Sunshine came softly through our Christmas today

Tuesday 23rd December 2014


We spent the morning mooching around the campsite waiting for the call from Jill & Martin to arrange meeting up with them.

Whilst walking the dogs we saw a MoHo parked 50 metres away from a spot that I had included in a previous blog – this guy wasn’t parked close to any of the beach bars and it was probably OK to stay for the day – not sure about overnighting here, a good day location though.

MoHo on Playa Granada beach

Jill & Martin strolled into our camping at around 11:00am and the four of us took off for a walk around the Playa Granada resort. The resort was busy with many owners/renters now in residence for the Christmas period – we have seen very little evidence of Christmas in this area, less than a handful of shops, properties and campers displaying any festive decorations.

Once back at camping, a long awaited Lidl visit was high on the list of priorities.

The 4 of us (plus our hounds) set out in Martin’s hire car for Lidl in Salobrena..

Can you believe that, since we started this trip,  I have yet to enter any supermarket on mainland Europe!

Salobrena Lidl was to be no exception, someone had to nurse Shakey and Tilley!

I secured the dog leads to a railing, did some people and vehicle watching whilst looking for any opportunities that may befall me and the camera that I had at hand – not a lot came my way really.

Searching for something, anything and with time to let my mind wander, there it was – a picture of a ….


…. a Lidl mountain!


Yes, sorry, but that was the best that I could muster – it would have been cruel to all the UK blog readers to take pictures of all the folk wandering around in bikini’s and beachwear! (it would also have been impossible as none existed!).

Jill, Amanda and Martin (hiding behind a post) emerge laden with roast chestnuts, mince pies, choccy biscuits and, hopefully, some Mintoes

There are a lot of bags here and, man, it looks like my request for Mintoes is going to happen

Back at Twernt, shopping was stowed but there wasn’t a Mintoe in sight,

I need to break my <Euro-supermarket> ‘duck’ and cross the threshold to scrutinise Spanish ‘staple’ food offerings – how the peoples of any country can be expected to survive without Mintoes is beyond any ‘call of duty’ ever known to man. This is surely what ‘Judgement Day’ will be all about?

How do they expect a man to survive on ‘Menitas’ (Spanish mints); This is an unacceptable state of affairs and I intend to put my foot down with a firm hand – I see a rat and I can see it floating in the air and I intend to nip it in the bud.

“Come on Roy, let’s go over to the villa, you’ll like it” – “Sorry, but I can’t leave here just now because I don’t feel too good” – “What’s wrong with you?” – “I’ve got a bone”.

Ironic mixed metaphors prevail if you test me – and yet, as if by magic, they’re non-existent if I’ve got Mintoes.

Learn from this Grasshopper.

My <supermarket> time will come!

Jill and Martin placed us ‘under orders’ to pack our gear and join them at the villa, well it would be rude to refuse that, wouldn’t it?

We had stayed in one of those ‘exclusive’ villa’s some 10 years back and knew the level of luxury and the views on offer……plus……they have a bath!

We knew that at least four of us would be together for the ‘Day-of days’ dinner, but we had believed that we would be staying in Twernt.

Jill and Martin took off to in order to stow their own shopping whilst we packed our gear for a stay at their villa, I Googled the villa and found some pictures (although a renter, the villa is also on the market – &#8211; just over £0.5m – should you have some spare change! – and if you do have that kind of spare change you’ll probably need the services of ‘Housekeeper-Gardener-Guard Dogs-to-go’ – apply right here!.

Amanda prepared a meal for when they returned and we later deserted Twernt for our first night away since the day we bought her/him/it.

Wednesday 24th December 2014


Our ‘Knights in White Satin’ had arrived and brought with them a promise of ‘Beauty I’ve always missed – with these eyes before’.

The coming days would be elevated to ‘Luxury Status’.

This morning Jill & Martin attempted to ‘dip a toe’ in the pool, Jill achieved just that – a toe – whilst Martin discovered that H2O requires a temperature hike if he was to progress any further than ‘level one’  in some new game that he’d invented.

I think that it works something like the ‘Snakes and Ladders’ game.

Cooly-Gooly‘ will be coming to a store near you quite soon.

His spin-off game ‘Snakes in Pools‘ is still under development (and it’s likely to stay that way for as long as he ‘s playing his ‘Cooly-Gooly game).

The rest of our ‘Day-of-days-eve’ was occupied with a ‘Lazy Sunny Afternoon’, baths and power-showers, followed by dinner and drinks and then by more drinks and then baths and power-showers again!

