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Found 7 results

  1. For novelty's sake, we went out for a walk on Friday morning, heading to the market. Whereas the others were interested in their fragrances and knock-off trainers and wallets, I only cared for books. As it happens, the man with the second-hand book stand told me he had a shop in town, so I set off. Oh, how I cursed my linguistic ignorance -- there were whole sections of books in Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. But I sort of know enough now not to buy books in languages I don't speak; I have three months to learn Portuguese before we head over there (I already have a bunch of novels in preparation), plus it's my job to learn Finnish, since Lapland has become our new-year tradition and I've not even made it to chapter 2 of the Teach Yourself book. Plus the one language I wish actively to learn, which is Romanian, has been on hold for months so that I can get ready for this trip to Spain and, before that, theoretically learn Finnish. Anyway ... there's lots of room in my case (I have an allowance of 23kg but only 12kg of luggage), so I might have bought a few books. The afternoon was no different to every other afternoon; it was spent by the pool. Over the last few days we've been joined by Max, Mia and Oscar in the grown-ups' pool too. Lots of good progress. Dad had booked us some sessions of tenpin bowling in the onsite amusement area, so we split into two teams for that. Pam's dad, Terry, whooped the rest of us, with his daughter, Rosy, coming a close second. Even the niblings had their own gos: We decided on the spur of the moment to go to a restaurant, particularly to thank Mum and Dad for bringing us here. (In something of an unusual approach, they decided that since they'll turn 65 this year, they'd give the rest of us £500 towards the cost of the holiday.) We didn't account for the OAP-factor, however; they decided that eating at 20:00 wasn't for them, so declined to come. (I don't think they were aware that it was intended to be a treat for them.) So we set off without them and found what looked to be a nice restaurant. Indeed it was. The staff were very attentive, the food was delivered at more or less the same time, and everybody was very happy with what they received: Considering that people had been eating steaks, the bill was wonderfully reasonable for, say, ten of us. It came to around 150€. Whilst we were working out how much to pay (I'm a big proponent of splitting equally so that we all put in a little something for the niblings, though I always seem to run into resistance, usually from the niblings' parents), Rob ran off and paid the whole lot for everybody. I knew what he was up to and ran after him to try to stop him, but he was too quick for me! I tried to shove a 50€ note into his hand, and then into Shanie's, but it was a lost battle. Nice fella, my brother. The next morning started with some learning. Max had been asking me during the previous evening's meal to tell him about wolves, cheetahs and a few other things, so he came up to my room after breakfast and we made use of YouTube. In the afternoon most people headed to play golf, minus poor Max, who blew his top at not being invited, especially after he managed to get twice as many shots as everybody else the previous time, so thought he was the best! We'd agreed to go out for a meal again, this time at 18:00 so as not to exclude Mum and Dad. Whilst the boys played pool and the girls went off to have their feet picked by starving fish, Mum, Max, Oscar and I set off to find the place. Max's good eyes spotted where we'd eaten the previous night: This time we were all nineteen of us and they still took wonderful care of us: The bill came to, I think, 260€ -- wow! I may have overestimated in the heat of the moment what my cost was (I handed over 50€ and then after calculated that mine came to about 17€) but the staff ended up with a 40€ tip and they really had taken excellent care of us, so it was worth it. Afterwards we walked to the beach for one final visit: Since the tides were out there were plenty of rockpools to explore: In the distance the Isla de los Lobos was visible: We briefly managed to get Oscar to be still for a family photo! And then we set off home. Oscar and I were the first back (except for the cheats who took a bus!) and, most importantly, he saw two buses on the way home. He has a thing for buses -- there's always one within reach: One of the reasons we got back so much earlier than the others was that they stopped at a giftshop. The niblings presented me with a surprise present: Fatboy wine! So, that's the end of our holiday. It wasn't much of a secret that lounging around a pool isn't a typical holiday for me. And I don't cope well with hot temperatures. Or people. But it's worked. It turns out the all-inclusive really does mean that you can grab food or drink as you please. The apartments have been perfectly fine. (People keep telling me that they're old fashioned, but I can't complain. I suppose I did have to explain to Alfie that the big black box in the room was a television.) And it's been lovely spending time with the niblings and seeing how much fun they're having. And that's the important thing; three of them had never flown before, so this was a real novelty. The family are now discussing locations for next year. I pointed out that I didn't think I was particularly well equipped to recommend something for children. I don't know that I'll be back as early as next year (I've missed Clare terribly and a week on a sun lounger is a week not doing something else) but I'm not against the idea, and I'm glad to have come this time.
