9/9 – English Cinema?

September 10, 2007 | No comments | Blog

Bob and Jackie invited us out to the cinema this evening, the cinema in question, which showed films in English (with Spanish subtitles) every weekend, was located in Pilar de la Horadada; a town about 30 minutes south of Bob and Jackie.

The cinema was quite small (although Bob pointed out that it could seat 800 people after a quick count of the rows), and used to be “open air” with a wooden concertina roof which I don’t think works any more (shame as it was quite warm).

The cinema is opened by the local council and manned, we think, by volunteers the cost to watch a film is only 5 Euros and the whole thing seems to be run rather like a non-profit making organisation, the local Spanish council worker that organises everything is keen to point out that without people attending they would not be able to show up to date films like the one we watched last night – Oceans 13 – great film.

We are going back in 2 weeks to watch Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix.

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8/9 – Still Suffering….

September 10, 2007 | No comments | Blog

I have decided – I am never going to drink again!

Bob and Jackie came round this evening to take us out for a meal – to thank me for helping get their computer working, this was a really nice and unexpected gesture and something that was typically kind of them to think of.

We went down to the Patagonia Steak House and had a really nice night, I experienced what it was like to stay sober all evening – it’s good to have new experiences every now and then 😉

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7/9 – BBQ

September 10, 2007 | No comments | Blog

This evening we went to Dave’s house (editor of The Jungle Drums) for a BBQ, problem was that Dave was a little disorganised when it came to actually cooking anything and consequently when I decided to JFDI (Just F****g Do It) the BBQ was cold and not capable of cooking anything!

Thankfully after a quick text, one of the other guests arrived with some BQ coals and we managed to get things going. Of course this lack of sustenance meant that I had to replace any time not eating with drinking – boy that was a heavy night, but really enjoyed it!

Worst of it all was that I had to get up for work at 9am (only went to bed around 3am!), I somehow managed to do the 2 jobs I had that day and then I crawled back into bed to sleep it off for the rest of the day!

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3/9 – Friends and Fiesta’s

September 5, 2007 | 1 comment | Blog

Today our friends Bob and Jackie arrived from the UK, bringing with them (as we ask most people to do) all those little things that we need to have sent over from “home” – although I have to say that Spain is feeling more and more like “home” every day.

In true Thorogood style Bob had a little job for me to do, his PC was knackered when he tried to turn it on -payback to me for him bringing our English goodies over 😉

Although why on earth he needed to get into his emails less than 6 hours after leaving them back in the UK Heaven only knows – and I thought I was addicted to the Internet!

Anyway, it was great to catch up with them in their apartment in Torrevieja and Jackie laid on a bit of lunch as well – all very nice.

In the evening we all decided to go down to Santa Pola to watch the “Moors & Christians” parade, we had previously arranged with our other friend, Ralph to collect him and go to the parade together. The Moors & Christians is one of Spain’s biggest festivals and are held to commemorate the battles, combats and fights between Moors (or Muslims) and Christians during the period known as Reconquista (from the 8th century through the 15th century).

The streets were lined with chairs (5 deep at parts on both sides) and the lines ran the whole length of the town – and amazing number of people turned out and we couldn’t help but to comment on the fact that a similarly sized town in the UK (Wellingborough) were considering stopping their carnival because of lack of interest!

The parade was supposed to start at 8:30PM, however true to the manaña attitude of our adopted countrymen it actually started about an hour or so late; it was well worth the wait! Wave after wave of groups of men, women and children passed the spot where we had decided to stand and watch, each group an elaborate theme based on either the Moors or the Christians, as you can see from the photos. What the photos don’t do justice to is the mock battles and other moving displays that passed by us, little re-enactments of Moors invading, pillaging and finally being beaten back by the Christians, all acted out on the move past us. Following each group was their band – I lost count of the number of individual bands that we saw that evening but there must have been at least 50!

Each group that passed had a group of walkers (or dancers or fighters) followed usually by a float pulled by a tractor and then by a band, I am sure that I spotted the same “happy” tractor driver that I commented about on the 3 Kings Day parade, see if you think it’s the same guy – http://ourspanishadventure.blogspot.com/2007/01/61-three-kings-day.html

Each group of dancers we were told were each responsible for buying / making their own particular costume, some of them must have cost 100’s of euros each.

We watched the processions for about 2 hours before it became too late and we became too tired of standing to continue – poor Bob has a dodgy knee at the best of times and had already decided to sit down on the pavement as he found the pain of standing to be too much. It was clear that the parade was going to continue for some time yet, we made our way out onto some of the back streets to see whether we could find a little bar to have a sit down and a drink – it was now around 11:30 at night.

