About Us

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Spain
Now living in l'Olleria, south of Valencia

Saturday, 27 March 2010

What Service?!


Ed decided to give the kubota a service, as he knew was going to be doing quite a bit of tracking in the near future. He had oil filters, but no filters for the diesel or tracks. Not a problem; when we went to Cocentaina for the Medievel Fayre, we had spotted a Kubota Dealership. Ed trotted off to Cocentaina and ordered filters and oil. He took his manual with him, so that they knew exactly what he wanted (part numbers etc). No problem, they said, everything would be here on Monday. He even left them a business card, with his phone number, so that everything was as easy as possible for them.

Monday came and went, with no phone call. Tuesday, we decided to go over anyway and see if the goods had arrived. Ed went into the shop and came out 5 minutes later, with no oil, no filters, and just his manual. 'We can't get the parts' was the excuse! What! That's a bit like going to the Post Office and they don't have access to any stamps!

Very disappointed (and somewhat confused) Ed tried the tiny motorbike repair shop in l'Olleria. (The chap that owns it repairs anything with a motor - rotovators, chainsaws etc) Once again, he had his handbook with him. Vincent simply wrote down the part number and phoned there and then. The filters would be there the next day, along with the oil. And they were.

Ed thinks, that the first shop didn't order them because he was English, or because the parts and oil were quite expensive (although he knew that) and they probably thought he wouldn't pay for them. Either way, once again, we have found that the little shops are the ones with the best service and anything we can buy locally, we will. Long live the little man!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Las Fallas 2010





This year, we decided not to go up to Valencia, as it is so crowded, it is hard to move around. We went to Xativa instead, as there are so many fallas in such a small area. Many of the town around celebrate with fallas of their own, but generally they are much more spread out.

We arrived at about 9pm, but missed the first of the children's fallas (the smaller ones) and had to wait a while for the bigger ones to be set alight. Still, this was a good opportunity for a seat in the Avenue, watching the people going by, throwing fireworks, whilst having a beer/coke. I sampled the fallas fayre, which appeared to be some sort of ring doughnut. It tasted vaguely familiar, and then I realised that it was a pumpking doughnut. Interesting and worthy of another tasting in the future.

There was a group of older teenagers lighting fireworks in the central park. They had some really big rockets and bangers, and as they lit them, they all ran away. It was very funny watching them - they looked a bit like cockroaches running from the light! That said, they certainly weren't the sort of bangers that can be bought in England. The explosions were really loud, and the rockets pretty impressive (even though most of them went sideways, after hitting the treetops!). As we walked around, John stopped me, as someone had just 'dropped' a cracker that was about to go off at my feet, had I taken another step.

We watched 3 of the bigger fallas being lit, as these were just a few streets away from each other. You knew it was nearly time to light them, because the fire brigade turned up, ready to douse the buildings. The largest of the 3 had a band playing for nearly an hour, but they played mostly the same tune (presumably fallas related) which seemed to be fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol. Everyone had a great time and we had fun just watching them dancing and singing.

As usual, we were parked just out of town, making a quick escape very easy. As we left, we saw the terrible mess on all of the parked cars - a combination of fallen ash and firework debris. Another good reason to park where we had!
video

Work In Progress



'In Progress' seems a bit mean, since it is nearly finished, but the top terrace has certainly changed over the last 2 years.

All of the electrical and plumbing work has been finished, it is just the inside of the pool that needs completing. We are still debating on the coping stones for the pool, so we won't be making any progress until we have decided what to do. There are several options, all of which require a decent win on the lottery!

Welcome



The entry to the house, used to be through two palm trees. At some point in the future, it would have been possible to walk beneath them, but due to their size when we moved in, it was only possible to crawl under them, push them aside, or go around them!

We moved the smaller of the two to the back garden, near the pool, and have trimmed the larger one, so that we can actually walk near it now. The front patio has been re-slabbed, and the garden laid. The two planters that Ed made, are currently full of geraniums and pertunias. (Ed has sprinkled them librally with pepper, in the hope that Max doesn't dig them up!)

