Return to Spain

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 18 Sep 2011 10:52

Trying to set up the route from Colchester to Stansted airport on the new tom-tom was not easy. We had to resort to clicking on “points of interest” though how we managed to find that option is anyone’s guess.

The hire car, along with the cracked windscreen, was returned to Hertz, the luggage was checked in and we went through into the departure lounge where we ate breakfast before making our way to gate 47.

The laptop from my carry-on bag was placed into a plastic tray as required and passed through the x-ray equipment. As there was no spare table available to unpack the bag and replace the laptop, I carried it separately, rather than spread my possessions across the floor. This was a mistake. As I approached the desk for gate 45, a woman pounced on me, metaphorically speaking, accusing me of carrying two pieces of luggage instead of only one, as permitted. Fortunately there was a table nearby and I was able to put the pc at the bottom of my bag. Incensed at my audacity, the woman then insisted that my luggage be weighed and the size checked. Slightly overweight by a mere 0.3Kg, I was allowed to continue onwards to gate 47.

Several other people were accosted while I was busy sorting out my bag but no-one else seemed to do anything about it. I saw a woman her husband and three small children each had a carry-on-case as well as the wife carrying a large handbag.

Richard collected us at the airport in Alicante and drove us home. His car battery was playing up and he wasn’t sure whether he would buy another. After plugging it into the battery charger overnight, it seemed to be OK; long might it last. It didn’t but he subsequently bought a new one.

Next morning I was up early and managed to start my exercise regime before the sun became too hot; walking up and down the undulating lanes adjacent to our house, followed by a swim in the pool.

I had planned to pick some lemons but there wasn’t a yellow one to be seen on either of the trees; the holiday visitors had used them all. I picked a few almonds instead and we ate them at breakfast.

The grapefruit tree which the gardener had planted after we left Spain, April 2009, had died. It hadn’t looked very healthy while we were here in June. I think that a lot of the bark had been accidentally stripped off by the strimmer while the gardeners were weeding. I tried to protect the tree from further abuse by placing rocks round the base; I suppose it was too far gone by the time we arrived back home.

It does look as if one of the Yuka plants had been revived. Looking decidedly dead in June, I watered it nonetheless and have been rewarded by tiny shoots at the end of the branches.

Richard and Anita have started a bridge club in Moraira. Tournaments are to be held every Thursday at 4pm, at a local restaurant. There were three and a half tables at the initial meeting, which isn’t a bad start. Some of us stayed afterwards for a meal. The food was good and a special menu had been prepared.

Tuesday 13th September, we drove to Olihuela, south of Alicante, to get an ITV for the Audi, the Spanish equivalent of an MOT, as well as checked mechanically; necessary steps to obtain Spanish number plates for the car which is still sporting UK plates.

Having driven an hour and a half south, we thought that it made reasonable sense to carry on and had made arrangements to visit David and Susan, up in the mountains near Competa and Bob and Ann who live in the Miraflores golf compound, near Fuengirola.

We spent the first two nights with David and Susan and can see, from their roof terrace, on a clear day, the Atlas Mountains in Africa.

Wednesday, David drove us through the mountains, along a winding road, with no barriers between the edge and the enormous drops below. I was told that the scenery was stunning but I couldn’t bring myself to look over the unprotected side. We encountered a large lorry which was driving in the opposite direction; it kindly backed up so that we might pass it safely. Further along we met a tractor which was pulling equipment, used to smooth the unmade road; this also backed up for us and we were able to continue our journey to Acebuchan, also known as the “lost village”, abandoned for fifty years. More recently, the village has been beautifully renovated. The white houses, with their red tiled roofs and the cobbled roads make a very pretty picture.

We stopped here for a delicious lunch; paella for Dick and I, wild boar for David and rabbit for Susan. The return journey, still along winding, mountain roads was less daunting, possibly because more of it was metaled, than the route we had taken to the village.

Next day we drove to Malaga to get the air condition gas, topped up before driving to Miraflora golf club, near Fuengirola, where we met Bob. He had been playing that morning against a team of members from another local club. Since we had last spoken, Ann’s mother, who lives in Wales, had fallen and was in hospital. She had been found by her nephew, who stays with her several days a week. Ann had immediately flown back to the UK and was advised that her mother had suffered a stroke.

Bob already had house guests who had arrived the previous day and would be leaving on Monday, the day that Ann was planning to return to Spain. Her mother was now comfortable and was to be moved, when a space was available, to a recuperation unit, where she would have more specialized consultants and specialists available to her.

Friday morning, we drove back into the mountains to spend that night with David and Susan. They had been incredibly busy in our absence and built low rock walls around the garden, bursting with all sorts of vegetation such as figs, avocado, oleander etc, as well as lots of low lying plants; the builders had erected a further metre to an existing wall near the pool and the plan was to pump out the deposito which had been overflowing during their absence.

Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast of fruit, as well as full English, we said our farewells and drove home. The journey took a little over five hours.

Sunday morning, it was nine o’clock before the sun rose over the hills so it was possible to get back into the walking and swimming routine before it became too hot. We had stood on the bathroom scales that morning and the meager weight loss we had achieved since returning from the UK, was now a thing of the past.