Saturday, 20 August 2011

Up The West End, That's The Best End.....

Another hot, sweaty week. Temps running in the mid 40s mostly - seems 47 degrees is the norm in early/mid afternoon. It is August, of course, the hottest month here in Andalucia, so no great surprise!  It's interesting to think that we've gone from temps of minus 41 in Sweden to plus 47 here in the space of a few months.  A spread in excess of 80 degrees!  Difficult to say which is best. A happy medium will probably win out - eventually!

Sad to say, when I set off to Malaga Airport to collect J on the 16th, the car began playing up quite significantly. Although it had been checked over a few weeks ago by a local mechanic, who could find no reason for the apparent overheating problem, it began climbing into the red region while still on the downhill sections of the road just outside the the local town of Cadiar. I managed to coax it along to the airport, with a brief pit-stop at a Spanish supermarket, Eroski, about 30 Kms East of Malaga, to stock up on essentials, including fresh milk.

Fresh milk used to be virtually impossible to find in Spain. UHT ruled the roost, and still does in outlying areas, small towns and villages. It reminds me a bit of our early years living on Skye, where, again, UHT was about the only available option. Nowadays, especially down on the Costas, fresh milk is widely sold together with decent bread - rather than that Spanish standard, old Gum-Cruncher! So the Brits have done something for the area!

I was concerned that while I'd made it to the airport, the return leg home might be a tad more challenging!  In this I was right:

Heading for the hills on the coast road:

We managed to reach the pretty town of Salobrena, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Med and turned in towards the home-stretch before the car gave up the ghost:

 It took us about five hours just to reach the dam - Presa de Rules - which I think of as being at the foot of the mountains/hills, just before the turn-off to Granada on the coastal plain:

Just before the climb to the dam itself, is this bar where we normally stop for much-needed refreshment. Unfortunately, it was closed, so we pressed on uphill, after topping up the car with water.

As we drove past the visitors car park to the dam, there was a loud popping noise, as a hose exploded under the bonnet:

It was the first and only time since buying these yellow hi-vis jackets years ago in Sweden, that they've had to be worn in desperation/irritation, if not in actual anger!:

We found ourselves pretty hot and bothered, about 30 miles from home with a car that could go no further.  Having considered the options, we have decided to scrap it and have bought another, which J will bring out later by ferry from Portsmouth/Santander or Bilbao and down.  Needless to say, trying to ensure that both the Swedish and Spanish authorities are content with the disposal arrangements has been a linguistic nightmare!

A friend drove down to collect us and the shopping etc., and run us home. In all, it was almost exactly 12 hours from leaving home to returning! Normally a 5.5/6 hour run at most!  J was exhausted, as she'd been working a night duty at the Maternity unit in London on the night before, had travelled straight from there to Gatwick then a flight out to the baking heat of Malaga! Following that with a terrible, fraught and slow journey was the last thing she needed! She was still tired when she returned, by bus from the village, via Granada, at 06:15 yesterday morning! Hardly surprising in the heat here, which is draining and enervating most of the time. But at least we discovered it is possible to do the airport run by public transport with relative ease.

Last time I was on here I mentioned the noise, numbers of hombres etc that were parading around the place. All of which had me baffled. I now know that it was a Fiesta weekend: the Assumption, with churchy things on the Sunday, and a public holiday on the Monday - only discovered after a long, hot, tiring walk to a village shop which was of course closed!  It was also the occasion of the local hunters annual BBQ and party thingy. Not something I'm enamoured with generally, but which I'm pretty inured to after years of living in the country in various countries:

It certainly brought out the locals and their families in some numbers, causing traffic-jams and parking problems for many, including those who attended on horseback, a more traditional and acceptable form of transport in these narrow lanes:

Jack tried to slumber through the entire thing, despite the sweltering heat:

Car-drivers had greater problems with which to contend:

And the Fuente was much admired, photographed and visited throughout the day:

On the Sunday evening, following the cacophony of a battery playing outside the church, the Spanish exuberance was manifest with a startling - for Charlie, at least - rumble of explosive sounds followed by the residual smoke drifting across the village:

J returns on Tuesday again for about a week. She is looking forward to this break in particular because she is bringing out the Grandsprog, Hamish, on holiday. He is just recovering from Chickenpox, so hopefully the heat won't cause him too much discomfort or problems.  If so, there is always that old traditional Spanish method of dealing with the heat. We were down at one of the local bars a few days ago for lunch when we came across a family group enjoying themselves. The matriarch - who seemed a bit hippyish for the rest of the crew - certainly had flair and a way of coping that was admirable for my money:

Not the best pic, but my usual standard nonetheless!


  1. I'm not sure if I could manage in that heat! Although one does get used to many things, eventually.
    We could do with more sun and more rain here. The summer is hanging on in spurts, but many plants are behaving as if it is autumn

  2. Yes, our plants are suffering too.

    Sorry to hear J had a terrible journey home. Not surprised she's looking forward to a break.

    Great pictures and descriptions of what's been going on! THANK YOU FOR THE PHOTO OF JACK, WAS HOPING THERE WOULD BE ONE!

    Sft x