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Our Andalusian Adventure

Our Andalusian Adventure is me trying to let you into our journey from the UK to a small village in the mountains, myself Danni, Paul, our two daughters Olivia and Chloe and our pets Ted the staffie and Duke and Duchess our cats.

Best foot forward
06 December 2018

Now that we have some time to ourselves Paul and I are now focusing on finding the best walks locally and trying to create a buisness from the area we now live in.  We thought we would try the walk from Canillas de Aceituno, now i am not the best with steep windy roads and the road to Canillas was never ending! It was definitely worth the funny tummy the views are outstanding. Once we eventually found a parking space, us two and Ted climbed out and found the start of the walk. We are using a App to help us find the walks. As we have found with all the walks locally they all involve alot of steep starts, this one was steep and with many steps. The sun was out but not too hot, around 18 degrees so perfect for walking, we took a picnic and we were gifted stunning views all the way to the coast from the top. We didn't have time to do the full route as we had to make our way back to collect the girls and of course have a refreshment in the village before leaving.

In the middle of this week Paul's friend was playing golf at Benalmadena with work and invited him to go along and play. Unfortunately his neck was still playing up he couldn't, it didn't stop him going along for a night out though... It was a good opportunity for them to catch up and have a few drinks. 

Another lovely weekend weather wise and we went down to Chilches to see my Mum and Rob and played on the beach. We bought a kite with us which we have had for several years in the UK but never used. After many attempts at getting it to fly we eventually realised that we just needed to hold it into the wind and it would soar. smiley  

The following week was wet, wet, wet, getting the washing dry was a nightmare sad  and lots of tv was watched. A usual week played out with the food shopping and Spanish lessons. Friday soon came and my Sister returned, this time just with her husband Jon it was great to see them and they even bought the sunshine with them! We had lots of laughs, had so much to talk about and as it was Jon's first time we showed him the sights. Nerja was number one choice for the beach and it was a lovely warm day. Lots of other people had the same idea and it was a squeeze on the beach. Lunch was some monster baguettes from the shop at the top of the steps and a dip in the freezing sea followed! That evening we tried a restaurant we had never been to before just a short drive from our house. We were pleasantly suprised and Simone and Jon had the special - Tomahawk steak from the north to share, it was a monster and to be honest could have fed four people. We all had a delicious meal and with full bellies vowed to return again soon. On Sunday we met my Mum and Rob on the beach on Sunday at Torre del Mar and had another great meal over looking the sea in the sunshine a lovely way to end our fun time with my sister.

 

 

 



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Best view in Axarquia
29 November 2018

Halloween in Spain is a big thing, i wan't sure if they celebrated it but boy oh boy they do! The school had a parade around the village and sang a 'english' halloween song that none of us had ever heard of! laughThe teachers and staff also dressed up.

We went to a Halloween party at a local bar they put on lots of games for the kids it was a good night followed by four days off school for National holiday. We of course went to the beach on the Friday this time we chose Playa Torrecilla in Nerja a lovely bay with some equally nice bars dotted along. 

On the Saturday it was Fiesta Castana - the festival of the Chestnuts, the school children were invited to the National Park to plant some Chestnut trees and they couldn't of picked a nicer day. Gorgeous blue skies, an abundance of warm sunshine and the area was bursting with happy campers. Luckily for the children they had already dug the holes with a digger or we may still be there now. They merely had to fill the holes in and smile for the TV camera. It was quite funny as the TV guy kept trying to interview Olivia and she didn't want to be so spent most of her time hiding from him!! 

Later that day the village came alive with all kinds of stalls, sweet, craft, gifts and Churros. From our house you would have no idea that all this was going on but once we turned the corner by the Town Hall it was packed full of people. We were stunned, they were all queing up for free Chestnuts and baked sweet potato. I like a freebie as much as the next person but i certainly wasn't going to que up especially when they hadn't even started serving yet. We decided to get some tapa and a beer instead, a good choice as we bumped into a English couple who we had started to get to know. Most of the English here are of a certain age so to find a couple of a closer age is so nice. The evening ended up being a bit of bar crawl and everyone seemed to be up for a good night. The entertainment once again didn't start till 10 and by then everyone was a little merry and lots of dancing went on long into the night.