  2. Today's alternative to spending the morning as well as the afternoon by the pool was minigolf. Alfie had played it once and Max never, so we had two novices. There was also James, who regularly plays golf and happens to be extremely competitive too! It took maybe 20 minutes to reach the course: In the distance we could see the water park: Because there were ten of us, we split into groups and staggered the starting hole. I played a round with Shanie and Rob We finished pretty quickly and so retired to the 19th hole whilst waiting for the others, whom we could see in the distance: After a few minutes the others caught up with us: It turns out that James had the course record, finishing at three under par! And, of course, we all had to here how his first shot (he started on the third hole) was a hole-in-one! Then we headed back and ... spent the afternoon by the pool. I don't think we're in danger of being thought terribly original
  3. This could be the shortest blog entry ever: more of the same, minus playing with Kitten. I kept to myself in the morning to do some work, and then joined the others at poolside in the afternoon. The big news is that all the niblings moved into the adult pool, including two-year-old Oscar! Whilst I was being boring, the others went to the local water park: There's an onsite restaurant here, besides the usual buffet. As long as you book your place in advance, you can eat there free. We'd reserved our places for this evening, for what was Asian cuisine. We had two long tables to ourselves: There were probably under ten people on site except for us, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. There was a lovely view of the pools from the restaurant: And after food was over, everybody relocated to the pub. I may join them but I'd like some time to myself ... and these blog entries don't write themselves!
  4. I got up, walked downstairs, and called Kitten. Out she came, scampering towards me and skipping around me feet. Lovely little thing. Alfie had built her a little nest, so we played with her in it: We tired her out so she was soon getting ready to have a nap: And when I finally had to leave her, I handed her to Alfie, and she fell straight asleep again: I grabbed breakfast, came back, and saw that she'd settled down next to Shanie: Oscar joined in too! A contingent of us then walked to the harbour. We were going to visit La Isla de los Lobos, which means The Island of the Wolves. That sounds scary but the truth is that there aren't any wolves there. There was once, however, a colony of sealions, known at the time seawolves. That's where the island got its name from. We caught the ferry by the skin of our teeth and set off on the short hop to Los Lobos, leaving behind Corralejo: After about 20 minutes the island appeared and we pulled in: From where we were standing we were able to see the golden sands of Corralejo: The island itself is reminiscent of a lunar landscape: There wasn't much besides rocks. The water and the distant sands provided the contrast: After a few minutes' walk, we reached a shallow pool, which had wonderfully coloured waters and the golden sands in the background: We then headed back whence we'd come, knowing that there was a beach on the other side of the island. There was a single monument standing out on the landscape: After about ten minutes we found the beach: The others claim that the shallows were even warmer here than the paddling pool at the resort: We weren't planning to spend too long on the island. There wasn't much to do and if we didn't catch the ferry that was departing about 90 minutes after we arrived, we'd have had to wait a further two hours. So we set off with a view of Corralejo in the distance: This boat had much larger glass screens in it than the earlier one did: We were going to be too late for the buffet at the resort, so we stopped off at a restaurant and split some pizza, fries and garlic bread, and then got back in the early evening. That was when I was given some awful news from Pam: a cleaner had seen Kitten and come back with a manager, who took Kitten away, walking through Pam's apartment and somehow disposing of her. We checked the bins to make sure that he hadn't broken her neck and thrown her away. Fortunately, there was no sign of her in them, so we're hoping that he dropped her over the wire fence out here, which separates our resort from other locations. I spent a while calling her and trying to break into the garden, but I didn't get a response. I checked the following morning too, but there's no sign of Kitten. I don't suppose we'll see her; she was with her sister on the first morning and we haven't seen the sister since. Poor Kitten. In the evening, we went out to a restaurant for Pam's birthday. I think it was OK, but they staggered the meals, which caused a few fraught tempers. Probably justifiably; it's pretty silly for someone like me to have finished eating after 30 minutes whilst other people still hadn't been served: And then we all headed back, stopped in the bar for a bit, then all went our separate ways. The niblings will be visiting the water park the next morning. I'm still not feeling 100% and could do with some time to myself, so I'll probably get on with some work.
  5. The day got off to its customary start, breakfast for Kitten and then the buffet breakfast for us. I think people are starting to get a little bored of sitting around the pool all day, so Matt, Lucy, Rob, Shanie, the niblings and I decided to go off for a little walk; what would transpire to be a slooooow walk, full of stops and starts. I'm certainly missing Clare; when we walk we simply surge. This time around it took four hours to get to 10,000 steps. That's normally about 90 minutes' worth. We eventually ended up at the beach, a little further on from where we joined it last a couple of nights previously: The waters ran from clear to green to blue. We could see hundreds of fish swimming in it: The niblings came across a rockpool and so started exploring: Then it was time to sit down for a drink to cool off. It turns out that Oscar takes after the boys in the family: Max and I surged ahead on the walk home. On the journey, he found an apron which made him giggle: We grabbed lunch just before the buffet closed at 15:00, and then went back to see whether Kitten was hanging around. She was, so we continued Operation: Fatten Up Kitten and then played with her. She's got such a cute little face. I'd take her home if I could think of a way of getting her past security. I was very boring in the afternoon. What started as a dry cough the evening before had become a chesty cough with accompanying headache, so I retreated to my apartment for a few hours, emerging in the evening for food (a date with Mia), and then joining the others at about 22:30 in the pub, where some of the world's worst karaoke was on screen. And that's without me volunteering anything! It's not really possible to converse in that atmosphere so I spent the hour throwing Mia and Oscar about, and then talking over a potential break away with Rob. He's something of a WW2 buff and would like to visit some of the most important sites of the conflict, such as Berlin and Auschwitz. And he's a smart fella and good company, so I'd be happy to go with him. Maybe even Clare could come and we make it a nine-day break in 2018. Something to think about, anyway.
