Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

Hi everyone. I decided to just post a few photos for Christmas day. Their captions are 1). The restaurant; 2). Cava and canapés on the terrace; 3). Enjoying a lovely meal;
4). Sleeping it off! No prizes for guessing which is which!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow on the Sierra Nevada

Today we fulfilled our promise and took Jonathan up to the Sierra Nevada to see the snow. It was another beautiful day so the scenery was stunning. It wasn't even that cold and we didn't need our coats. It takes a couple of hours to get up there, and all the way the road is flanked by mountains, some with snow on and some without, but all looking very beautiful. There is only one winter sports resort on the Nevada and the parking was pretty full, but we waited around and in the end we found a slot. The resort was busy and there was a great atmosphere up there. The was a lot of colour and people who had come off the slopes were sitting at the tables all across the square, eating, drinking or just relaxing after their exercise in the snow. We took loads of photos, so some of them will be on my gallery. On the way down we stopped at a few view points. We came back by a different route, driving straight down to the coast at Motril and driving back all along the motorway which runs right by the sea. It was another new road for us with lovely scenery. I didn't fancy cooking when we got back, so we detoured to San Juan and had a nice meal there. We'll be having a quiet day tomorrow, just a quick trip to check the mail box and pick up a few bits from the supermarket and then we can relax. This will be my last blog for a few days, but I expect I'll be back on Boxing Day.
So a very Happy Christmas to all my followers!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Spanish day

Today we experienced a truly Spanish occasion - harvesting the olives. Chris' sister Mary and her husband Bill own a 'cortijo' on the edge of the little mountain village of Velez Blanco. It has a lot of land which is planted with many different kinds of fruit trees and around seventy olive trees, and now is the time to pick the olives. So we went to visit for the day and lend our hands to the picking at the same time. It was a beautiful day and although we were at quite a high altitude, it was still really warm, and we soon shed the extra layers of clothes we had worn. We had thought that the idea was to shake the trees but olives are more tenacious than that, and shaking doesn't shift them. What you do is spread wide nets over all the ground under the trees. Then you have a long pole with a sort of plastic rake on it, and you rake it through the branches. The leaves slide through the tines and the olives are pulled off to collect in the nets. I raked the lower branches and Chris the higher ones. Bill went up a ladder to do the outside branches and Jonathan, who is still at home in a tree, climbed up the middle to clear the centre ones. When the tree was empty we sorted through the olives to remove the twigs and leaves and then they were put into crates and sacks ready to go to the press. Apparently the olive press opens on the first day of December and accepts olives until the end of January, so it's important to clear your trees quickly. When you take your olives there they go through a sort of wind machine to get rid of any remaining debris and then they are weighed. You get back litres of extra virgin olive oil, according to how many olives you sent. The press keep the olives to press again to make a lower grade of oil which is their 'payment'. Mary and Bill hope to get around 200 litres of oil. Most Spaniards who have land grow olive trees as the oil is part of their staple diet. They drizzle it on their bread instead of butter (I presume this is because butter is unstable in the heat for most of the year), as well as using it freely in their cooking. When it's time to pick the olives they bring in all the family to help and usually finish in a day. We managed four trees between us, so there are a lot more to do!
While we were olive picking, Mary was cooking a lovely Christmas dinner, so this evening we sat by a roaring log fire (olive wood of course!) and ate roast turkey with all the trimmings. We caught up on news of all our respective families and we showed them the photos of our new house, and then we had a long drive home in the dark. The stars were magic. It was a lovely day and a truly Spanish experience. (There will be more photos on my gallery).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas carols.

