Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200504 Lanzarote Spain Portugal England

FRIDAY 1 APRIL 2005 – Surprisingly I sleep really well and don’t wake up until after 7am.  It’s not great here so we decide to move over to the other side of the island.  We pass through Teguise and on the outskirts of the town I see a garden with quirky sculptures.  There are many sections to the garden, each artistically displaying junk including a wall topped with old portable TV’s and other topped with old boots sprouting flowers and lots of old children’s toys lying around. Dividing walls are covered with pebbles and there are large terracotta statues.  A plaque says “Museo Mara Mad”.  It’s really fascinating and the longer you look the more odd things you see.  Just past Tahiche we turn off to visit the Cesar Manrique foundation.  He’s an artist and this is his house combined with a gallery.  His house is embedded in a lava flow using lava caves to form the rooms with interconnecting tunnels.  It has it’s own swimming pool, originally indoor but outdoor since the roof caved in!  Join the coast at the tourist area of Costa Teguise.  Get a good spot on a huge car park directly behind Playa de Los Charcos.  We walk around and find we are in the midst of the hotels, restaurants, bars and shopping area.  Spend the afternoon on the beach.   



SATURDAY 2 APRIL – Explore a bit more of the area before the beach beckons.  Steve is spoilt for choice for bars to watch afternoon football and all seem to sell drinks cheaper than on Fuerteventura. 



SUNDAY 3 APRIL – The day starts cloudy so we press on with a few more cleaning jobs, or should I say re-cleaning after the last dust storm.  At 12.30pm we walk to the nearby shopping centre and get a full cooked English breakfast for €1.90 (£1.25) washed down with a pint of local “Dorada” beer, €1.50 (£1.05).  Steve moves to a nearby bar to watch the Grand Prix whilst I afternoon on the beach to be joined by Steve later.  Hear on the news that the pope has died.



MONDAY 4 APRIL – We somehow manage to find more things to re-clean and I also begin putting together to things we want to keep.  Try the beach in the afternoon and although it is hot and sunny it’s too windy for my liking.  Our early evening stroll takes us through the Sands resort where some of the small apartments are on a man made beach behind a lagoon.  The rest of the complex consists of 6 area of apartments grouped around swimming pools, very nice. 



TUESDAY 5 APRIL – Getting down to the nitty gritty of van cleaning the airline complimentary toothbrushes come in handy, use your imagination!  Late morning we stroll to the Internet café at the southern end of the resort.  Jane agreed to pay £10,000 into our account in time for it to be cleared by Friday but it is not showing up on our Internet banking statement.  Return along the beachfront promenade stopping for a 3 course lunch €6.90 (£4.90) and feeling like real tourists.  Afternoon on the beach before Steve gets a final fix of football in the Canaries with Liverpool beating Juventos in the Champions league.



WEDNESDAY 6 APRIL – Claire’s 28th birthday so I get up early to phone her but she has already left for work.  It’s a superb morning and Steve is down on the beach by 9am whilst I do a bit of packing for the ferry before joining him.  Break for lunch to partake in another cooked English breakfast at the café before returning to the beach until after 5pm when it clouds over.  Drive to Arrecife port where John & Maureen and Andy & Chris are already parked up waiting.  There are fewer vehicles boarding the ferry here and the check in procedure is much better than at Cadiz.  The ferry arrives and boarding commences.  They begin packing the vehicles very tightly and we wonder just how accurate they are in their calculations for space.  We paid for 6m motorhomes but all measure over 7m!  We’re keen not to be left behind as we are booked to fly out of Portugal next Tuesday and Andy & Chris are rushing back to England for a funeral so it looks like John & Maureen could get the short straw.  By putting a small camper van on the ramp between decks they manage to squeeze us all on in time for the 10pm sailing.  Race up to catch the self service restaurant before it closes.  By the time we have eaten the information desk, that issues you with cabin entrance cards, is closed.  We are reprimanded when they have to open it specially – didn’t realise we had to chose between a bed or a meal!   After a quick stroll around it is nearly midnight so we retire to bed.  John & Maureen are not snoring too badly so I do get a few zzz’s in.



