Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What We've been doing over the 'Christmas Holiday'

What We've been doing over the 'Christmas Holiday'

Wednesday 23rd December 2015

It seems ages since I've put my fingers to the keyboard and my brain in gear, but today I'm going to try and catch up with what we've been up to over this festive period!  I suppose really we've had quite a few 'lazy days' - it's very easy to do 'not much' when the sun is shining and the most important demands on your time are chatting with the neighbours and ensuring your glass is ready for 'wine o'clock'!

We didn't even have to buy it! This is our pressie from the campsite!
So today has well and truly been a  'relaxing' one where we've  hammered our kindle's, caught a few rays, ate to much food and socialised - well, someone has to do it!

Thursday 24th December 2015

Today was the day to collect our new bikes - we had a phone call about 11.30 to say they were ready - or at least that's what I assumed had been said.  The gentleman who sold them to us - 'Oscar' - did speak a little  English, but even when face to face, it was sometimes difficult to understand him!  Usually he alternated between one word of English and one of Spanish - all spoken at rapid fire rate, so our conversation on the phone was pretty much guess work - but I think mainly I guessed right.


And Hers

We briefly tried them out in the shop, and although we knew we would have to do some 'fine tuning' to make them fit 'us', generally we were very pleased with them.  So, we quickly peddled back to the campsite, and that was pretty much what John did with the rest of his day - he tinkered.  He checked all the nuts and bolts, he put new peddles on his, and probably he did a lot more that I'm completely unaware of!  But finally, and most importantly, he locked them very securely to the back of the T4rdis - and despite the fact that most people leave their bikes beside their vans - and often unlocked - this is where ours will reside when not in use!

After that we joined the annual Christmas party via 'face time' at Sarah and Paul's house (our daughter and son in law), and although we couldn't be there in person, it was lovely to see everybody - especially all the children 'gurning' at us as they whooped around the house in very high spirits.

Christmas Day

Well our day started quite quietly with our usual cup of tea in bed, but it wasn't long before the 'Whats app'  messages started to arrive showing our grandchildren in high glee as they unwrapped their presents,

And little  Evelyn (2 months old already)

and later the adults competing for the 'best' pressie award!

All this did make me feel slightly homesick, but when Ben and Louise revealed their engagement, tears could not be held back, and later in the day, further 'face timing' needed to be done!

Anyway, Christmas dinner was next on our agenda and we planned to have it  with our new friends at the local Chinese Buffet which was quite a distance away - we could have cycled, but after what had happened to our previous bikes we decided we couldn't risk leaving the new ones outside the restaurant - so we went by Shanks' Pony instead!

We met up with everybody and pottered off - and because there was such a vast amount of food on offer, it was probably a good job we had a long walk home!

We indulged in soup, sushi, salads, all kinds of Chinese dishes, and then there was a section where you could select raw fish, meat or vegetables and have them cooked while you waited!  Following this there was a huge selection of deserts, and then my favourite -  a chocolate fountain! (For a confirmed choc-a-holic it was heaven) - and all for the princely sum of 30 euros including wine! (about 22 quid for both of us)

I would've liked seconds but sadly there was no room!
Needless to say, we didn't have much tea - but we did indulge in a wee dram of John's Ardbeg Whiskey just before bedtime!

Boxing Day

Well, after our over indulgence yesterday a little exercise was desperately needed, and as we wanted to try out our new bikes you can probably guess how we spent our day!  Bike gear was donned, a picnic was packed and our flask was filled.  Our bikes were then released from there tether on the back of the van, and off we went!

We'd decided to follow the same route that we'd done on our other bikes before they were stolen - mostly so that we could see how our new mountain bikes would compare!   And they did much better -  as we rode along the track that meanders beside the clear sparkling Mediterranean they proved to be much more sure footed over the rough terrain, and even I had the confidence to just go for it, hang on and and hope for the best in the places where the track become a bit more 'technical'  (Sharon - John says you'd have been quite proud of me😀).

This doesn't really show the roughness of the track, but it maybe gives you the idea
After about 12 kms we came to the end of the track so then we followed a small road up and up through mile after mile of greenhouses where tomatoes are grown,  and we completed our outward journey in the little village of Puntas de Calnegre.

But we didn't really find anywhere we fancied to sit and eat our picnic there, so we retraced our tracks back to a beautiful bay we had spotted earlier....

and then we retraced our tracks even further back to the T4rdis.  In all we cycled about 36 kms - maybe not quite far enough to use up all the excess calories - but at least it was a start!

