Wednesday, April 29, 2009

28 Sep 2006 - Settling In

Buster is settling in very well, and making himself at home. Like most cats, he finds the most comfortable place in the house and falls asleep. This is in the kitchen, where he can keep an eye on Jan - when the eye is open that is.

He is not allowed out on his own yet, as he is still too young for his jabs. So the only way he can see the "big outdoors" is when we carry him out.

He hates to be left on his own, and always wants to be the centre of things.

I hve lots of work to do rebasing the model soldiers for the new wargame rules. Here on the dining room table Buster can keep an eye on me and Jan.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

25 Sep 2006 - Green Horse 2

Dave and Sue asked us to join another of their walking groups, as there were too many for the leader, Charles Pye, to take in his car. We thought it was a new walk from Fleix, but it turned out to be The Green Horse again.

We did not really mind, as it is a lovely walk. And we want to learn as many walks as possible, which is not possible doing it once. I have started typing out the route, so that we will have some directions to follow next time.

This walk is sign posted with yellow and white markings, but they are few and far between. The route weaves from one side of the ridge to the other, giving very varied views over the mountains on the one side and the coast on the other.

Having been led on this walk twice, I feel we are ready to tackle it on our own. So in the next week or so we hope to do it again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

20 Sep 2006 - Jans Birthday

For Jans birthday we drove to Calpe. She wanted a Spanish gardening book, and we found one in the Europa Bookshop, an excellent shop run by an ex pat which carries a good and comprehensive range of English language books. Quite expensive by UK standards, but very useful for this type of book, which you want to look through before buying.

After our shopping we walked along the promenade to the yacht club. We often have a light lunch here when we visit Calpe to do our weekly shopping. And not as expensive as you might think. Our usual coffee con leche and toasta, plus a copy of the Daily Mail, leaves us change from 5 euros.

It always surprises us how few people use this restrauant, compared with the others on the promonade. Despite the fact that it is cheaper, and you can always find a nice table overlooking the marina. Perhaps they think that it is for members only, or that the prices are much higher than they are.

For this special occasion we had a menu del dia. An excellent meal consisting of a three course meal and a bottle of wine, in excellent surroundings, and we had change from 30 euros.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

14 Sep 2006 - Green Horse

Our friends Dave and Sue, who run walking holidays, invited us to go on one of their walks to keep their paying guests company. Above Robert, Sue, Jan and Me

The Green Horse walk starts in the pretty little Spanish village of Benimaurell, a few miles inland from Parcent.

Not sure why the mountain is called The Green Horse, its neither green nor does it look like a horse. However this name is easier to remember than the proper Spanish name of Cavall Verde

The walk was led by Charles Pye, who also leads walks with CBMW. He knows the area very well, and kept us interested with titbits of local history as we walked the ridge.

In 1609 a great battle was fought on this ridge between the troops of the Spanish king and the last remnants of the Moorish occupation. The Moors lost and were deported to Africa from the nearby port of Denia.
The name El Caballo Verde is based on a mystical Moorish knight who was said to ride from the mountain on a green charger to drive out the Christians. We did not see anything of him, but we did see lots of magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and to the coast.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

9 Aug 2006 - New Family Pet

Shortly before we moved to Spain we had lost a much loved family pet due to old age. He was a Siamese cat called Buster, a real personality. We were both so upset that we promised ourselves we would not get another cat.

In Jalon there is a Rastro market each Saturday. This is a mixture between a craft fair and a car boot sale. Amongst the many stalls is one run by a Germany lady, who tries to find homes for unwanted cats. We always stopped to give her our small change and make a fuss of the cats. This Saturday there was a beautiful little kitten who looked just like a younger version of Buster. He was certainly not a full Siamense, but he certainly looked the part.

We were greatly tempted, but refused to be swayed by an impulse. We took the ladys telephone number and walked back to Parcent. On the way we realised that we could not resist and decided to get him. We rang the lady, and had to drive the 15 miles to Denia to collect him. We bought a cage to take him home, but he curled up in Jans arms and was soon purring happily.

When we got him home he explored the house, as they do, and soon tired himself out. Being a very hot evening we put him in the shower room, the coolest place in the house. After half an hour we looked in, and found him fast asleep in the sink.

