Monday, February 27, 2017

Coming and Goings At The MCC (Mojacar Canal Club)

Yesterday we bade farewell to Cathy and Martin (NB Moriarty), they have been here since October, today they returned to their boat in the UK .
They have already booked their flights and accommodation for next October.
See ya later guys xx

Today we welcome Dot and Gordon from NB Ewn-Ha-Cul they are staying for a month. 

This is what they come for.... 

As I've mentioned before Mojacar really is a lovely place to be, its without a doubt the nicest place in Spain unless you like huge shopping centres etc, because there are none!

The MCC is going from strength to strength, we have more members this year, and they are all without fail coming again next year, maybe even more boaters will come next year to escape the dreadful English winter.

Im sad to say that I have literally done nothing this season for the MCC, since losing Elaine my motivation levels have dropped to Zero. Thankfully other boaters Andy and Sue (NB Festina Lente) who have been here for a few months plus a couple of Canadian friends who live here (Barry and Wendy) have stepped up to the plate and have been looking at accommodation and showing the new arrivals the lie of the land.

I did start the new year with a fair bit of optimism, but then mother became seriously ill and died, I'm still not really sure I was unlucky or lucky to be with her when she took her last breath.

Then I sold the motorhome which was the last great memory of my travelling around Europe with Elaine, it was my choice but still upsetting nonetheless.  

The last couple of weeks I have felt really down, with the occasional black thoughts entering my head.

Below sums up how I felt.

So....last Friday night it all came to a head, I was in the pub it was getting late and I was talking to a lovely young girl who had lost her mother to bastard cancer, her mother was only 51!

Im still not sure what triggered it but the next minute in a crowded pub I was bawling my eyes out, the poor girl was apologising for upsetting me, but it had the reverse effect, it felt like a huge weight off my shoulders, it was probably the first time I have had a good bawl since Elaine's funeral.

The next day I woke up feeling so much better, I think I need to let it out more often, but maybe not in a crowded pub!

The landlord was most impressed  at my efforts to attract a young 20 something pretty girl!  

So life is feeling better, not brilliant, just better, I'm in a lovely place surrounded by the most fantastic understanding friends plus the weather's getting warmer every day.

The motorhome is well and truly with its new owners, Im pleased to say they love her, you can read their blog here, plus I have linked their blog to my list.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Manly Ferry Motorhome is Sold Thanks To The Blog

I delivered The Manly Ferry to its new owners today. They are a lovely Australian couple and I wish Allen and Amanda all the best on their future adventures.

I sold the boat through the blog and now the motorhome, its a great way to sell as there is a history that can be checked quite easily, I suppose you could fake the problems, but thats not me, honesty is the best policy and if you are realistic with your price its a winner. They had never seen the motorhome before but were delighted when they saw her in the flesh.

Its now in a site up in Mojacar Pueblo, they will spend a week or so up there kitting her out with their personal bits and pieces then they are off exploring Europe.

I really would have loved to have kept her but living in Spain and having a UK plated van is basically illegal. you might get away with it but if you did have an accident of it was stolen I can absolutely guarantee that the English insurer wouldnt pay, they struggle to pay when you are legal!

I will miss it terribly as it made it so easy to get away especially with the two dogs  plus it was a fantastic motorhome. 

I may have a look around at some Spanish motorhomes, but like their second hand cars they are massively overpriced and crap. 

Mums funeral is on the 14th March so I will fly over there on the 11th and come back on the 15th.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

All Sorts!!!

We had a quick family get together last Thursday morning, where we spoke about mum and how the house cleanup was going to be sorted, I felt so guilty that I wouldn't be there to help, but apparently it's just about done with everyone mucking in to help.

My sister Jackie put some photos up on facebook, so I have nicked them and put them on here. The photos are of a very young mum and dad on their wedding day and honeymoon. They got married in 1952 and went to Jersey for their honeymoon.

Dad died in 1983, so mum will be buried next to him on March 14th, I will go over a few days earlier and catch up with Elaine's sister, I fly back to Mojacar on the 15th March, my sister Jackie and niece Hayley will be coming back with me.

I managed to get in a canal fix before I left.

I have always loved the Three Locks at Stoke Hammond, we used to come here with mum and dad in the 60s, and also passed it in our boat.

Passing through the locks in June 2013, will I go through them again one day????

