B -DAY PLUS 87

THURSDAY MAY 26TH

Rod woke up with a big pain in his right side. He said that he had slept badly because his whole body was one big painful ache, and felt  really sorry for himself.  .  He couldn ‘t be bothered with breakfast, and was quite pleased when he was sitting on the coach, propped up with cushions and fairly relaxed.

The journey was fast and straightforward up to La Coruña on the north coast, and we were deposited by the old Roman lighthouse DSC_0187called the Tower of Hercules, rebuilt in 1792 over the original second century edition.  It was certainly stocky, and we climbed up to it along the clifftop path, even though every step was excruciatingly painful for Rod.  I love the story about the Tower, that DSC_0188Hercules built it after he had slain the King of a tribe of giants who were terrorising the locals.  Yet another ancient story about giants!   Good stuff.

In La Coruña itself, the first thing we did when left to our own devices was to find a chemist ‘s shop and buy the most powerful painkillers they could sell, then a coffee shop to get something to wash them down with.  Rod was feeling absolutely dreadful, but then DSC_0193managed to walk a short distance into the old town where the local military band were having a practise, before he had to sit down again to recover.  We did manage a wander through some very old and narrow streets, then got to the main square, found a convenient bench for him to sit again, where he waited for me  to return from a fact-finding mission.

DSC_0195

I had about half an hour to myself before having to get on the bus, and I had a good old look round, bought a paper punch for future card-making and a pot of ersatz Tiger Balm.  Lunch was a plain bread roll eaten while I was looking around.

We were soon travelling towards our next stop in a small village called O Grove.  This hotel was marvellous!   A big room with a good view,DSC_0208(  a  teensy weensy little bit of the sea, – there it is, in the middle at the back!), lovely fresh smells floating in, and French windows  opening out onto a small balcony.  Rod didn’t even unpack.  He opened his case, took out his pyjamas , put them on and crawled into bed.  I was a bit puzzled as to what to do for him, so I mixed the balm with a bit of Grape seed oil and gave him a good old massage, with a little bit of Reiki thrown in for good measure.  He seemed to like it, and I am sure his poor old muscles benefitted from it.

As we had a couple of hours before the appointed dinner time, I took myself off for a walk. My idea was to find a supermarket to buy some tea for myself, as we were lucky enough to have a real kitchen attached to the hotel room.  So I walked through the village, found the only supermarket shuttered up,  made a right turn towards the DSC_0207sea, and eventually got to the beach.  What a lovely beach!  There were little coves, big old boulders worn into comforting shapes and a wonderful proper sea smell.  On the way there, I saw big allotment gardens , and loads of flowers which just loved the damp atmosphere.  Lilies were growing everywhere, even out of the weedy roadsides.

DSC_0202Every house seemed to have a vineyard (with tall vines, not like our stumpy ones in the Jalón Valley), and one of these peculiar grain-stores on legs, called DSC_0203horreos.  We  saw them last year when we were here, and crept up to one of them, just to see if they were really used or just there for show.  Sure enough, the one we saw was stuffed full of sweet corn!

The track ran alongside the sea, back towards the hotel, and  by the time I got back, I had been walking for an hour and  a half and felt exhilarated !  I just had time to ferret out a stone we had seen from DSC_0197the coach, hear the hotel.  Anne saw it first, and excitedly pointed it out to me, saying it was a big version of the singing stone I had found on the beach on my birthday!  It truly was a singing stone, but DSC_0199unfortunately had only the one eye.  But I commiserated with it and gave it a hug, and it rewarded  me by taking this picture of me smiling at it. (.. whilst whispering through a quick chorus of “I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places …….”)

Rod was no better when I got back, so I went off to dinner on my own and enjoyed a delicious meal with Anne and Derek and Marian and Neal.  I knew that Rod would appreciate the dessert, so I asked the waiter if I could have  his portion on a plate to take up to him.  No problem, and I was  right, he roused himself onto an elbow and enjoyed his home-made apple tart.

