Fun in Almachar
24 May 2013
Posted at 23:45 Comments (0)
Last week Linda & Alan invited me to a “sort of fiesta” in Almachar, a lovely village of some 2000 inhabitants. I say fiesta but to be correct it is la Romeria de San Isidro & is to honour the village’s Patron, “Ntra. Sra. del Amparo”.
So just after lunch we travelled down the Sierra’s & on to Almachar where we met a yet another lovely lady Catherine who was also to be our guide. Catherine had been a tower of strength for Alan & Linda when they were arriving in Spain with their dogs for which they will be forever grateful. (More on Catherine later). Following Catherine through the village we then drove along the dry river bed (Rio Almachar) to arrive after a few minutes at our destination just below the village. Incidentally this river bed was a raging torrent of uncontrollable water 6 months earlier, strong enough to wash away bridges & anything in its path.
When we parked up, there was a most amenable odour of cooking food and indeed I discovered later that there was a paella contest in “play”.
As we strolled around the “fair” everyone looked so happy & relaxed and there were many things going on. In the afternoon there were events for the children. Things apparently no longer seen in the UK. For instance “sack races”, “egg & spoon races”, “burst the balloon” & “spear the ribbon”, whereby the kids try to unfurl a ribbon from a line while cycling at full speed from below it.
Then there was the Spanish band with the Flamenco dancers & singers & they were terrific, I could have followed them around the grounds all afternoon.
All while this was going on copious amounts of drink, (alcoholic & none alcoholic) & food (especially by me - just loved the sausages!) was being partaken, but we were waiting for the main event of the evening.
Speaking to Catherine I managed to convince her to try to teach me Spanish. Catherine also manages to run a restaurant in the village (El Meson), has 5 fully equipped self-catering cottages & a swimming pool so she is a very busy lady. If you wish to discuss this with her you can talk to her on email@example.com – advert over.
Right back to the event and what an event it was with the wonderful horseback riders of Almachar. Using the dry river bed they galloped at full speed to again spear furled ribbons from line above. No crash hats, flat caps or no hat at all were the order & no riding crops either, control was either a double bridle or heels they were in complete control.
So the excellent afternoon now over we again made our way back along the river bed & onto the road & home with many happy memories & sincere thanks to Linda, Alan & of course Catherine, hope we get invited again next year!
A personal item & meeting new friends
21 May 2013
Posted at 01:45 Comments (3)
Just before I talk about the week I think I should explain briefly about Phet, my wife.
Being Thai every time she travels outside of the UK she has to apply to that country embassy for a special visa to enter. It is called a Schengen visa & what a pain in the bum it is. So imagine the pain having to keep applying to the Spanish Embassy with their stupid archaic ways for every time she wanted to come to Spain. She has therefore applied for British Citizenship & as such the UK Home Office (Border Agency) has all of her paperwork, passports, birth certificates, wedding certificates etc. So she is marooned at the moment in England whilst I am in Sedella. The Home Office say “up to six months” which started the end of March. I think it will be earlier as Phet has an exemplary record both financially & legally. The sooner she is over here though, with me the better, even better for us both. Thank goodness for Skype, but this is why she is not involved much in Spain at the moment.
So on Wednesday at 5.30pm just after speaking to one of my daughter’s on Skype I made my way to Canillas de Acetunas to meet Alan from where he would take me a couple of kilometres to his new villa & to meet his wife Linda, of whom I had been communicating through EoS, then email & mobile phone for some months. They had driven the week before from Yorkshire to Portsmouth then from Bilbao to their new home and this with their three little dogs, all with superb personalities. The little old lady, the sensible, think about it one, and “Jack the lad”, the Artful Dodger or as they call him Houdini.
Linda & Alan have a super property with even better views, up into the Nevada’s & down into the long valley. After a super dinner cooked by Alan we again repaired to the patio to listen, then watch the sheep & goats. I say listen, as you can hear the goat bells clanking a long time before they come into view. Each day the Herder walks miles with the herd which also has about 20% sheep mixed in with the goats. We were very lucky that day as he brought them straight under the patio on their way home. There are actually two herds utilising the valley one going left the other right. Their paths do not cross at any time. I find this. fascinating that they get on so well.
So after an really good evening & thanks to my hosts, just before nightfall I made my way home with each vowing that should do this again.