At the school they always seem to be doing some different and on Friday Olivia and her class had a running race around nearby Periana village. Again not entirely sure what it was we went along for our first visit to Periana, we had read previously that it had the best view in Axarquia and i must agree. From the square you can see all the way down to the sea with lake Vinuela just before, a real treat.

The race itself had plenty of participants with many other schools joining in, the many hills made it quite a challenge.  Paul and i decided to have a look around and stumbled across a Olive Oil factory. We are pleased we bought a bottle of Extra Virgen and it tastes amazing great flavour.  

*Sorry for the incorrect orientation of the photos, i don't know why this is doing this again?!!! crying



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A bump in the road
22 November 2018

After a few days to ourselves, Chloe (our youngest) went on her first school trip to Velez Malaga to watch a musical -The Little Prince which she said was boring... even though it was in English and Spanish. frown Later on in the week our friends from the UK came to pay us a visit for the day as they were staying in Marbella. Having holidayed their many times they would now like to explore the area more so hired a car and in the pouring rain they made their way up. They somehow managed to find themselves slap bang in the middle of the Saturday market laugh not the best place to be as trying to turn the car around in the village is nigh on impossible. After many stares from the locals they arrived. We had a fantastic afternoon catching up, eating far too much at Meson El Ciervo and once the sun came out in the afternoon we were all sweltering once more.

The next day my sister Simone and her two girls Isabelle (15) and Sophie (12) arrived at my mum's as it was half term back in the UK we met up at Torre Del Mar for a day at the beach, it was soo good to see them, we had all missed them lots. We had so much fun on the beach and found the best paella since being in Spain (we'll definitely be returning).

There was a triathalon going on along the promenade and every so often we would cheer the poor souls on.  I think my sister approved of the move and enjoyed her stay. She especially liked Nerja and will be returning regularly to see us, in fact she has already booked her next flight a month later. She got a great deal for her and her husband Jon, flight, speedy boarding, car hire and car parking at the airport for under 100 euro yes 

Shortly after the guests left Paul woke up in agony and couldn't turn his head! Not sure what to do we decided to try the local physio who had been highly recommended. After carefully putting him in the car and slowly driving down the mountain to the next village we made it. It was a nightmare getting him in and out the car and into the centre. Poor Amanda - the physio had no idea we were going to burst into her centre and hope she could fix the problem. Luckily she did agree to see him quickly between appointments, sadly as soon as she tried to move his neck he passed out. She therefore had no choice but to send us to the doctors asap worried that she may do more bad than good. She was so helpful and wrote down in Spanish what the problem was for me to give to the doctor. It was a absolute nightmare we hadn't even been to the doctor's surgery before and had no idea where to find it!! crying  Paul had never had a problem like this before and to see him like this was scary.  We shuffled him back into the car and to another town to the surgery. The doctor's were friendly and helpful and concluded that he had Torticollis which is a where the muscle's in the neck contract. After passing out again in the doctors and me catching him! they laid him down and gave him strong pain killers injected straight into his backside. I then had to leave him there while I collected the girls from school, so i raced up the mountain grabbed the girls, fed the dog and raced back to Paul not sure what i would find.  He did actually look a little better, we went home and were told to come back if not better. Two days later it was no better so we did return and they sent us down to the Hospital for a scan. Not ideal as it was a Saturday and the girls are not allowed into the waiting room of the Hospital so we had to call my mum and ask her to collect the girls so i could sit with Paul. My mum was on a long walk to Rincon so by the time she collected the girls she was only home an hour before we left the hospital! The doctors were convinced it was Torticollis so a scan was not necessary and sent us away with another prescription hoping this time the drugs would help.

All of this was not good timing as it was Paul had his birthday coming up on the Monday! We did manage to get out for a meal but in hindsight we probably should have waited as Paul was still in pain. The food at Tanit Beach bar was great though and lived up to its reputation.