  6. Today's adventure was an excursion to find the local market before the weather got too hot. So we finished breakfast and headed out the reception. This is the view as we exit: And the market requires us to walk past this sort of faux-Moor-style buildings: It didn't take long to confirm we were on the right track: And soon we were at the market: There was the traditional store selling friendship bracelets. For some reason I got the impression that the couple working on the stall were British expats: It would've been possible to buy two for Oscar with his full name! It was taking a bit long to do not much, and I'd spotted a supermarket earlier, so I decided to head off on my own. I wanted to buy some cat food. Why? Because I've adopted one. I was hoping it would be two because two identical girls were our companions on our first morning but I've not seen one of them since. I hope nothing's happened to her. Oscar and Mia helped me feed her today: And then she had a nap on her new dad: I had a quick drink and a read of a newspaper and then headed in the direction of the pool, where I spent the afternoon: And I left our new cat sleeping on the bed we've made for her. There's some chicken in the fridge for tomorrow morning too
  7. I got invited to attend my brother's birthday party last year. And my own birthday party too, even though I didn't have one. Confused? He and I share a birthday and his wife threw a surprise party for him, so I was invited to attend. And on that same night I was invited to attend something else which all my fellow members would attend; a holiday to Fuerteventura. It was presented to me as a joke, a "we're all going but we didn't invite you because we knew you'd say no so I'm just making you aware so you don't feel left out". Well, my father was correct; I haven't done a beach or resort holiday since I was a child and we max out our holiday dates every year, so there's not much spare. But there was a little voice in my head telling me that seeing my niblings on holiday could be fun, and Clare had earlier suggested that she might like to take her parents away for a week, so ... ... so I became the 19th person on the holiday, and six months later, here I am, whilst Clare is with her parents in Croatia and Montenegro. Everything so far has gone according to plan. We were 19 boarding the plane and 19 coming off it four hours later (having been, I suspect, the annoying family he stand in the aisle and swap seats a lot), and 19 boarding the coach, having successfully navigated the imaginary passport control. Issued with picnic hampers by the receptionist, the next challenge was finding our rooms in the dark and without the aid of a map. Somehow sister-in-law Shanie's homing beacon navigated us without a hitch, and soon we were all in our rooms. They're certainly a good size with a large living room: a roomy bedroom: and a terrace too: Here's the view from it: I haven't noticed any air-conditioning in the apartment, besides a fan, but it doesn't need any. In spite of the outside temperatures, the rooms are totally cool. The door to my apartment is on the side and leads to a short walkway between me and my neighbours (sister-in-law Pam's parents, Terry and Lil). It's a pleasure to walk up: The buildings are a lovely terracotta colour: And it's not long before the first sapphire blue of a swimming pool emerges: There are three separate pools. One is for swimming in lanes, one is a regular pool running from shallow to deep, and the other is extremely shallow and, as I discovered, much warmer than the other two because of it: That's where our group spent its first two afternoons. I'm being boring and getting my work done (thanks to buying a week's worth of wifi log-in for €20) but popping out for a couple of hours later in the day. It didn't feel particularly hot on the first day, except for odd ten-minute spell where the temperatures noticeably rose. The next day told the story, though; half of our party are red raw. Ouch. It turns out that all-inclusive really does mean that you don't pay for anything. I thought it would be a qualified use of the expression, but no, there really is a large breakfast buffet from 07:30 to 10:00, lunch from 13:00 to 15:00, and dinner from 18:30 to 21:30. And the gaps are filled by more options too: from 10:00 to 18:00 the pool bar is open. Help yourselves to the drinks, including beer and wine. There's a snack bar open from 13:30 to 16:30 (get your hot dogs, burgers, ice-cream and so on) and a bar open from 18:00 to 23:00. And yes, the drinks are free there, too! It's astounding, considering that the cost of this holiday is about £80 a day ... and that's without me subtracting something to take into account the travel! There's a programme of events which people can attend, which started with pool aerobics on our second morning (not for me, naturally) and a kids' dance session in the bar in the evening. Or you can make your own fun. We decided to head out of the resort after dinner yesterday. I could see the sea in the distance: Nephew Alfie immediately spotted the oversized cactuses: It wasn't long before we found an unexpected site: And after half an hour or so's working, we found the beach: Soon it was 21:30 and the light disappeared, so we headed back to the resort and to the bar, where I abandoned everybody after concluding that I didn't have the energy that they did. I don't know what's in store for the next day. I'm typing this 30 minutes before breakfast closes, so I'd better run and see whether I catch the others en route!
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