FEB 1ST to FEB 21st.
Weather not so good with odd days of cloud,overcast and some showers and 2 days of high winds, but it remained warm and in the main avoided the cold nights of last year.......none of which caused the GF to shed many layers although she was was reported to be wearing shorts on 2 occasions. as per usual, we failed to fulfill most of the goals we had set ourselves re outings and visits and 6 weeks flew past......efforts to have the odd alcohol-free day came to naught and afternoon drinks became lethal with the french who kept producing calvados,cognacs and fruit liqueurs of questionable provenance and horrendous alcoholic content. Paul's birthday party was a raucous affair as to be expected and many a pleasant time was had with Nick&Barbera and Dave&Geraldine.
Ww did manage to cycle to Barossa and on to Sancti Petri, a 28 mile round trip on a very sunny day but failed to take the bus to Trafalgar and walk back along the beach or go to Cadiz,Jerez and Seville, all of which we had intended.
On the technology front, the Motorhomewifi booster works a treatso that we had a near constant connection to Radio 4 whilst all around us people complained of slow and intermittant connections......mainly due, I believe, to the use of FilmOn to stream UK tv which the system is not powerful enough to cope with. The Iboost was so good that at least 2 people sent off to the Uk for them and another was already in use.....and as I understand it, they don't hog more bandwidth but only boost the signal at the router. It works so well that I did not have to use the portable device until we got to Portugal where it is working fine but with only a limited monthly download allowance. Isn't technology wonderful.
Harry&Joan departed early due to an accident suffered by their daughter in the UK and P&M departed for Portugal on Feb 14th....missing the splendid Valentine's dinner dance put on in the restaurant where the GF received an orchid and I won 2 bottles of wine.
In our spare time we taught Pete&Sue to play whist ( so they could join in and avoid the line-dancing ) which was an interesting excercise as they had never played a game of cards in their lives but they got the idea and enjoyed(I think) the experience. On the quiz front, we had 2 bad weeks, just failing to make the podium each time when we should have, but on our last night we teamed up with Paul&Caroline again and had another resounding win.
The Rugby 6 Nations drew good crowds even though the TV system in the bar could only get a spanish commentary or the ref's mike and at least England managed 2 wins and are looking better than they were in the world cup.
In the high winds, John&Jean had a narrow escape when a branch snapped off the tree above them and crashed though the skylight and hit the bed where it would have done serious harm to one or both of them if they had been in it. Fortunately it was at 6pm and they were watching the rugby in the bar.
Jean-Marie was excellent and had his insurers round immediately and helped organise a local repair shop to order a new roof light after the Caravan Club insurance refused to send out a replacement from the Uk in case "it got damaged in transit through flexing". We left before the outcome was known but J-M was saying that if his insurers wouldn't pay ( it seemed to depend on the wind speed ?) the Campsite would cover the costs which is a jolly honourable thing to do when the Site Terms and Conditions absolve them of all responsibilty for accidents of that nature. Larry had an amusing incident when investigating a strange area of damp on his pitch under the groundsheet.....it appeared to centre around one of the tent pegs holding the covering down so he pulled it out with disastrous results. The peg had punctured a water main but was acting as a plug to slow the leak to a bare minimum, like a slow puncture on a tyre. The sudden removal of this plug released the full force of the main buried 8ins below the surface, covering him with mud and sending a spout 30ft into the air which was quite spectacular if anybody had beeen able to stop laughing and admire it. Hardly Larry's fault though if people only bury a water main 8ins deeep on a campsite.
So our time in Spain ended with many hugs and kisses and for the first time ever we left La Rosaleda in the rain on feb 18th, heading to Portugal.
FUSETA.....I like Fuseta but the GF is not convinced ( I don't think she really likes Portugal come to that). The Campsite is quite small and not the best but I love the location. We arrived at 3pm to find that they only had 3 spare pitches, of which only 1 was really large enough for us. And the other 2 pitches went within 15 mins. The reason why the site is so full is the influx of french motorhomes who are avoiding their usual destination of Morocco. There are plenty of sites open in Spain & Portugal but they have always been reasonably full, a well balanced supply and demand, but this greatly increased demand...because the ferries to Morocco were taking 10,000 motorhomes in eaarly 2014 is going to strain the system unless other sites start opening earlier in the year. Another factor in Portugal may be an initiative whereby wild campers are being 'fined' a daily amount equivavlent to the daily cost of the nearest campsite which sounds like a pretty neat way of discouraging it.......although there were plenty of vans wild camping at both Fuseta and Olhao despite this rumoured approach.
Had a great cycle ride across the salt Pans to Tavira but the birdlife was sadly lacking save for a flock of flamingoes. On the way back stopped at the shanty/shack bbq restaurant and had 2 enormous monkfish & prawn kebabs from the grill. The prawns alone were the size of small lobsters and there must have been 1/2lb of monkfish on each. a litre of wine, water,bread olives,cheese all for €37.
Thought I'd better do a geocache so walked miles to find the nearest one to the campsite which was much further away than I'd been led to believe. Found it in the crevices of a rock pile, a plastic skeleton hand and skull containing the log which I thought was a tarantula as i scrabbled about above me trying to find it....nearly had a heart attack. I hadn't anything with me to take a photo but we may cycle back that way as we are now in Olhao.
Had intended staying longer in Fuseta but a text from Paul said Marianne was in hospital so we came staight over here....and had big problems finding a pitch here.
Marianne had been complaining of pains in her side for some weeks at Conil but they got worse last week so they went to the hospital in Faro on Friday where they diagnosed air between her lungs and ribs and operated within the hour to prevent her lungs from collapsing. She'll be in there for at least 5 days so we are here for moral support. More will follow.