Tuesday, 30 September 2008
It turned out, that the lady running it last time we went, was actually only managing it, and ‘managed it’ €50,000 into debt. Along with a similar amount at another bar as well as some local businesses, she had run up debts of over €100k, all in the name of this business, so destroying the life savings of the real business owner, and necessitating her returning to work. We hear of this happening so often over here. It is as though corruption and deceit are acceptable by products of living in
As we left the restaurant (having had a lovely meal – the same chef was still there) I suddenly got this stupid idea. I saw some unripe (green) lemons on the roadside. I picked one up, with the intention of throwing it a Deb ~ I would call out to her, knowing she wouldn’t catch it, and frighten her. However, as I threw it, I realised that I had thrown it too high, and it was about to hit her on her helmet, but I was too shocked to shout out. As I looked at her, she was looking at the floor, then in the sky, trying to work out where the lemon had suddenly dropped from. She and Tracey were looking at the trees (olives) and the birds, trying to figure it out ~ then they saw me doubled up with laughter and knew what had happened. I have no idea where the silly streak came from (Mother), but I did have the decency to apologise afterwards. (Even though I kept laughing.)
We helped bury the dog, then left them. The oldest sister had to travel back to Girona. It was all very traumatic. Sadly it was only one month before the dogs 15th birthday. Monica was very grateful for our help, but really, all we had done, was give some comfort. (Although Ed did say later, it would have taken hours to dig the hole by hand.)
This week, Monica came around with a present for us (es nada – it’s nothing) to thank us for our help. There was a huge parcel wrapped up in pretty paper. It turned out to be 2 bath towels and a lovely velour blanket. Ed was stunned. We only did what we both felt was right, to help a neighbour in need.
To the north of us, (about 20 miles north) one of the coastal towns was so badly affected, that they have been declared a ‘catastrophic zone’. To the south (
Today we have had glorious sunshine, and took the dogs right up to the very top of one of the nearby hills.
Have a great day. Since I am still only 25, you do realise that I must have adopted you when I was 2 years old. I’m not quite sure how it will work out in a few more years, when you are older than me.
Have a lovely day, Mum xx
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Had a lovely few day in Germany, to celebrate my Grandma’s 90th birthday. On her birthday, a champagne breakfast was held in her honour, and then, on the Saturday, there was a party for some 65 people.
Tim and Jess went too, along with John and Jess’s boyfriend Tim. It was lovely to all be together again, even though it was in another country!
One relative had been to the small town she originated from, in the Ukraine and met up with a lady that knew some ‘Sonnenberg’s’ many years ago. When she discovered that this visitor was from the same family, she cried. There was a lovely slide show and small movie depicting things from her life, which was wonderful. She was also taken on a trip around the village in a horsedrawn carriage
We missed many of the town festivals, as we were away in
In essence, this area of
Many parades take place, leading up to the main Parade of the Moors and Christians (which we missed) which takes up to 5 hours to pass through the high street. The costumes are incredible. Many troupes prefer to be Moors, as their costumes are more colourful, even though it was the Christians that won in the end.
And some point, there is the re-enactment of the Storming of the Castle. The Moors are in the castle and a horseman from the Christians delivers a message, calling on them to surrender. The king of the moors symbolically rips up the message, and the rider returns. The army of Christians gathers, and then the king of the Christians calls on the Moors to concede. This is actually a recognised speech, to which the Moors occasionally respond. Although I couldn’t follow much of it, it quickly became apparent that it was in verse. Very impressive. Toward the end of the speech, the altercation becomes louder and more aggressive, and then battle commences. It was all very theatrical, and wonderful to watch. The armies let loose with blunderbusses, and the square was soon filled with smoke and the smell of gunpowder. The buildings shook with each explosion, and my ears were ringing. (At one point, some spilled powder caught fire on the road, but there was a man there with a hosepipe, who put the fire out, and washed the spillage away.
And so it came to pass, our first anniversary of our new life in the sun.
It still seems quite incredible. I’m still in the honeymoon phase, where I’m not quite sure if I am on holiday, or actually if this really is my life. Most days, the sun is shining, or it is at least warm. When it rains, it absolutely tips down, but we certainly don’t have the incessant drizzle that tends to hang on for days on end in
I have a palm tree outside my bedroom window, and a valley sweeping away below. The nearest neighbours are only in situ for 2 months of the year, and they are really lovely. The peace and serenity are truly blissful.
When we had birds nesting, we were able to simply spend an entire morning watching the fledglings learn to fly. We often just sit, and watch the dogs playing. We have time for each other, as well as time for new friends. When Ed does work, no one expects everything to be finished in a day. They are used to the Spanish taking forever to do a job – so are really happy with him. Everyone that has employed him, has called him back again, when the next job is ready to be done.
We have done a huge amount of work to the house and garden, although there is still much to do. As I type, Ed is finishing off a gable on the pump house for the pool filtration system. It will be a while before the pool area is finished, but the structural work has been done. It all looks lovely, even though it is actually a mess still!
Work has proven to be difficult for Ed to find. Much as the Spanish are constantly building, the same recession to hit the
The language has proven to be quite a problem. Here, everyone speaks ‘Valenciano’, not proper Spanish. This is a strange mixture of Spanish and French. (Similar to Catalan) As I am learning Castellon, the true language of
Any regrets? None whatsoever. Maybe we should have moved out 10 years earlier – but we didn’t know each other then! I promised that I would give it 5 years, before making any decisions on staying – but I can’t think of any single reason to give this life up. There are 2 airports about an hour away, making us accessible for welcome visitors.
Would I recommend it to anyone? Probably not. Ed and I have lived nomadic lifestyles, so moving house meant nothing and moving countries meant very little. But, if you want a peaceful lifestyle, where no one rushes and the sun shines most days, then this is certainly to be recommended. (But don’t come to l’Olleria - there are enough Brits here)