Liesl quickly located a bar, no surprise there then, and we went inside for a drink (Ralph was taking the photo btw) while the crouds subsided outside, after about an hour it was all over and we were able to wander along to the car and drive home – a really great experience.

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28/8 – No Work!

August 29, 2007 | 1 comment | Blog

So anyway, its been really quiet this month – normal for August so I am told, a little scary never the less; but not to be idle I decide (or rather Liesl decides for me) that it’s time to sand down the new, second hand, front door and frame so that it can be varnished – not a bad job me thinks, all day in the sun, I can handle that!

Anyway, off to the local DIY shop to buy sand paper, varnish and the like, no problem there, very reasonable (about 10 euros for the lot), excellent.

Liesl started to read the instructions – well her Spanish is much better than mine! “What is the temperature?” she says. “Well its 37 degrees at the moment” I reply.

“The directions on the tin say that the varnish should be applied when the temperature is between 12 and 25 degrees!” says Liesl.

LOL, the lowest the temperature currently drops is about 27 degrees – would you believe that I am going to have to wait for winter before I can varnish the bloody door!

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25/8 – Doggy Mess

August 28, 2007 | No comments | Blog

Whilst walking through our local town of Santa Pola today I witnessed the not-unusual sight of a Spaniard allowing his dog to “mess” on the pavement. I was however surprised when he self same chap proceeded to take a plastic bag out of his pocket and pick up the mess that his dog had left behind – I have never seen this before, even though there are free “poo bag” holders all around the major cities of Spain, they all seem to be full of “poo bags” because no-one ever takes them!)

You can imagine how much more shocked I was when I saw the man put down the bag, take hold of his dog’s tail and hold it up so that the dog’s back legs were just off the ground, put his hand into his pocket, took out a q-tip, and proceeded to clean the mut’s behind!!!!

Now that is what I call attention to detail – good man. I dont think I will tell Liesl about it though for fear of being forced to carry q-tips around with me when taking Hetty out!

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19/8 – Holbush Way in Spain!

August 20, 2007 | 2 comments | Blog

Today we went to visit our friends and old neighbours Pam and Dave – they are the guys that we bought our last house from in the UK (5 Holbush Way) and, as they used to live there, they are, of course, also ex-neighbours of Dave, all we needed was for Bob and Jackie (our other neighbours from the UK) to turn up and most of the top part of Holbush Way would be empty!

Pam and Dave moved to San Miguel (about an hour’s drive away from our place) in September of 2006 and therefore have been here almost a year as well.

They took us to a lovely restaurant for Sunday lunch. The restaurant, “Market St”, was in San Miguel and for a very reasonable 20 euros (fifteen quid) we each had a very filling 3 course meal with wine, not bad really, although Liesl and I are clearly getting used to living in Spain as both thought that it was expensive – mad really as it was nothing.

Afterwards we went back to Pam and Dave’s to enjoy some of Pam’s homemade sangria – very refreshing – nice one Pam!

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18/8 – Not planned – honest!

August 20, 2007 | No comments | Blog

Well, with Dave’s request for us not to plan anything ringing in my ears I gratefully accepted an invitation to a BBQ from our friends Paul and Jackie – well Dave loves a good BBQ anyway!

We had a fantastic time, all jumping in the pool within 30 minutes of arriving to play “pool volley ball” – hehe, fantastic and a great laugh, however someone needs to invent a way of getting the ball back after it gets punched outside the pool every 30 seconds – business opportunity there!

As you can see from the picture (click to enlarge if you need to) Liesl seems to have found something to do with the long tube like float – not sure what, but she certainly had a smile on her face for the rest of the day – strange.

After some serious messing around in the pool we sat down to have a lovely BBQ – chicken kebabs and lots more – jum!

Then we had a little drink – well a big one actually – thanks for driving Liesl 😉

Finally we finished the evening off by jumping back into the pool at about 10pm to cool off, first class!

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16/8 – “D” Day!!

August 20, 2007 | 1 comment | Blog

This evening Dave, a good friend and ex-neighbour arrived to visit us for a long weekend (he goes back next Wednesday), he has been working hard down in London but, thankfully, has found the time to come and visit – probably sick of the rain in the UK – hehe.

He has instructed us not to arrange anything for him as he just wants to sit by the pool and “chill”, not sure whether that is because he really does want to just sit by the pool or whether he is being his usual thoughtful self and doesn’t want to put us to any trouble.

