15/7 – Well That Was a Busy Week!

July 15, 2007 | 2 comments | Blog

Liesl and I have had a really manic week and a bit…

On Saturday (7th July) Richard and Caz (my business partner in the UK and his girlfriend) came over to stay for a long weekend – it was really good to see them, they came over earlier in the year and we had a fantastic time then as well but the weather wasn’t so good that time, this time it was predictably great and they had a great time – well thats what they told us anyway, we hope they enjoyed it 😉

On Sunday we went to for a walk along the harbour in Alicante and had a drink in a cafe that overhung the water, Richard and I picked out the new BlueMoon yacht, the 3rd one from the left in the picture (below), we decided that we would call it ‘expenses’ in honour of the 3rd director of BlueMoon, Sean 😉

Rich and Caz went back on Tuesday evening (hehe, back to rainy old England, sorry couldn’t resist) and Liesl and I packed in a couple of long days work to try to get on top of everything we needed to do, we had a new front door fitted (well new to us anyway, its a cast off from the guy on the floor below us – Hans – who was replacing just about everything in his apartment!), its a great door, bolts everywhere and is MUCH better than the one we had on there before, it had really seen better days. We had been quoted 800€ to purchase a new door and fit it into a new frame, however with the new frame and fitting we have managed to save over 400€ (bonus as we really couldn’t have afforded to spend the 800€), the only thing that I have to do is sort out my neighbours computer as part of the deal – sounds like a fair swap to me!

On Thursday we had arranged to visit a couple (Jane and Colin) that run a bed and breakfast high up in the mountains behind Crevillente, a customer of mine, Brian, who is also a fellow contributor to the Jungle Drums magazine knows them well and asked me to visit to see if I could get their wireless Internet connection working. They had agreed to make us lunch in return for my services and both Liesl and Hetty were to come with me. The drive took around an hour in Brian’s 4×4 – and believe me it was essential for the last part of the assent!

Well I was not able to fix their Internet connection as there was simply no G3 connection available where their house was, but I have not given up on the challenge, I WILL get them some kind of Internet connection – even if I have to drag a cable all the way there from our apartment!

One of the incredible things about where Jane and Colin run their bed and breakfast is that they are right opposite one of the last breeding pairs of Bonelli’s Eagles in the world (apparently there are less than 700 breeding pairs left in existence!), a fact that brings ‘twitchers’ (that’s birdwatchers, not people who suffer from Turrets Syndrome) from all over the world to stay and look at these incredible birds – I’m told that they are incredible as they totally failed to show up when we were there – typical!

Anyway, as you can see from the picture (click on it to make it larger), which do it no justice at all, it’s a breathtaking place and we will defiantly be returning.

After we were driven home we had previously arranged to visit friends John and Patricia near Torrelano (Alicante), John is a professional golf coach and was returning the next day to Ireland to continue teaching – he will be back only in October so it was important to us to meet up with them before he went back.

We went for a meal with them and had a great time, it will be a shame that we won’t see him again until October. We were still sitting, chatting, at 1am outside the restaurant, nice and warm sitting in shorts and tea-shirts. We finally staggered home well into the early hours of Friday morning, crashed into bed knowing that I had a job in the morning an hours’ drive away and I needed to be there at 9:30 – talk about burning the candle at both ends!

We both survived Friday and were so nakered by the afternoon that we decided to have a Siesta, good job as well as we received a text message from Dorothy (Liesl’s ex-step mother) who was over on holiday and wanted to meet up – great, she is such a laugh.

Refreshed from our Siesta we met up with Dorothy, her husband Jim and his brother Dennis at La Paripe (a local Spanish bar) for a couple of drinks, we then went onto La Fantasia (a local Swedish restaurant) and had a lovely meal – all of which was paid for surreptitiously (as we had no idea that it was being paid for) by Jim, we had a fantastic time with them and afterwards we went onto their place in AltaMar II for a few drinkies, again staggering home in the early hours of Saturday morning!

