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Spain
Now living in l'Olleria, south of Valencia

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Jamie at Xativa




We took Jamie to Xativa castle, but this time much later in the day than usual. It was lovely to see the sun setting over the mountains, although it made taking pictures much harder! (Thanks Tim, for the ISO advice!)

The lady at the reception advised us that we only had 1 hour to walk around, so we quickly scurried right up to the top. On the way back, we met some French people still climbing up. Hopefully they got out, before the gates were locked a the end of the day.

In the summer, a group of Russian tourists didn't hear the 'closing' announcement and were locked in. They had to call the police, who then called out the key holder, but they were trapped there for several hours, before they were released. The annoucment is in many languages, but Russian is not one of them! That said, it is only a 5 minute warning, which is not a lot, for such a large castle.

Afterwards, we went for a stroll around Xativa, which was really nice, as the weather is still so pleasant.

Horses for Courses




There was a lovely display of local horsemanship in town on Sunday. First of all, they all did a little tour around the town, and then each of them did a turn on the parade ground (wasteland/carpark!).

Some of the traps were beautifully prepared, with both horses and owners wearing their Sunday best. They demonstrated how good their horses were at turning tight circles and some of them could even go backwards, pushing the traps in reverse.

Afterwards, the single horses showed their skills. I don't know much about horses, but it was lovely to see the skill of both horse and rider. In Spain, a great deal of respect is shown to horsemanship and one or two of the riders were obviously very well skilled. Horses were riding diagonally, as well as backwards and showing off with there clever steps. Yes - they could go forward too!

One of the riders was our next door neighbour. He is only about 10 years old and had some trouble with his horse. It seemed to be frightened when everyone clapped. He got quite cross with it, and seemed very upset, but to be honest, taking his age into account, I think he did very well. We congatulated his grandad when we left, and hopefully our message was passed on to him. video

Friendly Bikers



On Sunday 25th, there was a huge parade of old motorbikes and cars. Up to 1,000 vehicles take part in the event, doing a tour of 5 or 6 villages and towns in the valley.

Based on the usual aspect of everything Spanish running late, we got there at about 10:15, just as they were all about to depart. Apparently it is one of the few things that actually runs on time! I must remember that next year.

As we got out of our car, a firework went off, indicating the begining of the event. A few moments later, something hit me on the head. I assumed it was the rocket from the firework! I shook my head, but there was something stuck in my hair. The stick from the rocket must have got caught! I ran my fingers through my hair and quickly realised that this was no rocket - there was a huge brown grasshopper on my head, swinging on my hair. It was at least 12cm's long. I shook it out, but I was too shocked to scream! Yuck. At least it wasn't anything slimey.

The parade began, but much to my suprise, the vehicles all left from the top of the street, even though it was one-way ~ the opposite direction. As quickly as we could, we made our way to the top of the hill, but many of the bikes had already left by then. Thankfully, we had seen a lot of them on display in the town the day before.

There were allsorts. Old Bultaco's, Derbi's, Ducati's, an old BSA, lots of scooters, and several that I didn't recognise. Then, there were lots of older cars, including a London Taxi! I'm sure they had a great day out.

Fun Fair

The fun fair has been to town again. There always seems to be some excuse for a fiesta - and whyever not?

The funfair was the same format as last year, including the layout! It was fine for the children and teenagers, but was not really something for older 'children' or adults. The real donkeys were there too, walking in circles again.

There were the usual market stalls, selling mostly handbags or scarves. One of the houses in town has converted their underbuild into a haunted house. It is 5€ to walk around, and get scared to death. Apparently it is really good. There are people dressed up, and madmen with chainsaws lurking about! There was a really big queue when we went past, so we didn't go in - maybe next year. (Maybe not!)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Ball Boy


Nice one! The dogs had someone else to throw the ball for them! Tim was quite happy to oblige pretty much all day - the problem is, now that they have gone back, Paddy keeps wanting the ball to be thrown, and we get bored with it after 2 hours!

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Visitors




Tim and Lauren have been over again, for their second visit. This time, I thought they should do the cultural/touristy thing.

We took them to Guadalest for a day out. The weather was a bit grim when we left, but thankfully cheered up nearer the coast.

I think the highlight of the day was the sweet shop!

(Shorts and sleeveless tops, in the middle of October - can't be bad!)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

New Toy



We had a visit from a spanish chap recently, who wanted to buy a new motorbike. He realised that they were a lot cheaper in the UK, so used us a go-between. On Sunday, his new toy finally arrived...

(Ed was NOT very happy about having his photo taken, sitting on a Honda!)

Busman's Holiday!



There is still lots to do here in l'Olleria, but I spent 3 days re-decorating for Tim and Jess (with lots of help from Nanny and Grandad).

Now, they only need to finish off the living room, and the smallest bedroom. Thankfully, the kitchen is in quite a reasonable decorative order, although short in cupboard space.

One more cut of the lawn, and all will be in order for the winter.

Birthday Tea




Tim invited everyone to join him for tea at Franky & Benny's. It was lovley to see his school friends again - just like old times! I had bought him a game of 'Chav Top Trumps' for a laugh, and they were all thrilled and played just as they did when they were all little!

Alton Towers





Timothy took me to Alton Towers for his birthday. (Thank you very much - I think!)

As he has a special pass, we were able to get there by 9am. We went straight on to the Oblivion and then to the Rita Queen of Speed. Now - I have always loved roller coasters etc, as long as they are not too high, but the power of Rita took me by suprise, as you can tell from the picture! 0 - 100 in 2 seconds! Before the ride had even finished, I told Tim "I feel sick". He found it very funny. He was waving his arms around, while I held on in sheer terror!

Next, he took me on Hex, a creepy ride, so well made that I had to sit down afterwards, otherwise I really would have been sick! I made him do the gentle things after that; Sea World, Log flume (Tim got very wet), Rapid ride, then I felt ready enough for the runaway train! After another break, we went on Nemesis (my favourite) but I still felt too ill to go on Air. Tim was very disappointed with me, but I had no intention of being sick in front of my son, even it was his fault!

I really did enjoy the day, even though I needed a lay down later on! video