We awoke to a cold, dreich morning in Catalonia, the kind you don’t expect and thankfully don’t get all that often. Breakfast was taken in the Magic Caravan and the fan heater was called into service to boost the temperature inside while there was no sunshine to do the job from afar. Up at the site shop I bought the daily bread and another 2 x 8 litre plastic bottles of drinking water which is to be decanted into smaller bottles then refilled with tap water and used as ballast to weigh down the edges of the awning.

We have learned from our neighbours during our 3 stays at Vilanova Park that you can avoid hammering big holes into your rubber carpet to peg down your awning if you fold the bottom of the sides outwards and then put several heavy containers of water or sand onto these edges. Everybody seems to use this method and it must work otherwise they wouldn’t, would they? Getting the water also constitutes my daily exercise as the shop is a good 400 metres away, up three levels of the terraced site and the 8-litres bottles are very heavy indeed.

Just after midday we got in the Audi and drove down to Vilanova town as planned. We intended to spend a bit of time at the shops, getting in the food for the week and checking out the prices of aerials and DVB set-top boxes for receiving terrestrial Spanish TV. This is intended to cure scuttering around with a satellite dish and will help us with learning Spanish all the quicker. The food was bought at Mercadona, one of the big supermarket chains in Spain, while we made two separate visits to Aki (a kind of Spanish B & Q) before plumping for a 20 Euro digital television aerial.

Shopping in town proved difficult outside as the weather closed in, the thunder rumbled and the rain hammered down, giving us at least two good soakings before we got back to the camp site. To our great relief, once again the Magic Caravan and its awning appeared to have survived the deluge and it was still dry underfoot inside. I immediately started to build my new toy while Mary made some tea and tortilla for us then I went for a walk around the site looking for someone with an aerial already erected as I needed to know where and how to point it.

In F Section I chanced upon an Englishman, Paul from Reading, who showed me his system working fine with a small aerial compared to the one I’d bought and using a cheap digital box for scanning, tuning and remote control purposes. To cut a long story short (not like me, eh?), Paul ended up round at our place for two or three hours helping us get the system up to scratch and even lent us his back-up digital box to make managing the channels easier. Our digital TV actually handles the channels without the need for a box but, as we left the remote back in the garage, I guess our own box would be smarter.

The aerial is fixed to the tripod stand I’ve been using for the satellite dish and although it is only three feet off the ground, it picks up the transmissions really well. We have about 35 channels and as a bonus many of them use programmes made in UK and America which are just dubbed into Spanish but you can switch audio channel to get these in their original English. That’s why we were watching a film in bed tonight, something we haven’t had much opportunity to do this year. It felt like quite a luxury!

We will probably go back to town tomorrow and buy our own set-top box as Paul is leaving for France on Wednesday and we’ll have to give him his spare one back. We do however really hope that won’t involve another soaking for us. Spanish weather, eh?

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