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Friends reunited
15 November 2018

Our next visitor was Lorraine my old school friend who is also one of my best friends, she was just as excited as us to see where we now call home. Having climbed to base camp Everest she couldn't wait to see the mountains.

As she loved a adventure she was keen to try out the bus route from Malaga airport to Torre Del Mar. Sadly this was not as straight forward as we had hoped and having no coat she ended up getting very wet. I did feel bad for her. Eventually she made it to Torre del Mar, we collected her and shared many hugs glad to be reunited with my bud!  The next day was a bank holiday and we decided to all go to Almayate beach and meet my mum and Rob there too.  When we got to the beach alot of the space along the road was coned off so we parked futher up and then when we got on the beach a man approached to say that they are filming here so can we move further along the beach. We were most disappointed that we weren't asked to be in it instead just being asked to move along. He obviously hadn't seen our Baywatch impressions.... It was a bit of a disaster actually because we had planned to have lunch on the beach too and so we went along to the bar but they were catering for the film crew so were full. We got in the car and drove down to Benajarafe for a long lunch. That evening we had been invited to a 40th surprise birthday party. It was the husband of a school parent who i had got to know, she is English and very helpful as she has been living in Spain for many years. We had never met Tim (the husband) but thought it would be good to go and be seen. Once we found the venue for the party we had a great time, it was a lovely warm evening, lots of people, live music and most importantly Tim had a fab time. Soon midnight was upon us and after a few too many G & T's it was time to depart.

The following day feeling a little delicate Lorraine was desperate for us to go for a hike, off we went and i must say it was a good way to shake off the hangover. I took her on a route we usually regularly, the track starts just by the side of the school and is a constant incline to the top. Not for the fainthearted, it takes you up through the pine tree forest giving you wonderful views including one of Vineula Lake. Up there you can see for miles and wonder which white wash villages are which. Our walk of course wouldn't have been complete without an impromptu photoshoot on top of the picnic table. We like to do random things and many great photos came out of it, i'm just glad no-one saw us!!

Whilst Lorraine was with us she generously treated us to a day out at to the Caves in Nerja, the wearher forcast was so bad that we were unsure whether we would be able to... Torrential rain and flooding was threatened but thankfully it was just very wet but as we were going in a cave we didn't think that would matter.  It took us around 40 minutes to get to Nerja and then a few more minutes to the cave. We haven't been back to Nerja since our fist holiday here in April and it was a welcome sight apart from the weather. We managed to get into the cave while it was dry and we all thoroughly enjoyed learning about the caves and the sheer scale of them.

When we came out however it was bucketing it down! We had gone prepared with coats and umbrellas but it was a challenge just to get from the gift shop to the cafe without getting soggy feet. The cafe was buzzing with people, we found a table and had a bocadillo.  While finishing lunch the weather looked brighter and we were able to enjoy the views from the cafe over the sea. We then made our way to the centre of Nerja and amazingly found a parking space wink

We had a lovely time wandering the streets and people watching on the Balcon de Europa a perfect end to the day and our time together. 

 



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Back to school
08 November 2018

During Paul's parents stay we had fantastic weather, we had so much to show them and catch up with the weather really helped. It was Fiesta time in our village for the Virgen de la Rosario which included a Tortilla tasting competition on the Sunday afternoon, where locals entered the own tortilla recipes in the hope of winning a plate. We especially loved this as we had to try all the tortillas and free cold refreshments were provided to wash it all down. This took place in the wonderful plaza outside the church, set with gorgeous orange trees which gave much needed shade on this very hot day. The girls were happy too as there was entertainment just for them and face painting too! The evening before a stage was erected in the plaza along with a bouncy castle and come 10pm the music began and the plaza began to fill. Children impressed with traditional dances and a fantastic duo entertained us with their vocal talents. We left the party at midnight as we were all a bit tired and sadly the night was now in full swing. We really should have had a siesta that day...

