I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Spain 2019 - Two lovely days out

Wednesday 13th March

Ingrid and I went to find a butcher first thing as a BBQ was planned for the evening.  We found Carniceria Juan and bought four lovely steaks.

We then drove out towards Tabernas to Castillo de Tabernas, an olive distillery.  It was really hot away from the coast and we were relieved to walk into the cool building.  We had a guided tour by a very knowledgeable young lady who spoke perfect English.  We were all fascinated at the process of making virgin olive oil.  The whole process is over and done with in two months, October and November but to collect, sort, wash and crush the olives only takes 24 hours.  Even the stones are used – crushed and then used as fuel.  We had a tasting afterwards and even I could get the aroma of tomatoes and green apples!!   I will write a bit more about the distillery when I have more time.

After our visit we decided to drive straight home and have an early BBQ.  The steaks were excellent – we will go there again for our meat. 

The evening was finished off by watching a film.

Thursday 14th March

Bob and Ingrid went off to see a villa for next year.  They had arranged to meet the owners at the villa.  Sadly, almost as soon as they arrived, they were told that it was already booked for next year!  Why on earth they didn’t say before I & B went!

After lunch we went up to the Pueblo for a wander around.  It was still siesta time but at 4pm the whole place came to life 😊  I bought a new Indalo man pendant – a more traditional one than the one you see around everywhere.

I cooked a paella for dinner – that’s four this year.  It has been worth carting my huge paella pan over here!

Friday 15th March

We went off to Turre market in the morning.  It was a busy and hot one.  Richard got a pair of shoes and I got a couple of Christmas presents!

From the market we went up to Cabrera.  I had heard about it but had no idea what we would find.  I had visions of it being a small village, but it certainly isn’t that.  We climbed up and up until we came to some houses and a small restaurant which was closed.  We climbed further up to find houses spread about – it was a pretty amazing place.  We will visit again next year when there is more time.

The reason there wasn’t much time in Cabrera was because Richard and I were going to the Salty Dog for memorial drinks for Paul Macey.  Paul was well loved in Mojacar and it was a lovely thing to do.  We were treated to the three songs that Paul had chosen for this funeral plus one that his wife, Elaine, loved.  It was a sad occasion, but it was lovely to chat to other people who had known Paul.

Ingrid did the cooking tonight – she made a pork dish.  It was called Flamenco potatoes and Spanish pork, the recipe of which came from a website called Love Potatoes.  It was scrummy 😊

Friday, 22 March 2019

Spain 2019 - Must try harder with photos!

Sunday 10th March

The weather seems to be hotting up, which is nice.  Richard, Ingrid and Bob took Muffin for his morning’s constitutional.  Richard arrived back with the car (left outside the Chinese restaurant last night) but no Muffin!  I & B had walked on and got up to Blu where they enjoyed Blu’s lovely coffee before walking back.  People say it’s the best coffee on the Playa.

We sat round the pool in the afternoon.  The men read while Ingrid and I did some crochet.  I was stuck and have been waiting for Ingrid to arrive to get me going again as she is an excellent crocheter.  Richard decided to have a swim, but he only managed one length before exclaiming that it was too cold!

I had forgotten to take anything out of the freezer, so we had to go out for dinner!  My hairdresser had raved about Casa Juan, so we tried it out.  It is only across the road and the food was excellent – menu del dia for €11.95 with lots of choice.  We will certainly be going back there again.

I haven’t been taking any photos so today’s are some which haven’t made the blog so far!

Monday 11th March

Another day in paradise!

Yesterday, after their walk to Blu, I & B had fallen in love with Mojacar and want to come back next spring for a couple of weeks.  We all walked down to Blue Sea Villas where they came up with a number of villas all over Mojacar.  They narrowed it down to 4 and later in the afternoon we got the links to those and narrowed it down to 2.  Watch this space!

We walked back up the Paseo and went to Beachcomber for coffee and walked back to the villa for lunch.  In the afternoon I & B went food shopping and I went and had my toe nails done.

It was then more sitting round the pool and crocheting!  Ingrid thought about swimming and came down ready for it but chickened out at the last moment!!

