Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And so to Santa Pola, all the family together, bombs in Mallorca and the death of Harry Patch

One of the sea views from our flat in Santa Pola
Hi again

Every summer after the family reunion in Montrondo we go for a few days to our pad on the coast. I always say “Santa Pola” but actually the place is called Gran Alacant and is some 15km from Alicante and some 5km from Santa Pola. We bought it ten years ago but seem to go less and less. I have just read my entry from last year to see what I wrote and what was different this year.

Last year was the last time I saw my Aunty Masha alive. We would often visit her when in Santa Pola but perhaps not as often as we should. Now I am not able to make that decision. Last year I wrote that the girls didn’t come as we rarely went on holiday with them any more and lo and behold Suzy came with us this year. She came with us as she needed the right atmosphere to study for her September re-sits (just 3 subjects to go now before she finishes forever and it feels forever too!!). Oli joined us for the weekend and therefore for a few days the 5 of us were together for the first time ever in Santa Pola.
Suzy taking a break from her studies in the flat.
We celebrated by taking the girls out to dinner on Friday to La Picola and on Saturday to El Varadero. After both dinners the four of us went for delicious family night walks on the beach to work off the excess.
Eladio and his girls at La Picola.
We spent our time fighting off the heat and extreme humidity (this summer has been hotter than every in Spain), enjoying family meals together and going to the beach when we would also take long walks together.

The highlight of our stay was perhaps when we visited Alicante when we took Oli to catch her train back to Madrid. The obligatory thing to do when visiting Alicante is to walk on the Esplanade which is a smaller version of the Rambla in Barcelona but with a wavy mosaic floor. We bought things at the flea market there, like a fan to keep off the heat, and also had ice cream at the famous Pinet café. As this was a Sunday in August the Esplanade was especially full of people and also of side stalls and street buskers.
Suzy on the Esplanade (on the phone to Juli I think)
Here both tourists and locals mingle and you can hear all the languages in the world and could, amongst many other things, have your hair plaited by black African women carrying babies on their backs or bought pictures made of butterflies from The Congo.
Black ladies plaiting women's hair on the Esplanade in Alicante.
What grabbed my Father’s and Eladio’s attention though was the summer concert put on by the Alicante Municipal Brass Band on the Esplanade itself. Here we had to fight for seats but eventually found some. As my Father commented there was probably no one under the age of 60 listening. A great fan of brass bands, it made his day though.
The brass band concert on the Esplanade in Alicante which my Father and Eladio so enjoyed.
Suzy with her Grandfather and Father during the brass band concert interval on the Esplanade in Alicante.
The only cloud hanging over us was a problem my Father had with his right hand. Just as we were leaving he showed it to us and we could see how the first three fingers could not move and were paralyzed. We immediately thought back to the time when he fell over Norah in the kitchen and wondered whether this was a mild stroke. It severely limited his movements and made it difficult to do simple things like do up his shirt buttons or even eat. Now we are back we have taken him to the neurologist and he has had several tests including a brain scan. He has another appointment tomorrow to interpret the tests but it looks like the damage does not come from the brain but from a muscle. Thus it is very likely he will recover the movement in his hand or at least that is what we hope.
Grandpa reading the English paper in the flat.
We would go and get his newspaper, The Times, at the English shop, Quicksave, across the way which is what he usually does himself and I would always buy him chocolates, his favourite being Turkish Delight, to cheer him up as I suspected he was a bit down.

Believe it or not two days before we were leaving it began to rain, in fact all over Spain. That sort of spoiled the end of our stay and we decided to come back one day earlier. Here is the full selection of photos of our stay in Santa Pola which I have posted on Facebook, as usual.

Norah, our hyperactive 10 month old beagle stayed at home (bit cross with her at the moment as today after lunch she got locked in the dining room and when I opened it she had disgraced herself by weeing on the cushions and wet wee stained paw marks were all over the floor!). She is just too hyperactive to take anywhere. She hates being alone and this was her second experience. Thankfully Suzy’s friend Rocío and friends would come every day to feed her and play with her. We got a fantastic welcome when we came home of course and were delighted to see her again. It’s a long time since I’d taken any photos of her so I snapped a few and here is the result.
Norah on Suzy's knee. She is too big to sit there but still likes to think she is a puppy.
I should mention that whilst we were on holiday, the ETA terrorist group placed 4 bombs in restaurants and beaches in Mallorca to mark their anniversary. Some 8 or 9 years ago, there were bombs in Santa Pola too, just a day or so before our stay. I well remember the deserted beaches and the story of the little girl and old man who were killed. When will they stop I ask myself?

Also this holiday the very last surviving British veteran from the First World War, Harry Patch, died at the age of 111. You will remember from an earlier post of mine that I reported on Henry Allingham’s death, the second last surviving veteran who was aged 113. Now there is no surviving soldier in Britain who can recount his experiences in what was known as the Great War. Soon it will be the turn of the veterans from the Second World War. And that’s when we can only resort to the history books, which is just not the same.
Harry Patch the last WW1 British veteran
We seem to have been travelling all Summer and indeed we have; to England, to Montrondo and to Santa Pola. But the travelling didn’t stop there as on Friday, one day after our return, Eladio and I hit the road again, this time to visit friends in Salamanca.

But more about that in my next post.

Cheers till then

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