Saturday, January 30, 2010

Iberdrola contract renewal

Panic over, Whats the problem you may be asking. Well it all stems from an article and subsequent letters in one of the english language free "newspapers". We were informed, not reliably it seems, that change was afoot with our electricity suppliers. Those of us who did not hot foot it off to a far flung Iberdrola office and renew there contracts would pay dearly, no literally, hard cash up to 20% more than we need to, well that was the story. Fearing a price hike they could not afford many brit immigrants have in the last few weeks sought out the office in Pilar de Horadada and signed on the dotted line.(but what for we ask) We took the easier route and rang the company, no need to do anything we were told, you are on a free contract.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Little Weed

Though the nights and early mornings still have a bit of a chill we are once a gain seeing some lovely early spring sunshine. The oxalis on the edges of the farmers fields by Los Palacios are a welcome sight. We always looked for celandine as the harbinger of spring when living in UK, here it’s another gentle little yellow the above mentioned Oxalis. This lovely cheering plant is I understand classed as an agricultural weed, but then as the saying goes a weed is only after all a flower in the wrong place. A member of the sorrel family we have seen it growing in many Mediterranean countries having first noticed it whilst on holiday in Malta. We shall be keeping an eye out for this plant on our Australian trip to as it appears they are classed as somewhat of a nuisance there. One species of concern in Victoria is Soursob, Oxalis pes-caprae which invades coastal heath vegetation, grassland, woodland and dry forest. It also occurs along roadsides, and in gardens, crops and pastures. It is distinguished by the three heart-shaped leaflets with or without stalks which fold in dull days or at night. Flowers are bright yellow in colour and open in sunlight and close at night. There are masses of underground bulbs which are spread by water, birds, in dumped garden waste and during cultivation. This sounds just like the flowers we are see here from spring onwards. I am sure to they are in the same family as the wood sorrel that we had in our wooded garden in Scotland, the locals called them sour sucks, very like the Aussie Soursob, which children would pick to suck the plant stems. I do not know if this yellow one is edible too so at present will not be adding it to my salad. I will have to ask Joaquin, who is pretty knowledgeable about wild plants, if you can eat them. Meanwhile we will just enjoy the look of them as they brighten the path from winter into spring

Whats up Doc?

Torrevieja hospital
A Flying Visit to Torrevieja A&E

Had a bit of a medical emergency last week this called for a trip to the local Salud in the middle of the night. As if that was not bad enough the Doc there decided I needed to go to hospital, scary at any time let alone when its 4 o’clock in the morning and you are in pain. The ambulance was duly called and I was carted off to Torrivieja with John ambulance chasing in the car.
It was very quiet in the ER, which was a surprise as the last time I was in an A&E recently when i was in the UK, Leicester Royal, in fact the busiest A&E in Europe I am told. That was a nightmare place with armed police, high security presence on the doors and a lot of sick and injured people. Over all those visits were not pleasant experiences. It’s slightly different when you are the person in pain but non the less it was amazing how quiet it was, no sound of rowdy violent drunks or worse, certainly no armed police or security men on view.
So it was straight through to the business side, I saw a doctor within minutes. Now his bedside manner left a little to be desired but you cannot have everything and I had not waited hours to see him.
After assessment I was taken over to the observation ward, a very high-tech place to be sure. What really struck me, as I came too with the help of the pain killers, was the high proportion of non Spanish patients there was being treated. Made me wonder what it will be like in another few years time with an aging immigrant population requiring more and more intervention and care.
Countries like Spain, that attract those wishing to spent there retirement in warmer climates may well need to be funded at a higher level from countries of origin to sustain their National Health Service.

Guardamar hotel and others

The Guardamar hotel, at the bottom of the Avenida Meditterraneo in Guardamar has been closed for the last couple of weeks for extensive interior renovations in the public areas, They are normally open all year and have been very busy over the Christmas and New year period. One of the popular and well attended events at the hotel is the regular Saturday night dinner dance.
Meanwhile in Rojales, The Royal Thai restaurant has also been closed for the last couple of months with a sign on the door saying closed for the winter, but it does not look very promising that it will open again. Also Tylers Bar in central Rojales has closed and rumours are it will be opening again soon under a new proprietor.
The Pub at Benijofar has been closed now for a couple of months, and is looking very forlorn, we can only guess whether it will open again with new management for the 2010 season.
****Latest News****
Tylers bar will be reopening on the 19th February

Friday, January 22, 2010

Alicante, El Altet tops

Despite the financial crisis Alicante,El Altet airport has had the best year of all the Spanish airports, turning a profit of 43.5 million Euros in 2009,only two other airports made a profit, Palma and Girona with Madrid and Barcelona making losses. Meanwhile Alicante airport extension is coming on well and will increase the number of passengers to 20 million a year.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ducks Ducks Ducks

rubber duck
A new shop has opened in the centre of Guardamar del Segura, (on the main street near the church) they sell ducks and anything to do with ducks, no, not live ducks, but plastic, wood, ceramic, or any other type of duck that people might like to collect. (or put in the bath), The ducks for sale are from extra small to XX large. And I am sure if you want a giant one they will be able to obtain it for you. They shop is open all hours and always seem to have browsing customers. You cant miss the shop as they have a rubber duck on top of a pole in the road outside the shop, when they are open, Give them a visit and bath in company.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Parque de Palmera