Sunday evening there was mass and then a procession of the Virgen de la Rosario we went along at 7pm not knowing what we would find, the church was full for mass and so we sat and waited. The band started slowly congregating around the plaza, for a local band we were impressed by the amount of members. Once mass had finished they began to bring the beautiful Virgen out, they then stood it down and one of the mass began to ask the men who would like to help carry the Virgen. They asked Paul, not entirely sure what they wanted i encouraged Paul to take part. This maybe wasn't the best of my ideas. Poor Paul then had to carry the Virgen around the whole of the village up and down the hills followed by the band. It was incredibly heavy and i didn't know wether to laugh or cry!  Luckily they did keep stopping for rests and Paul did have his trainers on but i don't think he will be volunteering next time. We did support Paul by following him with the rest of the conregation and we almost made it the whole way but the thought of a nice cold beer was just too irresistible. It didn't go down well when the procession route when straight past the bar we were insurprise so we were well and truly busted. Despite the pain Paul was in it scored him lots of brownie points and once they made it back to the church (the procession lasted about 60 minutes) they made a speech and thanked Paul, they are such a lovely bunch of people!! That night we certainly gained more friends they did really appreciate Paul's efforts.

On the Saturday we took a trip to Chilches and visited my Mum and Rob for the first time, and see how they have settled into their house. They have rented a lovely house right on the beach. Once we all had a good look around for some reason they thought it would be good to walk to the restaurant on the beach. My mum assured us that we would be fine to walk as it was a 'short' walk, well it was more like a 25 minute walk which took its toll with the midday sun beating down on us. Once we arrived thirsty and very hungry we couldn't wait to sit down. One slight problem the restaurant was very busy and the waiter was not amused when we had not reserved a table, never the less he did manage to seat us and it was not a problem after all....The food was delicious and after a few too many wines we all couldn't reisit the call of the sea. The girls ran off first and we were closely behind, belly's full we floated around in the gorgeous water not looking forward to our trek back.

One of the families we have got to know in the village have a delightful young daughter called Macarena and she seems to be taken with our girls. They try their best to talk to us and we try our hardest to understand. We had seen them that morning at the market and they made an effort to come over and tell us that later on they would be bringing a pony over and the girls can ride it. The girls were thrilled and we said of course we would meet them at 5.30pm that evening.  After our time at the beach we rushed home and changed ready to meet the family and the pony. We made it in time but no sign of them..... 7.30pm came and in typical Spanish style they showed up wink Lots of fun was had and we took some great pictures. A great way to start the fiesta!

 

While Paul's parents were with us we did alot we took them to Velez Malga, Torre del Mar, into the mountian - Sierra Tejeda we packed alot into seven days. They plan on visiting every 2 months and have already booked for December and February. 

As I mentioned in last week's blog we are taking Spanish lessons, we found out about the lessons purely by chance when we met a couple who have lived in a nearby village for many years and had lots of good advice for us newbies. They asked if we had our name down for the free Spanish lessons at the school, shocked we said no we hadn't heard about this. We thought surely not, free lessons and literally around the corner from where we live and below our daughter's school?? Anyway, I found the phone number, called the lady and was told to go along tomorrow to the school to see her. We walked along the next day and introduced ourselves to the lovely teacher Alicia and she said to come back at 11.30 for a lesson. Ok, we thought we'll give it a go once again not knowing what we had signed up for. The lesson was great but a bit slow for us so we quickly moved onto the next group which started at 9.30, this time works perfectly as the girls start school at 9.30 and as i said the lesson's are next door to the school. The lessons are a great asset and yes they are free! laugh

I'll sign off with a photo of the sunset from our front door. I'll never get bored of this heart



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Fiesta time
01 November 2018

The time has come to say goodbye to our freedom, my mother and Rob are due anyday. They left the UK on the Monday after getting very itchy feet, their winter rental is not ready for another 7 days but they just couldn't wait! I can't blame them though, they had a amazing adventure ahead of them. They decided to drive through France and Spain over the next 4 days ready to arrive with us on the Friday. Their route would take them on the euro tunnel to Le Mans for a quiet stopover, then Pamploma, Valdepenas and lastly a action packed night in Cordoba. They landed on our soggy doorstep on Friday morning... Not the weather we had hoped for but by the next day it was beautiful sunshine and we got to show them our new surroundings. A bonus for our village is on a Saturday is the weekly market, this is where we buy our fruit and vegetables for the week, you can buy other items, some of which are a bit random - batteries and scary looking kitchen knives surprise It is a good chance to catch up with the locals as you can guarantee they will all be out for the market.  One of the best products to buy is the mangoes, they are delicious!! There was a job that came up for Mango pickers i'd have liked to give it a go and the money wasn't bad either 10 euro an hour. They had been inundated with interest and so no room for me sadmaybe next year.

