Month: February 2017

La Farola & Miramar

La Farola restaurant opened its doors yesterday after a week or more of activity.  Chairs and tables have been stacked in the square in the open.  Workmen have arrived each morning and have sat outside smoking and chatting until someone arrived with a key.  It has not been a frenzy of activity at least for observers but with the numbers through the doors there has been a great deal achieved.

It’s been a mixed up week weatherwise.  We haven’t had snow or ice but just about everything else that you can imagine.   It keeps you alert, I remember being told, the erratic weather.

Wednesday was a beautiful day, perfect for the Malaga open topped tour bus.  But we had a night of thunder and lightning and heavy showers.  Yesterday’s rain sent us and half the tourist population to the huge Miramar shopping centre.  Thankfully we declined the offer to be directed to Miramar along the beach as if I had been fit enough for the walk we would have been drenched half way there as huge dollops of rain arrived out of nowhere.

The bus took us to the centre and we huddled with half the other passengers under the bus stop canopies whilst the brave and foolhardy raced for the entrance.    Those who entered through the car park had to wade through the gathering water at the entrance as drains failed.

Whilst we waited in shelter, we spoke to a couple from Toronto, Canada, who were from Glasgow originally and had gone for two years to Toronto 53 years ago and only returned to Scotland to visit.

Eventually the rain abated sufficiently for us to cross over the road, ignoring the designated crossing areas and choosing the quickest path we could.

Miramar is huge, reminds me of Dubai airport with its spacious halls, gleaming floors and light fittings and hordes of people.  It is mostly upmarket designer stores although there is a Penneys and there is a discount supermarket.

Buses were equally packed on the return journey home and our bus was filled to standing capacity before we left the first stop.

We had watched the activity all week in front of us and realise now that La Farola own the whole ground floor of the square opposite.  We were told it was to open for the first time last night and we were not sure if they were actually open for business.  The stacked tables outside were as they had been all week.  We called over to discover behind the bougainvillea covered arches there is an inside restaurant with seating for sixty or more.  We were asked if we had booked and the waiter looked disappointed when we replied in the negative but he did find us a table.

What a treat was in store.  The food was simply excellent.  I had home made chicken liver pate, smooth and rich, with melba toast and cumberland sauce.  There were another three side dishes, capers, sweetcorn mixture and onion.  Margaret’s prawn cocktail was a very generous portion and both dishes were beautifully presented.

My grilled sole with plain boiled potatoes and vegetables was cooked to perfection but Margaret faced an upward climb with the huge size of her grilled sea bass which was again accompanied by potatoes and vegetables.  Steadily we ploughed through the food, too delicious to leave more than the skeletal remains.

I chose the creme caramel for dessert ducking out on the blueberry cheesecake as I had by then eaten more at one sitting than I have for a long time. Margaret had the tiramisu.   Half a bottle of wine was included with each set menu.  Margaret had the red and I opted for sangria believing I would be charged for it and for the bottle of water I also ordered.  The bill was €18.95 each, just the charge for a meal from the set menu with no extras charged.    I should add the set menu has more choices on it than I have ever seen on a set menu.

The setting in the restaurant is what I would imagine is traditional Spanish decorated in deep colours.  The seating is very comfortable and at no time did we feel we were being hurried.   The musicians who played were traditionally dressed, in superb quality local costumes and livened up the atmosphere in the restaurant although it was never dull or quiet as there were around 50 diners inside and some of the tables were re-set to accommodate later arrivals.

La Farola is open as I write at almost 3 pm our time and there are groups of people at the outside tables enjoying lunch in the open air and in the sunshine.  Some have huge linen sun parasols giving them shade from the sun which has come out into its own beating down from a clear blue sky.

Happy days and how lucky am I.