 

B -DAY PLUS 86

THURSDAY MAY 26TH

Pouring rain!   We all assembled in the foyer at 10 o ‘clock, trussed up in our kagoules, ready to meet our local guide and, make the short trek up to the centre of interest in the city.  Rolf, the official bus guide gave us city maps once again, where he had marked the position of our hotel.  He is a marvellous guide, sitting there on the bus with the mike, every now and then coming out with snippets of interest.

Our guide for Sangiago is Paco, a Spanish local, full of pride for his aacle DSC_0183city.  He did his level best to keep us interested and involved through all the heavy rain!   He took us round all the sights, and we could see,  despite the weather, what a beautiful old place it was.  He ragailed us with many tales about Old Saint James, but the group were probably more interested in when exactly the next deluge would hit!   One DSC_0178interesting stop was the municiple indoor market, which sported good toilets and a dry seat.  The tour was due to end at 12, just the time that there is a daily mass on the Cathedral for pilgrims, so Paco escorted us into the Cathedral about twenty minutes after the service had started, promising that we would be able to see the spectacle of the huge and famous censer swinging away above the aisle.  It is supposed to be about a metre and a half big and be so heavy that it takes eight men to operate the chain mechanism which makes it swing. It really WAS spectacular!  Great clouds of incense flew out of it as it swung at great speed above the heads of all the crouds inside the Cathedral, and it would seem that,  with the smoke rising up to the heavens, we were seeing the prayers of the faithful rising up too.

By the time this was all over, we were both crippled by the pains in our backs, and hurried out of the building, and once more, for the fifth time, past a bagpipe player who obviously thought his caterwauling was musical.  Our destination was the Parador Hotel, where we planned to find an extremely comfortable chair and treat ourselves to hot chocolate.  This plan worked well, as the hot choc came with a free little cake and was no more than six euros.  Value indeed!

We were fit for no more sight seeing, so made the twenty minute journey back to the hotel, where Rod collapsed on the bed and snoozed away a couple of hours.

We did go back again later, for a bit more seeing of sights, and managed to get up the steps inside the Cathedral to do the traditional hugging of the statue of St James,  which is part of the finishing ritual of the completing of the Camino.

A very mediochre dinner in the hotel was followed by us flopping exhausted into bed, looking forward to moving onto the seaside hotel the next day.

 

 

 

 

B -DAY PLUS 85

TUESDAY. MAY 24 th

SALAMANCA – LAS CLARAS HOTEL

After a really good sleep, we were down to sample the breakfast at 8 o ‘clock.  For a four star hotel, it was a little disappointing, but then we have to remember that we have been breakfastly bereft ever since we stayed in tne Don Pancho in Benidorm and enjoyed the huge ballroom of choices they offered !

At 9 o ‘clock, all the cases went into the bus, and we were free to explore for three hours.  We wandered into the Cathedral areaa of the city, down little alleyways and all around various universities and venerable old buildings.  We found the Cathedral and stepped inside.  Rod saw the price tag, four euros, and stepped out again, with a “See you out there when you have finished! “.  I did the tour, but could not summon the usual feeling of awe that I get from such a place. Usually I admire the craftsmanship on offer, feeling that these folks of old have put their very best into creating something about which they felt very passionate.  This one, to my. eye, was a bit cheerless and severe.  I started to think about all those people who had been forced to work for a pittance, or to donate large amounts of a meagre income for its construction or upkeep.

But then,  I was directed through an unimposing archway and linking room into the older Cathedral. Here, I was entranced.  From the twelfth century, simple stonework and painted panels which were still able to tell a story, as they had been intended to do in an age when most people couldn ‘t read anythning else. I was transported back in time, and was a lot happier here.  A quick look at the house of shells ( not real shells, but some sort of concrete jobbies) , which was again hugely old came next.

DSC_0170The stonework outside was impressive, but inside was beautiful.  Rod kindly took a photo of me inside, but I forgot to tell him not to turn the tablet sideways to do it, as I don ‘t seem to be able to turn the pictures the right way round!

We found the bus at 12 o ‘clock, as instructed, and off we went towards Santiago de Campostela.  This seemed like a very long drive, perhaps because the stops were at peculiar cafes which were not as nice as the day before ‘s. The scenery was really green and lush, with whole swathes of rock roses and poppies, although the clouds descended and obscured everything from time to time.

