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Was going to Spain from start to finish but now I, Luca have taken over

Was about researching about where to look & about living in Spain I am here. So was for anyone interested here are the good & bad things that happened to me.
But now I (Luca) will tell you about my experiences, both very bad, better and good.

Luca, just Luca .................
30 April 2014

Hello! My name is Luca, (and no! I do not live on the second floor – for the “old pop music fans that”) I’m a dog and I thought I’d write a few lines about my life in Spain. I don’t remember my dad although I am told he was part Labrador, & my mum was a pedenco, a hunting dog. My master (well at least I let him think he is!) used to write about coming to Spain, but some ‘orrible trolls got right up his nose so he stopped writing,  but I won’t be so kind to trolls so you better watch out …………..

Firstly I was chucked out on the streets of Torre Del Mar about 6 months ago when I was about a year old because I was born to be a hunting dog but I have a problem - I just love everything and everyone, whether it be another dog (big, huge or small or just tiny), a wild animal from rabbit to a wild boar but especially you humans, I just love you lot and can’t get enough of you, it’s so easy to wind you lot around my “finger” a big wagging tail, a loving look into your eyes, a kind whimper, a dance on my hind legs and I’ve got you all under my paw – easy peasy.

But it was tough and strange on the streets, I was used to the mountains, no food, having to scavenge & scrounge, sometimes going days feeling so hungry and alone. Then somebody hit me on the head, could even have been a car, causing a deep gash over my eye and I caught a serious eye infection closing my left eye entirely. I was very soon covered in fleas & ticks, I even caught “tick fever” and felt dreadful. I really felt unloved even though I had bags of love to give and I thought my future was bleak, what was I going to do I felt so depressed and unhappy. I had by this time found my way to the bus station in Torre Del Mar where several times I had nearly been hit by passing traffic, some drivers are most uncaring I really couldn’t understand it at all and some of you human pedestrians were also most unkind.

Then my luck changed, a lovely lady human named Kathy came along, saw my plight and enticed me to her (which really wasn’t hard – she is so lovely). She took me off back to the countryside to her home where I met her family and pets, but I was a bit scared yet again as this was all so new to me.

She soon took me to see a lovely bloke in Puente Don Manuel called Mario who spoke to me in Spanish and English, clever bloke this. Transpires he is the local dog doctor or vet as you humans call him. Anyway he did some strange things; he stuck a glass thing up my bum, most embarrassing and uncomfortable that, looked in my poorly eye, down my throat & stuck a needle in my leg and pinched some of my blood. I then was given another couple of injections and some tablets for my tick fever. But I like Mario he is so kind to me he kept talking to me all the time. On leaving Mario’s, Kathy bought some humans eye ointment fromthe chemists (Mario told her it was cheaper that way – what a nice man!) & off we went home, but was it my home? I heard Kathy say that they were going on holiday soon & didn’t know what to do with me then – oh dear I was seriously worried when I heard this surely I wasn’t going to be thrown out again, don’t think I could stand that misery again……………

 

 



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Back home in Spain!
29 June 2013

 Landing at Malaga with Ryanair, early as usual, I was met on exit from the aircraft with superb blast of lovely hot air. 21.00 hours & still lovely & warm, I really felt I was glad to be back. I needed to hang about though for a couple of hours as my good friends, Sandra & Neil were returning from Scotland & were giving me a lift home. Thanks again Neil, much appreciated.

 So now after a good night’s sleep my immediate problem is to insure my car as it expires tomorrow.

Ummm, not as easy I thought, few Spanish Insurance companies want to know about a British car with English number plates & after a fruitless trip to Torre del Mar was sitting at the Plaza bar talking about it, when a total stranger leaned over & handed me a business card saying, “Go to see Esperanza at Liberty Seguros. Her office is by the police station, she is excellent”. “But will she insure my English car?” I asked. The question was in the affirmative so 10 minutes later my appointment was made to see her the following morning at 9.00am.  We talked for a while, I had the quotations & found that the package was acceptable. But horrors I had not got my registration document for the car as last week whilst in England had sent it to the DVLA for an address change. I also did not have a NIE number. I dragged my feet with that as when going to the police station some weeks ago I was put off by the disorderly shambles outside. So I returned home to contemplate my course of action but I was now worried my as insurance was fast running out. Looking again through my (extensive) paperwork I found a duplicate registration document, great, I had forgotten about that. So hastening down to Torre del Mar again I saw Esperanza again at 14.00. “You still need an NIE number” she said, “Come on we’ll get it we have all the paperwork”.

