Wednesday, 17 December 2014

It’s not FEELING much like Christmas though

xmas 2014
Well not yet anyway, and it’s only just over a week away.  Maybe it’s because it’s still quite warm (forecast says it will be up to 20C again by the end of the week) or maybe it’s because of one of the things that I love about Spain and that the sun doesn’t set until after 5.30pm and we don’t have those horrible dark afternoons like in the UK.

Still I’m not complaining – at all and I’m very much looking forward to it.

We’ve got family arriving next week, Iain’s dad ® and younger brother Sleeping half-moonare coming on 22nd for 3 weeks and we’ve got Iain’s older brother Thumbs down and his wife Angel (where did those smileys come from, they were supposed to be initials in brackets, sorry Thumbs down that’s just what popped up) are arriving on 28th for 2 weeks.  No they are not staying with us!!!!! No room in our motorhome for 6.

We’ve booked our Christmas lunch at our favourite restaurant, we’ve also got a party organised there for 29th December which is our 10th wedding anniversary.  YES 10 YEARS.  Where have they gone?  This is of course quite a mile-stone for me as I’ve been married twice before and they never got as far a 2 years – ADDED TOGETHER. Then it’s new year and then Iain’s Light bulb (ahh, my husband is a light bulb) birthday.  So it will be a busy time for us over the next few weeks. 

So what have we been up to?

A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to highlight my hair.  I’ve been trying to go natural for nearly a year and have just got bored with grey and mouse and thought I’d like to liven it up a bit. Not really noteworthy, but something to consider when small space living and the shower blocks a cycle ride away.  So being the eternal optimist that I am I thought I’d have a go in the van where we don’t have copious amounts of hot water. When you live in a house, you take water for granted – in a motorhome, everything that you use has to be brought in manually and everything that you discard has to be removed manually – and you generally don’t add chemicals.  Now that’s not such a big deal, you get used to it, but it does make you much more aware of how you use your resources.
b-spaghetti head b-outcome
Now I’ve just got to get to the shower blocks without looking like I’ve a load of cheese straws growing out of my head! And a quick selfie to show that it didn’t all come out in the wash.
The duck has taken to visiting us now and the dog is terrified of it.  She won’t look at it and pretends it’s not there.  I think the duck just likes company and we don’t mind, except that it’s not house trained and c**ps all over our benidorm blanket so we’re forever washing it off.  James has almost been able to resist feeding it so that it might leave and as I’m writing this, I’ve just heard Iain call from outside, “Oh the bloody duck’s back”.
b-dogandduck b-guard duck
Don’t come too close, 
I’m warning you,
 or I’ll just have to …………..move.
Guard duck – I’ll just sleep here so the dog can’t come out
We had some pretty rough seas the other day, we could hear it from our pitch.  Wow it was really rough for the med but it was still warm and sunny and there wasn’t much wind, so it must have been a pretty big storm from out there somewhere – we thought of Eric and Shazza as it was they day we thought they were taking the ferry to Morocco. 
b-waves b-riverbed
That’s pretty rough for this part 
of the med.
At least the dry river bed did it’s job – to protect the town from sea surges.
I’m still going to Flamenco lessons which I absolutely love.  I can hear the rhythm and I can remember the steps but once I get the arms in motion anything can happen. Also I have rather a lot of bulk (that was my rowing coach’s term for it) to move around quickly.  I’m in good company though. The teacher, Clara, speaks Spanish and a little English, Hortensia is Belgian and speaks Flemish and Spanish, Lyn is English and speaks English and Spanish and I’m the pleb who can’t speak anything other than English, so there’s a lot of guesswork going on. It’s a good laugh and at least we keep Clara amused. God help us if we ever get to use castanets and I hope that the campsite don’t ask us to do a demonstration at the end of “the season”.   No photos of this debacle.

The other day I went into reception to see if we had any post as I am expecting to receive a jiffy bag sized parcel from England.  There was one from England but there was no name on it, just the campsite address, so I picked it up and asked the receptionist if I could open it to see if it was my parcel. She offered to open it for me, which of course was the right thing to do. So I stood with my friend Joan and waited.  It was marked fragile but was a little light for the package I was expecting.  Martina opened the jiffy bag, to find a bubble wrapped item inside.  She carefully unwrapped it to find a carrier bag wrapping, this was followed by another two.  Then she opened the final one, looked in, screamed and ran to the toilet.  I thought she had gone to be sick.  No one else wanted to look into the bag to see what had caused this sudden outburst so we waited patiently for her return.  The other receptionists watched with amusement and obvious relief that they had not been given the task.  Martina returned, a little more composed.  Of course curiosity had got to all of us and we just had to know what had created such a dramatic reaction.  She finally managed to say that it wasn’t my parcel it was teeth!   Of course the problem then was whose were they?  There was no name on the envelope.  They would have to wait until someone came into reception and “gummed” at them – “anyone seen my teeth”?

