Friday, 30 January 2015

Guns, Dogs and Near Death Babies

Spot the Dickie
'I'm going back to Holland to be arrested". 

Yesterday we embarked on a long beachfront walk from El Campello to the outskirts of Alicante. We met a Dutch guy in a van along the way and after the initial cordial greetings with our fellow motor homer those were the next words he uttered. It's amazing how forthcoming some people are within seconds of meeting them. Apparently his ' ex woman' had told the police he was smuggling guns so, after his van was searched by the Spanish police ( where, he says, they found nothing) he must now return to Holland and turn himself in. At least his bichon frisée was cute and got on very well with Hugo.
Hugo fresh from Golden Retriever incident

The drama continued as a small baby was almost toppled out of his pushchair as his mother's golden retriever lurched across our path to sniff Hugo's pert buttocks, pulling both the mother and the heavily laden pushchair with him. I raced over to save the baby from a certain sub dural haematoma as the pushchair fell in slow motion towards the concrete, baby head first but happily strapped in. Luckily the child only had a massive fright and not a massive injury....his mother was very grateful and the dogs bounced around playfully, unaware of the excitement they had caused. 
enjoying the pulpo gallego

The rest of our walk was uneventful apart from a massive shoal of silver fish, presumably sardines, swimming in the waves. Graham was very excited but refrained from getting his rod out. We have been in El Campello for several days wild camping as the weather is excellent....even got the legs out yesterday! It will be cooling down tomorrow but there's lots to do here and the restaurants are excellent. 
can you see the silver fish?

Benidorm Amusements

I can think of few things less pleasing than to earn my living in the vicinity of a rotund truck driver's sweaty genitals. There are many prostitutes by the side of the roads around Benidorm and Alicante who seem to spend most of their days sitting on a chair (if they are lucky) awaiting the advances of passing motorists to earn a few euros.

The chap we saw in Benidorm wearing rubber pigtails and a gigantic plastic penis would possibly bring a derisive smile to their lips if they had the misfortune to meet him on the side of the road but I'm sure the rest of the men would not be so amusing.
Mad dog and Englishman in the midday sun

For anyone who has not yet been here, Benidorm has a lovely long beach dotted with hundreds of bars, Asian bazaars and elderly people on mobility scooters - we even saw a few tandem ones - perhaps Mr Fluffy and I should get one in a few years time. The weather is gorgeous, around 20 degrees, and we had our first bad meal out....fabulous calamari but mussels you could play football with....rubbery...yuch! 

After checking out a couple of campsites Mr F could not cope with the crowds so we ended up spending the night in the Carrefour car park...not as bad as it may sound as we could get up and do our shopping without moving to far. We weren't the only ones there thankfully. We're getting braver about staying in strange places. 

We spent a couple of days with Graham's sister Jane's family in Altea La Vieja. I am totally jealous of their lovely house with amazing views over the mountains and a rather delicious pool- sadly a bit too cool for a dip at this time of year.
The Venema family

Off to El Campello for a bit more sun.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

More Than a Bad Hair Day

No chance of Mr Fluffy's freshly laundered underpants being stolen today. Around 5am I awoke to the sight of Mr F, torch in hand, peering out the window asking if I'd heard a gurgling sound.

We were both a bit on edge as, earlier in the day, a van had been broken into while the occupants were on a walk on the beach. The thieves had used a screwdriver or something similar to crack open the door and had taken everything - this was in daylight with a couple sitting in the neighboring van. They had seen and heard nothing but a snoopy local had seen the event take place through his binoculars and called the police - but it was too late.

When the gurgling took  place Mr F thought someone was siphoning the petrol tank but alas, when he went to have a shower, the dreadful truth arose. Temperatures had been so low overnight that the automatic 'empty the water tank so it doesn't freeze' had been triggered and we were left with no water.