It seemed strange to go to church this morning on a beautiful, warm, sunny day, to attend a traditional festival of nine lessons and carols, but that's what I did. This is a photo of the little church I go to. We are a small gathering of around thirty people from a wide range of denominations, and I enjoy the fellowship with them. We had our Christmas service today as most of the congregation are going back to England for a few days now, and there are not enough of us left to have a Christmas Day service, nor one on Sunday 28th. We are back on 4th January and we have a visiting speaker from Lansdowne Baptist Church, where I went as a small child to take part in Christian Endeavour pageants! Today I did one of the readings and it was nice to take an active part in the service. After our services we sit out on the patio and chat together over a cup of tea or coffee, and if we are lucky, a slice of cake. Last week was chilly and we had to cram into the little kitchen, but today we shared some lovely mince pies out in the sun.
Chris and Jonathan came to collect me after the service and we spent the afternoon giving Jonathan a tour of the local beaches and villages.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The road to the San Javier

Today was the day for Jonathan to arrive here to spend Christmas with us. Gatwick is his closest airport and from there the flights come to Murcia so this morning we set off to collect him. This is a new route and we have not travelled it before. We thought we might not make it in time for his arrival as the first road we followed (as suggested by the sat nav) turned out to be completely closed for road works, with no directions for an alternative route. So we went round in circles for a while until we found ourselves back where we started, and were able to branch off in a new direction which soon brought us to the motorway. This is a new toll road running from Aguilas, all the way to the airport. It opened last year and has made it a very easy journey which should take just over an hour; well worth the €8.50 toll, as the old road took much longer. As with all new places that we visit, I went armed with the camera and took a 'few' photos along the way. The scenery was very lovely; layer after layer of green hills, with fields of salad vegetables and orange groves at the base of them. Unlike the Welsh who build their roads around every hill, the Spanish go through them, so there were several stretches of wide, well lit tunnels. Looking at this picture you can be forgiven for thinking 'New road. Where's the traffic?' The answer is, 'There wasn't any' or hardly any. Until we reached the outskirts of San Javier, where the airport is, we hardly saw another vehicle. Eventually we arrived, just five minutes before Jonathan appeared through the arrivals gate. It was a beautiful day for him to see our little flat. We had a late lunch up on the roof and then walked along our beach and back, before catching the last of the 'rays' on a lounger up on the roof again. Lets hope the weather holds for a while, so we can show him the best side of our chosen corner of Spain.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A toast to our future!

Do we look like a happy couple? We should do. We are drinking a toast to our future, after signing the contract to buy a lovely house here in Spain. We went to our solicitor in Mojacar this morning to sign the document and then returned home to spend a warm sunny afternoon on the roof terrace with a good book and a bottle of wine. I don't need to add anything further here as all the family should have received a private message with more details. So now we can sit back and enjoy Christmas, and then it will be time to start packing up here and moving on. I can't wait to have all my own things around me again.
Here's to 2009, and the start of a new chapter in the lives of Kate and Chris!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


About seven years ago, I think, we took Jonathan and Ben on holiday to a camp site at Platja d'Aro on the Costa Brava. While we were there I spotted this counted cross stitch kit in a little shop, and loved the picture so much that I bought it. When I got it home I realised it was quite a challenge. The fabric is even-weave and there were so many different colours of thread, several of them with only one shade difference between them. I did a little bit and then put it aside while I did a simpler one. I have completed several small projects since then, but every now and then I got this one out and did a little bit more. After six years or so, I had completed about half of the design. So I brought it with me for our six months in Spain. I know from previous holidays that the light out here is very good for sewing. Most days we go out in the morning, come home for a late lunch, and then relax all afternoon. As you will have read in my blog, I often use this time to sit up on the roof terrace and do some sewing, and my perseverance has paid off, because today I finished my picture! It had been hanging around for so long that it was very grubby so I washed it and it has come up fine. I shall wait until I get home to have it framed as I know a lady near Oswestry who does them so well. She framed that nice piece of sewing that we brought back from Thailand.
The only problem now is that we are only three months into our holiday. What am I going to do now?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


There was a misunderstanding about the information regarding Jonathan's air time. It was at 2.00 this morning, not tomorrow morning! So we can go to bed now. Hope anyone interested can find it on iPlayer.

Good news for our boys!