And you wonder why I never get time to update this blog!

On Saturday Liesl had agreed to help out at a local Cancer charity event so we went down to the Carabassi bars at 12:00 when the event was due to start. At 1pm people started to arrive to setup stalls – lol, well I guess this IS Spain!

Sunday was a pretty lazy day, catching up on little bits of work and trying to catch up on lost sleep – although Liesl still has this annoying habit of being able to get up and start work well before 7am even if she got into bed at 2am seeing double and singing the “Goblin Song” 5 hours earlier (sickening!)
If you are not familiar with the “Goblin Song” then you have been missing out on some classic BlackAdder – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewR5HANQWE0

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3/7 – “Mum I’m Going To Be On The Radio!”

July 3, 2007 | 3 comments | Blog

I have just found out that Dave (editor of The Jungle Drums) is to host a “breakfast show” on a Spanish national radio station (www.rem.fm), I say breakfast show in parenthasis because it starts at 11am (which I guess is breakfast for the laid back Spaniards – lol).

Well Dave wants to call me every week, on a Friday, to chat about “whats new in the world of computers?” – nervous – OH YEA!

Anyway, it should be fun, you will be able to hear me make a dick of myself (who cares!), by downloading a recording of the show from www.thejungledrums.com, however as I am also responsible for uploading the audio file, if it goes really badly I think that I may “lose” the file!

Oh, and just incase you were wondering whether my Spanish had dramatically improved, no it hasnt, the radio station is an English “talk radio” station – phew!

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1/7 – It’s Party Time!

July 3, 2007 | 1 comment | Blog

This evening we went down to Santa Pola (Seagulls Bar) right on the beach for the Jungle Drums (the magazine that I write for) party, we had a great time, met new people and had a little drink, well I didnt as I was driving, but a good time was had by all nether the less.

A John Lennon lookalike was performing, his site is http://www.lennontribute.net/ just so you can see how much he looks like him!

His act was fantastic and it was great to be outside next to the beach, sea in the background at midnight in just shorts and a tee-shirt!

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23/6 – Bonfires on the Beach!

June 30, 2007 | 2 comments | Blog
This weekend Liesl’s Aunt and Uncle (June and Alan – although Liesl still calls them Uncle Alan and Auntie June – bless!) visited us for a few days whilst they were already on their month long holiday touring Spain – very nice.

They kindly took us for a meal in Santa Pola, we ate late as we wanted to co-inside it with a “Summer Salstace” festival held by the locals where they take bits of wood (palets etc) down to the beach around midnight and set fire to them, making hundereds of small bonfires along the coast, the pictures from my phone really dont do it justice, it was really a sight to see.

As its starting to ramp up to the “really warm” weather – as opposed to what has become usual 20-30 degrees every day and sunny weather, all manner of new bars and resturants have started to pop up in places that we never even knew existed! These bars seem to be temporary things that just get put up in the summer, we have certainly never seen them before and they must be trusting that the weather is fine because they would get washed away if anything drastic happened!

One of the new outside bars has popped up in the grounds of the health centre / library just down the road from our apartment, its very temporary but has about 10 tables outside and seems always to be full of punters – its really quite amazing how these places seem to lay dormant and invisible during the winter months and come to life during the summer!

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15/6 – Camping in the Campo!

June 22, 2007 | 3 comments | Blog

Yep, this weekend Liesl and I decided to try out our new tent, one that we bought for the princely sum of 99€ last weekend in Aldi (yes Dave we went into Aldi, you may need to go and have a lay down now I know!)

The tent (tienda in Spanish) preports to sleep 6-8 people, however I think that must be based on the size of Spaniards and not well fed middle aged Brits, but either way its plenty big enough for Liesl, Hetty and I to sleep in relative comfort (well as confortable as you get in a tent anyway).

Helpfully the instructions for putting together this 3d jigsaw puzzle were clearly translated from Chineese to Spanish without any helpful pictures so they went out the window straight away, in the end it only (lol, only) took us 2 hours to put up the tent – we even managed not to fall out over it so our relationship is clearly much better than it was in the UK – lol.