This constituted  DAY 3 of  'not washing the hair in a bid to wean myself off daily shampooing' (Mr F says it's bad for your hair). Now my double crown takes a little bit of work to calm it down on a good day but three days (!!) of non washing is too much. The peak on top of my head is not a good look especially with an oil slick either side. There will be no photographic evidence here.

spot the Dickie - with accompanying skinny street surrounded by water

Despite the thievery and lack of water the beaches near El Saler, south of Valencia, are lovely and the paella in the area is excellent. We drove to El Palmar for lunch and had a hairy drive through the small streets of the village. We recommend leaving the van at the car park before you enter the village as the streets are a little slim.
Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Valldigna

Happily we now have water and are parked up at Simat de la Valldigna surrounded by orange groves, with a 13th century monastery (haunted) up the road and mountains all around. I've just looked out the window and there's an amazing flock of birds, mainly white or black bodies with the underside of the wings in red or green or yellow - it almost looks like they're painted. G thinks they are painted pigeons - is that a thing??


 Heading further south tomorrow.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Beachy Shots

The flamingos were a little too far to get any good shots but I must say this area is absolutely stunning. The beach goes on forever on one side then there are rice fields on the other side. The atmosphere is very tranquil - when the hunters stop shooting for 5 seconds. Here are a few shots I took today.
Looking out over the rice fields
Getting Arty
Boats awaiting fishermen

Beach Sculpture

Map So Far

Where we've been
This morning Graham went for a cycle ride and has returned with stories of endless beaches and clouds of flamingos. Trabucador is an area of wetland in the Delta de L'Ebre and a very attractive place it is too.

We had a stopover in Cambrils yesterday for a spot of lunch on the beach but as parking by the beach overnight is forbidden we came here at the suggestion of the Venema clan (Graham's nieces and nephew). 

It is a little disconcerting to hear the continuous sound of gunshot as hunters take aim at the large variety of birdlife here. Hopefully they're missing quite a bit.
loving a clean Dickie

Dickie is being cleansed as we sit in the sun before taking off to check out these flamingos.


Friday, 16 January 2015

Family Fun and a Lack of Lewd

After noticing the spent gun cartridges at the Aire in Sitges we decided to move on and park by the beach.
Monique, Hugo, Me, Sonia, Berend, Mr Fluffy

We had just spent a lovely day and night in Castelldefels visiting Mr Fluffy's nieces Sonia and Monique, and nephew Berend. Sonia has a fabulous bar there called Takua so if you are ever in Castelldefels it's definitely worth a visit. They do fabulous margaritas! Monique teaches kite surfing. Graham was going to have a go but I think he may have had one too many red wines and decided to forgo her kind offer of a lesson on the beach.
 
Two boys go for a walk in Sitges
Parking by the beach was not a problem here and there was a dog exercising area where Hugo went nuts chasing a german shepherd. It's a lovely spot and very close to Barcelona if you fancy getting the 20 minute train in. We decided to head off as we heard it's a bit of a 'break and enter paradise' when it comes to campervans and I'd always wanted to have a look at Sitges so that's where we headed.
 
T Shirt Weather in St Feliu de Guixol
I imagine it's a little busier in summer but the beaches were lovely and the restaurants looked gorge. We parked up on the street by the Terramarra Hotel without a problem. The official Aire was hideous and a long way out of town but had water so good for a fill up and an empty.
 
Medieval Sitges Walkway

We are now in the parking lot of the Monastery of Poblet near Mont Blanc, a walled medieval village about an hour and a half inland from Sitges. I read that the monastery was a hotbed of lewd activity in the middle ages but sadly there is no evidence of this behavior remaining at all - will have to do some online research. Maybe all the lewd activity has moved to Sitges. They still make their own wine so we bought a bottle to try tonight....I'll let you know...