Did I mention that Jill is an excellent cook? Whereas I, her brother, am content with Pot Noodles (except on Friday, then it’s fish and chips. Oh, and Saturday – curry time. Sunday’s were made for pizza, so, overall, Pot Noodles on only four days of the week – by my reckoning that must surely constitute a balanced and varied healthy diet?).

Under Amanda’s culinary skills and now Jill’s, I rarely get the chance to discover just how good my own choice of food could be, still, it’s good to have a back-up plan.

A man needs a plan, now that seems to be better than what Neil thought when he sang ‘A man needs a maid’ – he should have sung ‘A man needs a maid but he needs a back-up plan as well’.

Had he done this then he would probably be as poor as I am now – so there’s another lesson for you Grasshopper, part truths can sometimes get more out of this life for you!

Thursday 25th December 2014


‘Day-of-days’ is here, Bucks Fizz all round and once my fizz was bucked up we took off for a morning walk on the beach of Salobrena.

There are two parts to this beach, the commercialised side where many apartment blocks overlook the beach and the ‘lower’ side which remains largely ‘pre-man’.

Looking back up at the Monte de los Almendros settlement on the hillside, this is where we are staying

The clifftop Moorish Salobrena Castle

The somewhat Less-ish clifftop apartment buildings

Amanda, Jill and Martin pose for their ‘Day-of-days’ beach picture

Whilst a Cormorant takes a break from his diving antics

We discovered many occupied ‘beach huts’ shielded by the plentiful canes available in this area – this one is for sale

Just managed to capture a picture (less than good) of Frankie Dettori as he trotted on by

This beach restaurant was open and serving charcoal cooked Sardines

…… from this …. somewhere in there is a smoking charcoal source

A loved-up Jill and Martin

and a street seller offering genuine Armani clothing for just a few €’s – he didn’t seem to have much love around him – nor did he have any customers

And then it was back for our ‘Day-of-days’ dinner – thanks Jill & Martin – we were onlookers and they would have it no other way!

I took two pictures of our dinner, this one has Jill’s face obscured by Martin’s glass – you don’t want to see the other one! – note the view in the background – it’s all sun and sea – bad pictures don’t make for a bad day!

The day went by in a haze of tranquility and family Skype calls. The overcast morning developed into 19°c/20°c by afternoon and we had a great peaceful ‘Day-of-days’ – in the dream of a ‘living the dream’ location. Thanks Jill and Martin.


Friday 26th December 2014


Back home this is ‘Boxing Day’ – no such thing here so, in honour of our Boxing Day, we had anointed it Lazy Day – walking locally, taking pictures locally and sunbathing in a villa with great views


The villa that we’re in – right of centre in this picture


Most villa’s here look ‘villa-like’ but here’s one very close to us that is ….. angular?

A few goats in a lane below the villa

….quickly followed by a torrent of goats being herded up a hillside opposite to us

A view down to Salobrena beach

…and, to the right, circular fishing nets – the guys come and work on them every day until about 2:00pm

A couple of our neighbouring villa’s

Eating and drinking until well after the moon came up

We all said that one of these days we’ll drive on up to Granada…………..

14 thoughts on “Sunshine came softly through our Christmas today

    • Hi Tweetypie, Corrie on TV here at the villa? Yes! At Twernt we stream it in from YouTube where it appears sometime between 30 minutes and 3 days after being screened in the UK. We have been told about watchuktvanywhere, and, for about a fiver a month you can stream a lot of UK TV via your MoHo internet – they use their server as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and you stream in from that. BBC i-Player, etc. blocks you once it detects that your IP address is outside of the UK, so this solution gets around that – you can even continue with your Sky Sports and Movies if you have a contract with Sky for those. Cheers, Roy


      • Mince pies, mince pies! !!!! In Lidl? Where. They don’t sell them here in Portugal. I’d love some. Have to make a visit to Iceland here, they sell em. Lovely weather though to have Christmas day eh? Love seeing your adventures, hubby is the same with mints. He loves the the french ones, vichy mints. Can’t get em for love nor money. By the way. We use filmon for streaming and downloading. Don’t need a VPN then but I have one anyway. Keep coming with the blogs!!!! Love em! !

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lol Trish, yes, that was 2 fails – but mince pies mean less to me than Mintoes! Our weather is a funny ol’ thing, as they say – the forecast is often doom and gloom but the reality is almost always sun and more sun. Forecast 12°/13°c today and it’s been brahming and at least +5°c over the forecast – maybe it’s the hill sheltering us that boosts the temperature here. A return to 20°c+ from the weekend is forecast so more to come.
        Thanks, I will have a look at filmon, – we’ve been happy with YouTube, it isn’t great but it’s OK and Amanda gets audio on her soaps along with weirdly formed screen scenes from whoever it is that puts them out.
        I’m up to date with blogs now!!!!!!! OK, there’s the last 3 days…..


