|With our Chinese guests on Monday morning just before they left.|
|The spelt and walnut bread I made on Monday|
|The new look after I changed the three piece suite covers|
|Eladio on the terrace with Pippa here at our apartment.|
|By the cliffs with little Pippa on our first walk on Tuesday to the lighthouse|
On Wednesday, I was up at 06.30 and the first thing I did was to take Pippa outside to the garden for her morning call of nature. Living in a flat means she can't just wander into the garden by herself and I have to remember to take her down. Later with my cup of coffee, I read the news and was surprised and pleased to read that finally, yes finally, it had been announced by the heir to the throne in Saudi Arabia that from June 2018, women would be allowed to drive without a man's approval. It is the last country in the world to approve women driving and was about time too. I just hope that other restrictions on women there will be slowly lifted too. What a nightmare it must be to be a woman in Saudi Arabia.
News that Twitter is experimenting with permitting a 280 character limit as apposed to the current 140 one caught my eye too. In one way I think it is a good thing as there is now more room to express oneself. On the other hand, as my friend Sandra pointed out, the whole idea about Twitter is to be short and to the point. In any case it is really an unimportant piece of news although it will be important for the American social media company.
On Wednesday we went to the beach in the morning, armed with the sunshade and our old blue beach chairs. We have had them since our first summer here in 1999! And here is Eladio sitting under the shade reading his book, the autobiography of Felix Yusupov which he is finding equally riveting as my Father and I did.
|Eladio on the beach on Wednesday|
We came back to make lunch after which we had a siesta, read a bit on the terrace and then went for another walk with Pippa all the way to the lighthouse and back. On the way back I persuaded Eladio to go out and have fish and chips that night. He didn't take much persuading. Suzy who is vegan or tries to be vegan and Juli who doesn't really appreciate what fish and chips are, preferred to stay behind. We found Darby's Chippy quite busy but we were warmly welcomed by John, from Scotland and his wife. He really does make the best fish and chips in the area and just as good as the best in the UK. Here, by the way, is Eladio's large portion. He removes most of the batter which horrifies me as it is precisely the batter I like most hahaha. Later when looking for a link to the chip shop I wrote a review on Trip Advisor and of course gave them full marks. I hope John, who I think still reads my blog, sees that:-)
|Eladio's portion of large fish and chips at Darby's Chippy on Wednesday night|
On Friday I was up at 6.15. I do wish I could sleep longer. Everyone else was up later at about 8.30. Suzy is like me in that she makes a cup of coffee as soon as she gets up. I joined her on the terrace and was rewarded with this lovely photo of my sleepy daughter who I think is looking absolutely lovely. She is so brown after her trip to Malaysia and Indonesia.
|Sleepy but smiley Suzy with her cup of coffee on Thursday morning.|
The highlight of Thursday then was going to the Santa Pola market which is held here at Gran Alacant, a few yards away from our apartment. There are good fruit and vegetable stalls but the rest is a bit rubbishy although I did find some nice red trainers for a paltry 10 euros. I have yet to wear them.
But we were far more interested in the fruit and veg as we are a real fruit and veg family as you may well have noticed hahaha. And here we are, Suzy and I, picking our choice of tomatoes, lettuce, plums, grapes, water melon, peaches, pineapple and bananas.
|Suzy and I choosing vegetables at the market yesterday|
It wasn't really warm enough to go the beach in the afternoon so while Eladio slept his siesta and Suzy and Juli went to the swimming pool, I read on the terrace. I had another itching attack so suggested going for a walk to the lighthouse with Eladio and Pippa both for the exercise and to take my mind off the damned itching.
We came home to make a superb or rather 2 superb small Spanish tortillas (made with eggs, potatoes and onions) and this is what the table looked like when we sat down to dinner.
|Dinner at home on Thursday night - home made Spanish tortilla.|
Friday came. We had run out of bread and milk so when the shops opened at 8.30 Eladio and I went to buy some and found a lovely new bakery. We bought freshly baked bread as well as delicious looking croissants and pain au chocolat and the equivalent here to danish pastry. For reference sake the name of the bakery is "dulce de leche". We then bought milk at the British supermarket Quicksave. Here I chatted to the owner who told me that many of the Brits in Gran Alacant were leaving and that few new ones were coming after Brexit. When I asked him why, he said it was because of the uncertainty of the future: pensions, health care and the low rate of the pound. What sad consequences Brexit is bringing us. During the Brexit referendum campaign no one ever thought of the Brits living abroad like me, or the fish and chip shop man John or the owner of Quicksave.
We had a feast of a breakfast I must say. The croissants were at least as good as the very best in France which is unusual here. While here we had decided we would spend a day down memory lane, visiting Callosa de Ensarría where my parents bought a village house in the early 70's as well as Algar, a beautiful enclave in the mountains with natural waterfalls and restaurants, swimming pools etc. I used to call these our "Callosa Days". So we went on Friday morning. Juli and Suzy preferred to stay and go to the beach. It was probably the warmest and sunniest of the days we spent here.
Callosa is 55km inland from Alicante, so about 60km from here. But first we stopped at the chemist to buy mosquito repellent and a relief cream. The pharmacist confirmed there was a mosquito plague here and gave me a cream with cortisone and even anesthesia. It worked a bit but was not really effective. Swimming in the cold water at Algar would help though.
We took Pippa with us having rung both the restaurant (Don Juan de Algar) and the natural waterfall park and both had confirmed they were dog friendly. Hallelujah I thought as it isn't often dogs are allowed anywhere in Spain and I didn't want to leave her on her own all day in the apartment.
