What’s going on here? The campsite is suddenly full of Spaniards! Where did they come from? Of course I know they came from Spain, but what are they doing here? Vilanova Park has for the past 8 weeks been populated by Johnny Foreigner, Brits, Dutch, French, Germans and Danes, plus the odd Swede or Finn, but there certainly haven’t been more than a handful of Spaniards onsite.

Now as Easter approaches, they’re here by the barrow load, and a right proper noisy lot they are too! Another phenomenon to add to the ones we’ve already noticed on our adventure. The Spaniards aren’t the only ones who shout all the time though (although the women are particularly loud in comparison to other countries). In Germany the Turkish men tended to converse at high decibel while all Italian men sounded like they are about to have a fight! The Orientals in Oz were quite loud too come to think of it and I happened to notice in more than one country that West Indian and African men seem to really enjoy talking at the top of their voices into mobile phones.

That reminds me of my dearly departed father, Frank, who never quite got the hang of using the telephone. For a start he didn’t have one in the house until he was about sixty years old! But, God bless him, he clearly assumed that the further away the recipient of the call was, then the louder you had to speak into the mouthpiece (which, for some inexplicable reason, he tended to hold up near his forehead by the way). It used to reduce us to tears just watching him make a call to the family in Leeds, screaming his head off down the phone. Dear aunt Cissie is another who has compensated for long distance by raising her voice over the years, but it would be really nice to hear that voice again soon, loud or not! Renée, tell her I’ll call soon.

Everyone by the way gets very loud when they’ve had a few drinks, especially young folk from any country. The Danes over the wall from us are raising the roof as I write but that’s because they’ve been on the sauce since midday and that combination of alcohol, sun (and bacon!) seems to be absolutely lethal. I’m expecting a Viking raid at any moment!

We have a new friend in the old Welsh guy (whose name I’ve forgotten) whom we’ve met a couple of times up at the bar. He is a wonderfully interesting person with a thousand tales to tell and I have revelled in his company this week. By coincidence, on the day Uncle Gerard sent us information about the Picos region of North Spain, this guy recounted a string of adventures he’d had in that very area, walking from mountain refuge to mountain refuge. He highly recommended that we spend some time in the mountains which he described as some of the most beautiful in the world.

Well, I went for a walk this afternoon and bumped into him again. He was on his way to the bar for his teatime pint and invited me to join him for a quick one. I reluctantly agreed (stop grinning!) and sat in rapture for half an hour listening to his tales from the Pacific Islands where he was stationed with the R.A.F. in the 50’s. Mary must have thought I’d fallen down the pan, considering I’d told her I was just popping to the loo!

As you can guess, we didn’t do anything we’d planned to do today. However, while the normal excuse is the weather was poor, this time the weather was so good we just couldn’t prise ourselves out of the chairs outside the awning where we ate and read for most of the day. My head got a little burned too because I inadvertently left off my hat, never thinking it would be so hot at eleven in the morning. They tell me it peaked at 22 degrees today before the clouds came over and showers peppered the late afternoon.

We’re happy to report that the dongle is working quite well and we can have Internet access wherever and whenever we want. The signal can be a bit temperamental but in general it’s efficient and fast enough to cater for the things we download or browse most. As I said earlier, we have plenty news channels on the TV now in any one of seven different languages so we have no problem keeping up with what’s happening around the world. We were sad to hear that the wonderful Nelson Mandela may be nearing the end of his epic life, although he already appears to have lived several lifetimes. What an amazing person he is and a great example to us all.

Mary passed me a short story to read on the Kindle yesterday. It was actually a rant by someone encouraging the readers to get on and live life to the full as this is not a rehearsal and every single minute we waste is gone forever never to return. Although not all that well written, the essay made its point quite strongly and left Mary and me feeling very glad we have chosen to come away on this adventure. We have no regrets at all about what we’ve done because we realized we could if we wanted. So, dear friends, if the opportunity presents itself to you, remember the saying “Carpe Diem” seize the day and enjoy your life while you can, doing above all what you want to do and not what others want you to do.

Remember all you carnivores; it’s Fast and Abstinence tomorrow for Good Friday. Thank God for tuna!

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