On the Sunday it was another gorgeous day and we decided to try and find the Feria de San Miguel in Velez-Malaga our search took us  into the centre of the town and i'm glad it did. There was lots going on live music, dancing and a massive amount of food!!

 

Our next mission was to find the horses which were supposedly doing a display in the car park next to the football stadium, but nobody told us there were two football stadiums!! We asked around and nobody could help until finally we saw the poster advertising the event and then a young lady who informed us that we were looking near the wrong stadium. So, we all got back in the red hot car and off we went in the direction of El Ingenio. Luckily we approached the area from the right direction so we could see the horses from the dual carriageway. After a stressful ten minutes we had arrived and were delighted with what we found. A fantastic display of the beautiful Andalusian horses, all groomed to perfection and ready to show off their amazing paces. And all the horses were carefully placed around the bar and seating area. Naturally we had to get a drink on such a hot day and once 2pm came  they served free Paella for everyone. For me it doesn't get much better than this surrounded by an animal I love, delicious food and plenty of sunshine. Even Chloe and Olivia had a ride, a day to remember!

The next day our guests left, anxious and excited to see their home for the next few months. Us, glad to have the next two days to ourselves. We decided to take our bikes out for the first time, back in the UK i would ride often with my good friend Lorraine, which initself was always amusing! Biking around a mountian however i feel would not be so amusing. We drove the bikes to an area we had got to know a little, parked up and unloaded. This short drive is breathtaking and most of it on tarmaced roads. We mounted the bikes and off we went at a good pace. The good pace was due to the decline of the track and i hadn't realised quite how much of a decline it was until we started to head back up. This was now turning out to be one of the harder rides i had been on in recent years and I haven't been on a ride since!

Wednesday came before we knew it and off we went to our free Spanish lessons at the adult school but just before we arrived when we received a phone call from the panicked in-laws saying they might not make the flight as there was a accident on the motorway!! Oh my goodness, that would be a disaster if they missed it the girls were so excited to see them! The spanish lessons were spent half the time listening and half the time checking our phones for updates!! Thankfully they made it and Olivia and Paul collected them (once they found them) from Malaga airport on time. I stayed at the house and prepared a meal we could all enjoy al fresco. 

 

 

 

 



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Hidden paradise
25 October 2018

We have now been living in Andalusia for 4 weeks, we have packed quite a bit in to that time and managed to survive without Wifi LOL! We had trouble deciding (well i say we, mostly Paul) which way was best to recieve Internet and UK TV. This search took us gladly to a Tuesday market nearby. Once we found it we were pleasantly surprised by the array of local and handmade items. The best of it was the location, a hidden paradise set in beautiful gardens we couldn't believe our eyes! A stunning venue for a wedding or a party, my brain started to whir. My background has been in organising events and i am pretty sure there is a market out their for unique wedding venues. Maybe that could be how we make a living out here?

I digress we found the man we were looking for and he helped make our decision on the Internet. As we live in a village in the mountains the best option for us was ADSL cable rather than satellite or fibreoptic. The next research was which provider to use and what bundle to go for. We chose a box for TV channels and its fantastic! All the UK channels are including SKY Sports, SKY Movies, Box sets, we'll never be bored on a rainy day! That is what it's there for, we have made a rule though no telly before the evening unless it's rainy we don't want to slide back into old habits.

Our nearest bank is in a old town called Velez Malaga i am glad we have had to go into branch as it has helped us explore and get to know this gorgeous town. We now regularly find an excuse to pop along and enjoy a coffee on the square and people watch. It's lovely to see their high street's thriving and so well kept unlike back in blighty. On our first visit we walked until we found the old castle having walked the many steps we were rewarded with a roof top view for miles.