We are feeling really happy for two of our boys this week.
Jonathan has spent his life trying to get in a good band, and it has paid off for him this week. He is drummer for a rock band called Blackstorm, and they have done several gigs around Brighton, but tonight they are the 'unsigned band of the week' on the Radio one Rock Show. They are on the programme listing between Black Sabbath and Mastodon, two of the greatest rock bands ever, so he is thrilled. They will be played between one and two in the morning, that's between two and three for us, but we will stay up to listen for him. Jonathan's band
Ben enjoys the occasions when he plays and performs the songs he writes, but he is really interested in getting involved with composing music for films, adverts etc. For a while now he has been in contact with a company called Television Junction, who produce this kind of music, and tomorrow he has been invited to spend some time with them, shadowing their 'resident composer', and finding out more about how it is done. Hopefully this will eventually lead to some work for him. Ben's songs
So it is a good week for our boys and that makes it a good week for us as well. Now I'd better set the alarm in case I drop off, or drink a few cans of coke to keep me awake!
P.S. We had another fantastic sunset tonight. I didn't want to bore you with more photos on here but I have added some to the 'Sea and sky' folder on my gallery.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Ruins

Further to my previous blog regarding the ruins along the coast near here, I thought you might be interested to know that they are the remnant of buildings from the time of an iron and silver mining boom, in the 19th century. A gentleman, whose computer alerts him to any reference to Villaricos, came upon my blog and sent me the following link with information about the area. You might like to read about it too.
Click here for link

On a very different topic, I am feeling quite pleased with myself because after several days of struggling, (with a little help from a long-suffering Chris) I have finally mastered a fairly complex photo editing program that I purchased several years ago and have never got to grips with, sufficiently to use it to produce an image for an art stamp to use in my craft. I can't post a photo of it here as it makes use of a photo of one of my grandsons, but you may get a card with it on one day. Basically it involved producing a collage-type background, cutting a person from a photo and superimposing them on the background. I am quite pleased with the result. The stamp I have made with it isn't quite right yet but the fault lies with my printer that will not produce a black enough image on acetate, but the makers of my stamp-making kit are sending me an alternative paper to try. If that doesn't work I shall have to wait until I get my laser printer back out of storage next year. Now all I have to do is remember how I did it, so that one day I can have another go!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Beautiful view, beautiful day.

Ever since we explored the first part of our coastline, I have been waiting to 'do' the rest of it. Today was a bright, sunny day with a clear blue sky, but it was fairly cool. Just perfect conditions for walking, so I suggested we went back to our explorations. We drove as far as a sign pointing down to Playa de la Invencible, named I suspect, after the many fortifications around there, though now only ruins remain. We drive this route most days and I have always wanted to look closer at the ruins. The first part, perhaps because of the historical nature of the area, has benefitted from investment, and has a good pathway right down to the beach, with viewpoints along the way. From there we struck out along dirt tracks, some leading down to the water's adge, and others taking us to the top of the cliffs where the wind suddenly caught us so strongly it was hard to walk into. Down between the ridges it was sheltered. We took our jackets but left them in the car because we didn't need them. I erred on the cautious side and added an extra layer of woollies, but I wished I hadn't. I didn't need it but I didn't want to carry it so I kept it on, but it was quite warm in the sun. The ruins were interesting. One small one looked like a chapel, but we're not sure. I am using the net to try to find out more about them. There were lots of wild flowers along the paths. I picked a small bunch of wild lavendar which was everywhere, along with rosemary and oregano. As we brushed against them, the air was full of their scents. We thought the green factory on the edge of Villaricos, which although it is a bit of an eyesore, actually blends in quite well so it doesn't spoil the view too much, was possibly a desalination plant, but we have been told it is a factory making antibiotics for export. We walked as far as Villaricos, and were out for about an hour and a half. With our lovely round hills on one side, a sparkling ocean on the other, and really interesting scenery all around, it was a lovely morning out, and I'm sure you can see why we love this stretch of coastline. There is a folder of photos (Playa de la Invencible) on my gallery.
This afternoon I sat up on the roof terrace doing my sewing and rescuing my washing everytime it blew away. It hit the deck so many times it probably ended up dirtier than it was before I washed it! But there isn't much space in the flat so it is good to get the washing dry outside whenever I can.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Optical illusion?