THURSDAY 7 APRIL – It’s a bit too breezy to sit around the pool area so we mooch between lounges playing cards and reading to pass the time.  Gather together for a final happy hour before the evening meal.  Unfortunately with the added intake of alcohol both John & Maureen’s snoring is a good few decibels higher and I end up taking my pillow and blanket up to the quiet lounge to try and sleep on a short sofa.



FRIDAY 8 APRIL –  I give up trying to sleep when the cleaners start vacuuming around me.  Return to the cabin to wake everyone else as it is time for breakfast.  We are in sight of land and have mobile phone reception.  Unfortunately the first message we get is from Jane to say there is a problem as they are having trouble sorting out insurance for the van.  A few minutes later another text comes through asking us to ring her urgently.  Text back asking about the problem, giving insurance company info and advising that we will phone as soon as we dock.  This sale is turning into a right nightmare.  Arrive in Cadiz SPAIN at about (12.00 local).  Just as we roll off the ferry we get a text back to say the van insurance is all sorted – what a relief.  We drive off through the busy Cadiz streets and return to Puerto de Santa Maria for gas.  The traffic is horrendous and we are even less happy when we get to the garage to find the gas pump is broken.  More traffic jams heading around Jerez and it’s over 2 hours before we are clear and heading north.   Yet more traffic jams around Seville and we still haven’t found an Internet café to check on the £10,000 payment nor stopped to do a necessary tyre change.  Things look up when we arrive in PORTUGAL and in Hortas find LPG at a garage right beside the road.  A little further on we see a Michelin garage and for €5 (£3.50) they change the spare over with one of our tyres that is wearing a bit thin.  In Monte Gordo we park easily and find Internet where I confirm that we have received a £10,000 part payment on the motorhome sale.  Just east of the town we park behind a lovely stretch of beach at Aldeia Nova.  In November the car park was packed with motorhomes but now there are only 5 of us.  At last we feel we can begin to relax a bit but will still be glad when Stewart and Jane arrive on Monday to complete the adoption of Charlie.  Steve chats to Barry & Chris in their American motorhome.  It’s a 32’ “A” class Tiffin Allegro 1993 and they recently bought it on E-bay for £19,500.



SATUDAY 9 APRIL – A beautiful morning and we open the curtains to see the fishing boats out at sea.  It would be all too easy to call the van sale off and stay here for a few days.  We are selling because we want to spend most of our time in Australia mixed with more back-packing and whenever we have put Charlie into storage it has produced expensive problems – gearbox, roof etc.  Realistically and financially it’s the time to sell but after having the van for 8 years I have become rather attached and still feel that for a 23’ vehicle it is the most suitable layout for us.  We have an idea that in a few years time we will fly to America and buy a similar motorhome,  tour Canada, America and Mexico then ship it to England.  At 8.30am a small van pulls up in the car park and honks his horn, it’s the local bread man, shame we won’t be stopping long enough to make use of him.  Chris calls round for some free camping info and is really impressed with our van and says their next one will be more like ours as theirs is really too big.  Just as we are driving off the gearbox warning light comes on again, the air turns blue, hopefully it’s just bit of dust on the computer sensor.  Continue to Monte Gordo where we are going on the campsite.  It’s very cheap, €6.89 (£4.80) for a site with electric – no wonder it gets full with long stay vans over winter.  Manage to get a spot near the toilet block and I begin a final cleaning assault inside Charlie whilst Steve tinkers about in the engine (and gets the gearbox warning light to go off) then cleans outside.  I hand wash all the mats then cleaning the upholstery.  Despite doing all the cupboards whilst on Fuerteventura we still need to re-do almost everything but at least a quick wipe is all that’s needed.  I know it’s sad but I want to watch the royal wedding.  Unfortunately I turn the TV on and just catch the tail end, I’d forgotten that the newspapers here are printed with Spanish times and that’s an hour ahead.  Back to the cleaning, by late afternoon we have done enough to earn a rest sitting out in the sun.



