Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The shell seekers

Instead of my usual song title I thought I'd use a book title today instead. (The shell seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher). Today was the last day of their holiday for Jean and Ron, and it dawned warm and sunny, so we wanted to make the most of it. After a leisurely breakfast 'al fresco', we set off towards San Juan. Usually we only stop off here to refil our water bottles at the supermarket but today we strolled along the long sandy beach. Us girls had to paddle of course! It was very beautiful with a clear blue sky and sparkling water to match. There was just enough breeze to make the waves interesting, and they broke on the little rocky outcrops in pools of white foam. While the men gave one another a geography lesson, each illustrating their points with elaborate maps in the sand, Jean and I used the time to collect tiny, tiny shells for our craft. I have collected them from here before and they are just perfect for cards and ATCs because they are small and flat enough to send through the post. I have photographed some next to a euro, similar in size to a British pound, just to show how tiny they are. Jean took the ones we found today home with her, and they were mostly even smaller than these. I couldn't find my really tiny ones tonight; I may have to go and collect some more!
We walked back along a lovely clean, tiled promenade to a Venta where we intended to have our lunch. Ventas are bars which serve a set menu during siesta hours at a very reasonable cost. They were a government initiative orginally introduced to provide a hearty meal for the workers who came in from the fields for their afternoon break. They would eat a three course meal, sleep for a couple of hours, and then return for more hard labour in the fields. Now anyone can enjoy the 'menu del dia' and we thought it would be a good idea to do so today. Unfortunately we discovered that this particular venta closes on Wednesdays! Not to be put off by this, we drove along to Villaricos to the restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner with Jonathan. They also do a special lunch time menu, but being an English-run establishment it is a slightly less basic menu with a wider choice, and of course, a slightly higher cost. But it was worth it. We had a very nice meal which meant our visitors could travel without feeling hungry, and I didn't need to think about cooking for us when we returned from the airport. The wind got up while we were eating lunch and when we got back to the flat I had to collect my washing from all the corners of the roof terrace, but at least it was dry. We got Jean and Ron to the airport in plenty of time, and it looked as though their flight was on schedule, so Bournemouth has obviously cleared their runways of ice and snow now. We are just waiting for an e-mail to say they are safely home. (Just received. It was snowing when they arrived. What a strange day they've had, paddling on a sunny beach in the morning and driving through snow tonight).

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