It's been a funny old day today. It hasn't really been cold, but it has been overcast and this afternoon it started to rain, lightly but steadily, and now we are in the middle of a thunderstorm. So I decided it was a good day to stay home and make a couple of birthday cards that I need for early in the new year. You're probably wondering why there is yet another 'sea and sky' photo at the end of this. Well, I was busy working away on my cards when Chris called me to see something from the verandah. The whole view of the sea and sky was grey and there was a dark line that clearly denoted the division between them, i.e. the horizon. Then I looked again where Chris was pointing, and above the aforementioned horizon there was a ship, apparently floating in the clouds! I took a photo, and when I downloaded it to the computer I could just see a feint second line beyond the ship which must be the actual horizon, but this hadn't been visible to our eyes. So here's my photo of a floating ship. Not very exciting, but my only offering for today!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lonesome boatman

I really must stop using song titles to label my blog entries. This is one of my favourites by Foster and Allen. Still, there's propbably not many of you who listen to quite the same electic mix of music as me, so maybe you wouldn't have known if I hadn't told you! Anyway, I woke up in time to watch the sunrise this morning, though it didn't really quite manage it! But the sky was a lovely pink, a real rival to some of our sunsets. I didn't want to bother you with yet more sky photos, but I had to include this one.; I was quite pleased with it. The sun was already up in the sky but obscured by clouds, when at around 8.15 it managed to break through a gap and made a lovely line of reflected light in the sea. And caught in the beam, was a 'lonesome boatman', no doubt hoping to catch a fish for his breakfast. You'll probably need to click on my picture to enlarge it, to even see him. How vast the sea must have seemed to him, out there in his tiny boat. I'm glad I was the one on terra firma!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

An 'inbetween' day

Hi everyone. It's been one of those inbetween days; neither sunny nor wet nor anything else remarkable. It was overcast most of the day but quite warm, (19º all day), but much too windy to sit outside. So I did a bit of ironing and a few other mundane things, and the day soon went. Then just as I was about to close the shutters and 'shut up shop' for the day, I glimpsed this amazing sky, so of course I found my camera. We both went up on the roof where the view is less interrupted by buildings and there were three distinct areas of sky. To the front on the left there was a huge funnel of pink cloud that gradually turned dark grey. To the right there were stripes of gold and orange which darkened and melted into one another. But out at the back there was what looked like a pot of boiling oil, swirls of a sulphurous yellow churning around. This changed to pink and then orange, and within half an hour it was a firey red and then it was gone. You have to be quick or you miss these lovely scenes, and I was just lucky enough to see it today, so I'm sharing it with you. Of course I took more photos than this, and tomorrow I will put some of them in my 'sea and sky' folder in my gallery. Unfortunately, non of them really do it justice, but it's the best I can do. Our neighbour was up on his roof photographing it too. I wonder what his are like?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas is coming

I know that we are now into December, and Christmas is only three week away, but it is hard to feel Christmassy here, especially on a day like today. As you can see, we had a beautiful morning and we sat out on the verandah with our cups of tea, soaking up the sunshine. The thermometer, tucked away in the shade, was registering 14º but it felt warmer than that and we soon shed our woollies. It cooled down a bit after lunch, but I changed into trousers and a jumper and I was still comfortable sitting outside to do some more of my sewing. Of course it was still cool in the flat and I'm glad to have my socks back on this evening!
I have finished making Christmas cards and they are all written and posted, so I decided it was time to try and inject a hint of Christmas into the flat. I bought a beautiful poinsettia in the supermarket yesterday, and the sun shining in on it this morning made me very glad I did. I bought a small sparkley cone (not quite a tree), and some baubles like a bunch of grapes that I have hung from the curtain rail. Then I found two tubes of lights that I bought in Thailand, cut off their plugs and wired on some Spanish ones, and hung them either side of the window It's very minimilist for me. I love the decorations and usually I still deck the house out like I did when the boys were small, but it's better than nothing and now I really do feel that Christmas is on its way.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Land of Contrasts