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Love in all its guises

I popped down to Benalmadena on Sunday afternoon.  I was supposed to meet a couple of friends at Elaineas in my square, but when I couldn’t see anyone around I headed off to catch two buses just so I could have a roast dinner.  It’s more than just a roast dinner.  There are seven different vegetables, carrots, roast parsnips, caramelised onion, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese and whole beans, and a choice of roast lamb, chicken or beef and roast and creamed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and a jug of gravy as good as I make myself.

There was so much on my plate that I took a plastic container home and had that for dinner last night.

It was a wild and stormy day on Sunday after a night of torrential rain and thunder and lightning storms – not what you kind of expect when you conjour up an image an image of the Costa del Sol.    The storm had abated landwise as I set off but the seas were so high that the frothy foam was sweeping over the walkways adjacent to the beaches.

I walked up the road to catch the first bus that would take me as far as the bus station to catch the 120, which passed Benalmadena.   I checked carefully and I had just missed the No 1 but the number 4 was due in about ten minutes.   Chatted to an English woman who had failed to see the timetable but had watched me take note.  Well I didn’t take note carefully enough because the allotted ten minutes passed and no bus arrived.

I looked at the timetable again and sure enough the service was listed as Sundays and Bank Holidays.  Then I realised that it was highlighted in yellow and found that the yellow relates to summer season and summer we are not.

As the next bus was not due or fifty minutes according to the regular timetable I saved my 1.15 euro bus fare and walked to the main bus station.

I was just in time for the bus there and was glad to get out of the blustery weather.  Blustery was not what you could call the weather when I got off the bus in Benalmadena opposite McDonalds.  The weather was mad.  The huge waves rolling in were vicious and frightening with the force of their intensity.  I pressed the button to stop the traffic so I could cross the road and was almost thrown into the oncoming traffic.  Really scary stuff as I had to hold on to the lamppost to stay upright.  I would have loved to take a photograph but couldn’t risk getting my phone out of my handbag.  Goodness knows where it might have ended up.

McDonalds was devoid of people – well there were some customers I could see but it was a different story in Horizon which was packed.  Oliver – (he is the most unlikely Oliver as he is as Spanish as they come) – put me at a table close to the door and the corner of the marquee that covers the front half of the restaurant – as I had not booked.

The gale was such it was lifting the weighted corners to the rear of me so I asked Oliver and one of the two beautiful waitresses could they move me further away from the door as soon as a seat became available.  Everyone who came in or out released another blast of cold air into the restaurant and even though all the indoor heaters were blasting out hot air they were not sufficient if you were sitting where I was.

A couple came in after me and were seated even closer to the entrance. He was tall and she was petite and slim.  Even though she had a jumper and scarf on within seconds of sitting down she was complaining she was cold.   He was well built and it would explain why initially he didn’t feel the cold, but eventually it penetrated and overhearing my request they followed suit.  I thought he was going to explode when a group of four walked out leaving the door wide open to the elements but in fairness I think a gust of wind blew the door ajar again as one of the women kindly came racing back to shut the door more firmly.

We were moved to the tables they had vacated and sat in comfort once more.  The lady continued to say it was not right and the man placated her and diverted her attention by asking what she wanted to eat.  We soon were chatting amiably and it turned out that they had been travelling for some months and were to be in the ‘warmer climate’ and away from the cold of the UK for another six weeks.

By this time I had realised that the poor lady was suffering from senile dementia.  She was years younger than me, poor girl, and her husband covered up at times when she made some outlandish remark.  I heard all about what she had worked at and worked very hard and successfully at for years until she had become ill; about her children, all girls, who were wonderful to her and her beloved grandchildren.   She was a sweetheart and whilst the mind may have become confused I would like to think that what was left was the most loving and gentle nature and that she had been like that all her life.

She was certainly reaping the rewards of a life well led, as all the caring she had bestowed around her was being heaped on her tenfold.  Her husband, and it was a second marriage, explained about having to have her hair cut to tidy it up and the lady who usually came in to do it when they were at home in the UK would be annoyed that the Spanish hairdresser had changed the style.  The Spanish had made a good job of her hair and the style suited her elfin face – if you think of an Audrey Hepburn-shaped face.