It was 6.30 before we arrived at our hotel in Santiago, the three -star Hotel Gelmirez. Opening the door to room 102, I did as I always do, DSC_0175went straight to the window to throw it open.  What a view! Four feet from the window was the door to the kitchen.  If I craned my neck over to the right, I could see another aspect of the hotel AND a little teeny tiny piece of sky.

DSC_0185Luckily we are only here for a couple of nights, and the room itself is fairly roomy and comfortable, with a lovely big and clean bathroom. Rod has BBC World News to look at,  so he ts happy.

Plenty of time to relax before dinner at eight, which was eaten on long tables,  us all wedged together and friendly.  The food was uninspiring, but the wine flowed and it was a very happy meal.

So we flopped into bed straight after, and I asked Rod to put the light off. He looked around in confusion.  Then there were two of us looking round in confusion, as our wine -befuddled minds couldn ‘t see the light switch.  Then it dawned. There was a big bright lught directly outside the window, shining in our direction!   Pulling the blackout curtains didn ‘t entirely cut the light out…..  just something to get used to!

 

B -DAY PLUS 84

MONDAY 23RD MAY

HOLIDAY!

All the days of packing are over, and we are up at silly o ‘clock with the cases in Pepe ‘s car, ready for the OFF!

 

When we reach the car park at what we thought was sillily early, there was the coach, almost full.  We obvipusly have a lot to learn about this bus touring lark. –  lesson one,  get there half an hour Before the unnaturally early time you thought was appropriate.

 

Everyone seemed in high spirits, and we were off well on time, with guide Rolf giving us the info we needed to know, like when the bus would stop for coffee and a toilet.  So after about an hour and a half, we pull into a service station and all queue up at the servicios.  Then DSC_0142we stop again for lunch at 12.30, again for coffee after a couple of hours, and finally we reach _Salamanca at 7.00.  Dinner is at eight, so there is hardly time to shower and change before we are making our way to the dining room.

This is a marvellous hotel. Four star and huge rooms with gigantic DSC_0168two -metre wide beds. The view from the window held its own entertainment (not that you can see it in this picture) – a stork ‘s nest on one of these roofs with three enormous “baby ” storks.

Dinner was OK, served on tables seating ten or so, aand was even better when Rod and Derek had put the waitress right on how much wine was appropriate for folks who had been sitting on a bus all day.

Once the meal was finished,  Rolf mustered his forces and marched DSC_0159

us all along the Gran Via to observe the Plaza Mayor, supposed to be on of the best and most beautiful of its kind in Spain.  He was right, it WAS marvellous, but once we had seen it, we headed off back to the billet.  Rolf had efficiently given us all a map with the hotel heavily ringed – Las Claras – but just up the road, we began to dpubt our direction finding, seeing as how we had “efficiently ” left the map on the bed.  But,  – inspiration!   Rod spotted three old people walking up the road ahead of us.  “Look! ”  he proudly exclaimed, “Those are three dodderers, they are bound to be part of our group!  We can follow them! ”

So we relaxed and followed these slow promenaders up the road, and we turned ledt with them until our hotel was in view.  THEN, they veered off to the left and started talking loudly amongst thenselves in SPANISH!   What nice Spanish elderly citizens,  to escort us home!

DSC_0174That was it!  Day One of our bus journey had been spent 90/% travelling.   Thank goodness for my marvellous little ipad Nano which kept me well entertained most of the way.  Annoyingly, I can ‘t read books or do anything needing looking whilst we go along without risk of big headaches, so music is wonderful.  Especially music that was put on the little iPad years ago and hasn ‘t been updated since.  Memory Lane.

During our many stops during the day, we began to speak to a lot of our fellow travellers, and really enjoyed getting to know them a bit.  It ‘s going to be an interesting holiday!   I can ‘t say that this blogging is easy on my small tablet….   but I shall do my best!

Salamanca is a really ancient city, and we are looking forward to seeing more of it tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B-DAY PLUS 83

SUNDAY MAY 22ND

Not a lot going on today – Pepe came up for his meal and we were getting ready for the OFF tomorrow morning before eight o’clock.  I have always been the World’s Worst Packer and Getter-ready, as I may have said before!  I do hate it.

