Monday, 29 December 2014

Out of the tree of life I Just picked me a plum - Frank Sinatra

Well actually it was 10 years ago, not just.

A short post today, I’ll catch up on all the other stuff some other time.
I can’t believe it, 10 years ago today we got married.  Where has the time gone?

I have three regrets about getting married – now there’s a good start.  1.  It was in December, between Christmas and New Year. 2.  I didn’t get my hair done professionally.  3.  We didn’t have a professional photographer. Actually my regrets are about the wedding, not the marriage. But a marriage isn’t about one day.  We expected everyone to take loads of pictures and we could pick from the best – but the one above is one of the best and we’re not even standing on the same step.

I’d like to dedicate this blog to my lovely husband for a great life together. Now I’m not much of  a one for showing my inner emotions publicly, I couldn’t even look at him on the day during the ceremony but here is my favourite poem, I meant it then and I still mean it now.

“I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I amWhen I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for whatYou are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;

I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing outInto the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.”

Roy Croft

Now I’m going all wobbly about pressing the button and actually publishing this.

So was it third time lucky?  Definitely not - I just made sure I picked the plum - and in the words of the song - the best is yet to come.

............. and tonight we’re going to have one hell of a party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy anniversary Iain


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!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The MOON rising over Calpe – viewed from Albir - December 6th 2014

I didn’t take this actual picture, but I did see the moon rising and I did take some pics, they just weren’t as good as this one.  The sun was setting behind me and this gave a fantastic pink glow to the sky.  I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

So Christmas is approaching and we hear that Scotland had –7C last night – we’re really suffering here (not), it is dropping a little below 10C some nights, but once the sun is up in the morning it soon warms up.  The air is feeling cooler during the day but temperatures still reach the high teens. In the sun it’s still very warm and we can still wear shorts and sandals when in the sunshine.  Looking forward to Meerke and Nol arriving from The Netherlands in a few days and then we’ve Iain’s dad and younger brother arriving on 22nd, just in time for Christmas.

We had a bit of rain last weekend, but the weather is great again.  But rain or not, work has to go on and at this time of year the biggest job on the campsite is clearing up leaves.  Of course we only have to worry about our pitch but the sweepers are doing a great job.
Javier improvising on a raincoat, it was hilarious when we saw him walking up to us.  Like some smurf on acid.

Javier then told us about a Smurf village near Marbella, where the Smurf 3d movie was filmed.  It was one of those pretty white villages which was painted blue for the movie.  Sony were supposed to come back and re-paint all the houses white again, but the villagers voted to leave them blue as their visitor numbers increased dramatically (from 300 a year to 80,000 a year) and this has brought so much success to the economy that they very sensibly kept their new colour.  Everyone has jobs now, which is very important in Spain.  Click the Daily Mail Article link below to find out more.
smurf village
Juzcar – Smurf Village Daily Mail Article

Javier always keeps us amused, as I said before he’s a happy-go-lucky bloke who choses to live in a tent on the campsite, doing whatever work he can find, but he’s obviously no idiot.  The other day he came around sweeping, pulling the leaf cart behind him shouting “Ice Cream, Ice Cream”.  We do meet all sorts of people here.

We haven’t been doing much, I’ve joined some Flamenco dancing lessons.  Unfortunately there’s only a couple of us doing them at the moment, the word has not got round, so I don’t know how long the campsite will put them on for.  I love it!!!!!!  I’ve also joined a crafting class but a lot of the women just do knitting and unlike in the ‘60’s advert Wendy is not a great knit – anyone remember that advert for Wendy’s wools – what happened to them? Nearly everyone is Dutch, but having been a few weeks now they are starting to talk to me.  There is one other English woman who goes and a couple of Dutch who speak very good English so I am able to converse with them.  But I just love making things and learning something new so I’ll persevere.

I said in my last post that I had Christmas decorations to make.  We were on the road last year at Christmas so I had very little in the way of decorations and that has made me go rather over the top this year.  I wanted to decorate our pitch and van outside, rather than inside as the etiquette of small space living is that you don’t really invite people into your “small space”.  There is very little in the way of outside decorations to be bought so I had to make my own.
Can you guess what it is yet?
My first bit of great inspiration was to make a Christmas tree from recycled plastic bottles.  I have to admit it didn’t get very far and was soon consigned to the bin.  I realised that although there was a copious amount of plastic bottles available, it was going to take far too much time, so I had to think again.

Inspired I “acquired” a used pallet from the “free bricolage” on site and set to.   Everyone kept asking what the hell I wanted an old pallet for – all will be revealed:-
“Free” wooden pallet.  Borrowed Saw – what was I up to?
Now can I be trusted to play with sharp objects?

a-star a-bauble
Stars made from recycled beer cans Bauble made from foam ball wrapped in garden string (lots of messy glue) and decorated with a few twigs and pods then some red beads added. Along with some fir cones, dried fruit and some leaves and more twigs and hey presto:-
a-tree a-tree1
The result – my rustic Christmas tree.  Spray painted green, add a few recycled and home-made decorations and hey it can be thrown away after Christmas. What I hadn’t bargained for was that by cutting the pallet carefully, you can actually make two trees.

Now I think these would make a great outdoor decoration for any home although if it was more permanent we would have gone to the trouble of sanding and priming it first before painting.

Of course that wasn’t to be enough was it?
a-bauble1 a-pointsettia
The van next – glitter foam rules! More glitter foam – pointsettia (in case you couldn’t guess)
Even more glitter foam – cut out letters this time

a-wreath a-van
Add a home-made wreath And some lights – voila – looks great when the sun is shining

Of course nothing was stuck directly onto the precious paintwork of the van – all using suction pads.

Now, onwards and upwards – the inside – but that will have to wait until another day.

I move on – to Dave.  Now Dave is a fairly prickly character but once you get to know him he’s a real softie.  He lives on site with his boxer dog and hates everyone. Actually he doesn’t, but it’s just safer to be like that – I told you we meet all sorts.  Dave is an avid Chelsea fan and you may remember that we call him Chelsea F**king Dave as the F word is used very frequently in his vocabulary and we decorated an egg for him last Easter.

Dave lives on the campsite and is almost directly opposite us – yes we chose this pitch!!!!  But seriously he’s actually a pretty good bloke and keeps us amused.  Of course he sets himself up for ridicule and he likes nothing better than a bit of banter.  The other day in Wyndham’s Dave walked in and Iain said “Pull up a chair Dave, or you can go and sit over there with your mates!” 

When Dave looks out of his caravan – he sees our beautiful motorhome, but when we look out of our motorhome we see his tatty trailer.  So we decided that we’d brighten it up for him.  Dave is a character of habit and takes his dog out for a walk every morning at 10 am on the dot.  That’s gives us a full hour before he comes back.
One day we washed his trailer and then stuck this on the back – note it says Dave not Club!!!!

Then a couple of days later – this appeared - making stickers - yet another of my many talents - lol

It’s been nearly a week now and he still hasn’t said a thing. We don’t know if he’s seen the side yet, but he’s definitely seen the Chelsea sticker.

I told you the other week, it’s a bit like the “Last of the Summer Wine” here.  Bored? We don’t get time to be bored.

Quick update - Jo and James still have the duck - be careful what you wish for James.  Jo's ankle is getting better at last and the "Madge" has gone back.

Be back soon with the inside decorations!!!!!!