Saturday, October 31, 2009

Did you miss us?

I expect someone out there must have wondered where we were, as you can see from the posting below we had a little holiday. For more pics of our trip look on the Photo gallery.

Here we are again

HAPPY as can be. So nice to be back home in Spain after the grey and frantic UK, we do choose some funny places for our hols! I mean every road seems to be a slow moving car park. Nice trip up to the ferry though, France is so tidy and so expensive, though the diesel is less than in UK. All the places we saw on our trip, with hardwood trees, looked lovely though. The heart of England does have some lovely pastoral countryside and charming little towns and villages. So does France for that matter with quieter roads, it was really very cold in France though. The SATNAV was a great help though I do like to have a map too, it gives you useful and interesting info of what you are seeing. Two memorable stopover where Rouen in France and Cariñena in Spain. The architecture of Rouen is breathtaking; we also had the best meal we have had in France since we where in Briar a few years ago. Call me bias but we have consistently had far better food in Spain than France though the French cheeses are legendary it’s true, they also seem to be sold at just the correct ripeness. In Cariñena we stayed at the El Vino hotel that is part of a local winery, well appointed rooms but lacking any Spanish character I thought. The tapas in the town lacked nothing tasty fresh and large amounts plus a price that did not give you indigestion. As I said good to be back though, we are still able to swim in the sea here its that warm. even the nights are not really cooling down. Now if only the flies would disappear, still you can't have everything can you

Friday, October 30, 2009

Get your fish

fish barrow
Most days of the week when you are in Guardamar you will see the women with their wheelbarrows selling fresh fish, the Species depends on what the local fishing boats have caught, Today is was mainly Lubena, Mullet and a kind of horse mackerel, you select your fish and it is weighed on a primitive hand held balance scale, and a near enough! price is charged, this is a age old traditional that we hope will carry on for a long while.
Also at Guardamar marina the Cofriadas de Pescadors have a Sale of fish every day of the week except weekends, the sale starts at 10:30, they have a good variety of fish including squid, octopus, and some of the deep sea fish species, if there are quite a few people at opening time, the fish are auctioned in lots suitable for a family size meal, the fish that are left because there are too few bidders, are sold at very good prices.(much cheaper than the supermarket) An ideal way to stock up the freezer.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Plague on you

Hungry mosquito
It’s as we thought the heavy rain has enticed a new wave of visitors to the area. Some businesses have been making a few quid out of this but the saluds have also been extra busy in their wake. No not lager louts, I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies! The visitors are flying in in droves though and Easyjet is not to blame, after all mosquitoes, which are the visitors I am referring to, come with their own sets of wings in addition to the bits that do the damage. And it seems the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Female mosquitoes, unlike males, have a proboscis. This is a long thin needle-like built-in syringe located at the mouth. They use this to stab their victims, so that the mosquito’s abdomens fill with blood. Certain proteins in the blood are needed to produce fertile eggs. As males cannot produce eggs they have no need for blood. Females require a new blood 'meal' for every nest they lay, and produce about 250 eggs per meal. Female mosquitoes live anywhere from one to several weeks depending on the species and the environment. Some females can survive the winter to lay eggs in the spring, before dying. Males generally live 4-5 days, and die after mating. When a mosquito bites it injects a small amount of saliva that thins the blood so it doesn't coagulate in the narrow channel of the proboscis. When it's done feeding, some of this saliva remains in the wound. This causes an immune system response and itching. A welt forms, known as a wheal, and the body goes to work breaking down the proteins from the saliva. The bite will continue to itch until the body has broken down all of the proteins.
It’s a myth that only the female mosquito makes a buzzing sound. The buzzing sound you hear is from the beating of the wings. Both female and male wings make a buzzing sound. Most people don't hear the male mosquito because it doesn't bite.
all very interesting don't you think' All I know is I am being driven mad by itching wheals or welts or what ever you choose to call them. Over 200 hundred people have had treatment for allergic reaction Torrivieja, Guardamar and San Miguel are worst hit but it’s none to good where we are. Whose making money out of this you may well wonder. Well anyone who sells insect repellent, anti mosquito coils and sprays not to mention pills and potions if the little buzzers do get you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Celebrations unlimited

We almost thought we were back in UK at the supermarket today talk about busy. Well the shops have been on an open closed open closed cycle this week. Friday was Valencia Day, King James the First of Aragon reclaimed Valencia for Christianity on October 9th, 1238, and it’s the day remembered as the birth of the Kingdom of Valencia. Monday, 12th October, 2009 - Dia del la Hispanidad - Dia del la Hispanidad is the national day of Spain or Hispanic Day. It is held on October 12th every year, and commemorates the day when Christopher Columbus first landed in the Americas in 1492. To commemorate it, there is a parade led by the military (usually held in Madrid) presided by the Spanish King, who is the Head of State.
The large number of people in the shops reflects the mighty amount of eating that will take place on Monday as family and friends get together to celebrate.

