This week in bigger pics

  Monday 10th February 2014 week 138 Spain

    Party time.

    Good weekend. Ours was a boozy one. Another birthday party. Two in fact. That brings the total to, including the dogs,.........erm... tell you what, I really should stop counting.

    I say boozy but we were determined to drink responsibly from now on, New Years resolution and all that. Trouble is with a glass of wine costing £1.25 and spirits £2.00 we're all like kids in a sweet shop, we go at it a bit too enthusiastically. To be honest, bearing in mind the average age of a camper here, its probably about the only thing we do go at enthusiastically. Still, you're only old once, right? (Live your twilight years dangerously is what I say! Ed)

    Sorry about this, but every so often  I'm asked by family and friends to include a pic of us. Its boring I know.

    During the evening Hazel finds me, I'm talking to some guy about the vagaries of gas bottles.

    “We're going to Gibraltar on the scooter”. She announces

    “Really!” I reply.

    “Yes, I've arranged it with two other couples, they both have scooters”.

    “I'm all for a scooter fest but do they know its a round trip of 120 miles?”.

    “Yep and they're well up for it”. With that she disappears into the crowd. I move on and get chatting to someone about the fascinating world of caravan awnings. A little later Hazel finds me again.

    “I've arranged a chilli night”. She says excitedly

    ”Really? You have, with who?” I ask.

    “The people we are going to Gib with...oh keep up” Clearly she's engaged in a conversation somewhere and expects me to pick up on it telepathically.

    “Not on the same day as the scooter thingy, I hope” I say.

    “No. Date to be arranged.”

    “Fine, well I love chilli, should be fun” She disappears into a melee of swaying bodies.

    Some other chap joins us and broadens our conversation to include the pros and cons, vis a vis, of motor-homes ownership. -You have many conversions about stuff like this, it pays to gen up a little-. I'm saved from this when Hazel finds me for the third time.

    “We all going to Morocco” she states matter of factly. Now with that I almost choke on my glass of wine, the one I've been nursing half the night.

    “Morocco?” I splutter. “When?. Where?. How?” I add.

    “Just a day trip, on Thursday”.

    “Please tell me... not on the scooters? Right”.

    “No, its a proper day out, with a coach and everything”.

    "We have to be up at 6.30 for the coach”.

    “6.30!” I exclaim. Does that time even exist any more? That's like two hours before the sun comes up”. She doesn’t rise to the bait. At this point I start to wonder if Hazel has turned into some kind of event planner and ask her to take it easy for the rest of the night. There’s me thinking we had a quite week ahead of us, at least until Friday and the Saint Valentines party, but now my diary’s full.

    Hey ho.






  Tuesday 11 February 2014. Week 138 Spain

    A male perspective

    Yesterday was Monday, but I'm guessing you knew that. (just surprising you did. Ed) For us its grocery shopping day. FYI we can pack two large bags of groceries into and onto the scooter. -sorry, someone asked-.

    Not much happens when you go shopping. I stood at the till, credit card in hand, while Hazel packed. I helped by move the items along, a good eight inches, where would she be without me? The pretty check out girl swiped the last item and then picked up a promotional box of something. She smiled warmly at me. One of those smiles that makes you wonder who she's smiling at? Has her boyfriend just turned up? He hadn't. It's then when you think Oh yes! still got it. Truth is, young attractive women stopped smiling at me some years ago. (Ahhhhh. Ed)

    “Does signor wish to buy.......?” Okay, she didn’t say that, least not in English. I see they’re chocolates. I involuntarily pull in my tummy and say, “Oh no, not for me”. The implication being I didn't get to look like this by eating chocolates, Oh no, its my thirty miles a day cross country run that does that. Of course I could have come back with my lusty Terry Thomas impression: 'I say! love to buy them for you but I fancy the ole girl might object'. But you can't joke with people who don't speak your language. Here's proof.

Our local beach bar. 

    The other day I went off to buy the printer ink I've been complaining about. A friend also needed a cartridge so we went in his car. When we exited the store the heavens opened so we took refuge under the shops canopy along with other shoppers. We stood there till it eased. “Shall we make a run for it?” my friend asked. To which I replied: “Perhaps we could wear our plastic bags on our heads”. Now having written that down, granted, it looks about as funny as a case of the crabs, but at the time is was, trust me on this, mildly amusing. A young lady standing next to me bursts out laughing, I turned and said “Oh you understood that and found it amusing”. She suddenly looked at me as if I'd just run over her cat, which confused me. My friends said: she's laughing at her boyfriend running through the rain, not at you'. Oh!. I smiled and drive into the rain.

    Of course the check out girl doesn’t offer the chocolates to the women, if she did she'd never sell a box, what with her being about a size eight and all. Offering them to older men she's on much safer ground.

    There’s a whole deep psychological game going on when a pretty girl tries to sell anything to an older man, or younger for that matter. This because blokes are wired up very simply. Basically our brains are wired with a negative, a positive and an earth with the fuse box being in our groins. Also blokes are keen not to look frugal around women, we want to look like something of a' bon viveur' (That’s posh French for one who enjoys life. Ed) and come across as a man of the world.

    Some time ago in a Vodaphone shop back in the UK an attractive shop assistant said to me, “and this one is just £499”. I wanted to say: What the fuck!, how much? Since when does the word 'just' precede £499 and still make any fiscal sense?. It doesn’t young lady. …..Of course I didn't say that. I thought that.

    What I actually said was “oh really.... that all”.





 Wednesday 12th February 2014 week 138 Spain.