Ingrid was the chef tonight and Bob was the sous-chef!  They cooked a lovely Spanish chicken dish – I will definitely get the recipe for it 😊

Once again I’ve hardly taken any photos so today’s are some which haven’t made the blog so far!

Tuesday 12th March

We were sitting on the terrace having breakfast when our neighbours, Carol, David and their border collie, Moffy, came to say goodbye.  They are heading back to Glasgow where it is snowing – I feel so sorry for them!  We now have a couple of days with no neighbours as the new people don’t arrive until Thursday.

I & B went off ”house hunting” while Richard and I caught up on some paperwork.

We headed over to Garrucha for lunch.  We thought we would see if the Rincón del Puerto restaurant was open and it was.  However, the waiter did not make us welcome and seemed to serve us very grudgingly, so we drank our beer and moved on.  We hadn’t been any further up before so walked on and found about four restaurants.  We chose La Pinta and had very nice tapas served by a very nice, chatty young man.  After our lunch we tried to walk round the marina but if would appear that you can’t, so it was a quick walk to the locked gate and back!

Back at the villa it was sunbathing, and Richard even went in the pool! 

Dinner was beans on toast as the lunchtime tapas had filled us up.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Spain 2019 - Visitors leaving and visitors arriving

Thursday 7th March

Victoria and James were leaving this morning, so we went up to Moca for a full English breakfast to keep them going for the rest of the day.

When we got back the travellers decided that they would leave to be better safe than sorry.  I hate it when visitors leave (well nearly always!!) and I felt very close to tears.  Muffin is very much a “pack” dog and sees Richard, me and Victoria as his pack at home and it was the same here.  He sat on the step waiting for them to come back for ages – it made me feel even sadder.

I felt sad all day – Victoria and I are very close, and I just felt as if part of me had gone too.

I had arranged to have my hair cut at 5pm and was a little worried as I have had the same hairdresser for 19 years and I wasn’t sure if the chap who was going to cut it would be OK!!  I was concerned all the way through the cut as he was doing it very differently to how Jane would do it, but it turned out just fine!  Jane had taken photos after my last cut with her and it looked almost the same.

Friday 8th March

A fabulous Mojacar day 😊  The sun was shining as Richard drew back the curtains and it stayed like that all day.  I spent the morning catching up on things and getting the washing done.

We met up with Liz and Phil for lunch at Imperial Pizza – again!  I thought I had chosen a pasta dish, but it was risotto but it absolutely gorgeous – I will definitely have it again.  Liz and Phil have been here for six months and have decided to stay indefinitely!  They were waiting for a call from Blue Sea Villas as to whether or not they could have a lovely villa they have seen.  The call didn’t come but I got a message later on to say that they can have the villa from April 1st 😊

Saturday 9th March

More visitors were arriving today, so it was another mad housework session.  Richard does a good job with the sweeping and then gets the mop out too! 

Our visitors are Ingrid and Bob (from now on known as I & B!) our next doors neighbours at home and good friends.  They flew out last Saturday to Alicante and have been staying in a very luxurious hotel since.  Claravista 1 is no luxurious hotel!

My alstroemeria is amazing.  I really didn’t think it was going to do anything but once it started shooting I put it by a window which gets all the afternoon sun.  I am so pleased with it.  We have another two weeks here so, hopefully, it will see us out!

I & B arrived mid afternoon and we sat around the pool chatting and trying to decide what to do!  We were going shopping but that never happened!  In the end we decided to do nothing and go out for dinner.

We settled on the Palacio Imperial Marina (Chinese) which was OK but then Chinese food is Chinese food wherever you are.  Having said that I have been to China on four occasions and Chinese food there is nothing like we are used to!!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Spain 2019 - Pizza and wind!

Tuesday 5th March

Once again, my first job was to find a dentist!  The first one was open today – hurray!  I was asked to wait and I would be fitted in as an emergency.  I sent Richard away and sat down to wait – 30 minutes later I was called in!  The dentist, Dr. Alicia P. Jiménez-Pinzón Pineda, is a lovely lady who speaks very good English.  She did a temporary filling and said I should go and see my own dentist when I get home.  The cost - €60 which I felt was very good.

I thought I would walk the 3.3 kilometres back to the villa but I had to admit defeat after about a kilometre – my painful foot is still painful even after the visit by the podiatrist.  My knight in shining armour – well Richard in the car – came and rescued me.