We continued chatting, the lady smiling all the while and contributing to the conversation when she could.

As I got up to leave and head west along, she smiled at me and blew me a kiss and said, ‘You are beautiful.’   But she was the beautiful one, just a sweetheart of a woman.   Her husband has to cover up for her every day of their life and at least she is still as gentle and as loving as I expect she has always been.   Love does come in many guises and, thankfully, does overcome many obstacles.

 

Technical I am not!

I am not technical and although being told that this flat had wifi (weefee is how the beautiful agent pronounced it) – it does not.  It also has Spanish television which is becoming quite an education.  There’s a first date programme that I can’t believe is aired in this Catholic country.  It’s like nothing you would see in Ireland or the UK!  I have to learn Spanish and intend to work on that when I go home at the end of next month.

During my tour of the phone shops the day after I arrived in Fuengirola I encountered excellent salesmen, and disinterested salesgirls, as there are I suppose in every county.  Thankfully the friend with me was almost fluent in Spanish. And after being told I could not purchase wifi for two months only and being ignored by the girls in one shop, we tried the green branded Yoigo shop.

There was a queue with two men serving which was hopeful.  One of the men left shortly after and the remaining amiable salesman would smile at us periodically between serving a girl and her partner.  It was a lengthy purchase and when there was a need to complete some paperwork, the salesman dealt with the next person in the queue who was now in front of us.

The street door opened and a Spanish man entered, weighed up the opposition and manoeuvred himself for a central attack.   My friend and I whispered to each other that he was intent on pushing ahead of us.   But he didn’t have a chance as we edged forwards and sideways in a pincer movement to successfully block his access to the counter.

We had queued long enough.  But we had made the movement unnecessarily as the gentlemanly salesman asked how he could help us, ignoring the Spanish man who tried to get served ahead of us.   I explained that I needed wifi for two months for my laptop.  (I was in the process of adding greatly to my vodafone bill easily using up my data and non-European minutes)   I have since learned that my 64 euro purchase of a dongle which included 30 euros data was an expensive way to obtain wifi but purchase it I did and set off happily on my way.

However I just couldn’t get into the wifi on my laptop no matter which way I tried and next morning headed back to the green branded shop with my laptop and said dongle.  There were only two men in front of me (one of whom turned out to be my landlord and the other his friend who would complete the repairs I wanted done in the flat.  I couldn’t call his friend a workman because what workman arrives with a roll of insulating tape and has no means of cutting it.   The landlord got a knife from the kitchen drawer to cut the tape.  He couldn’t cut with that knife so I gave him my nail scissors!)

I explained my problem to the smiling salesman and in a jiffy he had loaded the dongle and the wifi on to my laptop and demonstrated how I could open it.

I had to make another visit as suddenly the wifi connection was very slow and as I have no patience gave it up.  Why does this always happen when the shops are closed on a Saturday evening?   I don’t know what the smiling salesman did but he did something with the laptop and dongle and it was soon whizzing away at a reasonable speed.   I have since topped up and each time this lovely man smiles and helps everyone who comes into his shop.  Some of the customers are obviously like me, not technical and don’t want to understand how things work, just want them to work.   He has so much patience with everyone and is such an asset to his company.

On my four-day trip home for a unsuccessful hospital appointment which I had waited months for, (the consultant phoned in sick and the other person I could have seen was on a day off.  Well everyone is entitled to be sick and have a day off and the lady in CUH who explained and apologised was so kind and helped me to the bus stop for the Skibbereen bus.)  I went to my saviour in the Vodafone shop.  John is brilliant and has sorted out my Vodafone with another package which has kicked in now but not before I have successfully notched up a mighty data bill.

However it is all a learning curve and I know now what I have to do when I come back here for the winter.

Happy Days!