What a contrast this picture shows to the dark and angry seas we had yesterday. This was taken along Mojacar coast this lunchtime. The sun shone all day and the wind changed direction and blew from the west so the temperature was much milder than yesterday, though we have the heating back on this evening. But it was a lovely day to be out and about. We stopped at Mojacar on our way up to Albox to view a house. It was a lovely property though not what we want. It was in a very isolated location with too much land, but there were stunning views. Albox is nestled in the foothills of Los Filabres mountain range. Today the tops were covered in snow, and the scene was stunning. The highest point is Tetica de Bacares, casually referred to by the locals as the 'witches tit', but put more elegantly in travel books as 'so called because its shape resembles a woman's breast'! Whatever it's called, it is very lovely. The western reach of this mountain range joins the beginning of the Sierra Nevada. We hope to take Jonathan up to the snow on the Sierra when he is here for Christmas. It is easily done in a day trip.
We are learning to enjoy each day, whatever it brings. They are saying it will rain all over the weekend, but who knows. They got it wrong today didn't they?

A hungry sea-hound

Many, many moons ago, an English teacher read us a poem that ended with a stanza about the waves being an angry sea-hound hurling intself on the rocks and eventually lying exhausted on the sand. Although I was not exactly 'in to' poetry at the time, I loved the imagery then, and it was the first thing that came to mind when I opened the shutters today. Our hound was growling all night. Even at home we sleep with our bedroom window ajar all year, so it is open here too, and whenever we stirred we could hear the wind and the waves. This morning I went up on the roof and watched huge brown and grey waves breaking far out to sea, building again and crashing on the rocks below me. The wind whipped the tops off them as they broke, and the rocks just below the surface made the final break an uneven line of white foam. It was exciting, so I put on my jacket and went to walk along the beach, revelling in the noise and motion of it all. I think exhilarating is the word I want, and in its own way, it was just as beautiful as the sparkling blue of a sunny day. When I reached the far end of the bay I was surprised to find that every bit of the old, dry weed had disappeared. It's usually ankle deep all along the water edge, but today there was just a shelf with a two foot drop to the sea. No doubt it will get washed in again soon. While I was on the beach I spoke to the man from the flat in front of us. He has been here for five years and he said he has never seen the water come so far up the beach. It was above the line where the residents often park their cars. I'm posting a couple of photos here and some more on my gallery. Unfortunately our signal is not strong enough to add a video. You really need the wind and the noise to properly appreciate it all. According to the forecast, there is more to come before it perks up again on Monday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some you win; some you lose.

