Barking at Sunset

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Yes, this is me, Freddie promenading in Garrucha. All of the other dogs here are tiny so I feel like a bit of a celebrity as everyone wants to stroke me and my master and mistress have asked me to tell my story.

This was my excellent life in England. Friends to walk and play with in the woods or by the river or in grassy fields. Ooh, how much do I miss GRASS!! I knew something was up when they took away my fur coat and made me have a bath. Actually, I thought I looked pretty good but my master couldn’t stop laughing at me. So, to wipe the smile off his face, I pooed in the hall! (that picture is my private collection).

The next day they put my bed in the back of the car. I thought I might have overplayed my paw when they put me in the car and then we drove and drove and drove and after what felt like two weeks in dog time, we stopped and they let me out so I could CML (cock my leg). We walked about a bit and played FTS (fetch the stick) and then they put me back in the car and I said ‘come on guys WTF!!’.  But off  we drove. This time is was a very short drive and when we stopped we were inside a big metal box.

I can tell you I was pretty nervous but my master and mistress were very happy and excited so I went along with it, right up to the point where they put me in a cage! I tried to get some sleep but the metal box was rocking and the little dog in the cage next to me wouldn’t stop yapping. All night long YAP, YAP, YAP, YAP, YAP! I so wanted to put my paw down his throat. Anyway, with the ‘yappy snappy’ next door and a touch of ‘mal de mar’, I only managed to doze. In the morning I met my ‘Jailers’ with THAT look.

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They gave me my breakfast and a handful of treats, as if that was going to make up for the hell they were putting me through. But hell was still to come. I was so eager to get off the metal box, that I gladly jumped back in the car. Big mistake, huge mistake!

They drove for ‘days’ and once a ‘week’ they would stop and let me out so I could CML and then play FTS and then back in the car I would say ‘WTF’!

After what seemed like a month and when I thought things couldn’t get worse, the car hit this bumpy old road. Everything was shaking and my old bones rattling and then the car stopped. When my master opened the back to let me out, I couldn’t see him for the cloud of dust and my double vision and then the heat hit. No wonder they cut off my fur coat. They had moved to hell and brought me along without consultation!

My new home was to be an old house in the middle of the desert with not a blade of grass insight! Thanks SO much!

Many doggy years later and I have grown fond of my new life in the desert! In summer, I have regular haircuts and swim in the pool plus the occasional ice cream  and ice cubes to keep me cool. I prefer it when the weather cools down and the grass briefly appears and we promenade a lot by the beach and eat in cafes! I get tit-bits and lots of fuss made of me.

And then we go home to our rambling old house with a big garden to explore and see my doggy neighbours.

Life in this strange land is not so bad after all!

For any dogs thinking of moving out here, watch out for my occasional tips on ‘living the Spanish life and barking at sunset’ !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our hidden gem, Antas

Let me take you on a tour of our fabulous local town of Antas which is just a few kilometers from us and twenty minutes from the coast. Our little pueblo of Los Chopos and nearby pueblos of Jauro, Aljariz, El Real, Los Raimundos to name but a few, are all in fact part of the friendly and welcoming  Antas. The first thing you see on the outskirts is the remains of the Roman aqueduct surrounded by many orange groves.

 

Antas Monday morning market sells loads of local produce and we can practice our Spanish.

Coffee at our local cafe bar El Sur is a regular visit, especially after our Spanish lessons when we are in need of wine, beer and tapas! Gabriela and Enrique own El Sur (pictured with their daughter Romina) and have made us so welcome from our first visit. El Sur is the hub of the community and Gabriela has helped us with a local plumber, electrician etc…. She even translated over the phone while Steve and the plumber were on the roof here!!!

Down the cobbled streets is the Centro de la Cultura. It houses the local police station, library and also serves as the centre for adult educational classes including our Spanish classes.

we stroll pass the church, town hall and it’s plaza……

….. and arrive in the Era Del Lugar where preparations are underway for the Antas fiesta. OK here’s the history bit…. on a hill top outside the town is the Hermitage of the ‘Virgen de Cabeza’ which is dedicated to the Patron Saint of Antas. The statue of the virgin is taken to the plaza where beautiful, fragrant floral tributes are offered by the Spanish local residents

Then the fiesta begins, bring on the band!

And of course, the children have their own funfair!

Fiesta to siesta and then back to normal life in our chilled, lovely Antas

 

Granada

When so many people tell you a place is great, there is always a chance that your expectations will be too high but Granada doesn’t disappoint at all!! Set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia and only a two and a quarter beautiful drive from us.Of course, we stopped on route for our Spanish breakfast of tomato toast, freshly made churros and coffee with our friends Geli and Ezequiel.