 

 

The morning coffee gang

morning-coffee-gang

After being reliably informed on Wednesday that this was the worst Spanish winter since the 1950s, today, Friday, February 17th turned out to be a blistering hot day.   Too hot to sit out in the square as my sunglasses were in the flat and an hour or so over a tapas and freshly squeezed orange juice was enough for me.  I retreated to my welcome cool lounge with the balcony windows open.  There were different people sitting at different restaurants/ tapas bars during the day.  Farola Square is a very popular destination with its Andalusian tiered buildings.

This post was to be about Tatiana, the smiling waitress from Ecuador who serves us coffee and breakfast each morning in the café at the top of the road.   I did try to capture a photograph of Tatiana on her own but there was so much messing about – she tends to put rude hand signs up when she is posing for a photograph – so I couldn’t show you the photographs I took of her.  This photograph was taken by someone else she had enlisted and I am holding her hands to stop her fingers signalling rude words.

The whole episode caused much hilarity and sorry to Elaine and Terese who were watching my battle to hold the exuberant Tatiana down so we get at best, side views of them.  The others are David and Diane.

Tatiana is from Ecuador and one year ago, so the others tell me, had no English.   Her English is excellent now although the translation for a very small roll, half size, has gone beyond all of us and I have given up.  Today I had something else, a long pastry like a fluted finger.  A tub of honey is delivered to the table.  Squirt some honey on to your plate, dip the finger of pastry in the honey and it’s a delicious combination.

The café is popular, and I am told in the season there are queues along the street.  It is a family run concern save for one other and Tatiana.

Who could help but smile when this small dynamite of a woman weaves in and out the tables, clearing as she goes, taking orders from newcomers and all completed with a smile that reaches deep into her soul.  She is one very warm happy woman who keeps up with the banter from the customers and has such patience with newcomers like myself who really don’t know what they want.

She would lift your spirits on the dullest of days and works hard with a permanent beaming smile on her face.

La Farola restaurant, in the square which is my temporary abode, has been closed since before Christmas.  The owner wanted to spend time with his children and to play golf.  Perfectly understandable.  The food is reputed to be excellent so I am looking forward to them opening in the next week or so.  There has been activity over the past week or so with staff in and out, probably cleaning.  There’s another Spanish restaurant to my left as I come out my building and they are open in the morning, you can have a drink later in the day but they don’t serve food until 8 pm.  The next restaurant is more of a tapas bar and Elaina the waitress begins work early, around 8 am as the restaurant is busy with breakfasts.  They have square tables that seat four and green plastic chairs to sit on.  Elaina starts clearing tables and chairs away around 2 pm.  The restaurant next door to that has purple chairs and they serve more substantial meals and serve a bit later.  Then next going around clockwise is La Farola which is opening soon and beyond that a couple of doors further along Simon runs a tapas bar and specialises in paella.  His chairs are white with pink seat cushions.

You will understand why I have yet to turn the cooker on in this flat.

Stormy Day

I awakened to grey skies and the temperature had dropped to 17 degrees this morning.   Unusual for this part of Spain although a fount of knowledge enlightened me yesterday with the information that this was the worst winter Spain had experienced since the 1950s.

I’ve just come back from the sea front where it looks like an English resort on a summer’s day.  The white foaming waves beat their rhythmic drumming on the sea shore.  The walkers along the flat sea front are gamely braving the strong wind which brings a chill to the now 16 degree temperature at 8 pm.  They are wrapped up in anoraks and scarves, some with hats on their heads.

You can usually tell the newly arrived Brits from the Spaniards.  To the Spaniards this is the depth of winter and they wear padded coats and scarves, whilst the Brits sport shorts above pale white legs and sleeveless t-shirts, sometimes vests, but I have yet to see a string one.

It’s amazing the change in the weather because bright blue skies framed a balmy hot yesterday and we all thought this was the change in the Spanish weather.  At this time yesterday I was sitting outside in the square enjoying a cup of tea with a couple of friends  In fact I spent about four hours in the square yesterday chatting with various people enjoying the sunshine.

