Already almost the end February and it’s now just 6 days till our departure for the UK.

We did at last get the Motorhome imported, taxed, ITV’d (MOT’d) and insured and it is now legal to drive here although only on temporary plates which last 60 days. After that if the official Spanish plates haven’t arrived, we will be in limbo again until they do. So without further ado we set off for a shakedown trip for just three nights earlier in the month. The intention was not to go far but to go inland and into the mountains rather than along the coast, just to refresh our memories about how things worked and to introduce Poco to the experience.

I say ‘without further ado’ lightly as there was in fact much to do and check before we set off having not used it for 18 months.

The following group of photos are from our trip.

View from the windscreen…….
That’s Cieza down in the distance
Walking in the white poplar woods

Our first night was in a motorhome aire in Archena next to the Segura river. It was busy and adjacent to the town football pitch which was well used all afternoon and evening but quiet at night.

Dog exercise area in Archena
Poco will do almost anything for a treat!

All good until it started to move down!!

We didn’t sleep well any night really for a number of reasons. Firstly Poco is very choosy about where he decides to “perform”. Despite walking for miles and spending many hours outside during the day and evening, he plaited his legs after we left the garden and would not be persuaded to let go until back in the camper he finally decided the floor mat was just the right place! He did the same the next day but we did eventually manage to persuade him to use outside. The floor mats have had a good hose down since we’ve been back and hopefully he now has got the message. Considering we know nothing about his former life before we got him apart that he was not house trained at all, he did well as it was yet another big change for him. We were expecting he might make a fuss being fastened into a seat belt while we were travelling as he was awful in the car when we first got him but he was fine. The other night time problem we had was that we kept being woken up by 18 kilos of Ditto jumping up on us. He hasn’t done this previously but decided as little Poco was up with us then he should be too! Since we got home we have worked out how to wedge the shower door open to cover our sleeping quarters and prevent him joining us next time! Belle was little Miss Perfect as long as the other two left her alone!

“Are we nearly there yet … “

The second day we went on just a few kilometres to a birding spot that we will return to in March after we get back from the UK. The migrants hadn’t returned but we found a lovely overnight spot again by the river in Ojós with a nice short circular walk where the dogs could run off lead and next to a Tapas bar. Right, we thought, we’ll eat here tonight but guess what? We were there on a Thursday, their closed day! So we’ll go back again but land there on a different day next time so that we can sample their restaurant which sounds very good.

Our overnight spot at Ojós, next to the river and a tapas bar

Day 3 we headed towards Cieza where apparently the peach blossom is a sight to behold in the spring but is not open yet. We overnighted at a lovely spot high up above the town and had it to ourselves. There is an archaeological site there, an old Muslim medina which can now be visited but only in the evenings. We walked to it during the daytime so we could only look through the gates.

Overnight Spot near Cieza

Next morning before returning home, we headed to Calasparra, a rice growing area in northern Murcia. Here we walked to some woods which feature white poplars, again an area we will return to when the summer bird visitors return, we have scoped it out and discovered where to park. We tried to get a meal there at the restaurant after our walk but got fed up of waiting for our table to be cleared so headed home for cheese on toast!! We were never more than about an hour and a half drive from home but it lifted our spirits and felt like a real getaway from the norm.

Motorhome buddies.
I promise to behave myself next time!
Nice to be back home in our own bed!!

Our bougainvillea is not thriving at the moment and was looking quite sad so Nigel has taken advice from his gardening forum and severely pruned it right back. We thought we were doing the right thing and not watering it but leaving it to nature. But it has been very dry this winter so we think it has suffered. Hopefully it will be back with a vengeance now that it has had a haircut and a thorough watering as the other climbers have that he pruned last year.

Not just me needed a haircut this month, the bougainvillea did too!
Spot the difference! No blue sky today though.

A couple of weeks ago, we visited my ex colleague Julie and her husband who were out at their apartment in La Manga, they came to see us here when they were in Spain last November. We had a very nice day and were glad to have some company from “home”. We left the two whippets at home and just took Poco with us who behaved very well, thankfully not watering any of Julie’s carpets! We took them some oranges and a couple of lemons from our trees in the garden.

Cooper’s iceplant, so pretty.

The lemon tree has done much better this year so I made some lemon marmalade last weekend
Getting the hang of home made BBQ’d pizzas and we could eat outside on this occasion….in February!
Tug of war time again
Local almond blossom, almost all gone now.
Belle still enjoys her beach walks

So right now we are busy preparing for our trip to the UK next week, (dog and house sitters arriving later in the week) hopefully seeing lots of friends and culminating in meeting our new grandson. Meanwhile, Richard and Aoife are settling into their new life in Stockholm and we are planning on a motorhome trip to see them during the hot summer months here.

Adiós por ahora, más el próximo mes.