    • Thanks David, we are sitting on the balcony as the early morning sun lights up the Med; we can hear birds twittering and clacking and the distant sound of dogs barking as we soak up the increasing heat from the sun; it’s very hard to believe that it’s the 31st December! It’s been the best 6 months or so of our lives tinged with sadness at not having our family around enough. Who knows what 2015 will bring! All the best for ’15 to you and yours. Roy & Amanda


  1. Hello from a newbie – I’m Jane & have been following your travels, along with a few other bloggers, as we will be crossing the channel on March 30th & travelling in Bessie our Moho for 6mths. We’re not planning too much, just making notes of places that all you lovely people recommend on your blogs. We plan to “do” France / Spain / Portugal, meeting up with Phil’s brother in Gibralter. What I was wondering was, how to guarantee that we will be able to get connected to the internet. I notice you have the iBoost. Which one do you have & is it worth the expense? There are a few models. Would you recommend buying the omni directional version at £200? I have been also wondering whether you only buy your food in Lidl for a reason, or do you top up with fresh produce from local markets. Is Lidl considerably cheaper than the local shops? I shall continue to follow your tales with smiles. Have a very Happy New Year in sunny Portugal. We’re staying with our friends who live in Crinan, on the West Coast of Scotland, being thoroughly spoilt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jane, nice to hear from you and we know what it’s like wondering about all of the factors that may affect you when you venture down this way – the reality is quite different and, in the main, not as daunting as it may appear to be when you’re back home in Blighty!
      On the internet front, almost all of the aires that we’ve been on and definitely all of the campsites that we’ve been on have WiFi access, some are free, some cost to get (most we’ve paid is €1/day) and some require that you buy in their cafe/restaurant to get an id/password. None have been as good/reliable as when we had a bricks and mortar home in the UK.
      There have been times when the signal is too weak to reach the pitch that we’ve been on and iBoost has been useful in getting a signal to the van. Another example is where we paid for access but it was to use one device, say a tablet only, and we have used iBoost to receive the signal and the iBoost router then sprays it to all 3 of our ‘devices’.
      Our favoured method is a MiFi (like the Netgear Aircard) with a data-only sim on a monthly contract – we are with ‘3’ in the UK and that contract sim also works in France, albeit slower than in the UK. It doesn’t work in Spain or Portugal at the present time. I will be looking for a sim to put into an unlocked MiFi that we have – being independent of campsite WiFi’s is preferable for some things – will still use campsite WiFi to stream videos in providing it doesn’t cost anything.
      The iBoost that we have is the omni-directional fitted system, best to study how to use it for best results – otherwise it can take a while to understand how it works. It’s a big (ish) subject in an ever-changing environment and I expect 4G to be a game-changer once it has Euro-wide coverage. Bring it on!
      On the shopping front, there are many other supermarkets around, I guess it’s just that Lidl’s are familiar and exist just about everywhere – whereas other supermarkets may be localised, although there are national ‘names’ in places like France. I think there may be more Lidl’s around. It’s not necessarily a cost thing as some of the other supermarkets can be good as well, but, by and large, as in the UK, Lidl aren’t Sainsbury-like prices and you don’t necessarily know which of the local supermarkets are in the Sainsbury-type class.
      Hope some of this helps and Happy New Year and all the best for your trip!


  2. Thank you so much for your v interesting reply. It gives us a lot to work from. As you say, it all seems daunting and we want to make sure we sort things out now, so we don’t regret not doing it, once we get across the channel.
    Our previous venture was last year, when Phil cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats. He did it the long way round & it took 6 weeks. This is our blog ….
    Happy travelling – I’m sure you’ll hear from me again. I hope you don’t mind if I pick your brains. It’s just good to have someone who’s done it all before, rather than worrying about how stuff.


    • Had a quick read through your blog – well done Phil! Saw Kinlochbervie listed (I was last there in 1976) and you started out by going the long way around the top!
      Not sure if I should mention this – 6 weeks? – I’ve done JOGLE twice, once quite slowly (17.5 hours!) and the second time in 2010 in 13 hours and 29 minutes!!
      Like Phil, I also did it on a 2 wheeler!
      OK, so I had a 1200cc engine underneath me – plus whereas Phil arrived at LE fitter than he left JOG, I arrived ABSOLUTELY jiggered, I could barely dismount or re-mount my bike!
      We’re back in Twernt in a couple of days so our journey will continue by Tuesday/Wednesday – we’re , hoping to wildcamp and use aires only on our return trip north – we shall see!
      Roy & Amanda


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