A Week In England.

Our elder daughter has a senior position in the large, multi-national company where she works, and has worked now for thirty years since leaving school. So as we approach the end of the year there are many work cum social demands on her time, mainly a series of dinners in London, which can be problematic with two young daughters. So on Wednesday we flew into Gatwick to be around for our granddaughters on those evenings. We knew that we would be coming to cold temperatures, lots of cloudy skies, and probably quite a lot of rain, which is ironic because although it's cold, we are seeing plenty of sun and hardly any rain. Back home in Frigiliana meanwhile the autumn rains appear to have arrived with a vengeance, with a string of yellow alerts, and today an orange alert with its eastern edge perilously close to the village. So it turns out that we have come to England to avoid the worst of the weather. Last year we saw very little rain, and not enough the year before that, so the farmers and the reservoirs desperately need an extended period of proper rain.
This visit has given me the chance to remember how fortunate we are in the south of Spain generally, though. The clocks went back and darkness arrived earlier, but not so early as in England. We're used to it getting dark around six thirty in the evening, and even in a month's time it will still be light until about quarter past six. Here in England night time arrives around half past four, and it's surprising how different that feels.
The day before we flew to England I had my latest appointment with the orthopedic specialist, along with a new x-ray of my upper arm and shoulder. Bone growth is progressing to his satisfaction, but he detected some calcification and thinks they may have to operate to remove one of the nails. News I would prefer not to have received of course, but paradoxically welcome as well. Recently I have felt that we had ground to a halt so far as physio is concerned. The particular manipulation now being worked on yields no more mobility and no less pain while undergoing it, so it is some comfort to know that there looks to be a treatable reason for that.


Sometimes You Just Can't Beat The Old Ways

If you have ever been to Frigiliana you'll have noticed that most streets are not accessible by car. You may have wondered how people at the top of the village cope. Well, this video clip is in Spanish, but the pictures say it all, really


Christmas Is Coming (Sorry!)

Just a quick recommendation. If you want a really good red wine to go with the turkey, one that doesn't cost too much, head for this website and order some Flor de Nieve red wine. It's from a lesser known region, Somontano, in the Pyrenees and we love it. Oh and it's cheaper if you buy six bottles; they won't be wasted!
On the other hand if you live in La Axarquía, drop into Vinomar in Torre del Mar; they stock it.


Funny Thing, Memory

This is the flat and empty time of year. All the half-term holidays are over and the holiday makers have departed. It's too early for people coming out for Christmas. On top of that, we have no more fiestas until the Day of the Constitution on December 6th. Several restaurants have closed, either for the winter or for a week or two so that a really thorough cleaning can take place - bottoming as they say in Lancashire. So there's nothing new to tell you.
At a loose end, I thought I would have a look at a previous blog. In 1993 I was appointed to be a magistrate, a duty I performed until late 2007 when I retired to come out here. The only trouble was that Google wouldn't take to anything earlier than April 2007. Eventually I decided to see if going to that date would let me then move further back through the blog, back to the beginning. Except that when I went back to April 7th 2007, it turned out that that was when I launched the blog, although memory had told me that I had blogged about being a magistrate for several years, so there was much less nostalgia fodder than I was looking for.
Anyway, if you're curious about how I filled my time before I found my sun bed in Spain, you can find the blog here:


A great Day

Yesterday was a public holiday in Spain, Todos Los Santos, or All Saints’ Day It is the day when everyone remembers those who have died, family, friends, loved ones, and the graves are decorated with fresh flowers and candles, with everyone gathering in the cemetery as darkness falls; in earlier days they would have stayed there until the dawn. Yesterday was also my birthday. Thirty three years ago I celebrated my birthday here on my very first visit to this village, and on the day itself, I went swimming in the sea. That, I’m afraid, is no longer a part of my birthday routine. Old bones and seawater don’t mix well. So this year was spent as a quiet day at home before heading down to the Plaza in the evening to eat at the Marisquería, a fish restaurant which is fast becoming one of our favourite destinations, A friend joined us and we had a really enjoyable evening - good food and (a little too much) good wine. Yesterday, too, I received a lovely present. Inevitably every year my wife gets the same plea from our daughters; what does Dad want for his birthday/Christmas? Well this year I pre-empted that. I don’t actually want or need anything. With three quarters of a century under my belt, I’ve got everything. However there is a small UK charity which I support, Acts 435. It is a church-based operation which aims at facilitating small donations by those who wish to give to those who have a pressing, relatively small need for short term financial assistance. I asked those who give me presents not to do so, but instead to give the money they would have spent to a case of their choice on the Acts 435 website. My granddaughters are now old enough to understand this kind of giving and their mother introduced them to the site and let them choose where they would like Grandad’s present money to go. They chose two appeals, funds to help a child receive counselling, and a contribution towards the cost of school uniform for a family whose budget would not run to such expenditure. Two thoughtful donations from two thoughtful young people ; what better present could I have had than that?