SUNDAY 10 APRIL – Luckily check out time is 7pm so we can take our time finishing the van.  Amazingly the sand keeps reappearing and without a vacuum cleaner all we can do is sweep over and over again.  Begin to pack our belongings into bags, with only 20kg baggage allowance many choices have to be made as to what to take.  Late afternoon Charlie is as clean as a new pin and looking terrific.  Return to Aldeia Nova beach and sit out enjoying the view whilst drinking the contents of the drinks cupboard and eating our last few snacks. 



MONDAY 11 APRIL – Such a lovely spot to wake up in. We linger whilst I finish packing.  The tide is out and the beach very inviting so I take an hour walking along the waterfront in both directions.  Locals are out collecting cockles and numerous other tourists are out walking.  After lunch we drive further along the coast to Tavira where the motorhomes park at Praia 4 Aguas.  It’s not a very nice spot but convenient for our rendezvous.  Late afternoon Jane & Stewart arrive with their friends Michael & Rita.  We crack open the bubbly to celebrate the completion of Charlie’s adoption.  In the evening we all have a meal in the nearby restaurant.



TUESDAY 12 APRIL – Whilst we have agreed the van sale complete with contents some of them are just too disgusting to even give away.  Amongst other things we throw the chip pan in the nearby skip.  Shortly after we see someone rooting through it and they pull out the chip pan and look it over, then throw it back in!  Jane & Stewart arrive around 10am.  Whilst Steve shows Stewart the outside parts of the van and the engine I take Jane through the internal workings.  We then complete the paperwork with them handing me a bankers draft for the £9000 balance.  We learn that they recently sold a restaurant business in Hastings and with the proceeds have bought another small business in Hastings, a derelict property in Portugal and now our motorhome.  They are a really nice couple so we join them and Michael & Rita for a long lunch in town.  Mid afternoon we return to collect our bags from Charlie, pose for photos and shed a tear or two.  Amazingly they still haven’t had a test drive in the van but seem very happy to accept it all as seen.  They even drive us to Faro airport in their rental car.  We check in for our Jet2 1825 flight to Manchester €106 (£75).  Baggage allowance is 20kg for the hold and 10kg hand baggage per person.  Our checked in bags total 37.5kg so we reckon we’ve judged it well.  The flight leaves on time and although less than 3 hours it seems longer as the seats are not very comfortable, there is no movie or radio and no food included just sandwiches off the trolley at £3 – reckon you’d have to be off your trolley to pay that much for a sandwich made with two slices of ordinary bread!   Land in Manchester ENGLAND and once we have retrieved our bags we head out to meet Claire and get a nice surprise to find David and Donna also waiting to greet us.  After a quick chat to them we set off in separate cars and Claire drives us back to Haworth.  Daniel and Natasha don’t know we are coming so I sneak up to see them as it is after 11pm when we arrive.  Natasha doesn’t stir when I kiss her but Daniel opens his eyes and a big grin spreads across his face.  He bounds out of bed and downstairs to see Grandad and luckily bounds back up again and goes back to sleep. 



WEDNESDAY 13 APRIL – Daniel brings Natasha downstairs to surprise her with the sight of us sleeping in the lounge.  She is also delighted to see us and can’t stop giving us kisses and cuddles.  It’s a miserable cold and rainy morning and we are not pleased when the bus to Keighley is late.  Our fist mission is to bank the cheque for the motorhome followed by other odd jobs around town.  Even at the bank there is great debate on how a bankers draft works so we will not be completely happy until it clears next Tuesday.  Visit the Doctors, building societies and do other mundane business chores.  Return to Claire’s early afternoon and Steve watches Sky Sports on TV whilst I use the Internet.  Early evening we go to nearby Chaplins for a meal.  Wednesday is 2 for 1 pasta night with 12 different types on offer, it’s nice but all our pastas seem to have very strong sauces. 



