in one place.  After all it’s the travelling that’s exciting or is that scary and noteworthy. 

We arrived on New year’s eve (Tuesday) which was the actual day that he was released from his shackles of working and by this Monday (6th) Iain has returned home to the UK due to a family illness.  We were sitting relaxing on Saturday morning and planning our day – it was Iain’s birthday on the Sunday so I was going to be let loose shopping on my own to buy him some tat.  Then we received an email and everything changed.

We needed to make a phone call to the UK and guess what – we’d told everyone that we wouldn’t be contactable by phone so we hadn’t even tried to get our English phone to work.  With all  the communication devices that we’d brought with us, laptop, tablet, phone we couldn’t actually communicate in a hurry with England.  There wasn’t a network that we could connect to. Hopeless.  The site hasn’t got a pay phone (well who does these days) so we had to go into town to the phone shop and get a Spanish sim card.  Thanks Ramin for moaning on  facebook  about cycling 30 minutes to get a Spanish sim card and then not being able to buy one because you didn’t have your passport with you.  Without that posting we would never have thought of taking a passport with us.  Anyway with communication in place it was evident that Iain would need to return to the UK.

Now, expecting to spend months away from home, we had planned that this might happen, but we had hoped (for everyone) that it wouldn't  Even while we were travelling down here, we had been checking our emails every day before moving on south just in case we were needed to head back north instead.  However with us only just having been here a few days it was not really practical to spend the next 5 days returning home so it was decided that Iain would return home alone and I would stay here with the dog at least for the near future.

So the flight was booked for Monday morning and the shuttle service for a 7.30am pick up.  Actually the shuttle service was fantastic.  Only 9 Euros and pick you up from your resort to take you to the airport – oh it’s just like a package holiday - thought we'd left them behind us.  But beat the 80 Euros for a taxi.  Worst case scenario I would have had to drive the van to the airport but hey, that’s not such a big a deal.

I don’t know how long Iain will be gone for but we girls can look after ourselves so we’ll be ok.
Anyway before Iain left we did manage to get out to the Three Kings parade in Altea.  Just for once we managed to be in the right place at the right time.  When we went to the Ring of Kerry a couple of years ago we firstly went around the ring the wrong way – you should go North to South because it just gets better and better that way and secondly the Rose of Tralee festival was on,  or rather would be on a couple of days after we left or had already happened.  We just missed everything.

But here they celebrate Epiphany more than Christmas Day.  It’s a real carnival atmosphere with street parades including real camels  (still think the Bournebrook School ones are still the best) and children throwing sweets into the streets. Some of them were a bit over exuberant to say the least and literally chucked them at you.  After the parade, the children then go into the town square and where they receive a gift.  And then it’s time for fireworks – the dog was frightened enough with the bands so we got away before the fireworks started.  It seems to be any excuse over here for fireworks.
He was  pretty impressive

No fights to be the back end here like at school 

 We then went to a very nice Italian restaurant near to the campsite and had a lovely meal, some after dinner drinks (Brandy and Whiskey), really pushing the boat out, after all it was Iain’s birthday and he was returning home the next morning – and the bill still only came to 44 euros.

Well for me, being left here is not exactly a hardship.  There’s nothing I could do to help at home anyway, I’d just be in the way.  The weather is fantastic, I’m getting quite a tan. Only a couple of days now but we’ve already made friends with some of the neighbours and some of the people in the English bar.  Me and the dog go out for a walk late afternoon  and pop into the bar and that’s when I download all the English TV programs that I want to watch later. The broadband on the site is free but it’s a bit slow (takes about an hour to download a 30 minutes program)  in comparison to the bar. 

Now for the motorhomers – you can’t get British TV on broadband if you are not in the UK.  It’s a stupid legal restriction.  But there are ways to do it.  You just need to go through a proxy server in the UK which makes it look like you are in the UK.  There are several schemes that you can join which will allow you  to do this.  Some offer free services such as  (but I usually avoid these as if you are not paying you can’t really expect a reasonable level of service) and some charge a nominal amount.  I have subscribed to which is only £4.95 per month. I’m not saying this is the best, but it works for me.