I’ve just eaten a delicious grilled chicken and vegetable meal in Sol y Mar.   I’ve eaten there before, a delightful concoction of tantalising tastes encased in a vol a vent.  The pastry is as light as air and heart shaped slices of apple and strawberry finish off this tapas.

It’s the first time I have eaten since I arrived that I have had to take shelter indoors, well only within a marquee-type canopy, with clear plastic sides.

What also is a shock to the system is the amount of people smoking, lots of young people.  And they smoke in restaurants and bars.

Three gorgeous girls were at one table.  I would estimate late teens early twenties and the trio were supping what looked like large wine glasses of coke-a-cola but I suspect there was something stronger adding to the watery look of the coke.  They each had long hair – so many Spanish girls do – and one was slightly blonder than the other two who had sleek dark tresses.   A handsome young man entered the restaurant and joined the trio.  He kissed the two dark haired girls on each cheek leaning over the glass-strewn table to reach the second girl, but only kissed the third blonde girl, once on the cheek – why was that?

There was a football match underway on the large flat screen tv behind the front bar.  Two young Spanish lads in front of me were drinking several beers, smoking enthusiastically and one comfortably facing the screen, the other twisting around in his chair to keep up with the game.

A group on the other side were noisily enjoying each other’s company and I would have loved to understand what they were saying.  I suspect they had been fuelling their enjoyment with liquid over a number of hours.  The craic sounded mighty.

I couldn’t finish my skewered chicken breast as there was just far too much for me -delicious though it was.  It was interspersed with skewered vegetables, mainly tomatoes, peppers, onions and courgette.   The restaurant brought me out a complementary dish, which had caramel wavy strips piped across the plate, a piped star-shaped cream centre and two tiny squares of creme caramel, the bottom layer soaked in some kind of liqueur.

This is the life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not all Brexit and Trump

It’s times like last night that you realise there is more to life than Trump and Brexit.   Who and what are they anyway?   It has become too depressing to deal with either and in this last week when my oldest and bestest friend passed away, there has to be something better in life.

A Touch of Class put on a Valentine’s Day show in Lux Mundi last night.  My days of Valentine cards and Roses are long gone but as I arrived at the centre last night a kindly soul handed me a spray of pink carnations and red roses which are now centre place in the apartment I am renting.

The pretty fragrant spray was thrust into my hand ‘there’s one left and we’d like you to have it,’ which sort of set the tone for the evening.

There was a generosity of spirit as the five men and nine women entertained us for around three hours with a short interval for tapas, one each, and one glass of wine, a choice of red or white.  There was a raffle too which also raised much needed funds.

The show was just delightful.  Good generous people are the words which kept spinning around in my head.  The generosity of spirit was there as all were equal and each singer or musician had their opportunity to star and take a solo bow.   And they could sing and keep perfect timing with routines – something I for one of the Baltimore Singers have found great difficulty with.

The gowns at times were glittering swathes twirling as the nine songstresses animatedly added to the meaning of the words which were sung clearly and with much emphasis on ‘love’ as this was after all a Valentine’s Day concert.

The five men in dinner jacket and gleaming white shirts had a glitter all of their own with neat bow ties, two sparkling pink ones and three equally bright glittery red ones.

Two men, one who changed from sound control chief to musician for his numbers, with one of the other of the five, strummed guitars as they sang along.  There was humour as some standard lyrics were changed to suit the occasion and the medley of songs ranged from Lonnie Donnegan and that dreaded chewing gum on the bedpost overnight, to Elvis Presley’s ‘Will you love me tonight’,  a selection of Beatles’ songs,  and from the musicals a gun toting, Deadwood Stage .

When requested the audience sang along and two heroes from the audience, men of a certain era twisted and bopped their rear ends when commanded by Pauline, the group’s musical director.