DSC02570By way of burying my head in the sand away from the horrid packing task, I shut myself away and made a card, just because I have used up all of my reserve stock.  Not very good, but then my mind was not really on the job in hand!

So for once, this entry will be very short.  My mind is on things to pack, and get ready.  Suitcases and plans.  My poor plants which will probably die as they will have no water if Pepe forgets them.

Oh – how do people cope with all this?

13164486_1094185907290834_2932941052891906124_n

Yes – this is the answer!

 

Must away.

B-DAY PLUS 82

SATURDAY MAY 21ST

I spent most of the morning doing stuff to prepare things for the holiday, and very nice it was too, in all the lovely sunshine.  The little plants had to be looked after, plus Pepe’s garden had to be watered and weeded.  I have bought him a Jasmine plant to go just outside his front door, so when he opens the door,  – WAFT! Lovely scents should  fill his nose.  So that’s planted and he has strict instructions to water it every day.  That will keep him occupied while we are away!  I gave him a haircut too, to cheer him up.  I have cut  his hair on and off since I was about 12 years old, so I am pretty used to it now.

Yesterday I had a yen to make something.  This feeling often floods May 21st 5over me, and I am lucky enough to have the space to shut myself away and mackle.  I am like an addict, if I have to make something, I HAVE to make something  !

I remembered seeing a tutorial on Youtube, on how to make an adjustable necklace, so I found it, and made one to hold the new stone I bought from the market last week.  The necklace is like a little net bag, so I can take the big blue stone out whenever I want to and put another one in there.  One way to keep a stone about your person in the summer when you have no pockets!  You could, in theory, put anything in the little net, even a phone, I suppose.

Last night we had a big and glorious full moon, so I put all my crystals outside for the night to get vitalised and shiny.   This one really needed rejuvenating, as I have had it close by ever since I bought it to soothe my head and help me get over the pesky migraine.

We were lucky to be  invited out to lunch with some very old friends who now live back in England.  Since they moved back, the El Quijote May 21sthas opened up in Orba, so we thought that was the place to show them.   Luckily, the staff showed no sign of the embarrassment we caused them last time we were there and Pepe had his “turn”!  What a fantastic meal!  These are just the free bits they bring you while you are waiting  for your order!  Unfortunately I was so bowled over by the other food, I completely forgot to photograph it.  How awful – we shall have to go again!

May 21st 2It was great catching up with Joan and Alan again, and conversation sparkled throughout  the whole meal.  When we had all finished, the waiter brought along all these bottles of alcohol to finish the meal with!  (This horse just wouldn’t take NO for an answer and  kept nudging me out of the way to get himself some.)

 

All too soon it was time to go, but hopefully we shall catch up once May 21st 4again in Devon in November.

What a boost a good old natter with good friends can be!  Especially coupled with excellent food and a drop of wine!  I came home all mellow, and did not even mind that it was Cup Final Day, and Rod plonked himself in front of the tele for a good few hours football-watching … on a Saturday!!

 

B-DAY PLUS 81

FRIDAY MAY 20TH.

DSC02559First thing – collect my parcel from the post office in Jalón.  What a silly system we have!  To begin the process, the post lady puts a note in our post box to tell us we have a parcel waiting , …..  here are the boxes of mystery, 1.5 kilometres from our house, each little box for our own post.  Each one secure with its own key.  Except all the bits fell out of our lock so you can now open it very successfully with a finger nail.

But the post office is only open for an hour and a half every day – variably, according to whether the postman is on his holidays.  Inevitably it’s not the right hour and a half,  and there is a long queue there if you do manage it:  but if you don’t get there within ten days, the parcel gets sent back to where it came from.  If you are off on holiday, ten days is not enough.

DSC02557Anyway, I did get there to pick up my delivery of a new pair of sandals – look at those happy feet!