We picked a site about 1.5 hours inland – near Alcoy in Valencia, it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere in a country park – http://www.campingmariola.com/ingles/ser.htm the views were great.

A friend of ours, Janice, who has recently opened a travel agents here in Gran Alacant advised us to ensure that we took something warm to wear as we were going to a beautiful place that happened to be in the mountains and therefore it was much cooler there, I of course took little notice as I was sitting on my terrace, sweating in my tee-shirt and shorts in 40+ degrees sunshine. She, of course, was right, by the early hours of the morning it was really cold – I mean brass monkeys cold! Next time, if we venture into the mountains we shall be taking warmer clothing – I guess I started to regret my decision not to take warmer clothing when we were almost at the camp site and I could see the “Warning Snow” signs!!!!

The one thing that did confuse us at the camp site was that there were loads of tents / caravans that looked like they were perminant homes, some even had walls constructed around them, had we inadvertantly found ourselves in some kind of Spanish “shanty town” or were these just people going way over the top with the whole camping expierience?

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31/5 – Sad Day…

May 31, 2007 | 2 comments | Blog

This morning our friends, Chris, Linda and their fantastic kids (our God children), Joe and Ella left to return back home to the UK, they had been staying with us for the past week – arrived at 11pm on the 23rd.

Usually its refreshing to have the apartment back to ourselves after guests leave, that’s not to say that we don’t enjoy the company, we love it, its just that its nice to get back into our ‘routine’ – I’m sure you know what I mean. However this time it was different, as soon as Liesl and I got back into the apartment, it seemed unusually quiet, not in a good way, it was quite upsetting to say “goodbye” to them knowing that we would probably not see them all again for at least 12 months, I hope they realise how much we miss them and how important they are to us both.

Whilst they were here they did a great deal, we managed to take some time off from work to be with them, but they also made themselves busy whilst we had to work.

On Sunday we went with them to Pola Parc, a kiddies fun fair in Santa Pola, 99% of the rides were aimed at exactly Joe and Ella’s age group (7 and 8 respectively) and they loved it, even though it was the LAST thing that they said they wanted to do – kids eh? Linda, quite wisely, said that she didn’t feel like going on any of the rides with the kids which left Chris and I (suckers!) with the unenviable task of accompanying Joe and Ella on as many fast, bumpy, painful and just down right dangerous rides you could every have dreamt of.

One in particular sticks in my mind, it was a line of wooden hobby horses that followed each other around a metal track – Chris and I took one look and thought “that looks fine, nice steady slow ride”, so we mounted our steeds, Ella and I on the front horse and Joe and Chris on the horse behind us. The ride started and everything was fine for the first few seconds, ok the wooden horses were not the most comfortable of things but I could handle a circuit of this I thought.

Then it happened!

What had escaped both my and Chris’s notice was that the horses actually trotted around the circuit – so for every meter we advanced we had to endure one “bump”! After far too many bumps 2 excited kids and 2 crippled adults got off the ride, I am certain that our voices are still at least one octave higher now than before we got on the ride – NEVER AGAIN!

The park was a great way to spend the evening, we arrived at about 6pm and left just after 9pm, the kids had a great time – which is what it’s all about!

We also spent some time on the beach with them, both Joe and Ella went snorkelling and saw loads of fish, Linda also had a chance to indulge in her favourite pastime (clothes shopping) in Santa Pola.

All in all it was a fantastic week; my only regret is not being able to spend more time with them – on their last full day I had to work for most of the day!

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18/5 – Marmite Sandwiches!!!!

May 18, 2007 | 1 comment | Blog

This evening Liesl and I went out for a walk, a usual nightly occurrence, whilst walking we talked about what we would have to eat when we got back, another regular topic of conversation, attested to by our “racing snake figures”.

