Tuesday, 28 October 2014

It ain’t half hot mum

At the time of writing it is 28th October, the clocks have gone back, the evenings are drawing in and the autumn leaves are falling.  The sort of time in England that you are thinking that it’s getting cold and damp and winter is just around the corner. But boy, is it hot here.  We never expected it to be so hot at this time of year in Spain.  Yesterday it got up to 28C again, in the shade, then it’s wall to wall sunshine and the sun is still really fierce so we have to spend a lot of our time hiding from the heat.
We’ve now been in Albir nearly 4 weeks, where have they gone? Some people thought we’d be bored retiring at our age, but it’s amazing how the time goes when you are busy doing nothing.  So what nothing have we been up to?
Jo and James hired a car and we all went up to the Waterfall just the other side of Altea.  Some say that it is too commercialised and some love it, well we were somewhere between the two extremes.  It was a really nice walk and interesting to go and see it, but it was disappointing that the water course had obviously been changed and dammed in places to create more interesting and consistent pools etc.  There were several places to swim and one pool that you could dive into.  I say YOU, because that definitely wasn’t ME.  I don’t like cold water!!!! There were a few teenagers enjoying the cold water and I touched one on the shoulder and she was icy – leave the youngsters to it I say.  The steps were quite steep in places and Connie had to be carried.  It’s difficult for dogs to go down steps anyway and these were too steep.  I’m glad we went there to have a look, but wouldn’t rush back.  But anyway, I took a few photos to give my readers an idea.
The mountains around here are quite spectacular

On the way back to the car we saw some trees with the most beautiful flowers. They were about 8 inches long, really intricate and hung downwards like trumpets from the branches. We hadn’t seen them before and Jo couldn’t resist picking one but I settled for a photos. Back at camp, Jo looked them up on the interweb and  found them to be Angels Trumpets which are poisonous, or at least narcotic.  So I’m glad that I just kept myself to photographing them. 


Later that week, we decided that it would be nice to meet some of our neighbours and to have a chat with some of our returning friends.  So having obtained a campsite bench table and the weather still being lovely in the evening we thought we’d host it on our pitch.  Now this wasn’t meant to be a big party, more of a soiree for about 10 people (Mrs. Bucket eat your heart out).  But what we did do was to make it an international event which was quite nice.  So our guests included, English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Finnish and of course there were a couple of Irish in attendance.  All our Belgian neighbours declined the invitation though.  During the evening the campsite owner came around (word gets around quickly here) and took some photos of us all enjoying ourselves.  We  weren’t quite sure why he wanted photos and thought it might be for evidence should we get a bit noisy and he needed to kick us off.  However the photos turned up on their in-your-facebook page a few days later.  Now before you go thinking that this was going to turn into the typical boozy night, this was the first time I had ever been to a party where there were more non-drinkers than drinkers.  Of course we didn’t let the side down, but I couldn’t believe it when I only threw away 4 empty wine bottles the next day.