At last I have footwear for a summer’s evening (not walking in obviously), courtesy of a website called Wish, which send all sorts of things from China at very silly prices. These were reduced from about 50 euros to 17€  plus 7€ p&p, but the main thing is, with my huge plates of meat,  they fit.  I at least have something  new for my holiday next week.  People will be so dazzled by my sparkly feet, they willnot notice that I am on holiday with old clothes.  Ha!  All’s well that ends well, then.

Friday is going-out-for-lunch-day.  But  today I am a rebel.  I cooked lunch for us all, and organised tickets for us to go to the Careline Theatre in Alcalalí to see their “Review”.  This is a marvellous English amateur theatre group which raises a lot of money for local charities, and we are very lucky to have such a facility so close.  Alcalalí is a small village of about 1400 people, 60% of which are non-Spanish, and of those, 70% are British!  How things have changed here in the last fifteen years.  However, the theatre pre-dates the arrival of all these foreigners and is a proper theatre with wings and scenery and a bar.  Seats about 200.

The review was really good, and we all enjoyed it very much, DSC02560especially as the system is to buy a drink at the bar and take it to your seat, whilst at the same time  ordering and paying for another drink for the interval, which is all ready and waiting for you when the lights go up! (Note to self – read camera instructions to find out how to work the flash.)

The production was made more professional by the presence of a man in what seemed like the orchestra pit, who I could see was playing various keyboards with great verve, and obviously was in charge of all the sound effects. too.  At the end of the show, the usual thanks were given to all those having a hand in the production, but the very important helpers were forgotten.  The  enjoyment of  the whole thing   was a joint effort – without the bar staff and programme sellers, the very smart dinner-jacketed ticket collectors and the tidying-uppers , the evening would have been flat.  But without the excellent  music it would  have been NOTHING!  So I went up to the music man at the end, when everyone was just rushing out, and thanked him, telling him how great he was.  He looked a bit stunned, then pleased, so I was glad I did this spontaneous gesture.

I was amazed therefore to find what the next “thing to start doing for yourself”, was…

  1. Start cheering for other people’s victories. – Start noticing what you like about others and tell them. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.

Well, I don’t really want the music man cheering for me, but I just wish more people would notice him.  He was there the whole production long.  All by himself.  Working away and being marvellous.

B-DAY PLUS 80

THURSDAY MAY 19TH

Off to tennis again today, although the old back was asking me repeatedly whether I was doing the  right  thing. “No” is the answer, but I shall go anyway!  It was great fun, but with only nine of us there today, it was hard work and I had to opt out before the last set.  I sat comfortably in the car and read the book I had thought to put in my bag, (no hardship there then!) and so DSC02555was recovered enough to walk as far as the bar when all the others had finished.  Everyone was in great high spirits, and I immediately knew what my “thing to be grateful for” was going to be today.  BEER!  The foaming pint.

I hated beer until 1985,  I can pinpoint the very day when it all changed.  Rod had been living and working in Rugby, whilst I and the children stayed in Woore, Cheshire until their term ended.  Then, on a baking hot day, I had to pack up all our belongings and get them on the removal van, get the house ready for its new owners and  see to the children, who were all upset to be moving away from all their friends.  It was a hard and gruelling day, doing this all on my own, and by the time it was time to start the drive with the children down to Rugby, I was shattered.  The lovely neighbours invited me in to say goodbye, and asked me what I would like to drink before setting off.  Without hesitation, I said “Beer”!  I didn’t even like it at that time !!  What made me say it??  Anyway I did, and I guzzled it back and thought it was the most wonderful invention there ever was.  A miracle  conversion!  Thank goodness!  It has stood me in good stead ever since.

I reckon that it was all down to my mother telling me that, “ladies don’t drink beer”.  I must be very gullible, as I believed her until I was 38 years old.  Like I believed her when she told me I didn’t like cooked onions .. now why would she do that?   She instilled into me that I must never go into pubs too.  How times change, I suppose she was only trying to do her best to save me from my basest nature.

