So we woke up in our motor home and it was Christmas morning. Father Christmas had been as Elaine found a white Kit Kat bar and another couple of chocolate bars hanging from one of the window catches in one of my black socks. After porridge we got ourselves ready for the day ahead and we then waited for Tom and Jo to arrive. Before Christmas we had decided to buy each other presents and we were to spend no more than 5 euros on each other. We went first and presented Jo with the biggest, gaudiest necklace, bangle and earrings set and for Tom we bought a shiny plastic YMCA style hat complete with a silver chain around the brim and there was much laughter as they knew they had to wear their presents down to the beach later on. I was then handed 2 small packages. The first contained a bag of peanut toffee and the second contained a pair of bright red, silky elephant (complete with trunk) underpants and the back of them was just thin elastic. They reminded me that we had all agreed that we would wear whatever was bought for us so I put them on immediately………on my head with my nose through the first part of the trunk. The motor home rocked with the laughter again and the neighbours must have wondered what on earth was going on. Elaine also got two parcels; the first contained a Benidorm shower storm dome. The second was a larger present and when opened Elaine found a computer tablet box. At first she was laughing and was quite convinced it was just the box from Jo’s tablet she had bought a couple of weeks before. Elaine had said if Jo’s got a new tablet she wanted one the same but with a bright green cover that was what Jo had wanted but they were out of stock so Elaine said she would get herself a similar tablet but hers would have a green one. Suddenly her expression changed to wonderment as we had to get her a knife to cut the security tape. Now she was convinced they had bought her a tablet of her own. Inside she found one of Jo’s medicine tablets, painted green stuck in the middle of the inner tray. we all found it funny as Elaine thanked the children of the unmarried parents.
We got ourselves ready and headed down to the beach. When we got down to the promenade we found it as busy as anything with people walking along in big noisey groups and quite a few of the cafés were open. Despite the fact that it was warm enough for Tom and me to be in shorts and tea shirts and Elaine and Jo in summer dresses the Spaniards all were wearing jumpers, coats, scarves, woolly hats as if it was a winters day in England and not the beautiful,21° day. About 1 pm we certainly did make the Spaniards look over to where we were as Tom, Jo and myself got changed and rushed into the sea while Elaine made the great sacrifice of being the group photographer. It was agreed that on the count of three we would dive in so we were all fully in the water. When Tom and I came up we saw Jo desparately running back towards Elaine. The chase was on and soon Jo found herself dunked unceremoniously amid great amusement from the other three of us. What the passing people were thinking wrapped up in their winter clothes we will never know but possibly mad English would have crossed their minds. We then had a picnic on the beach before heading back to the camp. We had a toast to all our friends and families that we had left when embarking on our adventures and their was silence from the four of us as we each thought about those that we each hold dear.
We had bought 4 very large steaks and when the rest of our meal was nearly ready then Tom and I sat in front of our matching, Cadac, travel barbecues whilst enjoying a well desrved glass of Spanish red wine. We cooked the steaks to perfection and we got lots of comments and chatter from all that passed our motor home. We then had a great Christmas evening, just sitting and chatting interspersed with lots more laughter.
Boxing day and the first thing we did was to take all our Christmas decorations down and pack them up to send back to the charity shops in the town. We all went for a good walk and then enjoyed a great meal, cooked by Jo in their bungalow followed by lots of games of Rummikub. We all agreed that we had thoroughly enjoyed our unconventional Christmas and none of us had missed the festive entertainment served up by the television companies back home.
On Saturday, we went on the train and got off at a coastal town called La Vila Joiosa which is 8 stops before Benidorm and each time I had passed there I had said I wanted to visit . From the station we walked through a park towards the sea and were amazed to see the way the houses which bordered the park had been built. Half the houses were perched on the side of the cliffs with the back end of them with large overhangs supported only by a few very thin metal girders which stuck out at 45° from the cliff face. When we got down to the front what we saw made my suggestion instantly a hit. A very wide promenade which is the roof of a huge underground car park boarded a beautiful beach and on the other side all the houses and shops were all painted with different colours and the whole effect was quite enchanting. After coffee at a café we walked the length of the sea front, past the harbour area to what appeared to be a locals beach area and further on we took a zig-zag path up the cliffs and walked back in the direction we had come and from quite high up we got some really good views. We were the all surprised when Elaine announced that that is the house she would live in as she pointed towards the back of a house that was perched on the edge of the cliff and she recognised as the one she had seen from the beach road. We had a great meal sitting out the front of a restaurant whilst a young Spanish lad played a saxaphone encouraged by Elaine and Jo singing along to the tunes he played. Mind you, as soon as we had put some money in the paper mug in his pocket, he was off to another table. After a great day we returned to El Compello?
New years eve we had a nice meal and then went out into the town as we were told by the tourist information office that there was to be a grand celebration in the marquees that had been set up in the town. At 10.15 we ventured out and as we walked through the town we found every single bar closed up and when we got to the marquees there was nobody there. So we had a walk along the promenade back to the camp to see the new year in there. We found out later thevSpaniards turn up at around 11.30 and by that time we had gone back to the camp.
The Spanish custom is that as the bells ring on the run up to the New Year 12 grapes are eaten, one on each peal of the bell and if accomplished then one would have good luck each of the 12 months throughout the year. Special packs of grapes with a clock on the front are sold and we had purchased them and Elaine managed to get hers eaten in time so she should have a great 2015. Actually our 48 grapes cost so much and as every Spaniard would have been stuffing themselves silly with similar packets then it is the packet producers who will have a good 2015 and every year onwards until the Spaniards see sense. Once the Spanish year was on us we heard fireworks from all around. We stayed up to wait for the British New Year and made the motor home bounce up and down as the four of us danced to Auld Lang Syne at the stroke of 1 o/c our time. Again we heard fireworks from all around as the Brits celebrated. We got given specal, traditional, deep fried round fruit cakes that are eaten New Year by the Dutch. They bring over deep, electric fryers especially so they can make them and people from two Dutch units presented us with plates of the cricket ball sized, deep fried spotted dick cakes, one for each of us. Everyone walked around wishing each other seasonal greetings and even the Dutch man who permanently walks around the site with his head down looking as miserable as sin as though he was searching for a lost euro happily greeted me with a New Year greeting.
We will have another Bank Holiday on the 6th of January to celebrate Epiphany and we have the Three Kings procession to look forward to, but more of that in the next blog.
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