Week 517

Sunday, 18th November, 2018

A wonderful day started early with juice and tea and newspaper review on Sky News followed by interviews with Corbyn and May. It was followed by a fascinating Marr Show on which, Andrew Marr, a declared Brextremist, lost his cool in an interview with a member of the Labour ‘Shadow’ team. The BBC seem to be burning their boats and going for broke. Will there be any way back for them?

An hour long swim in the sunshine followed by an hour sunning ourselves on the patio. These are great times for family planning – by that I mean planning our family future. We always have ‘5-Year-Plans but, today, we allowed our minds to consider the next 10 – 15 years. Will we both still be here? Will it be just one of us? We have no children.  Do we want to have hundreds of thousands of pounds tied up in property? Should our aim be to use Equity Release, sell up and rent or sell up and downsize? We are going to mull over these options. There is no hurry of course.

The glory of the Canarians skies.

We did a second swim which brought our swimming time to 18 hrs since we arrived. We do (approx) 2 lengths per minute or 120 per hour so we have completed 2,160 lengths since we arrived. I have shoulders like tree trunks after all that. We should complete another 12 hours swimming or 1,440 before we leave which will make a grand total of 3,600 lengths. I must create a spreadsheet for this but not before showing the wonderful sky shining over the pool this evening.

Monday, 19th November, 2018

All together now – Aaagh.

A couple of days ago, I went over a ridge and twisted my knee, ankle and bruised my foot. My foot swelled up and was hot and fiery. My knee was just uncomfortable and throbbing. I tried to pretend to myself that I just needed to walk it off but I found I couldn’t get my shoe on and I couldn’t put weight on one side of my foot.  I could hobble out to the pool which allowed me to increase my swim time to (partially) compensate for lack of walking. I watched an Attenborough programme about penguins last night and suddenly realised what they reminded me of in their walking style although they didn’t seem to have bruised feet.

It doesn’t matter where I go, I always damage my feet. I was regularly doing it in Greece. Once, I cut my foot badly on the entrance to the shower of our cabin on the ferry to get across the Channel as we set off for 6 months. When I got to the house, I got up on the first morning, forgot where I was, walked into the table and broke my toe for at least the third time in my life. Pauline used to panic when I screamed in pain. Nowadays, she just rolls her eyes and gets out the First Aid kit.

There could be worse places of confinement.

Because of my stupidity, I have been less active than I need to be. Fortunately, I have been saved from going stir-crazy by having this lovely pool and by the turn of events in the British, political scene. I have been listening to BBC R4 via my iPad and watching BBC News/Sky News/ITN News/Parliament Channel, plus, joy of joys, I have access to lots of Greek/Italian/French/Spanish channels and their take on Brexit is fascinating.

Tuesday, 20th November, 2018

Wonderful, warm and sunny day. My foot was feeling better and we went for a walk after doing our first, 30 mins swim. After returning to our villa, my foot began to swell so we decided to stay around the pool. Actually, we both had too much sun today because our main activity was swimming. My smartphone told me that, when the temperature reached 24C/75F here, our home village was feeling 4C/39F.

Smartphone balanced on my knee.

Actually, in spite of the fantastic Wi-Fi, I find that I am using my phone round the pool rather than my iPad. The screen on an iPad is terrible in the sunshine. I can’t believe what is available to me while abroad these days. After spending hours of my life outside Greek, newsagents’ sheds waiting for a ferry to deliver day-old copies of The Times, nowadays, the internet brings everything to me instantly.

I remember Pauline despairing as I lay in scorching, hot sunshine on Greek beaches while reading the History of Trade Unionism (1894) by Sidney and Beatrice Webb and Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887) by Ferdinand Tönnies. Of course, I had to carry those huge tomes with me on holiday. Today, I had the great pleasure of watching the Governor of the Bank of England being interviewed by Nicky Morgan and the Treasury Select Commitee as it was streamed ‘live’ by The Independent on my smartphone balanced on my knee as I sat in the sunshine round the pool.

