Archive | January, 2018

Car Trouble

27 Jan

Our car hasn’t been looking too good for a while. Originally purchased back in 2013 when the idea of towing a caravan began to look like a real possibility, this big workhorse more than proved worth keeping long after we parted company with the ‘van. The sheer amount of “stuff” that could be piled into the cavernous boot space made it ideal for our wandering lifestyle. The bulk of our old boat’s contents were transported across Europe, the caravan dragged around the UK and every winter we’ve spent in Spain it crossed the channel with us, carrying all we needed for months at a time.

I was the problem. My 5 foot 5 inches proved to be insufficient for the driver’s seat of this man’s car. Being unable to see where the bonnet started and the boot ended meant I struggled with close maneuvering and parking (OK, never my strong point) and proved to be a bit too much of a challenge. It reached the point where we decided not to bother with cosmetic repairs. I’m not taking all the blame, mind, as Neil added his own bit of decoration last autumn!

But still this beastie kept on going. Until last week, that is. What didn’t make it into the last blog entry was the fact that the car ground to a halt on the motorway just after leaving Benidorm. Neil managed to steer it under its own momentum to the hard shoulder and to peer helplessly under the bonnet whilst I hurriedly clambered over the safety rail sporting a fetching high-visibility vest. Similarly attired, he joined me on the scrub-covered bank and rang round our friends in search of a contact number for a mechanic. Thankfully they were able to help but it soon became clear it was a breakdown truck we needed.

We settled down to wait in what proved to be a record breaking heatwave for January and as bladders relentlessly filled. This inconvenience is so much easier to manage for a man. Having put it off as long as I could, the time eventually came when I had to get myself into an off road hiding place. This involved climbing over the sharp, scrubby bushes and assorted debris that accumulates​ in inaccessible places and down a slippery, precipitous bank to find somewhere discreet to expose myself. Did I mention the sharp bushes?

Well, the long and short of it all is that we are now without a car. The engine failure proved to be pretty catastrophic and uneconomic for us to repair. A replacement is being sought.

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Show Time

21 Jan

In all the time we’ve been coming to the Costa Blanca the show at the Benidorm Palace is something we’ve never done. This is, perhaps, surprising as the resort’s night time buzz makes a welcome change now and then from Jávea’s more laid back vibe and the Palace is something of an institution. Somehow we’d never got around to it mostly because of an image of “Dancing Girls” which didn’t really appeal.

Then we got chatting to a couple who had been recently and were raving about it, describing the show as the best they’d seen in years. In the post Christmas lull where nothing much was happening further investigation seemed like a good idea.

First opening its doors in 1977 but going through a couple of transformations ​since including a major refurb, this winter’s show was the 40th anniversary celebration ‘Rubi’ in which “more than 50 artists participate and whose main theme is the “Spanish” Fiesta.” and promising “A night full of surprises, elegance, fantasy and art.” Well, sounds worth a try doesn’t it?

Booking on-line (https://www.benidormpalace.com/en/benidorm-palace/ )was a challenge though. Perhaps we’re just awkward, but having decided we wanted to go the whole hog and have dinner there before the show we were completely unable to select our chosen main courses. Not to be defeated Neil rang the booking office. Turns out that the difference in price of the various menus reflects not just the food itself but also the location of the table. I wanted a deluxe (of course!) so Neil had to pay the extra, allowing us to sit at the same table! 

It turned out to be well worth it. I can honestly say we had the best table in the place; bang in the centre, a comfortable few rows back and elevated above the tables in front. OK, we’re not talking Michelin star food here but it was more than satisfactory and the show, well, not to spoil anything, was pretty awesome. In the early hours of a chilly January morning, there was a spring in our stagger as we left. Definitely worth the visit. 

Moderation

3 Jan

So it’s the New Year (Happy 2018, everyone) and, I suppose inevitably, I start thinking about resolutions​. I’m an old hand at this and wasn’t going to bother to be honest. Along with most of the population I don’t stick to these somewhat arbitrary good intentions. I’m not going to give up chocolate, do Dry January, take more exercise or whatever. Still, there is this nagging realisation that I’ve been overdoing it.

My weight has been creeping up since we arrived in Spain – the food and drink here is just SO good. I already, sort of, do the 5:2 on a long term basis. That is, we both have ‘fast’ days twice a week but don’t bother counting calories on the ‘non-fast’ days and this tends to keep our weight pretty steady. Particularly since the build up to Christmas, however, there’s no denying that there is a definite trend in the upward direction. Me and millions of others, of course, but hence the, rather delayed, preoccupation with resolutions​.

And here we have it – Moderation. I can do that. Surely? Today is January the third. Alcohol has not passed my lips since going to bed in the early hours of New Year’s Day (brilliant night, by the way) but tonight I’m cooking and wine will be required in the recipe. I’ll be opening a bottle of rather nice Rueda Verdejo so I’ll naturally be having a glass. But do I have the willpower to keep it to just the one? I can do that. I’m resolved. 

The truffles are another story, though. The problem with January and giving stuff up is that there still tends to be whatever the temptation is lying around the house from Christmas. These chocolates have been burning a hole in the cupboard for the last three days and now I’ve opened them. They’re incredibly moreish. Having stuffed down four in rapid succession after lunch (well, I was too full for a banana) I’m yelling at myself “Moderation!” I’ve drunk several glasses of water. I’ve brushed my teeth. I’ve concentrated on being aware of my lack of hunger (stupid idea – when was chocolate ever about hunger?). I’ve tried to distract myself but all to no avail.

So now I’m writing this. I’m resolved. Moderation. I can do it. Yeah, right. ​