The beer today revived me greatly, – good job done as I didn’t have much time after getting home, before I had to collect my yoga stuff DSC02556and hot-foot it off to Alcalalí.  This  was another hard session as my back was really giving me gyp again.  I knew  that I would benefit from all the posturing, so I kept on, but, my goodness, it was hard to move afterwards.  Ted did a special meditation for us at the end, and I slept all the way through it.  Sorry Ted, but I did specially like the yoga position which you explained could be done outside by the pool with a big toe in one hand and a  gin and tonic in the other!

 

I do love yoga.  It is just as the next point on the “30 things to do for yourself” list says …

  1. Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. – Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time. You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. Aim to break your own personal records.

Ted is marvellous at drilling it into us time and time again – “If you can’t do it how it should be done, it doesn’t matter”.  Tennis too, is so much more pleasurable now that we are all older and really don’t care if we win or lose – all we want to do is enjoy the game.  Most of us belonged to clubs in the past, where it was all seriousness and you were almost sent to Coventry if you didn’t do well.  Thank goodness we are over all that and are allowed to just enjoy life!

 

So what are the advantages of getting older?  I shall soon be seventy years old, but really don’t feel it in my head (in my back very often – especially today!).  Let’s have a think ..

  1. We can happily differentiate our needs from our wants , and prioritise, focussing on what is really relevant. I don’t  NEED an all-singing all-dancing new phone like “everyone”  has, and don’t feel at all awkward not buying one!  I don’t NEED to know who the latest wonder boy-band is
  2. We don’t care what others think.  This  includes our parents (who may have disapproved of us drinking beer).  We now know that it won’t be fatal if someone doesn’t like what we do.
  3. We have more time to handle our emotions, and can step in to situations to stop ourselves becoming angry. We can breathe, put on a superior look, and take time over a cutting remark if someone is really bad.  We have a library of learned responses to fall back on.  Tolerance becomes the norm, and this doesn’t stress us half as much as being critical, angry, cynical, disapproving does.
  4. We have more time!  We can be so grateful we have moved on, when we remember the days of rush, rush, rush, with children with needs to be put first and jobs to hold down, EVERY DAY.
  5. We know ourselves better and can accept our limitations whilst being pleased with what we CAN do.
  6. If we are lucky, we have all these grandchildren around to keep us abreast of what the current world is all about, and to look up to us just because we are so much older than they are!
  7. We have loads of happy memories in our heads.  The trick is to stay positive and cherish the happy ones and look back on the not-so-happy ones as learning experiences.
  8. Allergies, migraines and things like measles don’t bother us so much.

I think I could  go on for a long time, but I am grateful to have learned from my Dad, who was proud of getting “more rascally” (his words) as he gained his grey hair.  “It’s lovely getting older”. he told me, “You can say what you want and people just think you are a rascally old codger and take no notice.  You can get away with murder !!”

He also told me another trick.  “Don’t ever wear your glasses for looking in the mirror.  That way, you can’t see the wrinkles!!”

 

 

B-DAY PLUS 79

WEDNESDAY MAY 18TH.

Walking day!  A bit of a rush this morning, as I am being a well-behaved patient at the moment and obeying the doctor’s instructions by going for a blood test to see why my blood pressure is 170/83.  It’s a funny old way to do it in Jalón, you all go at 8am., and hover around the nurse’s door (about 25 of us this morning), trying to listen above the huge hubbub of everyone talking nineteen to the dozen.  The nurse then calls out your name as she sits there, not raising her voice nor looking up.  She gives you a scribbled number on a scrap of paper and you go out again, only to strain your ears listening to the other nurse who calls out your number to go to get the blood extracted.  It’s all done with the greatest good humour, considering it’s early dawn and no-one’s had anything to eat.

Now I just wait a while for the results.

Not much time for breakfast then, before setting out with the group for a 11km walk up the Sierra Bernia range at the back of Jalón.  It DSC02552has been a wonderfully sunny day, and the whole area was beautiful.  I have only this pic, as the one showing me has mysteriously not made it home.  There were fifteen of us today, and we kept getting quite spread out, as seen in the ONE picture!!  Grrr..