At this time we were expecting our first visitors from the UK my mum and her partner Rob.  This brought a whole load of feelings, would they like it, would they understand why we made the move?? 

 

 



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Some ME time
18 October 2018

One of the things i love to do is Yoga it's good for my mind, body and soul, my love affair started in 2004 at a local class in the UK, back then i practised at least twice a week, once the girls got older I found it more difficult to go regularly. I continued through both pregnancies and I am sure it played a huge part in having straight forward home births. When I saw a Yoga workshop advertised in Benajarafe on the Digame website I got straight on the phone to book my place. A lovely german lady took the class and was delighted i wanted to join in. The workshop was at a German Yoga retreat hotel 40 minutes away we had no idea what to expect once we found it it was in the most beautiful gardens a real hidden gem.

It was bustling with fellow yogi's who were staying at the retreat. I had fun finding the studio through a maze of ornate narrow pathways, giant palms and water features. The session was two hours long and once completed i was full of calmness and serenity. heart

While I was slaving away Paul and the girls went to the delightful Benajarafe beach nearby and had a fantastic time helped by the fact they were the only ones on it! Once we were reunited all very hungry we decided to try the local bar and have 'Menu del Dia' we were not dissapointed 8 euro each for 4 courses including a drink and bread. We left happy customers and of course on a scorching day i had to have a dip in the sea before returning to the mountains. Bliss! 

After my relaxing other worldly Sunday i had the anxiety the following day of my first appointment at the recommended local hairdresser's. Most of the anxiety came from the fact that i don't speak much Spanish, how would i explain which colour i require.... Luckily the hairdresser is a sweetheart and having showed her photos she knew exactly what i wanted. The result was just as good as before if not better and for almost a third of the cost!! I was thrilled and now i'm thinking of changing my colour again. My fresh looking hair was perfectly timed for our first party night in the village. We are very lucky that we have at least four bar/restaurants to choose from at any one time we like all of them for different reasons and they are all a 2 minute walk and due to the hills a 5 minute walk back. One of our most favourite haunts is due to the hosts Hildi and Manolo and this is where our party night happened. They have made us feel most welcome since our arrival in Spain, and have since got to know each other well. They host regular music nights with a plentiful buffet. We all got dressed up and took lots of selfies before heading out. By the time the buffet was ready we were ravenous and a little tipsy (Paul and I that is) there was a wonderful array of food on offer and we filled our plates high! It wasn't long after that the music started and a charming german lady took to the floor and sang in many different languages, French, English and Spanish. It took a while for her and the crowd to warm up but once she got into her groove it wasn't long before we were all up dancing. It was a wonderful feeling and made me feel so grateful for our new life it was a real celebration of all our hard work to get here. What better way to celebrate than dancing under the stars on a warm September evening with my wonderful family. It was imperative to make the most of this evening as all of our peace was about to be disrupted by the non stop arrival of our visitors from the UK from now until November frown

 

 



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Sink or swim
11 October 2018

Our third week in this beautiful place ~ First day of school for our girls it started with a leisurely short day of 12-2.30pm smiley This first week was all about settling in and the following week they would start lessons. Chloe (year 2) needed books ordering from a book shop in Velez Malaga we had no idea where to find this book shop but our estate agent helped us out again and with the magic of modern technology we sent her a photo of the list of books and they ordered them. They were ready to collect on the second day of school and we faced the next challenge of finding the book store !! laugh The official document with the book list was stamped by the school, it had all the books needed for Chloe, and we were told to guard this piece of paper with our lives. We found the book shop and handed over the list. The man was aware of our order- result- and he then handed over the books. We then tried to pay the 133 euro but it was not necessary this was paid for by the education system. With this good news we dived into a cafe and celebrated with a orange juice, i know rock n roll right winkOlivia who is in year 6 does not need new books they borrow previous pupils as they do not write in the books. Anyway, they both enjoyed their first day and days to follow Olivia especially enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. In her last school year in the UK the teacher was extremly strict and if you were caught holding your pencil at the wrong time your name was written on the board! Talking to one another was not allowed either. Here they have no uniform, the teacher high fives them on the way in and everyone is smiley. 