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Red socks and Food-based Shocker

As Hugo tries to lick Graham's belly button, 'A Celebration of Fanny' comes on the television. Thankfully this is not one of those naughty channels weirdly slotted between God TV and the Motorhome Channel, it is an American cooking show extolling the virtues of Fanny Craddock. Phew.
Harbour of Collioure

We are sitting in Dickie at the Aire in Collioure in the south of France (thanks for the recommendation Anthony and Donna). There's free electricity, water etc at this time of year and no parking charge. It's a bit of a walk into town but the restaurants are good and there was a marche this morning (Sunday) with lots of free cheese and saussicon samples. After a few days of lovely sunshine a rather massive gale has started so, after our lunch in the freezing cold outdoor restaurant today, we will hunker down in Dickie until tomorrow when we head towards Spain. 
Matching lead/sock combo and great hair

Modelling the trendy outfit

With any luck Graham's footwear will return to normal - no more threats of the sock sandal combo I hope. This morning he asked if the red socks that were pulled up to his knees looked ok with his shorts. No - no they did not. There was a slight improvement when he pushed them down to his ankles but this was slightly negated when I realised they exactly matched our choice of Hugo's lead. Matchy, matchy.

By the Moulin


Friday, 9 January 2015

Animology 4Us

We watched in horror as, legs in the air, Hugo corkscrewed his way around a giant greenbird poo. The offending excrement covered him from neck to tail tip. May I recommend Animology FoxPoo shampoo as it did a great job removing it. Hugo was not impressed with his shower but, hey, that's what happens when you go rolling in s##t.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

New Tyres R Us

Apparently it's not great to have wires sticking out of your tyre. Mr Fluffy appeared stressed as we searched for a French equivalent to Kwikfit but the (thankfully) English speaking assistants at Norauto near Montpelier sent us in the right direction. Massa Autopneus in Lattes were more than helpful and we would recommend them to anyone with tyre problems in that area of France. 
our fabulous mechanics

After working out how to explain everything in French to the workmen there I must admit I was a little disappointed that one of the mechanics could speak English. He even taught me how to say 'pneus', something I've struggled with since school. It's sort of like 'new'. We were in and out within 50 minutes after they had changed three tyres. Our two front ones were close to needing a change so we bit the bullet and went the whole hog. 

Heading down the coast again now, happy in the knowledge Dickie the van is happy with his new shoes.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Les Madames

Palavas Les Flots
Madame Dupont (the vet) responded very kindly to my terrible French. Hugo responded very calmly to his booster vaccine. M. Fluffy & I responded to the vet's bill in a rather shocked manner as we had to go back to Dickie to get more cash to pay it. Despite the 'larger -than-expected' bill M. Dupont was very lovely and thought Hugo was very handsome - a woman of impeccable taste. I neglected to inform her of his penchant for wearing my underpants and eating my knitted penis in case she called in social services.
 
snuggling up
We are in Palavas Les Flots, parked up by the marina in a very pleasant Aire not far from town. We've met a few French people on our walks with Hugo and I'm managing to improve my French in a minuscule manner. It is amazing how much one can learn about people while walking the dog. A glamorous fur-clad woman informed us that her husband had left her for a man but would not divorce her for tax reasons. This was within five minutes of introducing us to her Bichon Frise, Jerry. Her daughter is also wanting to change jobs despite her fabulous wage as she's sick of travelling. Ten minutes later we parted company and Hugo said goodbye to Jerry by extracting his face from his bottom and giving him a friendly yap.

Mr Fluffy practicing his circus training on the beach


Tomorrow we continue on our slow trek along the coast to Spain. We'll take it slowly due the sunny weather here. Now to brush up on my Spanish.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Loving the Light

Mr Fluffy looking angelic
Ripped sails at St Mandrier sur Mer


Poos

The tissue soiled with a smear of brown was conclusive. The gigantic poo Hugo in his mouth was undoubtedly human. 
mounting

takeoff

mid action

swinging

pre-dismount


I had just completed a thrilling exercise regime on the 'circuit sportif' (see photos of my athletic self). As I expertly dismounted from number 11 I noticed the offending item protruding from Hugo's oral cavity. Why someone would relieve themselves next to a piece of exercise equipment I do not know. Maybe because the route was known as the Crapa route......


After my initial panic and a short period of 'freaking out' we managed to exchange the offending turd for a bone shaped treat and continued on our way.
 
penis shot

Aaah the joys of dog ownership. I had earlier found Hugo wearing my underpants (yet again) and chewing on my penis-shaped knitted lipstick holder. Never two without three I suppose.