THURSDAY 14 APRIL – On Internet most of the day tying up loose ends such as cancelling our ferry crossing.  Our original plan was to go to India for 6 months doing volunteer work and we understood we just needed to confirm our arrival date in June.  Consequently we are surprised to hear via E-mails that they thought there was only one of us and instead of teaching English they now want talks on HIV and Aids awareness.  Knowing almost nothing about this subject and not keen to renegotiate all the terms at this late stage we pull out.  Rod & Nancy pick us up in the evening and we go for a Balti meal before bowling.  Steve bowls in Rod & Rays team and I chat to our old bowling buddies.  Richard is there and says Sharon is going away tomorrow so he lends me his car so I can call round for a chat.  He points in the general direction of the car park and says it’s the red car.  Once I press the alarm button I see a car’s lights flash and go over to it.  The door is difficult to open so I press the alarm again to check the car is unlocked.  At this point I see a car directly behind me with its lights flashing – what I had seen was the reflection of Richard’s car lights and was trying to get into the wrong car.  Have a good chat with Sharon before returning to bowling to have a last talk to our bowling buddies.



FRIDAY 15 APRIL – I bus it into Keighley to deal with a few more things and do some shopping at leisure.  Steve’s idea of shopping is that you go into the shop, buy the first thing that seems to be what you want and leave, occasionally I like to browse and it’s worse for him then if I don’t buy anything!  I return early afternoon and find Steve flat out on the sofa having injured his shoulder getting out of bed.  Steve walks up to collect the kids from school and finds out that they are filming at Haworth station. After tea Claire and I pop down and see the final half hours shooting of an episode of “Where the heart is”.   Luckily we have decided to stay in tonight as Daz is out at golf when Claire’s friend calls round for her to go to an Anne Summers party, she thought it was tomorrow.  Needless to say we are happy to baby-sit.  When Daz arrives back he tells us it is snowing up in Denholme, not surprising as it has been bitterly cold all day. 



SATURDAY 16 APRIL – Claire is feeling rather bad after her boozy night out so Steve and I take Natasha for her 10am swimming lesson followed by Daniel’s at 11am then his piano lesson at 12am.  It reminds us of when our weekends were spent taxi-ing Claire and David around.  Back at Claire’s we look after the kids in the afternoon whilst Claire goes to a Virgin Vie meeting.  When she gets back she drives us over to Mom & Dad’s.  We’ve just started to catch up on all the family news when Lisa, Mick & Sian arrive with fish and chips from Harry Ramsdens. 



SUNDAY 17 APRIL – Spend the morning chatting and doing a few jobs for Mom & Dad.  From the teletext we find a one-way flight to Goa for £125 leaving a week on Saturday and return flights to Cancun in May for just over £200 so begin to discuss new choices.  We all go back to Keighley where we treat Mom & Dad to Sunday dinner at the new Wetherspoons.  The £4.99 lunch is very filling and we’ve no room for desserts.  After being dropped off back at Claire’s I begin re-packing our bags.



MONDAY 18 APRIL – Uncertain of our plans we say a big Good-Bye to Daniel and Natasha before Claire drops them at school.  Claire drives us all over to Wakefield for Uncle Denis’s funeral.  We meet up with the other close relatives at Auntie Pamela’s with Mum, Netty and Graeme arriving just as the funeral car is about to leave, having been help up in traffic.  The church is packed, not surprising as Uncle Denis has always worshipped there and although not an actual vicar he did perform communion and other official tasks.  He was my favourite Uncle so I’m sad.  It’s a very long service including Holy Communion.  Mum bravely sings a solo as this is taking place.  Next we drive to the crematorium where close family and friends say a final sad Farewell.  Claire needs to get back to collect the kids from school but the rest of us go on the golf club where there is a lovely buffet.  We all start to relax and enjoy meeting up with our relatives.   We hitch a lift back to Market Drayton to stay a Mum’s. 



