We’ve not had any rain for months, it seems we have suddenly missed a season and gone from Winter to Summer! In last month’s blog we had been to Toledo where it was very cold and then the UK where we nearly got snowed in, this month we haven’t been away yet but we have had VIP visitors and are wearing tee shirts and shorts and leaving all the doors open!

Come on in, the water’s lovely! My first swim this year, 10th April 2023.
If you zoom in you will see the three amigos running round the pool edge!
We have to admit to a little artificial help for the pool’s warmth. We decided to have a pool heater installed now that we have the solar panels and are almost giving many kilowatts away to the grid. We will only use it on sunny days in spring and autumn to extend the swimming season.

We had intended to go away again briefly before our visitors arrived but best laid plans and all that. This time we were hampered by our gates becoming difficult and then almost impossible to open fully, indeed the hinge on one sheared off so they needed to be taken away to be welded and repainted. The metalworker who agreed to come and collect them was very busy so we had to wait for him to be able to fit our job in. This meant it was not possible to get the camper out but they have now been fixed and look much smarter….well, they did till Poco went for a nosey down the lane!

Newly painted gates being rehung…..

And a couple of hours later!!!!!! A Poco signature!

Meanwhile the VIPs that came, namely our elder son Richard and his lovely partner Aoife, have been for a 9 day stay have now gone on to Portugal for a week’s surf school.

They arrived from a week’s skiing and walking in Chatel in the French Alps, a place we know well from family holidays together when the boys were much younger. They were laden with goodies for us, beer, wine, cheese, saucisson, sirop de grenadine (can’t buy decent squash in Spain), even some shampoo that Ric remembered I always used to buy in France and the smell is so evocative! They also brought us thermal coffee mugs to complement the wine coolers they sent us last year after our trip to Stockholm, we had admired theirs on the picnics we went on with them!

Yeti wine coolers, a gift posted to us from Stockholm after our trip last summer and now we have the matching coffee mugs! A lovely surprise.
Nigel’s eyes lit up when he saw they had brought us some green beer from Chamonix. Still got 4 bottles left. Might have one on my birthday on Wednesday.

We really enjoyed their company and were thrilled that they stayed longer than initially planned. They loved the weather, the pool, the area and the food and drink.

Our first walk together in the direction of Aguilas
On this walk, Ditto and Poco discovered some wild tortoises!
Eating out in Calabardina
The tower near the car park where we left the car for the above walk
Spot the optical illusion….is it a bird, is it a fish, is it a crouching tiger???

We did a mixture of things together on days out and then they took our car and went off exploring on their own some days giving us time to have a breather. and give our legs a rest. On a couple of mornings, Nigel and Ric went for a cycle ride together.

This little fella ran out in front of their bikes on a ride………
then we saw another one in our garden later the same day,
Ric’s first sighting of a real live Chameleon!
Beer and crisps in the pool!

Most late afternoons and evenings were spent around or in the pool which is lovely and warm now (30deg!), chatting, reading, listening to podcasts and nibbling snacks and supping! Our evening meals were often joint effort affairs and eaten in the sun room just as dusk was falling.

Burger night! Preparing the accompaniments.
Dad arrives with the BBQ’d burgers, finishing touches of cheese added and then wrapped in foil and another five minutes on the BBQ for the cheese to melt.
Bon Appetit! Made from Drew’s method/recipe which has now spanned three countries, UK, Sweden and Spain! By complete co-incidence I sent this picture to Drew and he wrote back saying they had just finished the exact same tea!
Enjoying a Mont D’Or fondue, the cheese kindly brought as a gift to us by David and Pamela last month, specially for this visit.

Aoife, Richard and I had a day trip to Alicante, the following few phone snaps are from our day there.

Me and my boy! Looking across to the castle, thankfully there was a lift to the top but we did walk down afterwards.
Looking down at the marina from the top of the castle
The famous zig zag tiles on the Alicante promenade, similar to the tiles which surround our pool
Very interesting little square with some of these enormous Australian ficus trees
Stunning row of mountain ebony trees near the market
Just gorgeous and a new one on me!

We also had days out together and we dragged those pooches (just Ditto and Poco) back up to the Cienzas guns again!! Belle is still happy pottering about and coming on the occasional road or beach walk but she is not fit enough for a walk like this where the surface is uneven. She is on weekly medication now to ease her arthritis and she is quite happy to stay in bed when we go a bit further afield.

Nearly there…….again!
Worth it for the view
Happy days!

On their last morning just before they left they made us breakfast pancakes which were a delicious treat with strawberries from Andalusia that they bought the day before, we both said they are the nicest strawberries we’ve ever had and I shall be back to Mercadona for some more!

A thoroughly pleasant visit, enjoyed by all. Sad to see them go of course but they will be back!

Final goodbyes…….for this time!

Maggie and Mr. no mates, just us and dogs again!

Our plan now is to go away towards the Pyrenees for the month of May where we hope to find some cooler weather. We plan to get away on Tuesday. It’s still forecast to be very warm. We will have to dig out the cool coats for the pooches.

Oh no, do I have to wear that again??

And around the garden?????? Nigel is busy setting up automatic irrigation for the plants we have in the courtyard as they need watering every day and we don’t want them all to die.

Each pot has its own little dripper feed
Water will be delivered daily via a time control on the outside tap.

Lady Banks’ rose
A while ago we bought two bottle brush plants, (Callestemon) We thought we had killed them but this one has bounced back in splendour!
Very pleased with it.

“Crown of Thorns” allegedly

Hibiscus, we have several of different colours

Baby oranges!
Love this, the Lady Banks’ rose and the bougainvillea intertwining.
Aloe Vera in flower
Hammock o’clock!

A massive fire somewhere in the direction of the airport, pallets alledgedly. Richard and Aoife could see it from the mountains they were hiking in 30k away!
Artichokes growing locally
It amazes us how fast the almonds grow!
And finally, Ditto and Poco sulking in the sunroom for a couple of days ‘cos they couldn’t run free in the garden while the gates were absent!
Spatchcock Poco (or is it the “Downward Dog” pose” ?)

!Adiós por ahora, hasta finales de mayo¡