Our New year Celebrations took the same form as the Christmas ones, in bed by 10.30 with our kindles, just like any other evening! We have forgotten how to party!

The first two weeks of January have been a mix of warm sun and busy days in the garden. However the main weather feature for the last 14 days or so has been extreme wind and it has now turned much cooler. Today, 23rd January, has been the first time this winter we’ve needed the pellet stove on all day. This is mostly because it is wet and gloomy outside. In fact it’s the first time it has rained for as long as we can remember. We often find on cold but clear days we go outside for a warm up!! But not today. The dogs are disgusted with this cold wet stuff that is landing on their backs, the looks on their faces are ones of puzzlement and angst!

We like sunshine, not rain and cold!!
Cosy time for dogs, Belle in her pyjamas!

Earlier in the month we had an amazing piece of good luck that reinforced our belief that kindness and honesty is still around. Whilst I was at my Spanish class, Nigel took the dogs to the beach and to cut a very long story short, he lost his wallet. He searched and searched on the beach to no avail, then set off back to the car, starting the process of freezing his bank cards from his phone. After he had done just one, an email pinged up to say his wallet had been found and handed in at the Guardia Civil. The policeman who had received it just happened to be married to an English lady who worked for a local insurance company and she managed to track down Nigel’s e-mail address from his ID card. He picked me up from Spanish class and then we zoomed back to the police station at Puerto de Mazarron to collect it. On the way there I practised in my head what I was going to say in Spanish, a simple, fluent sentence to say we had come to collect my husband’s wallet which had been found near Bolnuevo beach. But in reality when the policeman (who looked about 15) opened the door to us with his hand on his gun, I turned into a fish out of water, mouth opening and closing and nothing would come out. Eventually all I could manage was, ¿Hablas Ingles? (Do you speak English?) which fortunately he did! So wallet and contents restored intact. The lady who found it unfortunately left no details so we couldn’t thank her but she did report it to a local lost and found facebook group who also sent Nigel a message to say it had been found. When we asked for details to offer a reward we were told it was unnecessary, they were glad to help. That was a real feel good incident!

The fateful lost wallet beach walk

That same afternoon we had a hastily arranged visit from Sam and Alan, a lovely couple from Yorkshire who we first met in Portugal three years ago. They also have a whippet (two when we first met) and they stayed for a few hours and had a meal with us. A great catch up. We love hearing their ‘reet broad’ Yorkshire accents and Sam sends me regular you tube clips of their onward travels in which she does a running commentary. We learnt a new Yorkshire word while they were here, she told us we were “maungy” (soft) when we were sitting in the courtyard, the sun was going down and we suggested moving inside. They of course, used to the wet and cold weather of the UK, were still enjoying the relative warmth of the sun even at 6pm!

Samantha and Alan’s off road vehicle.

The next day we motored over to Torrevieja to meet up with David and Pamela boating friends we first met in Burgundy about 10 years ago. They winter here in Spain to enjoy warmer weather and quite a few of their other boating friends who we had never met have since followed suit. So there were 10 of us meeting at a local bar where we enjoyed a good meal and convivial afternoon chatting and drinking.

A very nice meal at Bar Rosaleda in Torrevieja

David, Pamela and their friend Terri who isn’t in the above photo because she took it!

We’ve had a few issues with the solar panel installation in that since it was fitted our mains breaker kept tripping, for reasons known only to itself, on the worst day, 8 times! However, the company that fitted it have been very communicative, most obliging and helpful, determined to iron out any problems. and get it all working properly. We now have a new breaker which is less sensitive and automatically resets if it should jump. So far so good and we have had no more incidents since it was fitted one evening last week at 9pm! Roberto, (the boss of the company) had another visit to make after ours near Alicante and he had started work that morning at 6am!

Fig tree pruning continues into the New Year
Off to the ecoparque we go again! (Can’t burn it as the smoke stinks to high heaven)

Last weekend, we had another get together with Pamela and David at our house and this time Steve and Helen, more boating friends from Burgundy joined us too from their temporary winter accommodation not too far from us.

Lunch in the sun, aren’t we lucky???
Smile please. Happy days!

Pamela’s lap again!
Bucks Fizz in the foreground with our oranges! Poco getting into position on Steve’s neck.
David’s home smoked bacon on one of his home made rolls that he brought
over for us….delicious.
He has given me a bag of the smoking salt mix he uses so I will have a try!

We haven’t seen Steve and Helen for quite a few years and so we had a lot of catching up to do. After we had sold our barge in Burgundy, they travelled north in theirs and are now moored in Bruges where they are harbourmasters in the Coupure Marina of which we have fond memories of our stay in 2017.

Meander, second boat on the left with the blue hull in the Coupure, May 2017.

Nigel is in the process of fitting new solar panels to the motorhome roof before our next trip. Upon removing the old one he was astounded to find how little adhesive the manufacturer had used to hold the existing one down, considering the distances we have travelled in it and the windy conditions, it’s a wonder it was still in place!

One of Mr. C’s cooked Sunday breakfasts, too cold to sit outside and eat now though!
Living stones (Lithops) in flower

Nascent plans for a (shorter than last year) trip to Bolton to see the family in March are underway. It was going to be just me, a few days ago I sowed a seed and suggested we try and get a house sitter so that we can both go. More news on this next month.

First signs of spring, almond blossom appearing mid January

Hasta Luego Todos