A couple of Saturdays ago, Tomas and Hannelle invited us to a lovely dinner at their van. Apparently very few women cook in Sweden so it was down to Tomas.  Personally I'd rather cook so that I don't have to do the washing up after a couple of glasses of the falling down juice.  It was really nice to have a "home" cooked meal for a change and there were three wonderful courses on offer.  I'm just so glad that we had a conversation about whether or not it is etiquette to take off one's shoes before going into homes in Sweden BEFORE we stomped our way in. Hannelle even has indoor and outdoor slippers - bet that's made you smile Tomas.

We lost the quiz last week on the tie-break – our name was The Spanish Win Quiz Mission, but we picked up some new quizzing partners who are also on the campsite, Dave and Jessica.

Last Friday we had a lovely night out with Jo and James.  Brisa del Mar (where we are going for our Christmas lunch) had their party night with entertainment.  The group were really good, a mixture of Irish music and some other stuff thrown in.  Plenty of dancing and a wobbly walk home for some – not me!!!!
b-james b-seller
Is James about to make a romantic gesture to Jo? Doesn’t look very natural for you James. No he’s just holding the flowers for the street seller who’s decided to join in the dancing
b-dance b-dog
This picture proves two things:-
1.  Iain does dance sometimes
2.  I know what my new-year’s resolution will be

Oh no – I hope they haven’t come home drunk again!
On a practical note - I had a trip to the doctors last week.  This note is more for people who fall ill when in Spain rather than my ailment.  Anyway, I’d been putting off seeing the doctor and had been feeling under the weather for nearly 3 weeks and finally relented – I’ve never been one to visit the doctor unless I really have to – even in England. But my ailment wasn’t clearing up and I didn’t want to feel rough over Christmas.

Now having spoken to some ex-pats, there are two choices here, go and see the state doctor – which is free, just go up there with your passport and your EHIC card and you can register temporarily for 6 months. However the downside of this is that they speak little English.  Or you can pay privately for a consultation.  I knew that the private doctor, whilst being Norwegian, speaks excellent English and I had been recommended to both by locals so it was a decision to make.  I have to admit that it was finally decided that I would go privately.  It’s 38 Euros for a consultation (around £32).  What really made me decide to go privately was that we had recently spend nearly 200 Euros on the DOG on vets bills without as much as a flinch but it seemed a much harder decision to make when it came down to me, but in the words of the Oreal advert “I’m worth it!”

What we have found here though is that medication is quite expensive.  An antibiotic cream for the dog was 14.50 Euros and my tablets were 17.50 Euros, there’s no state prescription charge here, you just have to pay the full amount.

Anyway for those who might be interested, I’m feeling a lot better.

I don’t suppose that I’ll have time to blog again before Christmas, oh, there’s so much to do before next week – get Iain a present; get my hair cut; get some music organised for the party; go and talk about the menu for the party; decorate my dress; make “deely boppers” for Christmas day, and it’s Wednesday already. I don’t know how I used to have time to fit in everything that I used to do.

So Happy Christmas to all my readers, wherever you are.    
PS the duck is still hanging around and has now taken to nesting under OUR van!


  1. Hi Wendy,
    Thank you for your comment on our blog. I'm really enjoying reading yours too :)
    Thanks for the local info; we are a bit behind on blogging and have moved further down the coast now. We have rented a villa for the month as we weren't sure about Christmas in the van and we have our two older children coming to stay for a week from New Year's Day. We may come back through Albir though so might catch up with you then if you're still around.
    Loving the Christmas decorations, ingenious!! The kids and I have been making decs too but we did buy a tree to hang them on.
    I hope you have a lovely Christmas with the family,
    Beth x

  2. Thanks for your comment. Call in if you are passing this way. There's some "tolerated" parking on the seafront here - let me know if you need directions. Have a good Christmas and new year.