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There is so much to see and do aside from visiting the famous Alhambra palace and fortress. The once Muslim City was taken over by the Christians led by Queen Isabel of Castile in 1492, so the architecture at the palace and throughout the city has strong Moorish influences. The old part of the city is made up of narrow streets with small shops, tapas bars and restaurants all buzzing but still with a relaxed atmosphere. We will go back as two days was just not enough!

Strolling along to Alcaiceria the Arab district of the city and close to Granada Cathedral.

Then time for tapas and drinks……followed by a long lunch. In the evening we amble along Paseo de los Tristes (the sad walk), the place to be! We are in and out of little souvenir shops, stopping for more tapas and people watching, while Steve and I struggle to speak Spanish . It’s amazing how good beer and wine helps the fluency, well we thought we had improved as the night went on!!!

Day two after not much sleep as so hot, we start walking up the very steep hills to El Albaicin, the Moorish quarter of the city. Stopping several times on our climb, not sure if we were gasping for breath or at the stunning views!

Walking back to Paseo de los Tristes for lunch, Ezequiel, spots in one of the narrow streets a guitarist. He explains that Steve would love to hear traditional ‘Spanish guitar’so we just chill and listen for half an hour.

Late afternoon we visit Alhambra Palace, I don’t want to give you a history lesson, so enjoy some of the many photos I took. And if you haven’t or cannot visit, then ‘google’ Alhambra, it really is ‘wow’!

Inside there are a lot of beautiful mosaics and carvings but on a hot July day maybe too many to really appreciate!

Then back outside, phew!

A fantastic trip and can’t wait to go back. We were exhausted, happy but our poor old brains aching after all that Spanish ‘chatting’. Mind you, not as tired as our dear Spanish friends having to listen to us. Maybe that is why we stopped for several tapas and drinks?

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Hasta luego!

 

 

 

 

 

Our Cortijo one year on…

Almost everyday we are doing work on our Spanish home as this was always our planned project. But then everyday we see more we need or would like to do!! Our love for our house can occasionally be bitter sweet when starting a job creates another. Painting walls, is just a small example, where it is normal for the plaster to fall off at the same time! Plumbing out here has a whole different meaning. I have become Steve’s permanent ‘apprentice’. I have also been fired a couple of times! 

Our first and and easiest priority, was decorating the guest room and improving the bathroom.

In the downstairs bedroom, we had the cane ceiling, which harboured all sorts of unwelcome bugs,  taken down. A beam was replaced and then the whole ceiling re- plastered.  ‘Andalucian blue’ in the decoration was then a ‘must’.

The courtyard is our biggest and most exciting renovation to date but not quite finished! We still have to paint the woodwork, plus we have decided on more lighting and plants. Our furniture will be delivered this week…well, it is Spain so …  Our courtyard is for chilling out (or partying) and all in a fly free, cool and modern space, a surprise in our Spanish cortijo!

before

during

 72 rusty railings on the balcony to prepare and paint (3 coats of white!)

And so far…

Finally, the garden should have its own blog! Of course it is continuous and we discover new plants in each season and then learn how to look after them and overall it is a joy. Now we must sort the irrigation system (we have free smelly water but that is another story!). Areas by the pool and house are slowly coming together but the rest will stay ‘natural’. We have olive, almond and pomegranate trees in our little orchard and cactus plants ranging from a few inches high to 6 foot plus! Our lemon, lime and orange trees need nurturing badly. I have never worn so many clothes when gardening as I dread meeting a scorpion, huge spider, snake……………..

Just a few improvements…….

Many friends ask what we do with our days, so now you know, now year 2 ….

Our first fiesta of the year !

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With our new neighbours and now friends Kay and Mike, we went to the ‘Los Caballos del Vino’ fiesta in Caravaca. Fantastic, colourful and truly Spanish! Apparently, 700 years ago, the Knights Templar ran up the hill to the Christians, as the city was under siege by Moorish armies. Trying to find uncontaminated water, they could only find wine! At the fiesta, 59 decorated horses are timed galloping up the now famous hill to the castle with four runners hanging off the horse.

Next stop…….Jauro fiesta!!

El Encanto de Mojacar Pueblo

Mojacar Pueblo is a true white washed Andalucian village bustling with tourists and residents. The many pretty narrow cobbled streets lead to plazas, cafes, restaurants, art and local craft shops.

And the views……..the camera cannot truly capture just how spectacular they are!!

In the gorgeous sunshine and heat, sitting in a cafe enjoying cool drinks and tapas with family and friends…..what could be better!!!

 

PS…..flat shoes a ‘must’ the cobbled streets are also very steep!

 

Wild West in Almeria !

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Back in October, great fun at the Fort Bravo the Spanish ‘Hollywood’ at Tabernas. We were part of ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’, the ‘Magnificent Seven’ , Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and ‘Doctor Who’ for the day.

We will return to do the horse riding trails, maybe even stay in a wooden cabin overnight and have a dip in the pool before a hearty ‘spaghetti’ Western breakfast!!

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