What a good week this has been for me, Wednesday invited to dinner & now Thursday, again invited to dinner in Sedella with as lovely a Scottish couple as one could meet. Thank you Doreen & Derek the Lasagne, Chicken, vegetables & salad could not be surpassed. Of course with loads of alcohol flowing freely and only two minutes’ walk from home. Then we all watched the football on the box.
Calling all friends
09 May 2013
Posted at 18:00 Comments (3)
I think its time for another EoS friends get together. The last one in early March was super.
So, what about one of the restaurants beside Lake Vinuella on Friday 24th May (2 weeks tomorrow) & I hope as many as possible with get in touch so that I can lay foundations for something more concrete. I know of about 6 definates so far so please let me know by either email or private message as soon as you are able.
This place seems fairly central but if anyone has any other ideas for anything different please let me know.
More from a newbie in Spain
09 May 2013
Posted at 17:39 Comments (8)
Well the serious shopping went for a Burton the minute I saw the street market in Caleta. Not only was it an enjoyable hour or so, but a pair of sunglasses various vegetables & salads later and heading for the car I noticed the harbour. So of course I had to wander around and have a good look at the various vessels on view. Isn’t it strange how one can get so easily side tracked in Spain, especially when you have all the time in the World.
When I was in the UK everything seemed to run on time schedules & I suppose you could say that more got done although you had only so much time for things as events then moved on.
In Spain what doesn’t get done today will be done tomorrow – or the next day – or the next. It doesn’t seem to matter. It seemed that the important things in Sedella seem to be to get to the bar to chat with friends & spread the gossip & of course to be able to sit out in the open air is such an added bonus.
Another thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I am sleeping more, a lot more. In the UK 4 hours was the normal time, 5 hours was a positive “lie in” & I started to develop headaches. In Spain I now find 7 or 8 hours are becoming the norm. Went to bed a few nights ago at my normal 3.00am & woke up at 10.30 most abnormal for me. Still I am feeling perhaps better for it but I’ll know more when I get into the routine of things.
A couple of mornings ago I was sauntering down the mountain when ahead of me I noticed a young mule in the centre of the road. Leaving my car on the side of the road I walked down to “have a chat & ask him to move over”. He was tethered to the crash barrier, but he allowed me through. I found out afterwards he was their “to get used to the traffic, yet another oddity of Spain.
On Friday night we had a terrific thunderstorm knocking out the internet & of course as my home phones are linked to the internet as well. Being unable to contact BB4S on Saturday morning (being continually engaged) I was without home phones or the internet for the whole of the weekend meaning more time down the bar to use their wifi.
Today I am off to meet & have dinner with Linda & Alan at their new home, just past Canilas de Acitunas. 11 kilos away but 30 minutes drive through the Nevada’s. Let you know how we got on soon.
Bedding in now nicely
01 May 2013
Posted at 20:28 Comments (6)
Today I am off to do my first serious shopping & I intend to complete a list & try to stick to it. For too long I have wondered around supermarkets randomly taking things off the shelf then wondering just why I have bought it when at home putting them away.
Yesterday I climbed the mountain behind the village to look on it from a height. On the way I passed mules, looking decidedly fed up in small smelly paddocks, goats with several kids dancing around fenced in rocky areas, crickets jumping fantastic heights & the most amazing trail of ants running in the thousands to and fro. Some of the worker ants were quite large & a little fearsome. I carefully stepped over the trail as they are things I don’t want to annoy. They looked innocent enough but having been many times to hot foreign lands & knowing the ire of fire ants of Florida USA treated them with respect.
Goodness this climbing takes it out of me, having a very unfit body & my legs & lungs were complaining bitterly. It’s a good job I’m on my own at least I could have the several stops I needed.
The view is astonishing, as it was early one morning several days ago. The sun was blazing & it was beautiful, but looking down the valleys they were totally hidden by mist & you can see it in the picture below It could best be described as sitting on an aircraft above the clouds with the sun shining but seeing nothing below, yet another amazing sight. This land is so full of surprises to a newly arrived immigrant.
Here’s another “it could only happen in Spain” As I was driving, then walking around Torre de Mar I noticed that they have a superb tram rail system. It covers miles & is able to bring people from a long way away into the centre of the town. The larger towns in the centre of England & probably elsewhere, are absolutely falling over themselves to have such tram systems installed. Clean, efficient, cheap, smart & eco friendly they are much coveted. So, I waited with great expectation to see just what the trams looked like. I waited and waited – no trams! It transpires that the trams are on the way to Australia on a 4 year lease – it could only happen in Spain!