I'm afaid today was 'one you lose' It started well enough. I got up to a very bright but very chilly morning. I went outside to open the kitchen shutters and stood for ages watching the little house martins. They had discovered the warmth of the brickwork on the apartments across the road from us, and they were dipping and diving after tiny bugs in the air and then returning to the ledge of shutters and fancy stonework on the flats. They looked so cute strung out along there. Of course I took a photo but you'll have to enlarge it to even see them!
After breakfast I set off to the supermarket in Vera to do a big monthly shop, as the cupboards were decidedly bare. I spent a long time browsing the shelves for new ideas (much easier when Chris isn't with me!) and finally got to the checkout, only to find that my purse had been taken from my bag while I was in the shop. I know I had it because I needed a euro to release a trolley. My bag was on my shoulder for most of the time and on the hook on the trolley for the rest, so whoever it was, worked very fast. It was just my luck that the one staff member who has a smattering of English, wasn't working to day so I had to explain it all in Spanish, but I managed. They rang the police for me who said there was no point in coming out as I hadn't seen who took it! I rang Chris to tell him to cancel my two debit cards and left the staff to sort my shopping back on to the shelves while I drove home. Fortunately I only had about €20 in cash, but I also lost a lovely, and rather expensive crystal elephant charm that I bought back form Thailand. I used to have a very annoying bell on my purse that I bought at a craft show. Everyone commented on the noise, and it was irritating and a bit embarrassing, so I took it off and replaced it with my charm. I should have known better. The very reason I put it on there was so that no-one could take my purse without me knowing! I am very cross with myself for not being more careful, especially as I have heard of a couple of other people who have had the same experience, except that they both lost over €100. Now I have the inconvenience of sharing Chris' card until mine are replaced. They will be sent to Michael's address to be forwarded to us out here, so I expect I'll be without them for a couple of weeks. Hey-ho. A lesson well learned. My noisy bell will definitely be back on the next purse I use. It left me feeling quite shaken, so Chris drove to San Juan to buy some milk so we could have that all important cup of tea, and tomorrow we will go together to restock the cupboards.
The day ended with this very pretty sunset. We are forecast to have a few very cold days, but I don't think it will rain so there might be some more skies like this to lift our spirits when we have had 'one you lose'.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To everything there is a season ....

....And right now the season out here is a time for Harvest. The trees are dripping with ripe oranges and lemons, and this week we saw the arrival of stacks of yellow crates at the end of each row of trees, ready for fruit picking to start. I believe it goes on all through December and January. But unlike at home, when harvesting and planting have very distinct seasons, out here this is also the season for planting. First it is a time for clearing, and for the past week there has been a faint scent of bonfires as the farm land is cleared and all the dead plant matter is burned. In every direction the smoke hung in the air like a low brown cloud, that very slowly drifted away, but it wasn't unpleasant because the smell was reminiscent of real bonfires, burning resinous wood, dried herb branches, and other natural plants with nothing synthetic thrown on to spoil it. As we have been driving around here we have seen mile after mile of neat ploughed fields, where the machinery used leaves long, straight flat-topped ridges with furrows between them for the irrigation pipes. As I went to the supermarket in San Juan the other day I saw one such field with about twenty workers spread along the rows, each with a box of seedlings. By the time I had done my shopping and was returning home, the field was completely planted with baby lettuces, which will no doubt flourish in the damper and cooler, though still warm, weather. The Spanish may be a nation of very laid-back folk, but when they do work, they don't waste any time. We have seen the same thing all over the area this week. I suspect lettuces will grow very fast, and then we can watch them being picked, and the next field being planted again.
I am finishing with two pictures of a beautiful range of hills/mountains, which were the back drop to the orange grove I was photographing. It is only a few metres in from the coast. I did a very short detour on my way home from church this morning, to take them. The hills remind me of a piece of greeny-brown velvet that someone has dropped and left it in its folds as it fell. The light and shadow on them is lovely and I spend ages looking at them. I hope you like them too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lost !!