I mentioned that I would really like some Marmite sandwiches – now this is a much more unusual comment that those of you that know we well might think. Back in the UK my staple diet consisted of at least 6 slices of white bread Marmite sandwiches – it would be a rare day that passed without this feast, I was so addicted to Marmite that I brought 4 extremely large pots of Marmite out with me to Spain and such was my infamy for the stuff that anyone that knows me well always asks whether they should bring Marmite out with them for me.

Well let me tell you……

I have hardly touched the stuff since I have been here – not even eaten one of the large tubs I brought out (which incidentally I would demolish in a month back in the UK!)

Anyway, I think that it was Marmite, or my over eating of the stuff, that caused the terrible acid reflux that I suffered back in the UK, I have not needed to take my tablets over here and I feel 100% better – amazing eh?

Anyway back to the story, I fancied some Marmite sandwiches, so Liesl agreed and we walked back past the local, very expensive, English supermarket, we bought the following…..

  • Brown Sliced English Bread (you just don’t get the stuff over here)
  • Cheese and Onion Crisps (Liesl’s favourite)
  • Twix (for me – couldn’t resist!)
  • Packet of Lemon Curd Tarts (Tarts, my favourite – hehe)

Total cost was around 5.50€ – a rip off really as the Spanish equivalent would cost us probably under half that, but then we were going to have a decedent night – lol, sad eh?
Anyway, let me tell you it was fantastic, Marmite sandwiches and lemon curt tarts have just never tasted so good!

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16/7 – Lad’s Night Out!!!

May 18, 2007 | 1 comment | Blog

This evening I was invited to a boys night out! Dave (editor, The Jungle Drums), Mark (photographer, designer and all round decent bloke) and Kevin (Our Man In Santa Pola, contributor to The Jungle Drums).

Anyway, we met up in a local pub and then went for a curry, great night.

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13/5 – Orchards and BBQ’s

May 17, 2007 | 1 comment | Blog
This afternoon we went over to Liesl’s mums to water the ‘orchard’, Heather, I have added pictures to prove that Liesl has been carrying out her daughterly duties!

I, on the other hand, carried out the very masculine task of breaking up a palet for Ken (one he hadnt had the chance to do while he was in Spain – and in a fit of too much testostorone I managed to tear a huge gaping hole in my wrist, although Liesl reliably informs me that its just a scratch and that I will survive!

Ken, pictures also attached as evidence (the wood, not my wound!

Whilst there we aired the house and made sure that the patio chairs still worked – by sitting on them for an hour on the terrace, its important to make sure these things work – hehe.

After all the hard work we felt fully justified in playing around in Paul and Jackie’s pool just before the BBQ, while the dogs watched on – the tempreture of the water was 28 degrees celcius – and the water isn’t heated!

We had a fantastic BBQ with them, I even found some time to fix his PC.

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11/5 – It’s Beach Time!!

May 12, 2007 | 1 comment | Blog

This week Liesl and I have tried to spend at least an hour on the beach every day (not been possible every day – sometimes work runs on just far too long!)

Today was an exceptional day, the sun was really warm, not a cloud in the sky and the sea was warm, we decided to go snorkelling, in water only 5ft deep we saw 1000’s of fish, darting in and out of the coral reefs, it was amazing and really quite special.

The sea, and the pool on our complex, are now warm enough to swim in at 25+ degrees, so we are going to try to take on some more, much needed exercise and swim as many days as we can.

On the downside, its just too warm now for Hetty to go out for a walk in the daytime, we have to either walk her before 8am or after 9pm when the heat has gone out of the air and its dropped below 25 degrees (in the shade!) It doesn’t seem to be bothering Hetty too much anyway, she seems to be enjoying being allowed to sleep all day!

On Sunday we have been invited to a BBQ at Paul and Jackie’s in La Marina, they have a great pool so we are looking forward to that, we will also pop into Liesl’s mum’s place, she has returned to Ireland now, so that we can water the orchard (1 lemon tree and 1 orange tree) for her.

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