So I am now driving home when I receive a call from Tamara. Now I have been pestering her that we meet up again soon.
She invited me to a choral concert in Puerto don Manuel that evening. This then became early dinner on the side of beautiful Lake Vinuella followed by the concert & both were delightful. I’m certain that we must do this again.
Whilst their we talked about me learning to speak Spanish, and we (or is it she?) decided that my England purchased “Learn to Speak Spanish in 12 Weeks from only 15 minutes per Day” would be my goal. So be it, & lesson 1 starts tomorrow so I must be disciplined. I’ll keep you informed.
Sedella - the second week
26 April 2013
Posted at 20:39 Comments (10)
Well thing do appear to be settling down now & things are being done which please me no end.
The meeting with Tamara last Thursday very good & Windsorian came along too & what a pleasant day it was. I now have a Spanish SIM card
& several other things are falling into place. Of course the lovely sunny weather as I drove through the mountains was simply wonderful although the last couple of days have not been sunny and not much to my liking.
But I am still having minor problems with a few things like for instance setting up my printer, it is wireless but it is causing me problems. Then there are various Christmas electrical gadget presents which I want to set up. Suppose I am impatient because when I think about them, I want them doing now. A fault of mine I suppose but things like this cause me mental hassle.
I am getting used to four of the five bars in the village with everyone talking to me which is nice. The fifth only opens “in the summer” as it is on the main road & does exceptional business in the four or five months it is open, I am also very happy that the Spanish residents appear to be getting used to me. Thankfully I have also met and also seem to be accepted by the “foreigners”. English, Scottish, Dutch, German & I’m told Norwegian.
The shop also is very amenable & my sign language appears to be up to scratch. When I asked her for something in Spanish today she laughed. I don’t know whether that was in surprise or the way I said it but I know my attempt was received well.
I walked around Malaga on Tuesday & after speaking to my telephone/wifi provider in Aggorobbo in the morning over a minor problem drove to Malaga. I hadn’t a clue where I was going & found myself in the busy new Malaga area. When I came back to Sedella was told that I should have headed for the old town. Yet another useful lesson learned.
An interesting & amusing thing happened a day or two ago. I saw the tourist information office at the start of the village but saw that it doubles as the post office but is only open weekdays & for just 30 minutes from 11.30am. So I popped in to introduce myself & ask a couple of questions. Firstly I had difficulty with the language (as usual) but I was directed to the town hall. Now I have seen it, and is literally round the corner & what an elaborate place it is, but alas it was closed. Peering through the windows it looked very pristine nice modern furniture & décor but closed. I went back at 1.30pm then again at 5.30pm still closed & the following day was the same. So I asked my friends. “Oh it’s not their” I was told, “they are still in the old one by the church but I wouldn’t bother going as no-one speaks English” I went anyway but what a sorry shabby place, lovely Spanish people but a 1920’s office. But to get back to the newly built el ayuntamiento that was completely finished & ready for use two years ago but they have simply never got round to moving to it yet. In that time they have opened it once for one day & that was for a children’s festival. Spanish life, I love it.
Today I was introduced to a “wine” seemingly only made in the surrounding area and sold by the farmers to the bars. Different “brewers” though have different strengths, tastes and whether it is sweet or dry. It is called Vino Terado although that may be spelt incorrectly. I say wine because it is about 30% proof & is served from a two litre bottle. As an almost non-drinker I was warned not to drink too much of this as it very potent. It seemed to me to be a cross between a red wine & a glass of port, a very nice drink.
Whoopee I have just fixed my printer! What a pain I had tried several things but repeatedly kept being told it could not find the network.
Eventually I decided to connect by using a USB which I eventually found from one of the several full boxes yet to be assigned a home. But even this was unsuccessful. I was getting annoyed now but then good news. On checking the cabling I realised that the “square” end & the “oblong” end were interchangeable in the printer & the laptop. Could this be my problem? It was; the cables simply needed changing around which meant that at least the printer & laptop were talking to each other, after that it was easy to change it a wireless network. Nowhere in the manuals or helps does it tell you this.
So now I can back to printing things again like a EX18 form for the police station.
Now this untidy house – it is improving but now it’s getting dusty as well!