We were having a quiet day but were going out for pizza at lunchtime.  I had suggested Levante again but discovered it was closed so we drove up to the Imperial Pizza where we sat on their terrace on the beach.

We decided that we would all have a drink or three and walk home – it was a lovely walk along the beach.

When we got back to the villa Victoria went for her swim and I JOINED her!!  It was cold at first, but I soon got used to it and really enjoyed it.

Wednesday 6th March

We woke up to an overcast and breezy day.  The weather forecast said that the wind speed would get up to about 50mph!

We drove to Carboneras – this is another place where, when Victoria visited it last time, the weather was a bit dire.  We walked to the square where Toria and James had a quick look in the castle while Richard and I sat with Laurence of Arabia and looked out to sea!

It would seem that Carboneras is very proud of its association with the film of Laurence of Arabia.  The town of' 'Aqaba' was built at Playa del Algarrobico and the attack on the train was filmed at Genovese Beach, San Jose.

The restaurant where we had hoped to get tapas was closed so we walked to another.  We sat down and gave our drinks order, but the waiter spoke no English and when we asked for tapas, he reeled off a load of “words” which we couldn’t understand.  In the end I asked for the menu but that didn’t have any tapas in, so we walked back to the car and ended up getting lunch in a café next to where we had parked.  We all had a hamburger which was literally made of ham!  None of us really liked it but Muffin enjoyed it for his dinner!

The wind really got up during the afternoon as we hunkered down.  I felt really sad for Toria and James – they only have 4 days with us and one of them is proving not to be very pleasant

We were supposed to be going to El Punto this evening for dinner but, on checking, I found it was closed!  We had all debated about going as we still felt full from lunch so it was probably fortuitous!  So, we decided to stay in and watch a film.  We chose Bohemian Rhapsody as no one had seen it before.  It was a fantastic film – the guy who played Brian May looked so like him, but I couldn’t get on with the “Roger Daltry” as I kept seeing the actor in Eastenders!

Friday, 15 March 2019

Spain 2019 - Peublo and paella

Monday 4th March

My first job was to find a dentist – they were both closed.  I guess we are in Spain – mañana!

I met the others at the Parque where we had a cup of coffee and a quick trip to the supermarket.

It was then up to the Pueblo as last time Victoria was here it was raining!  It was lovely up there – blue sky, sunshine and warm 😊  We did a bit of gift shop shopping and had a quick look in the church – it was such a surprise as most churches do always seem to be dark inside.

Before we knew where we were it was lunchtime!!  We went to the place as we had been with Penny and Jim but this time, we were able to sit outside where we had tapas.

That little sausage is a chorizo which I had to cook over a small bowl of some flaming liquid!

After lunch we wandered around the Pueblo and I took photos of the view as it was such a perfect day.

For once there is a photo of Richard and I together – we don’t get many!

Back at the villa Victoria decided that she was going for a swim.  It felt a bit cold when I dipped my toe in, but she did make it in!

I made my third paella for dinner – another astounding success!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Spain 2019 - Housework, visitors and ice cream

Saturday 2nd March

We have visitors arriving today – my daughter Victoria and her boyfriend James 😊  Of course visitors coming means housework   Richard’s job is the sweep through while my jobs are – well everything else!!  I’ve been sending all sorts of messages to Victoria about things to bring out – she says my stuff is taking up a whole suitcase!!  Thank goodness they are flying BA where they get a baggage allowance otherwise she would be charging me!

I took a trip to the supermarket and then we took Muffin for a walk on the beach. 

I was in contact with Toria and James at Gatwick where they were delayed at the gate by 25 minutes as one of the taxiways was out of use.  I was also following the flight on the Flightradar24 app and discovered that after I had had the message “we are off” they sat on the taxiway for a further 25 minutes!

Their flight was due to land at 18.55 but finally landed at 19.25.  By the time they had picked up the hire car it was about 21.00.  It is then a 125 mile journey with them arriving at about 23.30.  James was using Waze – a map app which he was able to share with me so I could follow their journey, the only trouble was that their car kept on going off the road and for a while was going down a railway track!!  Really weird!  However I watched them come down the Paseo and turn into Calle Dinamarca – as I walked up to the gate they were pulling in.  Amazing!!

