Thursday, April 7, 2011

I'm back!

Hi all. Sorry to those who thought I had gone AWOL. It has been a busy time, and somehow I didn't find a moment to write a blog. It was lovely having Jean out here for the week. It would be wrong to say we were busy really but we were occupied! The weather was beautiful so we got out and about a bit, even if it was only to the market etc. The strawberries are in season now and I bought a whole box (2kg) for just €5. That's a lot of strawberries, so we had plenty of treats with them. We also bought a kilo of melons for one euro. They were only small and looked more like grapefruit but they tasted lovely. One day we had them for breakfast, and I cut them in half and filled their centres with my own preserved ginger. Very nice!

My leg that had the torn hamstring is taking a long time to get back to full strength and my doctor told me to walk more. So we walked along the beach and paddled in the sea and it wasn't a bit cold. Then we found a bar with a big, soft settee on the sand in front of it, and we relaxed with a drink there before walking back. One day we walked around the campo to see the wild flowers, but it turned out to be a bit further than we had intended, and we were worn out by the time we got back.

On Thursday we went to the opening of a new supermarket in Vera. It is an Iceland, which over here trades as part of Supermarkets Overseas. They already have a couple of stores but the nearest was at Murcia, and this is supposed to be their largest store in Spain. Some people are really excited about it, and I must admit I was curious to see what they had to offer. We arrived when it had been open for a couple of hours, and it was quite busy, though nothing like the manic crush you might see in UK. The car park was full but I managed to squeeze into a road-side gap at the back of the store, and we did a quick look round to see what sort of stock they were carrying, and to buy a few things I haven't seen for a while. When the owner of the local shop I go to asked me what I thought of it (he had been to suss out the competition!) I said it was too English! I must admit it will be really nice to get a few things that just aren't available here, such as English sausages and individual packets of crisps, and a few of the familiar frozen foods, but whenever possible I buy fresh meat and vegetables, and the Spanish alternatives for other things, and I don't want to go back to buying prepared meals, and lots of packets and tins. Nor do I want to pay for air miles for anything that is produced locally. Many items had their English price stamped on them and they seemed to be priced for us at €1.40 for every pound, which isn't too bad considering the transportation costs, and it makes them cheaper than other 'English' stores around here. They did have fresh milk considerably cheaper than I can buy elsewhere so I shall go there for that as I don't think I will ever get used to using the boxes of UHT milk that is the norm here, but once the novelty wears off, I don't think I will use it too often.

Most afternoons Jean and I sat in the garden and read, did puzzles or a bit of sewing etc. Jean and Chris both got a bit sun-kissed one day (I stay in the shade!) so the next day we stayed indoors and did some crafting.

Jean flew in and out of Alicante this time instead of Murcia, as we wanted to try it to compare travelling times. It took around two and a quarter hours each way, so it was a bit more driving for Chris, but with no tolls to pay, it cost a bit less, and it was a very straightforward journey.

We have more visitors in a couple of weeks when Ben and Dave come out for a few days on 16th of this month. I'm looking forward to that. It is over a year since I saw them. They are coming all the way by train as Ben hates flying, and he gets excellent concessions on fares through his work for the railway. They are going to Benidorm first, and then coming on here.

One day last week I received a letter from a crafting friend in Australia. She does exquisite embroidery and she sent me an ATC with a branch of what I thought was mimosa, embroidered on it in tiny yellow french knots. She titled it 'Aussie wattle', so I looked it up on the int
ernet, and sure enough, Australian wattle is the same plant as some of the Spanish mimosa, and they are all in the Acacia family. They are in full bloom everywhere now, and you see huge masses of them together, probably because they self-seed very easily and are fast growing. This group was beside the main road that runs along the beach at Mojacar.

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