In this idyllic scene, the sun was a prefect warmth (it will be too hot in just a few weeks’ time), the scent of the rosemary was all around as we brushed past bushes and bushes of it, and the birds were warbling away.  Gail, our expert, told us that she could hear a Golden Oriole.  Now I have never seen one of these impressive-sounding flyers, but it’s nice to think that one is nearby!  Prettier than a crow.  The only blot on this wonderful scenario was that the bars were closed, and we had to do all this climbing without the usual half-time encouragement.

It was very hard going in places, and quite a scramble up and down.  Towards the end, one of the group slipped on the rough ground and landed on her cheekbone on a big rock.  It was very nasty and she was a bit shocked, so  I offered the Rescue Remedy which I always have in my backpack, thinking that no-one will be interested in my off-the-wall remedies.  To my surprise, Gail, the leader, snapped up my offer, and I was allowed to put four drops under the tongue of the poor accident victim, Dee.  I was quite heartened by the fact that a number of the group started to tell tales of the great effectiveness of Dr.Bach Rescue Remedy Gotas 10ml.the Rescue Remedy, and very soon Dee was saying that she felt better!  I was a bit of a hero!!  I have carried this little bottle around for years, and this  is the first time I have used it, (obviously it doesn’t go off), and  I feel ridiculously pleased to have been of some use.

We all felt in need of reviving after this trauma, so it was beers all round at the bar in Jalón, and it was well after two o’clock by the time I got home.  Rod was already making the most of the sun by the pool, so I quickly joined him with my book.  Lovely!   I had done the tough walk with no problem and had stayed easily amongst the leaders, but when I got up after half an hour of sitting – ouch!  My poor back was telling me that it was almost 70 years old and should be cossetted more.  No way – live with it compadre!

 

Today’s plucking from the list of things to do for yourself is similar to the last one, but comes a good time, being a Wednesday.

  1. Start giving new people you meet a chance. – It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you’ve ever made. People and priorities change. As some relationships fade others will grow. Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgment. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.

While we are walking, we fall into step with lots of new people and start random conversations with complete strangers.  It’s fantastic!  Where else can you do this?  Great!  Today one of these conversers was telling me how he had been upset to see that a sperm whale had been found beached off the North German coast, with a stomach absolutely full of plastic waste.  I hear that more and more whales and dolphins are being beached recently from the North Sea, and no-one knows why.  Climate change?   Changes in sea level?  Their satnav letting them down?  I hate to think that humans are responsible for causing the deaths of any creatures.  Why do we go on using so much plastic?  When I look around here in hot Spain in the summer, just about everyone has a plastic bottle clutched in their hands.  They drink it (well done them, – we are all told to drink at least two litres of water a day), then throw the bottle away, proudly, into a bin.  OK – responsible chucking does not mean that any less plastic in circulation !

I’ve loved my long walk today.  I am so grateful I have the feet to do this with.  I can walk away from plastic.  Whales have no feet and have no choice but to drink it in with their water, poor things.  Somewhere I have a brilliant recording from Cab Calloway, called Happy Feet…

Happy feet!
I’ve got those happy feet!
Give them a lowdown beat
And they begin dancing!
I’ve got those
Ten little tapping toes,
And when I hear a tune
I can’t control my dancing heels,
To save my soul!
Weary blues
Can’t get into my shoes,
Because my shoes refuse
To ever grow weary!

Hmm – now I shall be spending all evening looking for it…..  who would choose to have ear-worms?

ME!!

 

"All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking." / "Toutes les grandes idées sont conçues en marchant." -Friedrich Nietzsche:

B-DAY PLUS 78

TUESDAY 17TH MAY.

I had been looking forward to today, as it was the day ear-marked as “Shopping Day”.  Next week we shall be off for 8 days of  sightseeing in Galicia, on a coach organised by Anne and Derek, so I wanted us both to have the right clothes with us.  This is not a sort of trip we are accustomed to, so we don’t have clothes for bus trips and seven evening meals in a hotel!   Yesterday, we sorted out what we did have and made mental lists, feeling very grown-up and organised, but as my tentative pile of clothes is already a mini-mountain, already I feel hopelessness setting in.