Sunday 3rd March

Toria and James (well mainly Toria) wanted to go to the market at Villaricos so it was a fairly early start.  Richard stayed at home as Muffin finds the sea of legs and feet a bit frightening!! 

After the market we walked down to Beachcomber, a restaurant we haven’t visited before.  On Sunday they have a BBQ cooked by Kenny who used to run a BBQ type of restaurant.  Toria had ribs and the rest of us had rib eye steaks.  They were so good, and we had a lovely sea view too 😊

After Beachcomber we wandered down to the ice cream parlour for our desert.  Toria and James had a metre of ice cream between them!!  (These ice cream photos are especially for Brian Holt who seems to think our life out here revolves around ice cream – is there anything else!!!)

Toria very kindly brought us out a letter from the Spanish authorities informing us of a speeding fine.  We had got it on the day we took Penny and Jim back to Alicante Airport.  I was thinking how naughty Richard had been when I noticed the time – it was me

Monday, 11 March 2019

Spain 2019 - Special day, pamper, pizza and ice-cream!!

Thursday 28th February

Today is Andalucía Day or Día de Andalucía.  This is celebrated every February 28th and commemorates the February 28th 1980 referendum on the Statute of Autonomy of Andalusia, in which the Andalusian electorate voted for the statute that made Andalusia an autonomous community of Spain.  People across Andalucía mark the region’s annual holiday, with events organised to celebrate its history and culture.  Politicians and Andalusians are set to gather at the parliament building in Sevilla City for a ceremony commemorating the anniversary.  It features the raising of the green and white Andalusian flag and the playing of the region’s anthem, the Himno de Andalucía (Hymn of Andalucía).  The Junta’s president also hands out the Medals of Andalucía to recognise work done by people in communities across the region.

Muffin took no notice of the special day as he just wanted to get rid of his woolly jumper!  The poor dog’s coat had grown so long that a) he must have been hot and b) he was taking so long to dry after being in the sea.  He went to Belinda, a lovely English girl, who has set up a grooming business here.  He now looks and smells lovely!  Belinda uses a selection of doggie perfumes and used DOG (Dolce and Gabbana) on Muffin.  Some others are Jinny Chow Dog Pawfume, CK-9, Pucci, Arfmani and Timmy Holedigger!!!

Belinda told us that she had just realised that she shouldn’t be working today with it being Andalucía Day.  Only cafes and restaurants are allowed to open and anybody else opening faces a fine of €2,000!  We had a look along the Playa and there were a lot of places shut but also a lot open!

During the afternoon I finally managed to get the blog up to date.  So with that, the excursions sorted (well at least on my part) and last night I got all the ironing done - so life is good!!!

Friday 1st March

We went in search of a dentist this morning as I managed to break a tooth yesterday – these things always happen while we are away   Trouble is that with Andalusia Day being on a Thursday most businesses are closed today.  Apparently if Andalusia Day is on a Tuesday they close on Monday too!  I will have to be careful until Monday.

As we were driving this morning a woman started running across the road in front of us from the other side.  Richard slammed the brakes on and just stopped in time.  She rushed round to Richard’s window, which was open, and I thought she was going to have a go at him, but she just kept apologising over and over again!!  She said she lives here but is always getting the traffic wrong!

I popped in to Coastal Properties while I was passing but, again, all the good places have gone.  She said we need to be thinking about 2021 now!!

As we were driving up our road where the caterpillars are we saw a long string of them so I jumped out of the car with my hair lacquer and sprayed them.

The solar heating has been on in the pool since Saturday and I’ve dipping my toes in each day to see if the water is getting warmer.  Today I can certainly feel a change 😊

We went out for lunch to Levante.  We hadn’t been there before but it always looks nice.  We both ordered the same – a BBQ pizza with extra mushrooms.  They were really good.  I think a mouse had been at mine!!

We didn’t have a pudding at Levante as the ice-cream parlour is finally open, so we wandered down there.  This was mine

And this was Richard’s

I like eating at lunchtime as it means I don’t have to worry about cooking!  I didn’t have anything else to eat and Richard cooked himself a couple of boiled eggs.