I grapped my camera and took this series of photographs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

7 Aug 2006 - Verdi Vent

One of the most pleasant experiences of living in rural Spain is the opportunity to sample a Menu del Dia in one of the rural restrauants in the nearby Bernia mountains. A particular favourite with locals and visitors alike is Verdi Vent

Our very good friends Dave and Sue invited us to join their two daughters for this our first visit. A Menu del Dia is a fixed price three course meal with starter, main meal, sweet and half a bottle of wine. They are usually very good value, and more popular than the alternative a la carte menu.

For this particular visit, Dave suggested that we hire a taxi, as the roads are very narrow and very winding. And neither of us wanted to drive after a long lunch with a glass of wine or two. However Jan and I were not aware that Dave planned more than a glass or two.

Neither Jan nor I spoke much Spanish, so Sue was responsible for ordering the meal, and more importantly the wine. Despite frequent refills, the half bottle of wine seemed to have an endless supply. On a warm afternoon, in exceptionally good company, it is easier to have a glass or two more than you intended. And this day was no exception. The meal lasted four hours, and we well all very glad of the taxi to take us home.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

10 Jun 2006 - Stuarts Wedding

Our first visit back to UK was for Stuart's wedding on 10 June.

He was to spend his two week honeymoon at our house in Parcent. We were to spend the two weeks at Newcastle looking after his two cats. Not sure who got the best of that deal!

Jan reads her best wishes for Stuart and Michelle at the wedding.

Happy couple, best man and bridgemaids at the river in Morpeth. We obviously brought the good weather back with us.

We were to be amongst the first to leave the reception. They certainly know how to enjoy themselves "up north".

My favourite photograph of the whole wedding.

We had a lot of day trips along the north coast, including this one to Bamburg castle

Another lovely day out was to Hadrians Wall. It was our first visit, but not our last.

Whitley Bay, our favourite day out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

6 Jun 2006 - Jalon walk

Its approximately 5 km from Parcent to Jalon along very good tracks. Along with Alcalali, this is our local walk. Apart from food shopping, anything else requires a visit to Jalon. We will often walk in with a haversack providing it is not too heavy.

As we walk down the hill from the house to Parcent, we pass the village font. This is a public washing area, where we often see the local village ladies doing the weekly wash. They quite often have the family car nearby to avoid the steep climb back to the village. We also find it a very useful place for cooling our hands and face after a long walk in the summer.

The main street in Parcent. The only time we have seen it busy is during the annual fiesta, when the festivities go on all night. The rest of the year it could easily be mistaken for a ghost town.

As we leave the village we follow the cross country path towards Alcalali, passing this lovely, and very Spanish, farm house.

This is the final stretch as we approach Jalon along the river path.

We join the Jalon to Parcent road and pass the Bodega (wine shop) on the right. Jalon is very popular with coach tours from Benidorm, and a favourite spot to visit is the Bodega who offer free samples of their wines. And you can buy a 5 litre bottle of red or white for a couple of euros.

A little further down the road is our favourite cafe, where we watch the world go by with a cup of cafe con leche. As you can see, there is not a whole lot of world to watch.

The start of the walk back to Parcent is along the river. Although this is a rural road, we often do not see another person during the hour or so it takes to reach Parcent.

Nearing Parcent, which can be seen in the distance. The hill behind is The Green Horse, another of our favourite walks.

Approaching Parcent we see our house, which is one of those above the town with the trees in front. This gives a good idea of just how high the hill is.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

1 Jun 2006 - Casa Bonita

The front of the house is the least impressive. It also requires a lot of work. The garden needs sorting out, but not sure what to do yet. We look at the other gardens along the road for inspiration. We plan to have a wall along the front eventually.

The main bedroom. The extension to provide the wargames room also left us with a long bedroom. It looks pretty bare at present, but we plan to add some colour with pictures and curtains.

The sitting room. Very open plan, and will be difficult to heat in the winter. We are looking for a log fire for the fire place before the winter arrives. Its one of the coolest rooms in the house, and always much cooler than outside, both winter and summer.

The water has been much too cold to tempt us to have a swim yet. Some of the neighbours have been in, they are obviously much hardier than Jan and I. But no doubt as the temperature climbs we will spend a lot of time in there.

The Naya, my favourite part of the house. Since we arrived we have eaten breakfast here, even if we had to wrap up to do so. Now that it is warmer we eat all of our meals out here. We are looking for a nice barbecue to use here.

And this is the reason why the Naya is my favourite part of the house. There is always something going on in Parcent, and we sit for hours watching the slow pace of life. The mountain opposite is the Col de Rates, where we did the walk with the Parcent group last month.