“The police station is only 3 minutes walk away we’ll get the forms, pay the bank, fill them in & you will have to pop back in the morning as they only complete the NIE’s between 9.00 & 11.00”

 

Well, dunno what she said but 15 minutes later they issued the number & she collected it for me the following day on which she issued me with my car insurance. I therefore very strongly recommend her to anyone. Afterwards she told me she had never applied for an NIE & didn’t actually know what she was doing, but she was more than good enough for me.

 Off to see her again on Thursday morning to complete my insurance requirements especially as I have my total trust in her.

 So, I have spoken again with Esperanza & everything I wanted insurance wise she did exactly. (And I am difficult to appease having worked in the industry for 20 years). So I again suggest if you live around Torre Del Mar, want insurance & are worried about getting your NIE speak to her she is brilliant. (She also speaks perfect English).

 Then on Saturday off to a barbecue at Catherine & Ian’s on Saturday so it’s still all go.

 Wonder if Spain will beat Italy & then Brazil to win the Confederation’s Cup on Sunday?

 

 

 



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England, happy to be back their?
22 June 2013

 At least being here back in England the weather is somewhat better (for a while anyway!), although still much cooler than being in Sedella, even up in the foothills.So far my stay in England has gone relatively well with an awful lot of things packed into my stay.

 Last week I stayed with my good friends Astrid & Gary in their lovely house. It looks far better than a show home & their hospitality was second to none. Thank you both my stay was delightful. Astrid is from the Netherlands & like all Dutch people (as it appears to me, she is highly intelligent, & her husband, Gary is also no slouch when it comes to the brain box department. They have now though departed to Normandy France for a big family get together.

So am staying now with my daughter, Marie & Andy (familiarly known as Jock!) & their three boys. William is the eldest, Sammy the middle “bear” followed by the cutest of little  boys, Henry. Three totally & completely different personalities but really superb well mannered children

 

 

 My fourth Grandchild, Emmeline (or Emmy) is two years old today so tomorrow I am popping to Lichfield to see Joanne & Gregg to see them but only after having lunch with my sister Rachel & her husband Steve.

Action filled days eh! – but in the words of the advert, “You know you love it”.

Monday should have becomes quite different! My daughters bought me a balloon ride & I was due to fly from Shugborough Hall – at 6.00am. But this was postponed due to inclement weather, where have we heard this before in the UK? So now it is re-scheduled for Friday, another item in my very busy schedule of 3 more meetings & 5 luncheon dates.

Well the UK weather continues to disappoint, cold & dismal still & yet again the balloon flight was cancelled. It has been re-re-scheduled for Sunday the day before I leave for home. I hope it is successful this time as I am relying on probably the superb scenery. But disappointment again, wind was excessive, so the balloon flight will have to wait now maybe in September.

On my way home now & after the difficult part of saying goodbye to my family, my life time friends & everyone in England I am at Birmingham Airport waiting my flight. So it’s back to a little sun, my home & all my super new friends in Sedella, & my life which is still yet new - I can’t wait



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Do I Miss Sedella? Ryanair & allegiance to the Queen & Great Britain
08 June 2013

In my last blog I did say, “Wonder if I will miss Spain?” well I do. It is nice to be back in England with familiar surroundings & to see my old friends & family, but already I am thinking I will be glad to return home after all the meetings, appointments & dinners & luncheons that are arranged. I do now consider Sedella to be my home although as expected, England will always be my spiritual home.

