*** WARNING – this post may contain scenes of a fat bloke in underpants. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now ***
I booted up the laptop this morning thinking ‘…but we’ve been doing nothing for a couple of days in a Spanish campsite. I don’t have anything important to say.’ Then I did a reality check and remembered that I haven’t had anything important to say since I started writing this drivel in December 2015 so no change there then!
Gill and I are sitting at a campsite table in the sunshine, within range of the free wifi and with a coffee in hand. Gill is reading and I’ve just finished a long overdue letter to my dear old Mum. At 89 she doesn’t do email, and phone calls are a trial as her hearing isn’t so good. I try to be a good son and keep in contact but with all that’s been going on with us I’m a little overdue so it’s nice to let her know what we’re up to. As Vince is already a little overweight with all our things we decided bringing a printer is a step too far so I email important letters to our older daughter and she prints & posts like a good ‘un.
Since our last post we’ve been enjoying nothing. No, I mean we’ve actually been enjoying nothing. Doing nothing of any consequence is underrated in this busy world where there’s always something needing to be done, or read, or signed. We cycled into town on our second day here for a browse around and a lovely lunch at Café Alberto. Isla Cristina is not your picture-postcard little fishing village – it’s an honest working port with the harbour lined with small clean cafés and restaurants cooking seafood fresh off the boats. And we love seafood. The buildings are not fashionable or elegant and there are no magnificent cathedrals, just a humble, everyday whitewashed church with exposed bells chiming out the hours. The people here are just getting on with life and don’t seem too interested one way or the other in what the tourists are doing; it’s a lovely place to just sit in the square and people-watch.
Gill likes to give me a project from time to time so my mission yesterday (which I chose to accept) was an early start to get to the market and find us something nice for lunch. We’d been there the day before but in the late afternoon when most of the traders had shut up shop and left. Yesterday morning couldn’t have been more different. I was elbowing wizened little old ladies aside and kicking their husbands’ walking sticks away to get to the fish counters. And what an array of sea-bounty there was! All fresh off the boats – I spotted hake, massive whole tuna, mackerel, squid, thousands of sardines, and every kind of shellfish but I zeroed in on some lively-looking bonito. In non-existent Spanish I asked for two, which the stallholder gutted for me and charged me €5.10. They seemed a lot bigger when I got back to Vince, with heads and tails overhanging the BBQ so I may have overdone it! I moved to plan B which was to remove the heads and tails, wrap them in foil in a baking tray with some cardamom, lemon slices and a dribble of white wine and just let them cook slowly on the barbie with the lid on. Phwoaar! Served with fresh bread and mixed salad it was a meal fit for a king.
Foolishly we’d spent some time before lunch feeding a stray kitten which seems to have made the campsite its home. A little fluffy black thing, it was hard to resist. We call him Flash (ah-aaaahhh) because he appears like a flash when there’s food around. When he smelled the cooking fish, he must have told all his mates about the suckers in the motorhome so they all dropped by for a free nosh. They made themselves at home – the cheeky black one even leaping up the step into Vince for a wee lie-down. This would have been just about ok if we didn’t have two feisty Jack Russels living in the van next door! They went loopy at the cats, barking away despite their owners’ best efforts. Funnier still was watching the street-wise cats do that cat thing where they could see the dogs were tied up so they just shrugged and said ‘yeah, whatever’ turned their backs and carried on ignoring them, driving the dogs incandescent with rage.
After the meal we thought we’d better make ourselves scarce and hope the cats would disperse when the food stopped. We walked over to the beach, carrying our folding chairs and our books. Gill suggested taking our swimming cozzies but I laughed and said ‘in THAT temperature?’ But do you know what? When I went for a paddle, although there was that initial shock of cold, it actually became quite pleasant standing there in the late afternoon sunshine. So much so that I went in a bit further. And a bit further. Then (look away now ladies) I ran out ripped off my shorts and shirt and waded in in my underpants! I know – sorry if you’ve just eaten, but they were clean underpants. It was exhilarating to splash about in the waves for a while, but hard to believe that this is actually November. We’re seriously thinking about booking a long stay here next winter away from the cold and frosty UK.
We’ve decided that today is our last day on the site or we may just take root and stay until the ferry home, so tomorrow morning we’ll fill the tanks which need filling, we’ll empty the tanks which need emptying and we’ll head west back into Portugal for a few free night stops on aires. We’ve researched some lovely campsites much further west in the Algarve so we’ll turn up at one of those when Vince needs his batteries topping up. If this sunshine persists that may be a while as we’re getting lots of lovely solar energy via his rooftop solar panel.
See you in a day or two, meanwhile – Keeeeep dancin’ 😀