We've seen a bit of a down turn in the weather. Rain was forecast for a couple of days, and yesterday we did get a few drops. but today it came down in shed-loads and the sky was black as pitch. We were out all morning, but as we were driving home around 2.00 there was a beautiful rainbow arching across the sky, and dipping it's end in the sea. Lovely!
We were out and about this morning because I wanted to go to a coffee morning being held by a lady from the church I go to. We are only a small congregation of about thirty each week, but we all travel from every direction, some quite a distance, to get there. This lady lives out in the country a bit, quite a long way from here so I wasn't very confident about finding her house, and persuaded Chris to drive me. She had given me very clear directions, but just as we reached her turn-off from the motorway we hit roadworks. There was a length of contraflow and we couldn't get to our turning. So we thought we would go on to the next one and double back. We duly turned off the motorway, only to find the road we then needed was blocked off. We decided to take a secondary road in what we thought was the right direction and soon found ourselves on an unmade track with no junctions. Several miles further on we turned into a tunnel that went under the road, only to find ourselves on a similar track in the opposite direction. But could we find a way back on to the motorway? ..No! Some landmarks started becoming familiar as we realised we had passed them (several times) before. In the end, after we had skidded down a particularly narrow and pot-holed section of track, we saw a tarmac road and pulled on to it. As we had no idea where we were, we dug out the sat-nav and asked it to take us 'home'. Of course it didn't know about the road works so before long we faced a barrier again and knew we had done another circuit of the same area. Thankfully a random turn suddenly brought us to a motorway junction, and two hours after leaving home we were on our way back there. Needless to say, I never did get to my coffee morning, but never mind. There is bound to be another one soon, and I'll ask how to avoid the roadworks next time.
The good news is that the sunshine should be back tomorrow. It is getting chillier. You'd be amazed how cold 16º can feel when you have had unboken sunshine for days! I got the douvets out of storage last night and Chris is happy to snuggle up but I don't really need it yet, and I'm still sitting up on the roof with my sewing most afternoons. It's hard to remember that we are heading for the end of November. Long may it last. We keep getting dire warnings from folk who've been here for a few years, that Februaury is the 'bad' month, so it's a good thing we brought some winter woollies with us.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Intrepid explorers

Although we woke up to bright blue skies this morning, a chilly wind from the north meant it was the first morning I have felt the need for a cardigan on, to eat breakfast on the verandah. Our thermometer was registering 13º at 8.30, but by 10.00 it was up to 23º again. Ever since we arrived I have talked about exploring some of the lovely coastland between here and Villaricos, and a bright, but slightly cooler day like today seemed perfect to give it a go. Chris decided to come with me. He would have preferred to tackle the hill at the back of us, but I know I wouldn't get far if all the way was an incline, so we agreed to try the coast. To begin with it was easy. We walked through sand and gravel and sank into a foot deep layer of dried weed, but then we were climbing over rocks, and every headland we rounded, led to more. Chris gallantly went ahead and tried to find a route that he thought I might manage, and so we kept going until we came to a rock face that there was no getting around. So we had to climb up to the road running just above us, and from there we went back down into one more cove before turning for home. Each of the little bays has a name but I don't know them all. I know the final one was Cala Cristal; (The sign at the top of the footpath was a bit of a giveaway!). It was the only one we got to this morning that had some sort of a walkway down the cliff. The rest were just dirt tracks. Anyway we had a short rest at Cala Crystal and I spotted a large flat rock, just out in the water. Being me, I had to climb on it to pose, so I handed the camera to Chris and started to climb. Unbeknown to me, he was busy photographing my less appealing side! Once on the rock I posed for him and then dangled my legs over the side. I thought it wise to remove my shoes, but yes - you've guessed - I dropped one into the water. This was on the seaward side of the rock where the water was quite deep, and I was too high to reach it. So I scrambled back to the beach, hoping a wave would bring it in for me. Unfortunately they seemed to be taking it further out! Chris said I had to let it go and he would walk back for the car to take me home, but I like those shoes. They are so comfy. So I tucked my dress into my knickers and waded in to get it. And I did! It had taken us an hour to walk there so I was then faced with an hour's walking home in a wet shoe, wet dress, and sundry other wet things too! We decided to go the easy way home so we walked along the road, which gave us quite a different perspective from when we are driving along it. Of course, I continued to take photos, including one of our special 'little mountain' that tells us we are on the last bend before home, and the fantastic view we get as we climb the last hill and see our little hamlet of El Calón in the foreground, then the sea, and the coastline of San Juan stretching away beyond it. My shoe survived, and my dress was nearly dry by the time we got in. It was a lovely walk. The air was filled with the scent of wild rosemary and oregano, grasshoppers were leaping everywhere, (they get as big as three inches long here), and I spotted a couple of lizards but they don't stay around to introduce themselves. I have inserted a couple of pictures in this but you can see the rest of our little adventure on my gallery. (