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12/8 – Update

August 12, 2007 | No comments | Blog

The past few weeks have been busy work wise, well probably more for Liesl than for me, but this has, in addition to the hot weather, meant that we have not been able to spend the afternoons on the beach.

A couple of weeks ago we bought an umbrella to ensure that, when we were able to go we would be in shade (without it we would certainly have fried within a couple of minutes!) Even under the shade of the umbrella the temperature still rose well into the thirties!
On the 27th July Alan (a friend from Getronics), his wife Sharon and family arrived. They had rented a villa in Bonalba, about 30 minutes drive from us, and invited us over on the Saturday for drinks and a stopover. We were really looking forward to it as we had a great time with them the last time they were out in October – they didn’t disappoint this time either, we spent most of the evening chatting, however because Alan had kept up to date with this blog (hi Alan), he unnervingly managed to finish most of my sentences off, knowing more about what we had been up to in the past 6 months almost than we did, as you can see from the pictures we ended up floating with a beer in the pool – we were to be slightly worse for wear and spent the Sunday recovering at home.

We repeated the event the following Friday (well you can never have too much of a good thing can you!)
The following week dictated more work, as usual, however whilst driving from a customer’s house one day I saw a scene that could only happen here in Spain, a goat herder leading his herd from the field, straight across the road in front of me (never mind the fact that cars are coming – they can wait), into another field.
At first I couldn’t even see him, his dogs or his goats, just what looked like a dust cloud moving towards the road, when I got closer I was stationary for long enough to take this picture.

On Wednesday 8th we decided to skive off and spend the day at a tourist attraction about an hours drive away – Guadalest. It’s a small village perched on the pinnacle of a granite mountain, and the views from it are fabulous as you can see from the pictures. Afterwards we stopped at a small roadside restaurant and had a bite to eat before heading back to Gran Alacant.

Alan had asked me to arrange a tandem paragliding jump for him and one of his sons (Ben). There is a shop local to our home that offer such jumps, which involve being strapped to a guy that has been strapped to a parachute before running towards and off the cliff edge – trusting of course that the wind will win over gravity!

Anyway, I had arranged a jump for him for 5pm on Thursday, he and his family were to come to our place first so that we could all go off to the Paragliding shop together. When they arrived Alan looked more than a little concerned about what he had let himself in for, Ben of course, drunk with the innocence of youth, had no such concerns and took great pleasure in telling Liesl and I that his dad had been like this all day.
We arrived at the shop and the owner informed us that it was far too windy to fly – the smile returned to Alan’s face!

That day was the last day that we saw them as they were off back to the UK the next day, they were kind enough to leave us with their unopened booze (about 7 bottles of wine!) and another beach umbrella as well as taking us out for a lovely meal – as always very generous.

We opened an invitation to them to come over for a long weekend anytime they like, hopefully they will take us up on it as they are great company.
On the 10th a friend of ours, from Spanish classes, Ralph came up to our place so that we could all go out for a drink to a local Spanish bar, we decided to go to El Paripe as it has a lovely sun terrace which is particularly nice to sit out in at night, we had a nice evening chatting and looking at the view.

Yesterday, after going to the market in the morning, we went over to Liesl’s mum’s house in La Marina to water her “orchard” and spent the afternoon at her house, sitting on her terrace reading. We, and particularly Hetty, really enjoy visiting and being able to sit outside the house as it has lovely big terraces around it – they are currently back in Ireland and we go over at least once a week to water their plants.

In the evening we went to a 70th birthday party that we had been invited to at a beach bar called ‘Seagulls’.

We had a lovely evening, and spent some time walking along the beach. Lovely that was until a rogue firework (of the type regularly fired off at night in Spain), was caught by the wind and flew into the covered terrace where we were sitting, it exploded in the corner where our table was!

I was at the bar (as usual) and Liesl was sitting with Jane (another partygoer) talking, Liesl said that she didn’t realise what was going on until she could feel heat on her legs, at which point she jumped up, I could see her about 10 feet away from me and after I had moved Jane out of the way, Liesl was able to run through to the space where I was, she had a mark on her leg which I cooled down with my cold pint!

Afterwards the lady bar owner decided that it would be a really good idea to put cold mayonnaise on the affected area – not something that I had ever seen in the first aid manual!
She was VERY lucky, the firework had only singed her dress and through it, had marked her leg, however she was in no pain and she was unharmed, this morning the mark on her leg is still there – more like a cooking burn than anything, but she is in no pain and we both realise that she had a lucky escape.

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