Parque de Palmera
When we were visiting Alicante last week, we noticed the Parque de Palmera on the N332 south of the City and decided to stop and take a look, this turned out to be a lovely recreational area which overlooks the sea and harbour entrance to Alicante. There is a large variety of plants, mainly palms, with lots of seating areas set around the pathways and features. There is a cafe bar, exercise equipment, sports courts and a rough terrain mountain bike track. There are also some manmade waterfalls, pools and canals where it is possible to hire a small boat to navigate round the system. I should think the park (which is a free facility) is a great place to go in the summer with a breeze from the sea and plenty of shade from the trees.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lemon tree road / N332 turn

Road sign
If you wish to turn into the Lemon tree road from the Torrevieja direction there is no left turn, so you have to go 1.5 kms to the roundabout at Guardamar and return on the right hand side of the N332 where you can turn right into the Lemon tree road. Similarly leaving the Lemon tree road you cannot turn left onto the N332 towards Guardamar but have turn right towards Torrevieja where after 1.5 kms a new roundabout has been built enabling you to reverse direction again towards Guardamar/Alicante. This situation has been created by the widening of the N332 from Guardamar to Torrevieja and we wait to see how the N332/ Lemon tree road junction will operate when the road is completed, though this could be a while yet as there has been very little work on the road in past few weeks.

Lunch at the Captains Table

yorkshire puddings
We went for a nice Sunday lunch at the Captains Table on the Lemon tree road three kms from Los Montesinos, there was a choice of starter –salad or vegetable soup, and a carvery with ham, beef or turkey, a buffet choice of mash and roast potatoes, peas, cabbage, carrots, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. And apple crumble with cream, ice cream or two varieties of cheesecake with cream for desert, it was all very tasty and well served for a great price of €9.95, the restaurant also serve an A la carte menu. There is a special, which on Sunday was fish and chips for €6.50 - from what I saw it looked very good. It is quite a big restaurant with a conservatory and inner restaurant and bar, while we were there the majority of custom appeared to be brits. The british staff are friendly, helpfull and efficient. The venue has live entertainment some evenings.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Night of the Three Kings

giant heads
On the 5th January the main road through Guardamar was closed for several hours for the arrival of the Three Kings, thousands of people met in the street for the parade and for the children to collect the tons of sweets that are thrown in the parade, with bands and groups of dancers, decorated floats it was an amazing carnival atmosphere and the children were plainly over excited in anticipation of three Kings day when Spanish children open their presents.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Brit In Spain to Oz

Kangaroo sunset
The beginning of February we are heading of to Australia to visit our family on the outskirts of Melbourne, this is going to be a long stay and we will be having a holiday on the Mornington Peninsular with Emma and having one or two adventures on our own, we have already planned a tour of the west coast of Australia starting in Perth rangeing south for a few days then up to the north of Perth, Arranging car hire and accommodation on the internet makes it so easy.
Bec suggested we carry on writing the Blog from Oz which we certainly will do, the laptop will accompany us this time, as there is plenty of internet access. so it will be “A Brit in Spain” in Oz and hopefully we can keep you up to date with our adventures, with plenty of Pics and maybe one or two videos.

Blissfull ignorance

Here we are, its a bit misty this morning but mild, Im picking a friend up from the airport, check flights are arriving at Alicante, all seems well. get to the arrivals point to find the flight has been delayed for at least 3 hours, oh well go home again..... check the weather in Manchester (the departure airport) on the internet. to find all flights are suspended as it is snowed in. I had no idea they were having snow again. Next time im meeting someone i will check the departure airport as well!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Another Airline goes bust

Last week Scottish based airline Fly Globespan ceased operations leaving many people stranded or with a holiday flight, this week the Spanish airline Air Comet with 13 aircraft has has stopped flying with not enough money to pay fuel and fees, apparently they have not payed salaries for several months, Air Comet flights were mainly between Madrid to Latin America and around 7000 people were affected by the stoppage of the company, several hundred being Equadorians.
The Spanish ministry of development chartered four planes to move stranded passengers with urgent need to travel.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Happy New Year to all our readers and friends

Christmas at The Albir Gardens Hotel

We have just spent Christmas with Bec and Joaquin in the Albir Gardens Hotel in Albir just outside Benidorm, we had the all inclusive package so were able to eat and drink as much as we liked, the food and service were excellent, included was a fantastic six course Christmas dinner, starting with canapes of cheese, prawns, avocado, next soup, then a fillet of Salmon, then Turkey with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding and mince pies, as much wine as you wanted and Champagne, unbelievably, some people just picked at the food or turned it away - - It was just too different for them.
The Albir Gardens is an aparthotel with apartments in blocks set among grass and trees, each apartment has bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, lounge and balcony and our accommodation was spacious and clean. There is a large outside swimming pool, indoor pool, Jacuzzi, Sauna and Gym among other facilities.
The weather was not that good but we still had the chance to do a bit of walking and we thoroughly enjoyed a very relaxing Christmas.