Potential Realised



When we bought the house, we loved everything about it... the location, the style, the size and the fact that not too much needed doing to it! Ha Ha.

The small patio area at the rear was nice, but in need of a lot of work. Now, of course, having extended and refurbished the whole area, the same space looks completely different... (just the cladding left to do.)

We've come a long way



We've been here for just 2 and a half years, and I can't beleive how much we have already done.

I thought that it was about time I put on some before and after pictures. March is not the best time for taking photo's, as we don't have the rich blue skies as a backdrop, but even so, the changes are quite remarkable.

Ed made me laugh - "I don't remember that tree, I must have pushed it over" I don't know how many trees he has pushed over. Many of them were self planted, and many just over grown bushes, but they had to go. We had to remove a few real trees too, especially the huge eucalyptus right in front of the patio! We have our eye on a few more pine trees to remove in the front garden but we will wait until the next storm uproots them (honest officer Guardia!). (Many pine trees here have preservation orders on them.)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Pointless Parade?

On Friday, I discovered that there was to be a parade in town and another fiesta. "Great fun", I thought, "but what was this one in aid of?" It turns out, that the entrants of the Moors and Christians Parade, hold another parade in March, to celebrate the 'half-year' of the parade! Excellent - any excuse for a party.

Sadly, this year, because of the wet and cold weather, there was every chance of it being cancelled. Still, Ed and I dressed up nice and warm, and found a sheltered spot on the high street, away from the drizzle. We waited patiently, but only a few more spectators arrived. Finally, rather late, a gaggle of girls (about 40 in total) slowly paraded down the street, with their following band making as much noise as possible. There were two 'filas' (groups), the first of them wore matching trendy yellow jackets with arabic scarves as a consession to the 'moors' and the second fila all wore long black kaftans. (They looked a little odd, as they all wore jeans and funky boots underneath - but who could blame them?)

There was no sign of anyone else, so we quickly scurried to a nearby bar, for a coffee and a warm, before going back home. Walking back to the car, we could hear the sounds of parties in all of the fila bars, so I'm sure there were plenty of sore heads about today.

Pretty in Pink


All around, there are flowers on the trees, and buds forcing they way into the world. I think they are in for a shock, as we are due another cold snap, but in the meantime, they are all most welcome...

New Toy for the Boy



Ed has had a new toy delivered - a welder. A while ago, he got a second hand one, but, although he was able to do a few things with it, he found it more frustrating by it's lack of ability, rather than his own lack of experience. Time to buy one that works properly!

After it's prompt arrival (thanks to Rose & Shay in England), Ed has had a play, and come back upstairs as happy as a dog with 2 tails! Not only does it work properly, but his struggles with the previous one have been a good self-learning time, enabling him to produce good results in no time at all.

He has created a new garden feature for me - another man, so now I have a couple of original, fun characters at the base of my plum tree. Brilliant. I love them.

Going, going, (nearly) gone




After a great deal of debate, we have decided to paint the house white!

How boring? Well, true, but here any nice colour soon fades and coloured paint is also horrendously expensive. Not only is white cheaper, it is available everywhere, whereas coloured paint (in large volumes) is best ordered in as a special purchase.

The pink that was done here a few years ago, was so faded that it certainly made me think twice. To be honest, we both wanted a nice soft caramel colour, but since the houses on both sides are yellow, ours would have been a bit inconspicuous anyway.

So, white it is. This also gives the advantage of refreshing just a single wall at any time, without having to re-do the whole thing.

Thankfully, last week was reasonably dry, So Ed has attacked with a vengence. It's looking really good, although another coat is needed. Even visitors to the neighbour thought it looked great! The underbuild still needs to be done, but it won't be this week, as we have snow forcast again for tomorrow. The next job, will be to clad the bottom meter of the house against the winter weather!