Pauline’s smiling face set the tone for the evening, which was happy, innocent with a touch of mischief and who could help but smile back at such joy.   Pauline’s said to be strict in rehearsal and rehearsals have been long and hard.

One of the first lady aviators I had the privilege of interviewing in Castletownshend, Mrs Warren, wisely told me that if we give something we are actually doing it for ourselves. She was explaining why she had given the Boathouse to the village.   It takes a while but think of it and the pleasure you do get from giving something, whether it is a compliment or a gift that delights its recipient.

A Touch of Class were very much the givers and receivers last night as the pleasure they had in entertaining us was matched by the wonderful applause and reception they received, which brought much-deserved joy to them.  They were doubly giving because all profits raised from the concert and the raffle will help feed the 28/29 homeless people who are fed in Lux Mundi each day.

So there are the Brexiteers and there are the Trumps.  What value do they have?   Very little I would say.  They will disappear into history both blots on humanity whereas everyone who volunteered last night and A Touch of Class would have no truck with choosing what nationality would receive the food they had helped raise money for.

It’s great to know that there are still good people in this world.  The unsung heroes.

 

U3A

 

Today I joined the University of the Third Age.   I remember hearing of this over the years.  I also met the rudest, most arrogant man I have encountered in a very long time.

And I am afraid I told him he was.

Friends had mentioned that I should go into Lux Mundi which is only about fifty yards from my apartment.

They cater for all nationalities, but there were mostly English voices I heard today when I dropped in.  Luz Mundi is the venue and consists of spacious buildings, much larger than appears from the narrow entrance door, which is off a typical, for Fuengirola anyway, street, tiled and cobbled in places.  Once inside there is a reception desk to the right and some seating and a coffee table in front of the walls to the left which sport sheets of information.

I can’t remember the name of the very friendly man, with a wide welcoming smile, who took over from the rather worried looking Spanish lady.  He asked me to sit down and calm down, mistaking my asthmatic breathing for anxiety.

I was glad of the seat anyway and he patiently explained to me I would have to become a member of U3A before being allowed to participate in any of the classes which were run within the building.

There’s a coffee dock through from the reception and the whole open area must take over the back of three or four of the small houses along the street.  There is an outside area too with seating and, sorry to rub it in, but today the sun is shining and it is really hot again.

I was given a prospectus to read whilst the smiley man went off to attend to someone else who arrived.  I noticed he hugged and kissed some of the arrivals.

It was while I was reading through the prospectus and copying information on to my phone that a tall slim handsome chap with greying hair settled in one of the chairs on the other side of the coffee table.  He was accompanying his elderly mother who looked a sweetie pie of a woman, as short as he was tall.

He told me the booklet I had was a year out of date, which it was, but it contained information I wanted.  He told me there were all sorts of classes running, which was what I was trying to read about.  He told me he had attended the science meeting, which had been very informative and about black holes.  He said, ‘I was so surprised as some of the people there were actually intelligent and understood what was being talked about.’

I stopped what I was doing.  ‘That’s a very rude and arrogant comment to make about elderly people.’   I commented.   ‘Well they were all elderly so I was surprised.’ He countered.

‘Just because you see an old woman in front of you that doesn’t mean I have never achieved anything and I have probably achieved more than you have.’

‘Anyway you are not old,’ he replied.  ‘You are probably around the same age as me – 59.  I’m a Cambridge graduate!’ he exclaimed.

‘That does not give you the right to pigeon hole people you know nothing about in such a demeaning manner.   I could give you quite a few more years than that, but whatever age you are does not give you the right to speak about anyone like you have.’

‘You are quite defensive.’  He said.

I returned to reading through my prospectus and the graduate tried to involve me in other conversation, but his sweetie pie of a mother, told him that I was busy reading as if she could see what he could not.

The smiley man rescued me and asked if there were any of the classes I was interested in.  When I said choir and writing, he led me through beyond reception to the back area and introduced me to a group of ladies about my own age who are the writing group.