    Nothing cheers me up more than when someone asks: what happened next Phil?, it shows people are paying attention. Now it seems I've left a couple of loose ends. I've left readers dangling, so to speak. I recently wrote about the adventures of the stray dog living on the site and the plans to capture it, each one being a tad more barmy than the last. The dog however must have earwigged these plans because he's been constantly one step ahead of us all the way and has cleverly avoided capture. The last plan was to have him shot. Not with a bullet I hasten to add - but a sleeping dart. -Apparently having it shot with either is about the same price-.

    Well there’s been a couple of new developments, so let me bring you up to speed. Firstly, like most things if left alone, he got better without our help. The remains of the tether which was tied tightly around his foot disappeared one day. I'd like to think the dog chewed it off simply because he realised it was that which was causing him all the unwelcome attention from us mad British. Next, he found himself a girlfriend. A female version of himself, only a little darker. Fortunately for her she wasn't as anti social as her boyfriend and became instant friends with a British couple. She would sleep in their awning and dutifully walk to heel, with the lady, without being asked. The dog liked the lady and the lady liked the dog. It was destined to be one of those disneyesque relationships that just worked.

    However the couple's stay came to an end and they moved on, much to the dismay of the dog. She could be found sitting on their now vacant pitch pining. The couple managed to drive a hundred and sixty miles north before the lady realised she could not drive another mile without the dog by her side. She convinced her extremely understanding husband to turn the motor home around and return to collect the dog, which he did. Hurray! I like happy endings. I wasn't there but by all accounts the reunion brought a lump to everyone’s throat who witnessed it. She's now adopted the dog. Its been chipped and checked over by a vet who, after treating her for a number of minor ailments, has given her a clean bill of health. She is now somewhere in France looking forward to settling into her new life in Britain.

Here's Orlando... the rascal  winking at me..

    While on the subject of animals. Orlando the cat who adopted us, worth remembering that while we might own dogs, cats own us, has made a safe return. He disappeared for a few days. Hazel said he'd gone to find a female. I don't know what kind of lady he’s into but he's now sporting a rather large scab on his head so I'm guessing she wasn't a push over.

    Lastly my van battery. (Seriously, someone did ask) You'll remember it died, well almost. In fact both my batteries are on their last legs, the van and the bike. -I didn't know they died in pairs-. I recharged both but they are slowly losing that charge. I've made a couple of local enquires and batteries don’t come cheap here in Spain, least if they do I don’t know where from. (If you know what outlet I should look out for Michelle let me know) I was quoted 114 Euros. Back home can get a guaranteed one for half that, same goes for the bike so I'm going to try and nurse them along for the next month till we get back.

    Tomorrow is our day trip to 'do' north Africa. If the yanks can 'do' Europe in a long weekend, a whole day for north Africa should be more than ample.







 Friday 14th February 2014, week 138 Spain

    What's on my mind?

      Forty years ago an American TV programme took to our small screens. Each week we were invited to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where no man has gone before. Interestingly that phrase was taken, almost verbatim, from a US White House booklet on space exploration. Weekly, millions, were transported to other worlds and were shown the shape of the distant future. The series spawned a dozen motion pictures, numerous books, several magazines Cartoons and other spin off TV series. Its also since been credited as the inspiration for the cell phone and the automatic sliding door.

    The programme also broke new social ground. Not least because of its ethnic mix of crew. The communications officer lieutenant Uhura was black. This at a time when some US states still had colour segregation. Chekov was Russian, who were universally feared by all Americans. Sulu was Chinese, a nation completely ignored by the Yanks, Mr Spock was an alien and The Chief engineer was Scottish. The programme was expected to fail, because of this, by its critics. It didn't thankfully.

The crew.

    The programme interestingly posed a number of social conundrums. For example: They had the prime objective. This 'rule' forbade them revealing themselves to other civilisations less evolved than theirs. It was argued, revealing the existence of 'alien' life forms could skew the course of that planets natural social and political evolution. Civilisations had to evolve under their own momentum and not be influenced. This made perfect sense, although it's still not something that politicians of today understand. We're busy trying to instil democracy in countries which, quite frankly, are still feudal. We, along with the US, arrogantly assume that everyone not only wants western democracy but its our job to see that they get it.

    My favourite character was Spock. Being a Vulcan he was devoid of the complexities of human emotions that fog our every decisions. He was driven by pure logic and statistical probability. He was rational and claim, the epitome of cool. This was in contrast to Scotty the chief engineer who each week would run out of lithium crystals. (This was the stuff that powered the Enterprise). Strangely he never seemed to have a back up supply or know where he could get his hands on any. His weekly line was: Captain we're almost oot of Lithium crystals. His other line was: She canny take it any more Captain. This he'd say in response to Captain Kirks instance to go to warp factor nine, a speed the Enterprise was not built to do, often in an attempt to outrun an alien enemy war ship. As the Enterprise rattled through space like a milk float over a cobbled street this would be Scotties cue to say it.

    At the end of each episode the crew would collect on the bridge in high spirits, normally after kicking some Klingon ass. Dr Macoy would poke fun at Spock who would look impassive, never get the joke, raise an eyebrow and say 'Fascinating', which would make them all chuckle. Captain James T Kirk would then utter that memorable line engraved on the memory cells of every trekkie. “Mr Sulu take us out of here, Engage”. Wonderful stuff.

    What made me want to chat about this topic today was that I noticed  Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played the logical Mr Spock is poorly. Oddly he's blamed cigarettes for the recent poor heath. I say oddly because, logically, his poor health could easily be put down to him being 84, and not because he packed up smoking when he was 50. His most famous line in the programme was: live long and prosper, I think it fair to say Spock, you have.


    Happy Valentines Day everyone and have a good weekend.

    Oh! by the way Mondays entry is all about how to get arrested in morocco!




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