Nov 042013
 

After the hectic two months of preparation for Those Good Old Days, we promised ourselves a mini holiday. We have been wanting to visit Granada for some time to see the Alhambra and also to see the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Our itinerary took us via Cartagena where we spent the first night and visited the Civil War Refuges under the city, having seen most of the other sights during a previous visit last year. We were also privileged the next morning to see Cunard’s cruise liner “Queen Victoria” docked alongside the marina.

Cave hotel1 (800x529)We then headed off into Andalucia, spending the second night in the town of Gaudix, staying in a ‘cave hotel’ – many of the houses in the town are built into the hills and the hotel’s rooms were similarly hollowed out. The room was very warm, being kept a constant 18C by the earth around it, and we enjoyed a swim in the thermally-heated swimming pool and jacuzzi.

 

Alhambra2 (800x535)We set off for Granada, our next stop, travelling through some wonderful scenery on the northern edge of the Sierra Nevada. We were booked to visit the Alhambra at 10:00 the next morning and were amazed at the splendour of the Palacios Nazaries (you can see some of the many photos we took by clicking here.)

 

Our tour round the Sierra Nevada and Las Alpujarras over the next few days was spectacular, visiting wonderful little villages perched precariously on the side of the mountain, including Trevelez, the highest town in Spain at almost 1500m. We stayed in some lovely hotels and on our last day crossed a pass over the Sierra Nevada at 2000m, the highest we have ever been in our car.

We completed our trip by meeting for lunch Ray’s mum and dad, Pat and David, who were spending a few months in Mazarron in their caravan.

More photos from our trip can be viewed here and a slideshow of photos set to music here.

Nov 042013
 

Good Old Days PosterIn October we took part with our local amateur dramatic group, Careline Theatre, in a show called “Those Good Old Days”. Based on the popular, long-running BBC TV series, it featured many well-known, musical hall songs, some monologues and, of course, lots of dancing.

 

 

 

Londonset2 (589x800) Celia took part in two tap numbers, “Leaning on a Lampost” and “I could be happy with you” from The Boyfriend, as well as singing and being part of the chorus for many of the other numbers, including a fabulous ‘London set’, in which everyone appeared on stage in their ‘pearlies’ (pictured left).

 

 

 

MOC1 (800x600)Meanwhile, I was cast as the loquacious Chairman, Leonard Sachs, well known for his elaborate introductions of the performers. For this role, I decided to grow a moustache, much to Celia’s dismay, which I shaved off at the earliest opportunity after the last performance! I also took part in the Sand Dance, which we performed so successfully a couple of years ago in the panto Ali Baba.

The show ran for 3 nights and was a huge success, being almost sold out every performance. One of the local newspapers, Costa Blanca News, described it as “A show to be proud of”. We had great fun and look forward to doing similar shows in the future.

You can see more photos of the show by clicking here.

Calendar Girl

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May 312013
 

Calendar Angels logo rev

 

 

 

For the past 2 years, we have been helping a charity based here in the north of the Costa Blanca called Guardian Angels, which supports single parent families. Our main role is to act as mentors to some of the members and act as a source of telephone support for them. We also help out at fund-raising events and special fun days for members and their children.

This year, Guardian Angels hit on a new way of raising funds, the need for which had increased, due to the fact that parents now have to buy children’s school books, previously supplied free by the government, at a cost of €300 per school year. It was decided to produce a Calendar Girls-type calendar for 2014, in which 12 ‘volunteers’ would pose partially but tastefully naked.

The photoshoot took place recently and Vernon created a special Facebook page to launch the project and appeal for sponsors. You can visit the page and get a sneak preview of one of the girls here. Of course, to see Celia’s photo, you will have to buy a copy of the calendar in September when it is printed. However, if you would like to sponsor her now to reward her for her courage in posing in the altogether, you can do so online at theGuardian Angels website.

May 312013
 

Since we moved to Spain, we have become accustomed to extreme weather and the ‘gota frias’ – 2 or 3 days of non-stop torrential rain in October/November – no longer bother us.  This week however, we experienced an incredible hailstorm, the like of which we have never seen in our lives. It lasted for about 15 minutes, during which it stripped the leaves off shrubs and trees, destroyed flowers, dented our car and caused havoc on the roads. When it cleared, the valley was left looking as if a snow storm had just taken place and for the next few hours, it steamed as the warm ground reacted to the inches of ice that had just fallen.

Here are some of the photos we took

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Round the world trip

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Mar 082013
 

As part of Vernon’s retirement, we planned to fulfil a dream to visit New Zealand, a country we both admired from the Lord of the Rings films.  We also took the opportunity to circumnavigate the world and to break the long-haul flights into journeys of less than 12 hours.

We therefore set off from London’s Heathrow airport on 8th January 2013 for a 2-night stay in Hong Kong, which we last visited some 10 years ago. We then travelled on to Auckland, where we joined an organised tour of both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, ending up in Christchurch.

After an exhilarating 18 days of sightseeing, we were ready for 5 nights in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, a paradise of sandy beaches and a blue lagoon. Then it was on across the Pacific to Los Angeles and a quick hop up the coast to San Francisco to visit the ‘city by the bay’.

Our fabulous round the world trip took us back to London on 6th February, where we visited our family and related our many adventures, before returning home to Spain.

You can view some of the many photos we took in the photo gallery and some short slideshows on YouTube

Flight over Mt Cook National Park

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Helicopter trip to Franz Josef Glacier

The thrilling jet boat ride through Shotover Canyon

Hong Kong

We have also compiled a wonderful book of our best photographs, which you can review and then purchase a copy if you wish on www.blurb.com