Sunny Sedella - I'm here!!!!
17 April 2013
Posted at 22:16 Comments (8)
Jumping out of the car & carrying some items from the car I eagerly walked, almost ran, to my new home. It was lovely & warm but decidedly hot in the lounge so opening the door to the balcony I sat down & immediately dropped off to sleep.
Goodness I must have been tired & didn’t know! I didn’t wake until almost midday, but I felt good so decided to go down to the bar to announce my re-arrival – and to use their wifi!
I was amazed that several locals remembered me & although I didn’t know what they were saying, the smiles told it all. I was beginning to feel very comfortable again & even after a while ordered a “menu del dia” & although the soup wasn’t as expected it was really good, in fact the whole meal was good & in super surroundings.
After lunch I walked around the village & really didn’t realize just hilly it is in parts & again I marvelled at the mountains, the singing of the birds and the glorious warm sun on my back it is 22c now.
Clearing my car was proving more of a problem than I had anticipated as the clearer the car became the more “cluttered” the house became which disappointed me somewhat. This made me change my plans & I decided to leave about half of the items in the car until I had found places for items already in the house. Why should I hurry though, I hate a mess but I am here for a long time (God willing!) so I’ll put up with it for a short time.
Saturday night meant another visit to the bar talking to a few British people, then back home to watch “Match of the Day”.
Sunday was good in that I met Neil & a few more of the British contingent of the village and also another two visits to the bar.
On Monday I decided to drive down to Valez Malaga to buy a Spanish SIM card but disaster!
No-one told me that there was a street market on Monday mornings & that everyone had to move their cars from the street. Everyone that is, except me! It was so very conspicuous with the stalls having been erected all around my motor. Indeed they couldn’t have been more the a few inches from it. I just walked by & pretended it wasn’t my car, I didn’t want a crowd of angry Spanish stall holders accosting me! So another lesson learned. The SIM Card will have to wait until Thursday now.
Today will be taken up with me watching a state funeral for a very great Lady & I wouldn’t miss that for the world, to pay my respects to her. Goodness knows where the UK would be today without her, she dragged our Kingdom screaming & scratching into the 20 Century. Blair & Brown then took credit for the miraculous turn around, but proceeded to destroy the good work.
God Bless you & Rest in Peace Lady Baroness Margaret H Thatcher.
I will not argue with anyone here about this, but for anyone not of my opinion, I suggest you have your views & I’ll have mine.
Tomorrow I’m off to Torra de Mar to meet up with the famous Tamara, my Spanish mentor & I eagerly look forward to that.
But I really must tidy up this scruffy house!
Driving to Axarquia.
15 April 2013
Posted at 23:31 Comments (3)
I slept better than I thought on board the ferry after a very nice dinner, watching the football then writing my blog, so that gave me heart for the 1450 (2000 Kim’s) miles journey ahead. This was made even sweeter by the swift disembarkation (that word don’t look correct but spell checker say’s it is!)
So at 09.00 hours I was driving through St Malo, the temperature outside was 13.5c & the sun was shining. Brilliant! I thought I can really make some distance over the next 12 hours or so of daylight & to hopefully cross the border into Spain. Sadly the weather was not to last however, as it turned into “April Showers”. Torrential rain followed by almost blinding sun, but this didn’t stop me getting along fine, & it was now 18c.
As I was driving along however, I could not help but think about my wife, my family & friends I had left behind, I do hope that they are not too long before they fly out to see me although I will return for a few days in June. This “free time” for thinking does not do anything for the driving.
At 18.00 hours when I was due to look for a hotel, I could almost see the French/Spanish border which gave me even more encouragement. I just wanted to be in Sedella. Should I stop? Nah, I decided, why stop when I am only hours from my promised land. By 22.00 hours I was well into Spain & approaching Bilbao at this rate I’ll be in Sedella by 05.00 on Saturday morning – fantastic.
Then disaster struck, that’ll teach me to be to confident! I got lost & finished up in the mountains & forests by Bilbao (I never even thought there were such things around their). Cost me over 2 hours in time – what a clot!
That made all the more determined not to stop, & anyway I was not tired. Was it the decent sleep on the ferry or maybe the adrenalin at its pitch? I don’t know, but decided to keep going. I had now set a deadline to arrive at Sedella on Saturday morning, as early as possible. Just before arriving at Grenada I felt somewhat drowsy, pulled over in a garage, filled up with fuel, reclined my seat & had a couple of hours snooze.
