Thursday, February 16, 2012

Well its ok, I haven't disappeared off the radar permanently, I promise!

When did I arrive here in South Wales? A week ago, unbelievable isn't it, a week already, and my feet haven't touched the ground yet! Work wise I mean... our belongings arrived the following day, but not until 5pm, I, being me started to unpack immediately even though it was 6pm by the time they had gone!

Then I worked moving boxes about all day Saturday, seems the ones I wanted downstairs were upstairs, and visa versa!  Pippa arrived about 5pm Saturday evening, she was so pleased to see me running up the road to meet her, then she went berserk to see Franco, she hadn't seen him since middle of October of course!  She seems to have settled in very well already, I covered our sofas with throws from home, and as alot of our things were already everywhere she could 'smell' us all over the house!  I must admit it was very strange to see the couple from Alhaurín dropping Pippa off here in Briton Ferry...

I am still sorting through boxes, I say me, because it has to be me, or we will never find anything, ever again, bless him!  We don't actually have anywhere to put any ornaments yet, so I have just opened the three thousand two hundred boxes of ornaments... just kidding, [!!!!!]... The almost as many boxes of books I have opened and stacked the books on the landing!  Where we will put a corner of book cases when we can, but they're alright there for now.

A big thing is the recycling!!! We have got away light with that in Spain, especially where we lived, we didnt recycle anything at all, no one in our street did, all went out every evening to be mysteriously magicked away over night!  We have an assortment of bags ready for the morning, plastics, cardboard, garden waste, and then the wheely bin, don't have enough glassware or tins 2pu box out, nor the paper/magazines etc bag, there are 9 bags out though non the less!

I have spent so much time gardening, made up for all the lost years of that in one week!  We don't have a garden yet, its a mixture of waste land and forest!!!

The worse bit is the roses, I did actually like roses, but these are everywhere! Not exaggerating here these things are growing the length and breadth of the garden, the root might be at the top, and everywhere it touches it takes root again! All through the grass, through the hedges and other trees, the brickwork and the paving! the stems are an inch in diameter, these are old old roses, and the thorns??? my hands are cut to ribbons, I have broken off thorns in all the fingers of my right hand and wrist, gardening gloves? yes of course I wore them, but they really didn't help against those thorns...

We have a palm tree too, the palm leaves are everywhere, looks like they have never been picked up! two feet long blades of leaves, sharp and prickly!

Along with old childrens plastic toys there is a pair of trainers, they are adults though and the first one gave me a start, thought there could be a foot inside or even a whole body under the earth!!!!
Beer cans, cigerette packets and general rubbish!!!

There have been more than a few holes we have had to plug in the house too!  Just random holes, drilled into the outside walls and left?? Franco has used that expandable foam on those, as well as the interior gaps and holes!  Open brickwork? He has sealed all around all the window frames and window panels, the bathroom is cold, but we think, hope, the silver fronted polystyrene we bought to put behind the radiator... hope the silver backing stuff we bought today will help with that, the bathroom has three exterior walls, had to change a tap which has a bad drip problem on the exterior wall of the bathroom too, its made the wall a bit damp, so hopefully with the new tap and silver padding the room will heat up and dry up soon!

I actually, getting back to the garden, haven' seen where the garden ends!  Might sound a bit strange, but its such a forest up there, what with roses and trees and, well abandonded junk, I havent made it through yet!  We havent let Pippa up the garden on her own yet either, the gaps around the garden will never keep her in, we know this as next doors dog pays visits to our garden for a reason, a reason which is really annoying me and must be fixed asap!  Words have been had with the lady of the dog, politely and just in passing type of way... she was unaware of this problem!  Not now, not going to put up with that, oh and the huge tub of anti dog powder put neither her dog off coming into our garden or Pippa looking through the massive gap we have to fix!

We are getting the internet on March 1st... a large part of my heart is still in Spain, always and forever... and without the internet my brain too!!!! Cant wait, we have the phone number already, no phone, just the number, and between 8am and 1pm on above day we will be connected!! [my first thought was to get the number to my Mom....]

I have had a sore throat for a couple of days, not sure if its all the unpacking, dust and bits and pieces that come off off and out of the boxes, also a couple of mouth ulcers, either too much sugar or stress? I think the later...