Packing for me  is a mystery art which I have never fully understood, so to put enough clothes in a case to last for over a week will be a challenge.  When I went to Peru and had to pack a rucksack with enough things for six weeks, I had no bother.  This sort of thing I understand.  But to be “well turned out” for a WHOLE WEEK !  Phew.  And will it be hot?  Cold?  Wet?  How will I feel when I wake up in a week’s time?  Will it be a blue day?  Purple?  Yellow? Will I feel full-of-beans red, or mysterious and thoughtful indigo?  Will I feel like floating around in skirts, or down-to-business jeans?  HOW DO YOU KNOW?

By way of a good start to the day, I walked through the hidden valley, on the route that takes me half an hour and leads me to a pick-up point on the Gata Road (on the way to the shopping centre).  It was incredible – beautiful , quiet, peaceful and very green.  May 17thWe woke up this morning to a thick fog, which very soon dramatically cleared, but which left the footpath very slippery.  Looking down on it,  I was full of admiration for the bikers who regularly do this route.  Just here there is an almost vertical drop and then it goes on over these boulders in the picture.  Lethal!  But there is something about the Lycra which glues them to the path.

Centro Comercial Portal de la MarinaRod picked me up and we were soon in Ondara.  I had heard about a new organic supermarket which had opened there a few weeks ago. We soon found  it, and it turned out to be huge!   “Ecorganic” is one of a small chain of five shops in Valencia, Alcoy and Bilbao.  In Spain, this is nothing short of other-worldly,  – it’s nigh-on impossible to get May 17th 2proper health-food shop food here, let alone organic.  But here it all was!  I had been warned of the shock value of the prices, and was a bit stunned, but then I am just not used to even having the opportunity of paying a premium for organic produce.  Rows and rows of flours and grains May 17th 3shown here, to enbag and weigh out yourself.

This second lot are the teas!

I was too shell-shocked to buy much, but will gird my loins and return another time for a serious shop-up.  It’s all very different from the 70’s, when I used to trundle two tiny children in one pram up to the hippy shop in Newcastle, carrying my used paper bags to fill up with brown rice and  wholemeal flour: the only place you could get it.  It was a wearing journey, but I used to love that mad shop – beans and pulses in sacks, and ugly, dirty veggies in wooden boxes.

  1. Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be. Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect – people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment. And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.

    This ” list of things to start doing  for yourself”  is turning out to be a bit odd.!  We are at number 13 already, and whilst I agree with the main sentiment here, I can’t see how you can just go out shopping for a “friend” who gels with you.  Surely you have to just decide that you could  do with a friend, and then just sit back and wait for an opportunity to present itself?  I do believe that the right things happen at the right time,  and friends will come into your space when you are ready to accept them.

We were watching an article on tele this morning, which had been looking into the numbers of friends people had.  Typically it seems, Americans claim to have on average four friends, and British people have two.  I think this proves that British people have a different definition of the word “friend”.  Some folk claim hundreds of Facebook “friends”, but probably they have never even met most of them.  Shouldn’t these be called “contacts”, like we used to in the old days?   I find “acquaintance” a bit of a cold word, but does explain all those people who you know as nice people, who live nearby and who you may enjoy talking to in a group.  The word “Bestie” seems to be current now, to describe a “Best friend”, – a thing we only used to have at school where I come from!!  So I expect British people are claiming two Besties each – that would be it.

I find that I don’t  need whole gangs of Besties, and am happy in that.  Years ago I worried that I was Norma No-mates,  but then I realized that I really only wanted a  load of friends because that’s what other people seemed to have!  So what?   Generally I am very happy and content in my own company, but isn’t it lovely to have a few old real friends who you don’t see all that often, but when you do, you just pick up where you left off?  No recriminations or reproaches for not having kept in touch every week.  Acceptance and support for what you have achieved in the absence, even though you may have travelled  along diverging routes. Someone you can rely on, in fact!

I love all the friends I have – and can’t be bothered to waste time on people I don’t love.

“A true friend is someone you feel as comfortable with as you do when you are by yourself. No illusions, no holding back. (Liz McConomy)”

I reckon that covers it.  I hope we may make some new friends on our forthcoming trip to Galicia.  Certainly this will apply …

Image result for true friends

 

because I didn’t buy one new thing to wear on our shopping trip to Ondara !