The following day I felt a little jaded so I decided that I’d have a rest from drinking for a while and apart from a couple of glasses of wine with dinner on the Tuesday (when the wine is included it’s difficult to turn it down) actually managed 6 whole days (and nights) without alcohol.  I’ve only managed that long before when I’ve been on anti-biotics. So I’ve been feeling very proud of myself.  I’m determined not to get into the drinking culture that it’s so easy to slip into.  I’ve also managed to keep going to pilates twice a week and with cycling to the shops and stuff (did I say that you need a bike to get to the toilets here) so I am feeling a bit fitter.
It’s been a difficult week for the dog.  Connie had been to the vets for her annual jabs and I asked the vet to check a lump on her side.  She’s an old girl so these things are expected.  We weren’t unduly worried about it but thought it would be a good idea to get it checked out.  The vet tested it and said it wasn’t fat so best take it off.  On the Tuesday morning we set off to the vet with the buggy.  Now that was an interesting morning.  The vet decided that as she’s getting on a bit it should be done under a local anaesthetic.  I knew this was going to be fun (not) as she’s very nervous of strangers and turns into the tasmanian devil if we’re not around.  This therefore meant that I had to be there for the actual op.  Firstly she had to be shaved and she sat fairly well for that, then the vet gave her a sedative, but as soon as the local anaesthetic injections started she went berserk.  We were all on the floor holding her down, poor thing.  They trust you and just don’t know why you are doing this to them.  Another load of sedative had to be given before she calmed down enough.  The vet wasn’t taking any chances and thought it best if she was muzzled. I agreed, knowing what she was like when we first got her I thought this was a wise precaution.
Now I’m not too squeamish but have had a couple of wobbly moments before when I’ve seen blood, but that was my own. There was no way that the dog would be still unless I was with her, so I sat on a chair at the end of the operating table and lowered my head down to Connie’s level.   There were two reasons for this, 1. to try to keep the dog calm and 2.  I can’t stand seeing the actual cutting of the skin.  She was actually very good but every time the vet moved away from the table the dog thought she could make her escape, so there were a few struggles. I did pop my head up a couple of times to see what was going on though. The whole thing took about 15 minutes but it seemed like ages.  8 stitches later and bambi was on her way back to the waiting room and to her dad.  She couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  We walked back with the bikes and the dog in her buggy, which was a great idea.  She’s a bit too heavy to carry very far.  Connie has been back to the vets to have her wound checked, which is healing nicely and the results of the lump are that it is a benign cyst, so that’s good news.  To stop her scratching the stitches, I have tried several things.  One was to cut up an old T-shirt of Iain’s for her to wear, the second was to cut up an old t-shirt and try to wrap her in it like a bandage, but both of these made her look like she’d got caught up in someone’s washing line.  However we did buy her a child’s t-shirt and this works well.  The stitches come out on Friday and I expect that will be fairly traumatic for us all.
Connie, looking kind of cute and stupid all in one go, sporting her “Princess” t-shirt and her new Union Flag tag with our Spanish number
This week we have moved home.  About 20 feet from where we were.  Flo and Frank were leaving so we moved onto their pitch.  Iain had been settled where we were but it was next to the road which is quite noisy and a very shady pitch.  Whilst the leaves would be off the trees soon I saw an opportunity to move to a sunnier, quieter pitch and jumped in.
a-old pitch
Nice and shady, but noisy and the winter is coming
It’s a bit like claiming Everest with that flag – the dog wasn’t going to be left behind
So now we are settled for the winter, a nice sunny pitch and he will thank me for it later. The only trouble now is that we have to have the awning out to get some respite from the heat.
9.30am, 28/10/14, already hiding from the heat of the sun
Jo and I had been threatening to go swimming in the sea for a few days and finally we made the effort and went for a swim on the Albir beach.  The beach here isn’t that good.  It’s pebbles and shelves steeply so you need to wear shoes and it’s very difficult to get out.  Jo has hurt her ankle so this proved to be quite difficult for her, but I have to admit it was very funny to watch.  No disrespect, but the sight of Jo trying to get out of the sea was nothing like the picture below.

We then sat on the beach and laughed again while a lady had to help her husband out of the sea.  It’s a shame that they don’t push the pebbles out so that it doesn’t shelve so much.  So anyway in search of a better beach, on Saturday Jo and James took us up to Javea, about a 45 minute drive. We had been to Javea last time we were here, but we must have missed the best bit as we weren’t very impressed.  The beach there was fantastic, lovely golden sand and you had to go out a long way before it was deep enough to swim.  A great place for families.  We had lunch and then left the men and the dog in the bar and we had a lovely swim.  Again Jo struggled to get out of the sea as although it was gently sloping, her feet sank into the sand and she could not walk on her ankle.  Again, I’m ashamed to say that I laughed and laughed as she sat in about 6 inches of water being lapped by the waves.  At least she was laughing with me.  I did have to help her out in the end.
Javea - It’s so hard to believe that we’re swimming in the sea at the end of October

So we’ve been busy doing nothing and it feels like August in England.  The evenings and mornings are getting cool now and we have actually had to put jumpers on until the sun warms us up.  I still haven’t got out of shorts and sandals though – it’s only dropping down to about 20C at night.  Unfortunately busy doing nothing meant that I missed my great-nephew’s first birthday.  I just completely forgot, I still think we are in summer.  So sorry James, Kerrie and Spencer, I’ll send something soon.
I’ll end my blog on a sad note – this week an old family friend passed away.    Pat and Derek were friends of my parents when I was small. They used to stay with us a lot but for some reason unknown to us kids they lost touch when I was about 12.  Their daughters, Diane and Pauline tracked me down on Friends Reunited some years ago and I’ve met up with Diane a few times since.  On the first meeting she opened the front door and said, “This is bizarre, we are older than our parents were the last time we met”.  Diane has been very kind to us when Iain’s daughter was ill (she lives not far from where Emma was), finding us somewhere we could park the van and collecting our “special” clothes from our hotel after the funeral when Iain had flu, and due to our whistle-stop trip to England last summer, she’s still looking after them. I hope we won’t be need them for a long time, but I promise we’ll collect them on our next trip home.  So sending love to Diane and Pauline for the loss of your mum and best wishes to your dad. We’re thinking of you all at this sad time.
I’ll be back when I’ve something to say………………………………………..

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