Pippa is loving all the walks, we have two routes already for our walks, one takes us up behind our houses towards an old manor house, we can see our back garden from up there, its steep and well above the houses... the other walk takes us up even higher than that, and we can see the sea easily from there, and lots of it!  We can see the big tall offices of DVLA Swansea, the M4 and mountain range after mountain range, beautiful scenery, Franco is going to take us to the Brecons soon, and hopefully that waterfall I saw the other week.

Yesterday Pip and I were just on our way down the steps to the path and a friend and neighbour was coming up to the house, she said she was on her way to the supermarket and did I want to join her?  I ran back in, Franco said "that was quick!" I said that we were going nowhere but I was!  And off me and mate went, a couple of supermarkets swifty followed!  What a mess I looked too!  Been out in the garden and looked like it! at least I had changed my shoes and taken off my wellies!

I am totally lost on the roads here! Totally, I am sure its from arriving here and Franco taking me 'everywhere' in about 3 hours!  all the shops all the towns, all the supermarkets!!! I was tired, emotional, and totally confused with the road system!! I shall never be able to drive here on my own, or know which way to go, ever!!! Franco has a sat nav, but can't find it! whoever needed a sat nav to find a sat nav? We do!!!

Tomorrow someone is coming to help with the garden,  He is going to knock back all the small trees, the weeds, the jungle of roses and the mess of junk, I think there is a pool table up there! There is also a couple of patios already, will be lovely in the summer sitting up there in the sunshine, we might be able to see the sea from there....  there are alot of grey bricks right by the back door so we will paint it white and lightenp the whole area, the gate has seen better days by the steps up to the garden also.  I opened it a little heavy handidly the other day, having secatures, sacks, and pan brush with me also!  and the only hinge still hanging on.... gave up and fell away from the wood altogether, so I got some new screws and put three in to hold it in place, with no lower hinge though still its not easy to open!  Pippa runs up like a whippet of course while I am trying to hold on to her, its all a bit high up there and I worry she might fall off!! Looking forward to getting it more secured up there!

Well I hope this has come out ok for you to read as having trouble this end!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Well this is probably the last post from 'home' Alhaurín el Grande.  Seems strange after nearly ten years of calling here home, although truth to tell I call Spain home from about 10 years or more, before I even came to live out here, after my first trip here by in 1988 here felt like home, I used to joke I was working in England and only managed to come home 2 or 3 [if I was lucky] times a year to Spain....

The first time I touched down at Alicante airport I truly felt I had come home... Well my hat is home somewhere else from Thursday, I am both excited and scared and excited and scared!  Its a big difference isn't it?

We still have the mountains though! A view from the house of mountains, and it looks like we're pretty much surrounded by them which is wonderful, its these mountains here I miss when I go back to England, everywhere always looks so flat!

I am looking forward to the supermarkets!! Buying whatever I want, whenever I want it, in or out of season, and from every country in the world!

The house feels even emptier now, not sure why exactly as nothing else has changed for the past couple of months, maybe I just feel I am leaving, so the house already feels the loss, of us all here there!

I even have my suitcase packed now, well I needed to know if I could fit everything inside don't I?  I also needed to know the weight of it, looks like I am ok, that reminds me, must check how much I can carry on EasyJet... 20Kilo, might have to leave more of Pippas toys here than I thought!!

Well amigos, thank you all for travelling with me in Spain, sharing the highs, and the lows, the good and the sad... You all ready for Wales!  Hold my hand I think I need it....

my beloved Alhaurín El Grande....

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Wednesday got the bus down to Fuengirola to meet up with friends who are over for a couple of weeks at their home in Calahonda.  The day was still chilly, well I say chilly it was 10° on the terrace this morning, sitting at the bus stop at the feria ground was getting warm with the sun starting to pour over the Sierra de Mijas… I sat on the right hand side of the bus so I could wave at my friends sitting at Bar Cruz, looked strange seeing them there without me…. This is how it will be soon, without me being on the bus though!  Trip down was good, and quick, best bit going over the mountain toward Mijas pueblo though, the view this morning of the Atlas, and Riff mountains in Africa were truly stunning, what a view, so clear, I wished I could have run over to see them closer all the same though!  And just before we got to the village you could see Gibraltor also!

Friends were waiting by the bus station when I got off and we went to the bar on the corner by the church square, where I have been going now for over 20 years!!  Two of us had churros con chocolate and the other an English breakfast!  Those churros there are fantastic!

Then we went down to the paseo maritimo, I wanted to go past Luizs’ bar, but he still hasn’t opened back up yet??  When Mom and I first arrived here he was open all the way through December, closed for a couple of weeks in January and back open again by now… lots of bars and restaurant’s still closed up!  We walked for some way and sat down in the sun near the port, watching the world and his dog go by!

We were all wrapped up, me especially having come down from the colder in land town, but the tourists that were about were all loving the wonderful weather wearing vest, shorts, sandals… I remember when we used to come out first and second week of February to stay in the timeshare, it was always summer clothes.  I was thinking the other day that holiday makers feel warmer here than we do in the winter because even if it’s only 17 or so here, they have come from 3 or 8 or something in-between.  On the other hand when I go on holidays to England in the winter it never feels too bad when I get there, so little gap between the temperatures, but in the summer leaving a hot 42 and arriving in Luton airport to about 15 is pants!

Am I making any sense at all??? I know what I mean anyways!

They dropped me off at La Cala, where I found my friend waiting for me, at the entrance to the market, we walked up and down, I saw a whole load of things I cannot carry back with me, I have just had a quick run through with my case, too small!!! I had only put a handbag in and it filled it half way!!! Heck!!  After walking the market we walked into the town, down to the beach and went into a chiringuito for some lunch, I had my favourite boquerones, fried whitebait, and rice pudding for desert! With a coke!  Two of my friends were also in there which was nice, I hadn’t seen them for a couple of months and they didn’t know we were leaving; we first met when I did the ‘ladies that lunch’ thing when we first moved up there to Alhaurín el Grande.   So we chatted over the two tables, and it was a hug and a kiss and a cheerio for now…

I am Blogging off line, and cannot remember when I last wrote!  So today is the Wednesday as I have said above, yesterday Tuesday, had some, no sorry the best bread pudding ever, anywhere, friend made some especially as I am leaving, as I write they are making some now on the telly!

Saturday I met up with a couple of mates in the morning in town, and then went home for a while before going back out to meet up with different mates!  Sat at the bar at the top of town at this end, for about 3 hours, had a good chat; they live here and back in Wales, so will see them back there too which is really nice.

So many people are already making plans to come down and see us when we are in Wales, which is lovely and so welcoming, better get a spare bed now!!

Tomorrow I am visiting friends for coffee in the afternoon, Friday a trip to Torremolinos and breakfast with a friend, if he has opened up yet, he said it would February, but… then we are back round to Saturday already, friends up town in the morning, then I want a trip to Mijas pueblo, a walk around the gardens, a glass of wine and a tapa and a tear…

Sunday La Trocha market and hopefully a wonderful piece of apple strudel with cream? Yes, and why not!  Heck I am rushing these days through, it’s just if I don’t get to Blog, you know where I am anyways!

I have to keep telling myself I am not, never going to see all these places and people again, it just feels like it, and as you know I get so attached to places, houses, towns, I just get attached!  I won’t miss the stress Pippa get under with the people here though… maybe a less timid dog, or no dog!!! But people hang over the back railings looking at my Buena vista! Next doors dog starts the red alert, and Pip, like a good soldier dog responds, and responds…. And responds!  People only to have to pause in the front of the house too! And she says “get away, get away”… now those little dogs from the dog the road who live during the day, on the road, cheeky and nicky, they like to actually come up to the front of our house to say hello to Pip! She says “get away, get away”…

Getting back to my small suitcase problem, when I got home I got the case from the top of the wardrobe, while Pip was up on the roof, not wishing to upset her!  Put it in the bathroom and steadily without causing a commotion got everything together in the bathroom, then shut the door to see if I can get it all in the case, as I said, only the hand bag made, I realised nothing else much will get in the case!  So then Pippa watched me strangely as I got all my clothes etc, out of the bathroom and hung them back up, and took everything else back from whence it came!  Then the case too! She put her head from one to side to the other, very confused[dotcom]!

Friday, was it? Yes it was, I was in Cristinas on the internet and it was raining outside, really raining!  On the road coming up in the Laura Golf area it was snowing! A blizzard!  Friends on the bus told us on Saturday the bus had to stop until it passed a little, whimps! Mmmm, maybe I should keep quiet there; I haven’t driven in snow for about ten years… I was always so lucky in England, I never had a rental car and snow, either one or the other!  What I really want is a pair of those things to put on my shoes, anti-skid metal things that clip on! Or skies, going by the amount of snow in South Wales at the moment!

adio amigos...