They got an up to date U3A booklet for me and a membership application form.  I have since completed this and paid my membership fee and will join the next writing group in two weeks’ time.

I’d overheard about a concert which is on tonight and asked smiley man about it.  So I am going to ‘a Touch of Class’ for their Valentine’s Day Concert tonight in Lux Mundi for all of five euros which includes one tapa and one drink.  Hola!

 

My favourite Hat and the wonderful Spanish Man

I nearly lost my favourite hat today – again.  You know the one I ‘lost’ last December, the turquoise one with sparkly beading on the front that I got from Violette’s in Main Street, Skibbereen.  I bought it over two years ago and people have begun to recognise me by the hat.

I was in Cork airport, yet again, on Sunday and one of the staff said he had recognised me by the hat.  It was cold enough on Sunday, a blistering biting wind and the hat, which is double lined, was an absolute necessity.

I thought I had lost it last December, and phoned every single person I had visited and each venue I had been in over that fateful weekend when my hat had disappeared, to no avail.  I have other hats but this one is pretty special, even though Hammond’s Jack Russell chewed a couple of the sparkly beads off before we noticed what she was doing.

I was reluctantly using some of my other hats for a couple of weeks last December when I returned to the hairdressers.  I asked if they had found my hat but they have a routine of placing what has been left in the salon on the coat hooks by the counter.  There was a heap of coats on the hooks and I pulled them around a bit but no hat was visible.

By the time I was leaving Hair Heaven, there were fewer coats on the hooks and there it was hiding underneath a couple of jackets – my precious and beloved hat.  I was so delighted and resolved not to let it out of my sight again.

Today, with a handbag slung over my shoulder and a bag of recycling in my hand I had a firm grip on the hat in case it rained.   It is 17 degrees in Fuengirola but it rained yesterday and it was threatening to rain today and I have no umbrella.

Here in Spain they have recycling set up really well.  At various points there are sleek shiny bins of different hues by the side of road.  I didn’t know what to do with my rubbish the first week I was here and only found out about the bins just before I was heading back home for a few days.   I though the bins at first glance looked kind of small but when you open the lid you realise there is a cavernous space below them underground.

I had recycled my organic (food) waste before I went home but had accumulated several bags of recycling.   I meet the same group of people each morning for coffee and today I headed up the road between the orange trees intending to deposit another bag of recycling and then meet the others in the café.

I don’t know where my head was – certainly not in the hat – which ended up on top of a heap of recycling papers and boxes fifteen feet or so below the ground and my bag of recycling still safely clutched in my hand.

What a clown and as I peered down to my yet again lost hat I wondered what on earth I could do – or had my beloved hat gone for ever this time and was it destined to end its life by contaminating a mountain of recycling.

Help was at hand in the form of a very handsome clean cut Spanish man who enquired what the problem was.  Well I think that was what he was asking as I have no Spanish and I didn’t understand what he was saying.  I expect it is not often he sees an old lady with a bag of recycling bag in hand staring despondently into the depths below the opened bin door.

I patted my head a few times and pointed into the recycling bin.  It took a while for him to catch on but catch on he did and my hero indicated ‘I’ll be Back!”   Not quite like Arnie but near enough to placate this damsel in distress.

Sure enough – whilst I stood guard on the open bin refusing to let anyone else put their recycling on top of my precious hat – my saviour hurried to a large grey porta cabin near the building site behind the bins.   He produced a pole about fifteen feet long and I could see him working at one end of it.  He had somehow inserted a hook and he returned triumphantly along the street brandishing the pole.

It was only on the second attempt that he secured my turquoise beaded hat and I was so thrilled and thanked him profusely.  I have a big box of Cadbury’s chocolates I am going to drop off to him tomorrow morning on my way to coffee in the café.

Aren’t Spanish men wonderful!    The young man who sold me a dongle two weeks ago was equally as sweet but that’s for another time.