Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Spanish Adventure

Hello everyone. As you can probably tell I'm back from my jollies in Spain. I had a great week there with Marilyn (Maz) and we seemed to spend the whole week stitching, laughing and drinking...oh and we went out a few times too of course.

The flight over to Murcia from Newcastle was uneventful but by the time I got we landed I was ready for hitting a few people. I hate flights where the person in front of you doesn't sit still and is trying to break my knee-caps, when I have kids sitting next to me with ants in their pants who can't sit still and keep digging me in the ribs, and when there's an older kid sitting behind me kicking the back of my chair! GRRRR! Anyway, Maz was waiting for me when I got off the plane and we drove back to her apartment on the urbanisation where she lives. It's somewhere between Alicante and Murcia, not far from Torrevieja (pronounced Torrebiecka), among orange and lemon groves. Right outside they're building a golf course so it's a bit dusty, but it wasn't blowing all that much so it wasn't a problem. This is the front of Maz's apartment, the one upstairs, dark brown door. Actually the door is the same colour as the one next to it but there's an iron gate in front of it so it makes it look darker on this pic below. Being an upstairs apartment there's a roof terrace which has some gorgeous views in all directions and is a real sun trap.

View from the roof over the salt lakes (above)

View over the new golf course (below) which is still a work in progress. In the distance you can just about see another urbanisation and the mountains

Below - a clearer day where the mountains are more in view - I waited all week to get a good photo of those ruddy moutains but they were very elusive!

When we arrived at Marilyn's I was greeted by her two dogs, Candy who is a Jack Russell aged 12, and Tessa, a Westie aged 9.

We spent most of that first afternoon catching up on family news and I gave her the things I'd taken over for her, like the hardanger mat I made her, some bouquet garni and a few other things. Then we got down to stitching. At a very civilised time of day, 4pm Spanish time, we started on the wine. LOL. By the time it was dark enough for Maz to need her lamp we were really comfortable with each other - but we have been chatting online for over a year now - and were having a right laugh. But then we discovered that her lamp had brewer's droop so we had to think of something to keep it up and in place. Maz found the perfect solution - her whisky bottle.

On Sunday we went to the English market at Benijofar, where there were loads of stalls. We stopped at the end of the first stall to have a bacon roll and a delicious cup of tea. I found a stall that sold perle, but I think it's actually crochet cotton. It came in balls of #8 and #12 so I got some anyway, it'll come in useful for something. And it was mega cheap. Maz bought lots of fruit and veg. One thing I can say about the Spanish, their fruit and vegetables are gorgeous, they look nice, are a lovely size and are really cheap. I think Maz paid just under €2 for a whole pineapple, which the man on the stall cored for her, and it was much bigger than the ones we get in this country. And she also got three huge oranges for €1, which we never actually got around to eating! We had the pineapple in a smoothie though and it was totally delicious. When we got back to the apartment we had lunch then stitched all afternoon. I did some of Marilyn's Dreamcatchers project that she is finishing off for her daughter Claire, then I started on a HAED design for her which she had already gridded ready. It's a QS called Motherhood and over the next three days I stitched more than 3000 stitches in it for her, so she has a good start on it anyway. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of that to show you, or the Dreamcatchers. Maybe when Maz reads this she will take a couple of pics for me so I can show you them. (Thanks Maz! LOL)

Maz had her Spanish lesson on Monday morning so I got on with some sewing while she did that. After lunch we went into Los Montesinos, the nearest biggish town. We found a "todo" shop that sold more perle so I bought a whole load more. We then went to the bodega (booze warehouse) and bought some more wine as it seems to be evaporating rather quickly in Maz's apartment. Can't think why. We stitched for the rest of the day.

On Tuesday we went to a great big hypermarket called Carrefour's. It was huge and sold just about everything, though I can't remember seeing any kitchen sinks. I was going to buy a new digital camera but the woman on the counter dithered about that much and we were stood waiting for ages that in the end I changed my mind and we left. I did buy a headset though that I can attach to the laptop and when I download Skype later on today I'll be able to chat to Marilyn voice to voice, which'll be great. She's been nagging me for ages to do it.

When we got back to the apartment I taught Maz how to make pinkeeps. I had taken over these two small hardanger designs that I finished the week before specially for this project. Maz did the purple one and I did the blue one, both of which I left with her to show off. I think she was pretty pleased with this achievement.