I’m afraid Ryanair caught me out & I suffered the retribution of having to cough up extra money. I knew my suitcase was heavy but by 3 kilo’s! That was a shock & at €20 per kilo penalty I was in trouble. However after donning my morning suit coat, putting on my heavier shoes & diverting some of it my hand luggage I reduced it by a kilo, but still had to pay €40 for the additional weight. However my hand luggage was now almost 3 kilo’s over the limit. The small suitcase didn’t look bulky & still fitted into their checker easily. Now here's the thing! Did you know that they don’t have a facility to check weights of hand luggage? They only check for size, so I managed to slip that one through, which tempered my annoyance at having to pay the additional €40. I don’t blame Ryanair, I know the rules & I broke them so had to pay for it.

The weather here is a shock, although sunny, yesterday it started at only 13c rising to only 18.5c with a little wind. I hope that improves before I fly back. I no longer like the colder climes even after only 7 weeks living in Spain. Which leaves me very surprised at how quickly I have adapted to the Spanish weather, even the mists & lesser cooler times.
 
Yesterday was the final part of Phet’s path to become a British Citizen & she had to attend The Town Hall in Burton upon Trent for the Ceremony to affirm allegiance to the Queen, the Country & British Law. It was quite a lavish affair in quite a regal surrounding & left Phet extremely emotional. All she has to do now is to apply for her first British passport will involve her final interview which is in Birmingham somewhere.
 
Today I will be meeting many friends at a Meeting I am attending at Staffordshire County Showground with upwards of 1000 men in attendance, most of whom I know well so that should be an excellent event.

 



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Romaria in Sedella & other findings
02 June 2013

Well things are running on a pace and there is good news & good news & good news. I love living here in Spain & Sedella & I am learning all the time. 

Firstly Phet, my wife, now has been given (given? It cost a fortune!), her British Citizenship & has the certificate for it. Good that, two or three months earlier than expected. So now, all she has to do is to attend the swearing in Ceremony (which is next Wednesday, 5th June), then she can apply for her British passport. So no more Schengen visas – hoorah. I fly back to England on Tuesday to attend that ceremony. Whilst their I have to complete her accounts. Wonder if I’ll miss Spain?
 
The weather appears to getting better, 26c today with just a little wind & a promise
of good things to come.
 
Last Sunday I went to Sedella’s Romaria in the barbecue & picnic area 3 km’s away, another thing I’ve learned. I actually followed the “pilgrimage” along with the villagers. (I have to admit I was in my car as I did not know how far it was or indeed where it was) & I just “tacked” on the end. When they were almost their, they called me past where I drove up the single track to the designated area.
 
 
At 11.00 the weather was fine & seeing all the barbecues (there must be about 25 purpose built ones), being lit with logs from around the woods was terrific. Their followed lovely smells of cooking food which was equally good. Everyone was so happy and there was a promise of another good day.
 
That is until the mist came down. It started rolling down at about 1.30pm, by 2.30pm it was complete, with a temperature drop of several degrees. It though didn’t diminish the enjoyment & tarpaulins were erected & coats fetched from the cars. There were still lots of sausages, hamburgers, fish and quite literally “tons” of food to devour, not to mention the copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed. Mist or not a good time was had by all lasting many hours.
 
I also noticed the barbecue’s being lit by twigs & fir cones. The fir cones are a favourite way to light not only barbecues but also the log fires in the house. They are good as they pass air through the logs but they give off wonderful odours. And still I’m learning.
 
So today I drove back to the area & collected fir cones & again marvelled at the views. They are simply stunning & give wonderful views not only of the mountains but in the distance the sea some 22 km’s away.
 
 
 
 
Yet another thing I have discovered is that Sedella has two pools both open to the public. One is in the sports area & the other is Casa Pinta, a restaurant & bar no more than 1 km away. Clean & inviting, the drink & food are just as good. I hope to be up their on Saturday night where they have entertainment & special foods available. Last Saturday was a karaoke which I am told was also very successful.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I certainly am going to miss it all next week when I am in England for a couple of weeks although I will be seeing all my kids, grandkids, family & very dear friends so that is a consolation.


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Fun in Almachar
25 May 2013

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 palmercatherine@yahoo.co.uk – 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!

 



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A personal item & meeting new friends
21 May 2013

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.


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Calling all friends
09 May 2013

Hola,

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.



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More from a newbie in Spain
09 May 2013

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.
 
 


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Bedding in now nicely
01 May 2013

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.

 



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