Friday, October 09, 2009

My Sand Castles Bigger Than Yours!

Tidied up

A nice day off in Guardamar mid week. Lovely weather it’s still very hot for the time of year. Started off with an early morning swim in the sea then walked up to the town for a coffee and tostada with olive oil and tomatoes. We went to the lovely new place called Dia Y Noche around the corner from the Ayuntamiento on the road down to the beach. We had strolled along the prom on the way and were well impressed. Hats off to the local council for organising the repair work to the beach so quickly. All Gota Fria damage is well on its way to being sorted. Though the presence of rather large jelly fish in the water may well mean I do not take another early morning dip for a while, John got tangled with a beast of one, but is not suffering any ill effects, don't know how the jelly fish is faring though. Still a surprising number of people on the beach these days, but there are three local or national holidays in less than a week and it appears this is when a lot of people come down from Madrid to close up their holiday homes for the winter. It fascinates us the way many of them wrap all the railings in plastic sheeting for the colder months.
We were even treated to a bit of music from the local Marching Band, it been fiesta all over the region for the last two weeks. Lots going on in Rojales and Guardamar for the Fiestas Virgen Del Rosario (Mary Mother of Jesus) who is the patron saint of Rojales.
One little touch of genuine humanity I had to mention: as many of you know a number of local people try to make a living with their well constructed sand sculptures during the holiday season. When the gota fria hit the remaining sculptures were ruined. Some of the artists still had belongings on the beach, It was good to see there things had been neatly placed in a safe place by the council workers so that they could be collected by their owners.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Behind Locked Doors

Regular readers will know our blog is an eclectic mix of fun, fact and family doings. The subject of today’s blog gave me much food for thought and soul searching so serious is the subject matter. Domestic abuse in Spain, not an easy thing to think or write about.
Last year I met with a most interesting and informative Spanish guy who's partner is a psychiatrist working within the Spanish prison system. Her specialist area of work is domestic violence. We talked , amongst other things, about the subject of domestic violence in Spain. I had thought that the high incident of this awful crime could be due to the historic position of women in Spanish society. Although women have made huge leaps since the Franco days when their place was very much in the home with little or no rights. After discussing the issue I was better informed. There is without doubt an issue of equality for women in Spain but the horrific figures on injured and murdered women cannot be taken at face value. It appears that a high number of these crimes are perpetrated by non spanish nationals.
Tragically we have had this point driven home to us this weekend with a murder suicide in San Fulgencio. It appears a British national has shot his wife as she slept then turned the gun on himself. Two other women where killed in there homes in other parts of Spain this weekend. This is only the tip of the iceberg and I hope and pray that those persons in a position to make a difference to all sufferers of domestic violence, be they men, women or children will take heed and really move heaven and earth to offer protection through prosecution and appropriate sentences as well as counselling and places of safety. Lastly I would like to say behind every headline is a story of personal tragedy, there are family members trying to cope with the horror and grief of what has happened. Our thoughts are with them all. We hope upon hope things will change for the better in the not to distant future.

Look Out Look Out

big cat
Just in case this particular lady decides to take a holiday on the costa!
At present, up in the Tarragona area and spotted by several groups of people up there.
Right now search is underway for, wait for it, its true cos I read it in the paper, a lioness. The lady in question is thought to have escaped from a circus and has been sighted across the provinces of Tarragona, Teruel and Castellón.

A group of young locals who were out jogging close to La Sénia saw the animal on Saturday and raised the alarm, me I would have run like hell and hid! its believed the animal is running wild in the Ports de Besseit area, between the three provinces. More people saw the lioness on Sunday and again on Monday.

The environmental section of the Civil Guard, Seprona, is recommending trippers to stay away from the area as the search continues.

The regional police, Los Mossos d’Esquadra, local police and rural agents are all taking part in the search.
Serously though lets hope the poor animal is captured alive and well, maybe I should talk to Brenda from K9 about this?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

Guardamar reserve
Royales weir at the bridge
Its very hot again here, which may help to dry up some of the water that's still around. The new "ponds" that have appeared always look like the perfect breeding ground for the dreaded mossy, to which I am very susceptible. The river segura has had more water than we have ever seen in the almost 5 years we've been here. We have never seen the reserves at Guardamar flood so that was a surprise. John reckons he saw a crocodile in the water but I did not believe him, it looked more like a hippo to me!