Watching the sunrise had a really exhilarating effect to me & I was spurred on even more. I had lost another couple of hours but so what?
And when I turned off to drive through the mountains I just wondered at the, oh so impressive scenery! “Goodness” I thought, “I am so lucky”. Even the heavily snow-capped mountains looked glorious. I was so glad that they were a long way away though, seen enough of the snow this year. So after an almost uneventful trip I arrived in Sedella 8.00 hours on Saturday morning. This was the start of the rest of my life, my dream is coming true………………………………
13 April 2013
Posted at 11:41 Comments (5)
So I am on board the good ship Bretagne of the Brittany Line, bound for St Malo. I just can’t sleep when travelling & the time spent through the night will be such a drag, the evening meal was superb & though not cheap I felt it was worth the money. So I’m waiting now for the restaurant to re-open in the morning to see what they have to offer with regards to a breakfast. We are scheduled to disembark at 8.15 in the morning (Friday) when I will then have a drive for about 550 miles (about 900 Km’s) through France. I hope to find a hotel in northern Spain somewhere, far better quality & cheaper from my experience, than France. I’m then hopeful of arriving in Sedella late on Saturday night after another punishing drive of again about 550 miles.
On Sunday/Monday the aim is to clear the car from all the things I’ve brought from England then hopefully to find everything “lost in the car” & find a place in the house.
It was very difficult to finally say goodbye to all my family, Phet (my wife), & my two daughters were very tearful & upset as was of course my sister & seeing their sadness did make it all the harder for me although mine was tempered with the excitement of at last starting my lifelong dream of coming to live in Spain. And as for my many friends, both Masonically & others, I don’t think I’ve had so many hugs in my life!
In Spain I know that there are loads of things I need to do, but as I am in Sedella for a couple of months, before I to return to England, think there’s plenty of time before I need to concentrate on them. I might do one of my infamous lists. Anyway I need a bit of warmth on my back after the horrendously cold winter & spring of the UK. It seems like the very cold & snowy winter has lasted forever. Nature has not been very kind this time & seems to have gone mad!
With regards to my Freemasonry I have spoken to a fellow on holiday in England but who has lived in Puerto Banus for about 20 years & he says he will help me in those endeavours, so that seems promising.
Then of course I want to get involved in some football, so I may pop along to see Malaga play their last couple of games before the end of the season.
Right, I better try to get some sleep but if I do I’m likely to keep everyone awake with my snoring!
My final stay in the UK.
08 April 2013
Posted at 23:53 Comments (12)
Sorry I have not written before but since being in England my life has seemed to have been a catalogue of misfortunes. Now you must be thinking I’m a grumpy old sod, but honestly I’m not. On driving off the Ferry at Portsmouth, the Spring I thought might brighten our lives, just never materialised & I’ve spent the last 20 days clearing snow & shivering with cold. What an Easter – terrible, worst I have known.
My laptop then seriously crashed & had to be taken right back to factory settings. Unfortunately this was Windows Vista as I bought my laptop 1 week before Windows 7 was launched & to which I subsequently uploaded. I also did not have Microsoft Office loaded as it was a 60 day free trial thing, & to exacerbate the situation both the DVD discs are in Spain, so I was limping along finalising various secretariat’s & asking friends to print off items for me etc, so time consuming, how did we manage without computers &n printers?
Fortunately my place in England was all completed & finished without a hitch so that’s a blessing, although a fair amount of items are still in the back room of Phet’s saloon still to be transported to Spain, a minor problem however. But the things I have thrown away, I’m still in mourning!
Phet has now applied for British Citizenship which not only costs a fortune but can take up to 7 months, so she has to remain in England while that is concluded. This was the problem with her all along but she did not tell me. Sad for me particularly, but also for Phet who has to remain in England.
There were several other problems to overcome but no-one wants to hear of moaning’s………., so now I am booked on the overnight Brittany ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo on Thursday hoping to be back in Sedella on Saturday & really friends I cannot wait to be back.
My mate Richard may travel with me depending on his hospital appointment the day prior, but driving down on my own again holds no fears, I now know what to expect.
Perhaps after once again settling down in Sedella I can re-commence our meetings up again with my extra-ordinarily good friends on Eye on Spain & there are lot of you.
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