Agosto

August, the hottest month in Spain. ( And usually the busiest, maddest month too).

Before we moved here, we always came for a week , arriving on Bank Holiday Monday, and it wasn’t too bad heat wise for us at all.

The first week of this August was stressful. We had booked to go back to the UK for a fortnight, escaping said madness, and at last seeing my darling son, ( after a year) and catching up with numerous friends. We had booked a cottage in Blakeney on the north Norfolk coast over a year ago, and it`s been touch and go for months as to whether we would get there, with Covid travel rules changing weekly. So it was a last minute panic , but we did get there. Surprisingly easily too. The airports were quiet, calm and quick to get through. Don’t talk to me about filling in passenger locator forms though aagghh.

Arriving in the UK was a shock to us. I don’t know why we didn’t think it would be. Bar four weeks last August, when we packed up our house to move here permanently, we have lived here for eighteen months. The weather and the grey skies ( except for the odd few hours when I took photos!) were relentless. We were cold in the cottage. It was 14 degrees at night. I wore a long cardigan and leggings during the day, and Andrew wore jeans for the first time . I think we became moaning ex pats, well I know we did. I had forgotten what the British weather was like, and why we had moved to Andalucia.

The mask wearing rules in the UK made no sense. We live in a stricter regime here quite happily. There, rules were flouted defiantly-even at the airport and on the plane coming back,( and yes I did whinge to the stewardess), and some restaurants were busy and buzzy ( like the Gunton Arms),  but the Blakeney Hotel in the village, to which we had hoped to have many an early doors drink , was closed to non-residents as was the other pub. Hopeless.

I missed being outside all the time with the sun on my face, eating outside, ( we didn’t sit at the table in the courtyard once), but having said all this, it was lovely to see Tom -who was oblivious to the weather and went kayaking etc etc.. and my parents in their care home, and we had many fun evenings with delicious food with our friends in all our old stomping grounds.

A highlight was a boat trip from Wells-next-the-Sea, through the marshes, a gentle chug, drifting through the creeks, spying an egret amongst the sea lavender-calm and beautiful and for a while a tad sunny.

I am thankful for the newly opened Two Magpies Bakery and Café in the village, as we not only bought copious amounts of bread, croissants, brownies etc there, but we used it as a meeting place and hogged tables for hours chatting to friends.

We arrived with three suitcases-one empty, and we returned with three cases, all hovering on the 20 kg mark! Yes I did do a little shopping.

Back to Spain. An ultra clean house ,swimming pool and watered plants, due to the work of lovely Pam, Tracy and Mark. My friend Ana escaped her family and had some `me time` by our pool too, which I loved.

It`s boiling  hot. It`s humid, we sleep on top of the sheets, ceiling fans whirring at full pelt, sliding doors wide open , the dog( back from his holiday at Seacrest Kennels) sleeps with a large bowl of water next to him, the terraces have been shrouded in red dust again due to the wind and the odd overnight shower, so my husband has moaned like hell, but cleaned them over and over. Calle Real is packed at the weekend with a slow snake of cars heading for Maro beach, which is so overloaded apparently , that they close it after it`s reached a certain level of people. We haven’t been there for three years , and head for quieter beaches. Our swimming pool water is 30 degrees, and the sea is warm.

But despite all this August madness WE LOVE IT!

The Spanish sit outside in the street on garden chairs, talking until late, and the old ladies are back to muttering `mucha calor, mucha calor` to anyone and everyone.

Mangoes and figs are back in season. As I have said before , here we only really eat what is in season, so my beloved cherries have gone, until next year. And I will have to learn to slice a mango again-no mean feat. But they are sweet and juicy and headily perfumed.

We met friends for a drink ( or six) in the bar on our first night back, and Linda arrived with a pot of her homemade fig jam for us. Scrumptious! If you are given fruit or vegetables here by kind neighbours, you never just get one of two of anything. It’s a bag full, so we all share again.

Do try baking a ripe fig piled with crumbled goats cheese, serrano ham and topped with walnuts and dripping with honey. Yum. Muy rico!

We have ( at last), next week, got friends coming from the UK to stay which will be fun, and Tom is booked to come here for Christmas.

It`s good to be back.

Tom and I
Andrew in Blakeney
Blakeney harbour
Wells-next-the-Sea
Egret on the marsh
Catching up with lovely friends
Maro
Mangoes galore
Figs

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