Sunday 27th December 2015

So to continue our good work of yesterday (we were kidding ourselves) we decided we would cycle again today, but this time in the opposite direction, and as it was Sunday, we thought that instead of taking a picnic we would treat ourselves to lunch out. Much like yesterday, our ride more or less followed the coast, but this time it was either on tarmac or better cycling track, which we followed until it completely ran out in a village called La Azohia.  On the way we passed an old Roman Bath House 'Banos de la Marrana', and although we didn't take a dip we did feel the need to pause and admire it while we had coffee and cake!

We also spotted numerous 'camping cars' wild camping in areas that clearly said 'Don't', but it seems to be common practice out here, so maybe eventually, when we've had a bit more 'practice' we may try and join them!

Anyway, it wasn't until we got back to Puerto de Mazarron that we decided to find somewhere to eat.  In the end we settled for a restaurant that we'd visited previously 'Viggos', but it was heaving so it was quite difficult to find a safe place to leave our bikes where they would still be in our sight. Needless to say, we were quite nervous that we may suffer another attack, and even though John had brought both big D locks to secure them, the best we could do was lock them together and  leave them as close by as possible to our table (about 5 yards).  We settled down and ordered our drinks and started to look at the menu, but then a couple of chaps in shades perched on the bench right next to our bikes.  They proceeded to get out a phone and make a call, and soon after they were joined by a third chap.  By this time we were ready to just run back and make a grab for our property, but within a few minuets they were joined by 3 girls and they all came into the restaurant to eat!  We breathed a big sigh of relief and both admitted that maybe paranoia was taking over, but it didn't spoil our appetite, we soon tucked in and enjoyed our meal of Tuna Belly🐟, chips and salad - justified by the fact that we'd cycled another 36kms!

Monday 28th December 2015

This proved to be another very lazy day.  A bit of 'house work' and washing, a bit of reading, a bit more eating and drinking, and then towards evening we decided we would move ourselves and take a little walk. We didn't really go far, just around the Bolnuevo Bay - and then back home to watch a Star Trek film which really was quite good because it showed all the well known characters as youngsters at the academy, and  it was easy to recognise them in their older roles in the early episodes of the series.

Tuesday 29th December 2015

Well, today started with a strange occurrence!  Wet stuff was falling from the sky - the first we've seen since we arrived in Spain.  It lasted all of 20 minuets and then soon cleared to leave warm sunshine for the rest of the day - a lovely day for the little jaunt we'd planned to buy a few more necessities for our bikes!

I think we have to say that we've really been very pleased with them anyway, but they needed personalising. We hadn't really spared much expense with our old ones, but obviously, all the extras like saddles, panniers, pedals bells and even my coat went with them when they were stolen.  So, we'd decided we needed quite a few 'extra bits' to make the new ones more comfy, and this included a mirror for John cos he likes to keep an eye on me without getting a crick in his neck!  With this in mind, we planned to pop over the mountain in the T4rdis to Cartegena to acquire the goods we needed, and while we were at it we did a bit of food shopping and also visited a local motorhome dealership for a little nosy round some European vans and to get a new ACSI book.  (That's a book that  is produced annually and identifies camp sites  that are affiliated to ACSI and that offer out of season discounts to people like us -  it's saving us 5 euros a night on the site we're on at the mo). While we were there we met 2 other couples who are full-timing - it's really quite surprising how many people live in their vans out here - and they gave us several more hints and tips regarding web sites and apps that will help us on our way, along with some very useful advise re the DVLA and driving larger vans.

Happily, we achieved all we set out to do and arrived back at the site about 4pm planning a quite hour in the sunshine before it set.  We did enjoy the sunshine but the time wasn't quite!  As soon as we were parked up one of our new friends invited us over for wine o'clock - and this stretched out until about 7pm.  In that time several bottles of wine were consumed along with home baked muffins, nuts and chocolate, and this was all accompanied with  much chatter, laughter, and in the end a good old sing song.  Elvis, Roy Orbison, Queen and several others, some of which were just about recognisable but others not!

Wednesday 30th December 2015.

We've had another easy day today so not much to write home about!  Another short cycle ride (20 km) along the coast, more reading, an occasional doze, a bit of blogging etc. etc.  We've been taking it easy in preparation for tomorrows celebrations and also because John keeps looking up at the mountains and he has a 'little ride' planned for either New Year's Day, or depending how much we celebrate, the day after.  I'm very sure I'll be needing my Great Granny Ring for that!

Anyway, I've got to go now because we have to practice saying 'Happy New Year' in several languages, but for our friends and family, and anybody else reading this, We would like to take this opportunity to wish you A Very  very Happy and Prosperous New Year xxx 

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