27/06/2009

Home Again - nearly


Great news. Yesterday morning I got call from the garage where my car is to be repaired, to tell me that that it had finally been delivered to them by my insurance company. I went straight round to get the various things out of the boot - including 36 bottles of St Chinian wine that we had bought - gave it a big hug, and now wait to hear what needs doing and when it can be done.

Then, last night, we were sitting up on the roof terrace with a bottle of celebratory fizz and witnessed this fantastic sunset.

The dream seems to be back on track!!

24/06/2009

Some things just don't quite work.

On May 23rd, following an urgent phone call from my sister-in-law to say that my youngest brother was nearing the very end of his life. naturally we set off immediately for southern France, arriving there the following afternoon and I was able to see my brother twice before he died on the Monday.
The funeral followed on Saturday afternoon and so we set off for home early on Sunday morning. Fifteen minutes down the road, the car broke down and clearly could not be repaired at the roadside, so I rang our Spanish insurers. The guy who picked up our call was absolutely fantastic. Within an hour and a half a breakdown truck arrived and delivered us to a garage in Beziers. From there, he organised a taxi to the local railway station where he had arranged a train journey to Figueres in northern Spain. During the train journey, he rang back to say that a taxi would be waiting at Figueres to take us 70km to Girona airport, where a hire car had been booked with Hertz. The outcome was that we drove into the village just after 7 pm on the Monday, just about the time I had expected to get home had we not broken down.
If only the same could be said for the car! The company commits itself to picking up a vehicle from anywhere in mainland Spain and delivering it to the garage of your choice within a maximum of five days. If you break down outside Spain, they make no promises at all other than to get your car to your repairer 'some time'. Which in our case means that three and a half weeks later the car has still not arrived and the company is unable or unwilling to tell us when it will arrive. And when I demand to know why this state of affairs arises, cutting through all the polite obfuscations, the message is "Because it does."
So I continue to wait in the diminishing hope that the car will be repaired and available to us in early July when we are setting off for the UK as part of a house swap with each of our daughters. If we don't know by Friday (the day after tomorrow) whether we will have the car or not, we shall have to cancel hotels and ferry crossings, and buy - at very short notice, in high season - air tickets to the UK and car hire in the UK.
Thus, this is not paradise, whatever my previous postings may have suggested. But it's pretty close to it, and I'm sure that in the fullness of time, I shall look back on this episode with a much more relaxed attitude.

14/06/2009

Romería de San Antonio de Padua





Just a selection of photos from yesterday's romería in Frigiliana.

06/06/2009

Sleepless Nights!!!


The fairground people have arrived in the village. The rides are being constructed on the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, and on the Coach Park. Some of the stalls have also arrived and everything is in full swing to be ready for the start of Feria on Thursday of this week. That's when the music starts. Every ride blasting out its music at maximum decibels from early evening until la madrugada, for which read so close to morning that it's no longer worth trying to get off to sleep. Our home in the centre of the village is a little too close for comfort to the fairground. But then you don't come to live in Spain if you can't put up with a bit of noise now and then, and this is the annual shindig to celebrate San Antonio de Padua, our patron, and to head off into the river gorge for a romeríawhich is a highly alcoholic pilgrimage, picnic, dance fest, singalong and anything else enjoyable.

05/06/2009

For my brother, Pete, who died recently at his home in France

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England. There shall be
in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
a dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
a body of England's breathing English air,
washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
a pulse in the eternal mind, no less
gives back somewhere the thoughts by England given;
her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
and laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
in hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

--Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)