The flight back to Spain didn't quite to go to plan, we were just about to touch down in Murcia when we lifted off again, there was a fire on the end of the runway and it was too dangerous to land. We diverted to Alicante then they bussed us back to Murcia where I picked up my car and drove back to Mojacar, so rather than being home by 2200 I just made it by 01.00, luckily the pub was still open so I had a quick beer, the first one in 5 days...I think I deserved it!

Up early on friday, first stop was the kennels to pick up the boys, they were so happy to see me, I absolutely hate leaving them but there is no other way. 

Second stop was to the solicitors where I picked up the paperwork for the  Citroen, I could then go to the garage and have the Spanish plates made up....The car is now a Spaniard and full legal here in Spain. It is very different to other old cars in Spain, mine is dent free and shiny, hopefully it will keep that way, it had also increased in value by about 600% I kid you not, the book value in the UK is £250, it's now worth about £1500 here! 

Yesterday was my birthday, I had a quiet one in the day then went down the pub to catch up with a few friends, it went on longer than planned with a quick visit to the chinky, then back to the pub for a few more drinks before calling it quits at 01.30!  It was a very bitter sweet birthday as it was six months to the day since Elaine died and only 2 days since mum had gone. 

I am a very much glass half full person so life will go on, I'm still nowhere near as happy as I was when Elaine was with me but it does get a little more bearable as time goes on.

Yesterday I also met up Allen and Amanda the lovely Australian couple who want to buy the motorhome, we sat in the van for over three hours then went on a test drive, they loved it and have made an offer which I have accepted. The only hurdle is that they have to get it insured which is a bloody nightmare as they have no UK address and Australian drivers licence etc. UK insurance companies really do need a kick up the arse, they are so hard to deal with and have so many ridiculous conditions which basically make it so easy for them to wriggle out of any claim they may have against them, my 2 key hates in the UK are insurance companies and getting charged when you ring a company etc.....In Australia most companies have freephones, they WANT your business. 

Even in bureaucratic Spain, insurance is easy, the Citroen is now insured with a Spanish company, anyone can drive it as long as they hold a drivers licence, it doesnt even matter what county the licence is held in, its simple.  

Once the van goes what next??  It will be the first time since Jan 2012 that I haven't got a boat or motorhome. I feel it wont be long before I do something about it, maybe a caravan....a smaller motorhome or maybe another boat!!!!

I can feel a plan coming on!

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Mum passed away at 02.55 on 16th February 2017.

My niece Kimberley and myself were with her at the end, it was very peaceful.

I am flying back to Mojacar tomorrow so she timed it well :-)

Mum on the left.

See ya later mum, Luv ya XXX

Monday, February 13, 2017

Back To The UK......Again!

My latest trip to the UK has been planned for about a month, the main reason for the trip was to go and watch Manchester Utd play, but since then my mother has been taken ill and is sadly nearing the end of her life.

I changed my itinerary, it was a late night arrival into Luton so I stayed at  a hotel in the middle of the town. 

I was born in Luton and lived there until 1980 when I left for Australia, I worked at Vauxhall Motors as did most of the town. It was quite a nice town back then so I got up early and went for a walk around some old haunts.

What can I say, the poor town is a complete and utter dump, it does have a very nice indoor shopping centre, but this has come at a price, the centre of the town looks like a slum.

I hate pedestrian areas, a few are OK but when the whole centre is pedestrianised in my view it takes away all the character.   

The town hall still stands majestic.

The ABC cinema less so.

The kebab house we frequented after many late nights out is still going.

The Wheelwrights pub is still open, one of very few still trading.

A nice mural blocking one of the less salubrious sites, its a bit like polishing a turd!

Betting shops, pawn shops, charity shops, and one pound shops....bloody awful.

The Duke Of Clarence pub in the centre of town, a very popular pub back in the day.

The subway where me and a few mates were arrested.....say no more on that one, i'm a nice boy now!

And lastly the local where me and my mates started out many nights out downtown, thankfully its still trading.

After my visit to Luton I drove to Bedford hospital where I visited mother, she was pretty bad but still conscious and talking albeit not very clearly.

I stayed for a few hours then drove up to Macclesfield which took twice as long as usual due to awful weather and loads of traffic. I stayed with our friends Jane and Andy, we went out for a fantastic dinner at a local pub, then off to another pub for a few beers before home for a few more drinks, we finally hit the sack at close to 03.00.

Up nice and early to meet up with Ray and Diane from NB Ferndale, lovely friends who magically obtain tickets for Man Utd games.  Diane had literally just got off a plane from Oz, they were staying  at a local premier inn.