Today I learned how to weave paper baskets.  I know it sounds sad but it’s something I saw a couple of weeks ago and thought “I’d like to have a go at that”, as you do. So I spend nearly all day messing around with a paper basket and while the result is ok it could be better.  Of course now that I’ve done it I’ll probably never make another one.  It’s a good job I’m not doing it to make a living or on the basis that I messed around with it all day they would cost about 75 quid each to buy!!!!! For a bit of woven magazine that would go soggy in the rain.  Still it stopped me from getting bored.

I really must get into the Spanish lessons though – they do them on site. I have had a look at the Spanish phrase book but my ability for learning languages is just ridiculously bad. I’m not stupid, (others may disagree) but if I can’t write something down I just don’t remember it.  When in France I practiced my speech for booking into a campsite.  It might not have been perfect but it would certainly be ok, I had it in my mind and could say it over and over again but then when in reception I would open my mouth and what would pop out but “Have you got a pitch for the night”.  I just don’t know why I find it so difficult.
Today I sat outside all day, I thought about going shopping but checked the fridge and thought “Manana”. When it started to cool down I trundled off for a shower – we decided years ago that when abroad, the best time to shower is just before the sun goes down as that’s when the shower blocks are the warmest and also the water if it’s heated by the sun. Mornings can be a bit chilly. Although that doesn’t seem to matter so much here as the shower blocks are heated.  

Whilst walking the dog,  I decided to stop at a shop to buy some new headphones for my tablet and couldn’t find anywhere to tie the dog up so left her outside.  She’s usually pretty good and stands and waits – almost patiently – she kept edging into the shop and setting off their pressure pads on their mat so there was an almost constant ding dong going on.  But ok she was waiting – but then she saw a cat was off like lightening.  I saw her go and heard the noise as she charged off dragging the heavy extending dog lead handle with her.  Well I shot out of the shop after her and didn’t even wait for my change.  Luckily the cat had run into a dead end – the cat leapt over the wall and the dog,  who is terrible at jumping was just left pathetically trying to get over the wall, running to and fro trying to find a way over.  Thank goodness the cat didn’t run off into the road – I just don’t know how far she would have given chase for before she came to her senses and stopped.  I think she’s too stupid to find her way back and she would have probably just run and run until she was exhausted and she could have been a long way away by then.  Disaster averted I returned to the shop to pick up my goods and get my change.  They thought it was very amusing.
Dog walked, time to go for a drink.

This bar seems to welcome the dogs more than the owners, everyone knows the names of the regular dogs.  There’s a very nice couple in there, Gill and Mike who live in Albir and have offered to look after Connie for me for a few days if I need to go back to the UK.  That’s very kind of them.  I thought I would probably be able to leave her with someone (she doesn’t do kennels) but I didn’t really want to do that with someone on the campsite in case they moved on before I got back and I lost my dog.

Back to the van for dinner and TV, fell asleep on the sofa (as you do) and both me and the dog were too sleepy to take her out for a last wee of the night so fell into bed.  Unfortunately she got me up at 2.00am to go out – that didn’t surprise me, so I’m now up in the middle of the night writing up my blog.

Last night was a bit cold, (tonight a little less cold) even the dog was shivering so I covered her up with the corner of the quilt and she  soon settled. The proverbial bugs in rugs came to mind – just as long as it’s not flees in the quilt I don’t mind. I won’t put on the gas heating as we have on-board tanks and I would need to go off site to get it refilled. We’re still on full and have been here a week now so I’m sure I can eek it out a few weeks if necessary.  I know that I can get bottles as we have an extend-a-stay fitted but as I don’t like messing about with gas I’m hoping that Iain will return before I have to worry about that.
I don’t mind moving the van to do the necessary dumping but am trying not to use the facilities if I can so that doesn’t have to be done very often.  I might even clean the van when I do move it – now that would be something to do – it could certainly do with a brush up.

Albir at sunset

As for later today, I don’t really have any plans.  Just to chill out and maybe do some shopping or maybe Manana. 

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