The road from Benidorm (15km away) to Callosa hasn't changed that much and brings many memories. I love driving past the pretty little towns of La Nucia and Polop surrounded by orange and lemon groves and a fruit called níspero.
|The pretty little town of Polop on our way to Callosa.|
Once in Callosa, we walked along the old familiar streets which hadn't really changed. Everything was ready for the village fiestas taking place next week, the Moors and Christians which I have actually never seen.
|Eladio and Pippa walking along the main street of the old town of Callosa.|
From there we walked up the to main square where Eladio and I remembered watching the local beauty contest for "chiquets" and "chiquetas". We also remembered the café where Eladio started flirting with me for the first time. Wow that was so many years ago. From the square, knowing the way perfectly, we walked to Calle de las Flores where our old house was. It looked empty. This is the street.
|Our old house in Calle de Las Flores, the second on the left.|
We went to have a cup of coffee together and to chat and catch up on all the years since we had last met. Eladio took a photo of us although neither of us was looking our best hahaha.
|With Rosa my friend from my teenage years in Callosa, reunited on Friday.|
We said our goodbyes promising to meet again in Callosa next time we come. We then walked back to our car and made our way to Algar which has changed a bit as it is much more commercial than before except for the stunning scenery thankfully. It is only 1km from Callosa and my brother George and I used to walk there and spend the day at the waterfalls many years ago when we first came to Spain. In those days we didn't have much money and couldn't pay to use the two swimming pools. Thankfully today we can. So we parked at the Don Juan restaurant and pool where we always used to go and which we still visit occasionally when we come to our apartment in Santa Pola.
|The pool at Don Juan|
|Entering Algar with Pippa|
|Eladio swimming in Algar|
|Me being silly in one of the natural pools at Algar|
|Toasted local bread with ali oli and fresh tomato sauces|
|The arroz a banda at Don Juan de Algar on Friday|
We left with a very happy feeling, satisfied with a wonderful day together. We were home by about 7pm and unfortunately both of us had started a cold, most probably because of the cold water. Thankfully, Juli, who also had a cold, had bought the famous Spanish remedy for this common ailment, "frenadol" and we both took it and would buy more the next day. Damned cold and mosquitoes we could well have done without.
Oli was arriving that evening in Alicante and Suzy and Juli would pick her up. Her high speed train, the "Ave" was 1 hour late which meant she would be given her money back. If it is more than 10 minutes late I think you get a full refund. We wouldn't see her until the next day as they were meeting Merce, her husband Josema and toddler Jorge for dinner that night and would not be home until after midnight, well after our bedtime hahaha, which as you know is usually between 9 and 10 pm. They first met Merce when we bought the apartment here in 1999, the year my Mother died. They were part of a group of friends who spent many happy summers here together. Merce is from Yecla about an hour away from here and they have kept in touch ever since. The girls even went to Merce and Josema's wedding and they were to meet the couple's 2 year old baby, Jorge, for the first time on Friday night. It was a lovely reunion for them.
I asked them for a photo together and they sent me one. It was a great reunion for them, their own particular trip down memory lane.
|The girls on Friday night with Juli, Merce, Josema and little Jorge|
Oli was up early too and then Suzy and the three of us went out with Pippa to buy croissants, pastries and bread for breakfast again. We had a huge breakfast feast as we will today as none of us can resist the produce to be bought at the "Dulce de Leche" bakery across the road. I feel a bit guilty but assure you that as soon as I get home I will be back to my daily "gruel" aka oat bran porridge hahaha.
Eladio had an earache that morning so instead of spending the time with the girls on the beach we had to go and see a doctor in Alicante at a private clinic. The city was full of traffic and roads were being blocked because of an ongoing triathlon race. We got caught at a roundabout just past the port and suddenly a huge airport bus was leaning in towards us and scratching the side of our car. There were police there and as Eladio got out of the car to stop the bus driver from leaving the traffic lights, all the cars on the roundabout started parping their horns. The bus had not seen us and had bumped into our car from the right while we were nearly on the kerb on the inside of the roundabout. However the bus driver said we had caused the accident which we hadn't. So we had no alternative but to call the traffic police who took ages to come. I think we spent nearly 1.5h there after the accident. The car wasn't damaged much but as the insurance is only for third parties, if we didn't make clear the accident was not caused by us we would have to pay for the damage done. Thankfully the police who came saw clearly from the type of scratch on the car and our explanations that it was the bus driver's fault.
|The bus that bumped into us in Alicante|
|Eladio and our damaged car in Alicante on Saturday morning.|
|Fish and chips all together at Darby's Chippy on Saturday|
No one was hungry for dinner so we just had a salad and fruit after which Eladio watched more debates on the Catalan referendum issue. As I write that now, it is early in the morning on Sunday 1st October the day it is supposed to happen although the government will try its best to stop it.
Meanwhile we played cards until I, at least, dropped to sleep having previously sprayed my room with insect repellent.
Today will be our last day here. Oli's boyfriend, Miguel, will be coming from Valencia for lunch and he will return to Madrid with us where he will spend the week with Oli. We shall be going back after lunch and hope to make the best of the few hours the four of us have here.
I nearly forgot to add that today is the anniversary of the passing away of my dear Mother who left us on 1st October 1999. No doubt my Father will be thinking about her today. In reality we think about her very often but today is a day we shall sadly always remember.
It is now the end of this week's blog post which I hope you have enjoyed. All that remains is to wish you all a great week ahead until you hear from me again next Sunday.
Cheers for now.