One of the the concerns when moving to Spain was where would we find raw dog food for Ted, we decided to change him from dry food to raw when he almost had canine bloat, which is deadly as the stomach flips and is normally irreversible. sad He is 18 month old now and has been on this for around 6 months now, the health benefits are huge, not to mention the dry pellet like poo so much nicer to deal with. We found a dog hotel called Posh Pets over in Alhaurin about an hour and a 1/4 from us, they supply frozen BARF complete dog food so now once a month off we trundle ready with our cooler bag and freezer packs. The things we do for our pets.... He has settled in really well, he still hates the pool and cannot for the life of him understand why anyone would want to get in their willingly! One day i will buy him a lifejacket and teach him to swim. Surely he'll enjoy it when it's 40 degrees?

Off now to collect more visitors from bus station 

Girls first day at school - still can't rotate pictures!! 

Me and Ted at the Rio Alcazar

Torre del Mar with bird of paradise

My bedroom view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Who can you trust?
04 October 2018

Next on the agenda was 'buy a car' for years now we had bought a car relatively new from a dealer paying by monthly payments, now we had to put a chunk of our hard earned cash into buying a car outright and from a person who doesn't speak good english and we do not have a mechanical background. This process did take some time but we still needed a car to get around so this meant we hired a car for 8 days thinking by then we would have found the right one. Unfortunately this did not happen so we ended up hiring 3 no the cars were great value but we had to go through the soul destroying experience of driving back to Malaga airport and then waiting for our next hire car .... The worst time was the last when we hired through Goldcar, we had to queue up for over an hour to collect our car!! It was ridiculous. Considering we had already booked online, considering the amazing technology out there now this was very unnecessary. The last car we hired was a Peugeot Panther we thought this would be good as we could use it to move furniture and dispose of garden waste what we didn't realise was how basic they were inside. I also think someone had stole the aerial as we had no radio! We had to endure journeys with no music, one particular memorable journey was after finding a beautiful sideboard for sale on the 'digame' website we needed to collect from Torrox. Now if it wasn't for the GPS co-ordinates we would have never found the place it was deep into the mountain along various tracks. We, well I underestimated the size of this piece of furniture.... With the seats pushed down and the passenger seat right at the front off we went home with Paul's face squashed up against the windscreen, and me driving with my right arm above my head as the furniture leg was poking in my shoulder, i wish we had videoed it! It did give me the giggles though and i'm happy to say we all love the furniture and it was worth the 50 minutes of discomfort. Back to cars after test driving a couple - one was a hyundai i30 and the test drive was another side cracking moment everytime he took his foot off the clutch a little it raced off like something possesed!! We decided against that car. We ended up buying a Mazda 5 from the Toyota garage with 1 years warranty, we don't need 7 seats but it has come in very handy i must say. The sales guy was quite a character too reminded me a bit of a spanish basil fawlty! 

During our second week we also thought it best to pop our heads in to the school and show our faces. The estate agent had handed in the forms back in June but i had had no confirmation. We went to the office and spoke to the 'Director' the girls were on their respective class list but she was adamant they didn't have the forms and we should fill in new one's. As you can imagine i was insistent that she actually had a look for the forms, after several minutes had gone by her secretary popped in and confirmed she had the forms..... With this we then were told there is a meeting tomorrow for everyone for the new school year. We did go to the meeting but it was hard as they didn't translate a word even though they did speak English. So, we left with a A4 piece of paper stating the materials we needed for each, surprise all in Spanish with all kinds of  equipment needed including packs of tissues. We had some good advice from a fellow brit on where to buy the materials which was a god send and since starting the girls are really enjoying it. Olivia (10) really enjoys the relaxed style here as when in the UK she wasn't even allowed to talk to friends in class. There is no uniform, the days are 1 hour shorter and you call your teacher by their first names. They have now been there for 4 weeks and have two trips planned, one is to the Science Park in Granada and having researched it i'd love to tag along, surely they need a extra pair of hands. 



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