After rabbit casserole for dinner that night I started some of my own stitching. I did some of the border on this year's Ozark Sampler SAL that I hadn't started yet. The border is going to do my head in though cos it's huge but it needs to be done before the next part comes out. I did a small part of it then got out my Mini Mandala and carried on with that. I'll take some up-to-date photos later today.

On Wednesday morning we were going to go to the market in San Miguel till Maz remembered that it's very hilly and I'm not good on hills. So we went to Los Montesinos again instead. We parked nearer the town centre this time and while Maz went to the bank I went to the tobacconists and bought some duty free cigarettes for Mick (which he'd given me the money for before I left the UK) and then we walked down to the square for a cup of coffee. We went to the Todo shop again so Maz could get some perle for when I teach her how to do hardanger and then we headed back to the apartment. However, Marilyn got a bit lost and we ended up down a road she'd never been on before. At the bottom of this road were some lovely Spanish fincas (farmhouses). One of them had a profusion - there's a good word for a Sunday - of flowers around the perimeter wall, which I later found out were bougainvilla. Got a couple of photos of them.

And further back up the road was this beautiful finca. The skip in front of it rather spoilt the effect but it does look lovely.

Before we headed back to the apartment we went to Carrefour's again and I got the camera that I'd wanted yesterday. The woman behind the counter must've had a premonition or something because she had it already in the box for me. Either that or wishful thinking.

It was a beautifully sunny day on Wednesday so when we got back from shopping we ate our lunch on the roof and did our stitching up there too, until it started getting a bit too windy and we were chasing our threads all over the place and we decided to go back downstairs again.

We stitched for most of Thursday morning, going out after lunch to get some petrol in the car and a trip to the bodega for more wine. Unfortunately we couldn't get the wine from there as they were transferring everything over to the warehouse next door and the barrels had been emptied to be cleaned. So we went to a small supermarket and got some from there instead. When we got back I started stitching an Elizabeth's Designs project that I'd brought with me, called Pine Tree Cottage. Another one I need to take a photo of.
On Friday I started packing some of my things ready for leaving the following morning. Maz had another Spanish lesson just before lunch, during which time I was using her laptop to check my emails etc. After lunch we sat and did more sewing and chatting. I had an early night that night after finishing up my packing.
Yesterday I came home. I spent almost an hour in the queue at the check-in desk, another 15 or 20 mins in the queue to get through security and then it was almost time to get on the plane. Luckily everyone was well behaved on the way back. I didn't have anyone next to me in my row of seats, the woman in front sat as still as I did, and no one was digging their knees into the back of my seat or kicking it, so I was well happy. We landed back in Newcastle at 2pm but it was almost 3pm by the time I got out of the airport as there was another huge queue at passport control. Then we had to wait ages for our luggage to come on to the carousel. Thankfully Craig was waiting for me when I finally got out of the arrivals bit. We had a bit of a detour on the way home, via the Mitre so I could give Mick his cigarettes. I'd rang Ian on the way over there so he could come up and meet us too. Craig was supposed to have brought some mail that was at our house for him, but he'd forgotten it. We had a quick cup of coffee there then did a couple of messages before heading for home.
There was a huge pile of post for me to open, mostly stuff I'd bought on Ebay before I went away - beads and lobster clasps so I can make some more fobs. Craig went out and bought us a kebab for tea as he couldn't be bothered to cook then I spent the rest of the night chatting to Maz and Kathy, uploading the photos from my cameras and catching up with emails and message boards. I eventually went to bed at about 11pm. I was knackered and my back was killing me.
I had a great time in Spain and I have to go back again to show Maz how to do the cutting and wrapping on her hardanger, once she has mastered the kloster blocks. She wasn't doing too badly with them when I left so by the time I get back there to see her she should be an expert. Here she is trying to figure out how to work her camera. LOL. Thanks Maz for a great week and for having me.


Stitcher said...

Sounds like you had a great time.

Julie said...

Nice pics, sounds like you both had a fun time

Karan said...

Welcome back Jacqui. Nice pics & sounds like you had a great time. :0)

Lynn said...

nice to see your back and had a good time :)

kathyann said...

What a fantastic post ! i love seeing all your photo's,sounds like you had agreat time with your friend! When's the next trip?Room for four more to tag along lol
Love from Kathyann and the girls