Wednesday, 21st November, 2018

This was the day I got back on track with my exercise. We completed our 21 hours of swimming over 21 days but also got back to a long walk. In fact, although my foot is still bruised and swollen, I managed to get my shoes on and we did a long walk. Not only did it

make me feel psychologically better but the swelling went down and didn’t fully return over the evening’s rest.

We are staying in a rented villa in the middle of a huge golf course that runs from the coastline right up towards the mountains. It seems to be popular with wealthy wrinklies who charge about on electric, golf buggies. What it is characterised by is manicured grass with beautifully managed backdrops. We went for a coastal path walk which is literally 200ms from our villa and within view of the Marina. The only hazard is from misfit golf balls.

Thursday, 22nd November, 2018

A lovely day of exercise and challenge. I managed to do an hour of swimming and two hours of walking. I felt quite tired at the end of it but it was a good, satisfied feeling.

Loooking in to the Future.

The pool cleaner arrived at 8.30 am and we swam as soon as he was gone. Around 10.00 am, we set off for an hour’s walk up to a large supermercado which has just reopened after refurbishment. The sun burned our backs as we walked up – and it is almost entirely an upward gradient from the coastal path where our villa is to Las Chafiras further into the island’s interior.

We bought two, large Pescado Lubina – Sea Bass – priced at €7.25/£6.42 per kilo and two  Pescado Dorado – Gilt Head Bream – priced the same as the Bass. It all came from a wonderfully stocked and beautifully presented fishmonger’s counter. The fish were expertly trimmed, de-scaled and gutted in quick order for this fantastic price. How can they do it so much cheaper than in the UK?

We filled our bags with wine, oranges and grapes, bell peppers as big as breeze blocks, tomatoes (the very stuff of life), herbs and olive oil. At the checkout, the girl called a taxi for us and it arrived by the time we were out of the doors. It took about 10 mins to drive the route it had taken us an hour or so to walk there.

Within a few minutes of unpacking our groceries, we were swimming our second half hour of the day in hot, blinding sun. We ended with smoked salmon, iberico ham, cheese and biscuits for our meal. Nice bottle of Tempranillo to ease it all down. And rest…

Friday, 23rd November, 2018

Tagetes

Gorgeous day. We have managed to do our hour’s swimming and two hour’s walking plus spend plenty of time relaxing around the pool in the sun. The temperature has reached just 24C/75F but, with an absence of breeze off the sea, has felt much warmer in our back garden.

It is weird but there are no seasons here. The lemon tree is covered in small, undeveloped fruit, large, developed and ripening fruit and flowers as well as buds all at the same time. Nothing gets time to rest and rebuild for the next season – because there isn’t one. We have a lovely, flowering

bush which has lit up the patio in constant flower since we arrived. I recognise it as the Marigold Bush or Tagetes. In the warm sunshine , it is constantly attended by small, hover bees.

We have the ubiquitous Palm Trees plus many, different cactus and assorted ‘Succulents’. We also have a number of plants I have never see before and can’t identify. This one is particularly interesting with its lilac/mauve flowers born out of delicious, orange/yellow cases. Set against the black, volcanic rock, it is delicate and beautiful in the sunshine.

Saturday, 24th November, 2018

A lovely, day which started and finished with a swim in our pool. We have now been here 24 days and completed 24 hrs of swimming plus 40 hrs of walking. Today, we did a 2 hr walk to a shop that sells boxes of Spanish nougat and marzipan sweets from Valencia which we can take home and give to our friends for Christmas presents.

We were absolutely shattered after all that exercise followed by an hour or so sunbathing. Sun really does take it out of one. I watched England thrash Australia in the rugby (on Sky) and then Spurs thrash Chelsea in the football (on BT Sport).  Pauline cooked a wonderful meal of chicken joints marinaded in oregano, garlic, lemon and olive oil and accompanied by roasted vegetables – bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and florets of cauliflower. It was lubricated by a delightful bottle of red wine from the local, corner shop and costing €3.50/£3.10.  Bodegas de Abalos proved to be a delightfully fruity accompliment.