TUESDAY 19 APRIL – At the surgery I find out what inoculations we may need and start a top up course.  Netty had a bad back yesterday and it’s much worse so Steve drives round to take her to the doctors.   I join Mum and Anne for lunch at The Crown.  My GHD hair straighteners arrive, £82.50 on the Internet, at last I can have the sort of straight hair I have always longed for.  Call round at Netty’s in the evening, she’s off work for a week. 



WEDNESDAY 20 APRIL – Wander round the market with Mum.  Today my next Internet purchase of an Acer Travelmate laptop arrives (£537).  I spend about 5 hours installing programmes and transferring my files before sitting down to watch a DVD on it – or not as the DVD part isn’t working.



THURSDAY 21 APRIL – CCI computers want me to send the laptop back for repair but as it is brand new I insist on a replacement.  After many phone calls they confirm that although they have no more in stock they are expecting a delivery on Monday and will get one to me next Tuesday.  Finally decide on our next trip and take the easy option of returning to Australia for a long trip to take in the Commonwealth games in Melbourne next March.  Through E-bookers we get Malaysian airlines flights to Melbourne on 10th May.  We intend to travel around in Billy until next March, catch the games in Melbourne then fly to Kuala Lumpur.  That leaves us 6 weeks to back pack Malaysia before arriving back in England on 9th May 2006.  Total price including all taxes etc £1113.20.



FRIDAY 22 APRIL – Late afternoon we drive over to Dawley to Netty Keen’s new house.  Daughter Stacey is at home and we meet Netty’s new partner Adam.  They have just sold the house and intend relocating to Spain.  We go to the White Horse pub where we are joined by Kevin and Sandra.  Leave the pub just after midnight then stay up until almost 4am listening to music and playing name that tune.



S\ATURDAY 23 APRIL – Return to Market Drayton where Claire, Daniel and Natasha arrive mid afternoon.  We all go round to Netty’s so that we can baby-sit whilst Netty and Claire go out to Wolverhampton for the night. 



SUNDAY 24 APRIL – Mum buys us all lunch at the Four Alls.  Spend time with Claire and the kids before they leave late afternoon.  



MONDAY 25 APRIL – Walk up town to meet Nicole who is over from Adelaide visiting relatives.  Catch up on all the family gossip and feel glad we are booked to go back to Aus as it makes us feel homesick listening to her! 



TUESDAY 26 APRIL – At 9am my replacement laptop arrives so I get stuck in reloading files and programmes.  Make a break to walk up town and get caught in yet another downpour.  Netty & Nick call round in the evening, Nick loves playing cards so he and I play a few games of golf and shit head.



WEDNESDAY 27 APRIL – Nip up town for the 2nd of our course of 3 injections.   Join Mum for a drive over to Newport to meet her friend Diane at the garden centre followed by a wander round Newport.  Early evening Steve’s friend Richard (who was our best man) comes over to join us for tea and Mum’s friend Ann comes round for a chat.  Steve & Richard go up town to watch the football.



THURSDAYH 28 APRIL – I drive Mum up to Telford for a shopping day.  It’s really busy and we have to queue to get onto car park.  I end up buying a few things I didn’t know I wanted and Mum gets a couple of tops for her forthcoming cruise. 



FRIDAY 29 APRIL – For the first time since arriving back in England we get a full day of nice weather.  Over to Kevin and Sandra’s in the evening.  We order a Balti takeaway and catch up on all their news and check out their new decoration, conservatory and additional aviaries.



SATURDAY 30 APRIL – Steve has a sore throat and seems to be going down with flu so we return to Mum’s where he takes to his bed for the afternoon.  Over to Newport in the evening to the Scotts.  Vez has just returned from a 6 month round the world trip and although we have received her travel E-mails it’s good to hear her stories face to face.  Paul & Elaine join us and we order take-aways and end up picking them up from the Indian, Chinese and fish and chip shop.  Have a laugh looking at all our old party photos then go up to the Evo’s to stay overnight.  We meet their golden retriever puppy Charlie; he’s big, very lively and frightens me!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: