Back home briefly

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 6 Oct 2011 10:30

The morning after we had returned from Andalucia, the breeze felt cooler as it blew up the valley from the sea. As the day progressed, the wind became stronger with the temperature falling by up to 10ºc and staying in the mid 20’s.

The change in the weather was obviously enough for our neighbors to terminate their stay and Monday morning I was able to place my ladder against the wall and trim the bougainvillea on their side, where it had formed a beautiful mauve carpet on the now untended land.

Tuesday, the strip of wood at the bottom of the floor-standing, kitchen units was replaced, quite rejuvenating the kitchen, especially as the dishwasher was also replaced. The old dishwasher still works but doesn’t look too smart anymore so we moved it to the rubbish collection area with a note attached, stating that it still works. Within the hour, someone had taken it home with them.

Although our pool-man has been looking after our pool since before we bought the house, it doesn’t seem to be as well cared for as it should be. We have spoken to the boss and he assures us that to remove the build up of calcium on the walls, the pool will have to be emptied. This will cost an enormous amount of money to refill and it shouldn’t be necessary. The guys, who fixed the leak without emptying the pool, advise us that there is a chemical which will do the job. We won’t be able to use the pool for a week but if the treatment is applied in November, this won’t be a problem for us. Although we had paid our man until the end of September, he didn’t return to treat the pool so we had to start the new contract a little earlier than anticipated.

We are still walking and swimming each morning before the sun rises above the hill. Dick has now shed half a stone. Well done him! We have started to use the shower at the end of the pool, rather than the one en-suite to our bedroom. It is so much easier to use the external facilities when still wet from the pool, rather than drip all the way through to our bathroom or have to dry ourselves and then shower.

Our friend Richard met a woman on-line and went to Bulgaria to see her. Don’t know why he doesn’t seem to want to meet a local lass, it has to be a less expensive option. I guess that foreign, not living in Spain is more exotic. Anyway, he had a great time, stayed in lovely spa hotels and was shown Bulgaria visited by locals rather than tourists.

Friday morning we drove to Benidorm, about half an hour away, to collect our amplifier and remote control, which the previous day we had been advised was ready. The remote had ceased to function so before we had driven to the Costa del Sol, we had taken it, along with the amplifier, to be repaired.

There is always a problem with parking near to the shop and we managed to find a space which belonged to one of the local residents and parked there illegally, while Dick went to get the units. After about fifteen minutes, Dick returned to the car with the amplifier and its remote, which hadn’t been repaired nor replaced. The technician told Dick that the remote didn’t work, then charged 30€ for having done absolutely nothing, advising that a new remote would cost 95€.  When we returned home, Dick was able to order a new remote from Amazon for 11€.

The front bumper on the Audi, which had to go into a garage in Denia to fix the clutch before we took off to the Costa del Sol, was damaged while it was in the garage but of course, the responsibility has been denied.

The delivery of the Spanish number plates, were delayed by a week. The person at the IVA station who completed the forms made a mistake stating that our car was a four wheel drive off-roader, which erroneously increased the value of the car. Apparently, this mistake should not cost us any more money.

It is small wonder that Dick gets frustrated.

While playing bridge on Friday, we were advised that the local Town Hall had issued an emergency notice that the conditions were right for a Gota Fria and there were also visual indications that we were likely to be hit with similar force to that which caused dreadful flooding four years ago. A Gota Fria translates to cold drops and this may occur late September or during October when the land has cooled down and the sea is still quite warm, resulting in torrential rain for several days, with potential flooding and soil erosion.

When we went to bed that night we closed all of the windows and in the event, were glad to have done so as it rained heavily during the night, stopping soon after I had gone outside to start my walk.

It didn’t rain again for six days and although initially heavy, cleared up during the morning and was fine the following day when we went to collect John from the airport.

It seems that the weather in the UK is the hottest on record for October which is rather wonderful, probably better weather than we have been having here, with a few showers over the first couple of days of the month. The garden is so grateful, you can actually see the response of the trees, shrubs etc.

I fished a fat spider out of the pool and put it on the ground nearby; it didn’t wait to breath but scampered off immediately. Dick rescued a grasshopper which reclined for a while, drying out, before it disappeared. Sadly, the next day I found one in the pool but it was quite dead. One morning, having just completed the third length of the pool, I saw a snake swimming almost next to me. Horror! I quickly swam to the shallow end and got out of the pool and using the long handled net, managed to lift the snake out of the pool and deposit it on the grass. It stayed there until I had finished the twenty lengths, showered, dressed and photographed it, disappearing before Dick, who was watching from the bedroom window, came outside to look at the creature. I identified it as an adder after checking out its markings on the internet.

We went to Guadalest with John taking a trip on the Barco Solar, a boat propelled by solar power. Although we were traveling at only 3 knots, it can achieve up to 7 knots. The enterprise was started three years ago and the profit made is used for research and development of solar boats. As the boat navigated the reservoir, fed by the dammed river, completed in 1963, with a maximum depth of 63 metres, we were able to see Guadalest, Benimantell, Beniarda and the ruins of Castellet, Confrides and Castell de Castells.  

The village of Guadalest is of Islamic origin, built during the occupation of the Moors, 8th to 12th century, taking its name from the river which has cut through the valley below. The small, picturesque village, perched on the top of a granite mountain, accessed via winding mountain roads, is a popular tourist attraction. The old part is reached through a tunnel carved through the rock and it is here, after walking through a museum that one can climb up to the ruins of the Castle of Sant Joseph; initially built during the 12th century, destroyed by the 1644 earthquake and subsequently the civil war.

About 5 kilometres short of the village is a historic motorcycle museum where over a hundred vehicles, in immaculate condition, built between the 1920’s and 1970’s are displayed. A must for any motorbike enthusiast.