We left for the ground in good time and had lunch in a cafe before going to the ground, first up I treated myself to a new Utd shirt, well my birthday is soon!

It was then time to enter the ground, this is the sixth time I have seen them play, it never fails to send shivers up and down my spine, the view, the singing,  its the most amazing sight and sound imaginable. 

The good guys won 2-0 so we were happy chappies.

After the game we drove back to Macclesfield where we had dinner at Elaine's and mine favourite Thai restaurant, it was up to its usual standard, just fantastic.

Thankyou Ray and Diane it was the most excellent adventure, we had a great catch up, I will see you guys in August! 

I had plans to catch up with other friends up in Macclesfield but apart from seeing Elaine's dad Burt and brother trev I cancelled them all and headed back to Milton Keynes on Sunday Morning.

Im staying at my mums house, she has been in hospital since last October, so coming into the house was a bit of a time warp, the tv guide was still open on October 27th, the date an ambulance took her to hospital. Unfortunately she won't be coming back here.

I went up the hospital, in the early evening and sat with her all night until 10.00 this morning, I was joined by my brother for part of the night, he was relieved at 03,30 by my nephew Philip. Its a lot harder on them as they all have jobs and families to look after whereas I am free and easy, I'm going tonight for another all nighter, I think Im on my own tonight.

One of the funny things that happened at the hospital was when a nurse who in a serious voice said that now mother was at a end of life stage we could all have free tea and biscuits courtesy of the NHS!!  So if you get offered free tea and biccies in a NHS hospital be afraid, very afraid!

I was hoping to go and visit Elaine's sister Julie who is also crook, but it looks like I will stay here until I fly back on Thursday, its a sad time but I'm really hoping mum passes before I fly out, she is in a really bad way and her quality of life is now zero!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Heading Back To The Cold

Its been a busy week dealing with the Spanish bureaucracy, the car is nearly on Spanish plates after about six weeks of mucking about with paperwork, the motorbike is also very nearly in my name, I started doing that about 14months ago!!   The Spanish love their paperwork, they are still stuck in the Franco era, its unbelievably hard to do basic things such as car transfers etc.  I sent the slip to the DVLA to say that the car had been exported, less than a week later my car tax was refunded.

It will very interesting to see what happens when the full Brexit comes in to play, the poms think that nothing will change in Spain, I think they are in for a big shock, they wont kick any of the pommie immigrants out but the the ones who want to come and settle in Spain will be treated like any other non European and will have to apply for visas at great expense, plus be prepared  sort through the dreaded paperwork. 

In saying that, its a great place to live, the weather is fantastic, the roads are deserted,  the beaches are lovely, it makes for a nice stress free lifestyle.

Its also fantastically cheap to eat out, today we went to a lovely little restaurant just outside of Mojacar in the village of Sopalmo.

A three course meal and drinks came to 12 Euros a head including a tip!!

In the last few days we have the Spanish air force dogfighting in the skies above Mojacar, they did one flypast that was absolutely ear shattering, the windows in the villa rattled, it was a fantastic sight.

Yesterday they were practicing rescuing people from the sea.

Its also been a sad week for me as I have been clearing out the motorhome in preparation for it to be sold. Its been quite sad removing all the memorabilia from our mobile  house, we had some fantastic adventures in her and Im sure her new owners will be delighted with her.

It looks like she will be going to a lovely couple from Oz .They have been reading about our adventures and want to do the same, they will be picking her up from Spain in late Feb. I would have loved to have kept her, but.....she is on English plates, English insurance and MOT etc. To keep her here permanently it would have to be put on Spanish plates which would be a costly nightmare, even the tow bar would have to be removed because it wasn't fitted in the factory.  

She is looking fantastic inside and out.

I may look for a smaller Spanish motorhome after she has gone, but they are very expensive and tatty compared with ones from the UK or other European countries, there is no hurry so I will think about my options.

As the title says Im off to the cold UK tomorrow, the dogs are going back in the kennels for a week. Im flying into my old home town of Luton tomorrow, I will go and visit my ailing  mum in Bedford hospital on Friday then drive to Macclesfield Friday afternoon. Saturday its off to Manchester to watch the mighty Manchester Utd play with great friends Ray and Diane (NB Ferndale). Sunday and Monday will be catching up with friends and relos in Macclesfield plus a quick visit to The East Cheshire Hospice. Tuesday I will drive down to Maidstone to catch up with Elaine's sister. Wednesday back to visit mother in hospital.   Thursday I fly back to sunny Mojacar......phew.