It’s now just over a year since we left Bolton for our new life in Spain. We didn’t move into the house until 2nd September but this now takes the record for the longest time in almost 47 years of marriage that we’ve stayed in the same place and slept under the same roof!

Initially we were campers, then caravaners with the children, after which followed meanderings in boats and motorhomes. True wanderers, be it for weekends, long weekends, Christmas and Easter holidays, half term breaks or long summer holidays before we retired, after which we spent even more time travelling and less time at home.

We have at last now been double jabbed (even though we can’t prove it) so in theory we can get out and about more but it’s been so hot the last couple of months that we have not wanted to and it is certainly not fit weather to be taking the dogs anywhere. Whenever we go shopping without them we leave the air con on for them!

Our second vaccine experience was most unlike the first, for which we were in and out very quickly. We arrived at the venue with half an hour to spare, luckily as when we got there we could see massive queues outside. We foolishly expected it to be like the first time and had not gone prepared to stand outside so we came home for long sleeve shirts, sun umbrellas and more water. When we got back the queue had diminished and we actually got inside quite quickly but still had a 45 minute wait in a very long queue.

Our hearts sank when we saw this queue, which was far longer when we first arrived so we sped home to get supplies!
Inside queue, 5 lanes, alternating.

What else have we been doing? Not a lot! The almond harvest began earlier this month, I went out with the dogs one morning and saw the local fields being stripped, a labour intensive job, the tractor approaches the tree, swings a huge net around which opens up and surrounds the trunk like a pterodactyl’s wings and then proceeds to shake the almonds off.

So I’ve been out foraging for almonds on trees that are no longer farmed. So far I have managed to collect 500 grams worth when they are shelled and blanched. It’s hard on the hands as the shells are very stubborn to crack but free food, who can resist?

Our grapes which looked so promising at first, have ripened to readiness but many of them have failed. These I have just picked, washed and eaten for lunch. Very tasty.

Dogs are still enjoying a couple of swims a day as their main form of exercise but only when the tiles are cool enough for their feet. We have bought an Ikea parasol for extra shade in the courtyard so now we can sit in the pool with a book without having to hold an umbrella.

On a recent bureaucracy trip to a government office in Murcia (twice, a week apart because the first visit was not 100% successful) we passed this playground. I thought to myself “Where is a grandchild when you need one?” Had to make do with a substitute! At least we were able to go to Ikea for the parasol in the same outing.

And briefly on the subject of bureaucracy we are still chasing residency but I don’t want to go into the whys and wherefores in any more detail here.

Saving the very best news till last…….next month on 23rd September now that we are double jabbed, we are having our first visitors. Richard and Aoife are coming out for a long weekend. We are both thrilled that they are coming and can’t wait to see them. We have told them to look forward to a weekend of fig picking, weeding and gravel spreading! They think we are going to take them into Cartagena to see the Roman Archaeology and to go for walks on the beach! Whichever scenario occurs, we have had a bottle of bubbly keeping cold in the fridge for a year to toast our first visitors with! I have booked a table for a meal out on the Friday night at a restaurant owned and run by friends of boaters we first met in Belgium. It’s a small world!

And yesterday we scoped out a little bar we’ve had our eye on in Bolnuevo which has just reopened after a long closure. We thought it served tapas but there was only one item on the menu, currywurst! But it was an afternoon OUT, combined with picking up our post in Mazarron and the gardens were amazing.

Nigel has booked flights for us to go back to the UK next March to see other family and friends and we have friendly ex-boating dog sitters who winter in the Valencia region lined up to look after Belle and Ditto while we are away. So it feels like a little of “normal” life is on the horizon at last.