Treading Water

2013: Where we’re at now, and how we got here

In January we jetted off to Benidorm for six weeks, staying in a 5 star hotel. When we left the boat it was minus 5 degrees C and just getting our suitcases from the car to the taxi was a nightmare. Layers of snow and ice were packed tight here, and country roads are the last to get gritted. We didn’t even know if we’d get to the airport thanks to black ice. As previously stated in my little journal over the past few days, it’s all about the crap weather here for us.

While we sat in the taxi on the way there, it felt like a journey into the unknown. I mean during our many years together we’ve been all over the western world, including Africa! So why did this feel so different when we’ve been to Spain before? Instinct? Were we looking for something else? It’s only in hindsight I can mention that. I think at the time we were both asking ourselves the questions, yet the thought of warm sun for 6 weeks took over. What was that like? We did not know, our nearest comparison was Florida in November.

When we got to the airport we had to wait for the plane to be de-iced! When we arrived in Spain just 2 hours later, the temperature was a balmy 20 degrees C. An increase of 25 degrees in such a short time! Wow, this was January!

Our hotel was the last drop off on the coach. After seeing some of the others (that were very nice anyway). We were truly gobsmacked. It was totally awesome. Whoever said Spain was financially down the pan? The coastal regions are positively booming. There’s loads more I could say about the place but it’s all on the blog anyway.

What I’m going to concentrate on here is our unwitting “personal transition.”

First of all, we’re no prudes, but we’re not interested in the “Brit Bums and Tits yob culture” over there. Which after a big crackdown during the past couple of years has mostly been eradicated. Bet you didn’t know that? Yes, the Bums and Tits brigade have all buggered off to invade Ibiza.

For the first 2 or 3 weeks we walked round every inch of Benidorm, some days doing about 6 miles. We even walked up into the mountains at the back, and also got the bus to surrounding areas. The average temperature was about 24 degrees C, sometimes topped at 30 degrees. The secret to walking comfortably for so long in such heat is WATER and SUNSCREEN. It works.

{If the sun’s out in summer, the lux con at the back of the boat can reach up to 50 degrees C till we put the appropriate number of sides up, so we’re used to it} Even today as I write this it’s 30 degrees in here, nothing like that outside of course.

Anyway, back in Benidorm we were beginning to get the same feeling we had when deciding to move from house to boat. In simple terms, without going overboard:

WE CAN DO THIS…!

Those exact four words too…

So we found 2 estate agents and started looking round properties. It was all about getting an idea of what we could afford and where. We also got ID cards while we were there.

They say boating is a laidback lifestyle, I agree, but it’s got absolutely nothing on that same lifestyle mode in Spain.

We made several Spanish friends while we were there. When it came down to an intricate conversation, we all did the Spanglish thing plus body language to fill in any gaps. Hey that worked too!

Meanwhile Brits in Spain informed us that the ex pats who’d reportedly “flooded back to Brit land” were only those who’d (sadly) lost their jobs. The financial crisis didn’t affect retired ex pats at all. And they are the huge majority.

Now when that particular news item was aired in the UK. We were all supposed to surmise that every ex pat in Spain was running home to this wonderful “financially stable, well governed, prosperous, successful place” called Britain. {TOTAL BUMF} What went totally unmentioned was that the majority wouldn’t return if they were paid to…

So who says the bods at Whitehall can’t manipulate what the media reports? Their sums were all wrong, (deliberately) well what a surprise! No distinction made between the minority who had sadly lost everything, and the majority who weren’t affected at all.

As proof, we met a family who told us their business had nose dived, so they’d gone back to the UK as a last resort. (Excuse pun). They also mentioned several other businesses they knew of that had gone down the pan, and they all wished they were retired and safe there.

Burning question: “So why are you back here in Benidorm?”

Devastating answer for them: “Because after all that’s happened to us, this is still where we really want to be, so we save up for cheap holidays in winter.”  The woman was in tears, while her husband stood there looking at the ground…

In the eyes of the UK government they wanted us plebs to think it meant everyone. (Excellent PR Pratt Promo).

“You should all feel privileged to live here in this haven of wealth and prosperity, by the way, we’re introducing a bedroom tax next week.”

And they did…

Our 6 weeks there made us reflect on everything in our life. Surprisingly, when it was time to leave it felt more like we’d been there for 3 months. I guess that’s because we’d had so much to seriously think about and enjoy.

In mid February one of our friends sent us a text to say that the boats were still iced in. We couldn’t believe it as we sat basking in the heat. But it was another nail in the coffin for staying in the UK.

When we left Alicante airport in March it was a pleasant 24 degrees, when we got back here it was 8 degrees with an easterly wind. (Felt more like the minus 5 we set off in).

After that we spent 3 LONG months thinking about it all and doing lots of research. Totally hooked, we put the boat up for sale with New & Used here at the marina.

We’ve had plenty of interest from dreamers with property for sale but can’t do anything about it till it’s sold. A bit like us then??? And because we’re both (slightly) superstitious, any real interest in the boat will not be mentioned on the blog till it’s all done and dusted. Tell anyone about something good in advance and it just won’t happen!

Meantime, in April, we co-ordinated a visit here from Liam, Neil and their families:

Neil, Tereza, and our grandson Jake.

Liam, Maddy, and our grandson Ryan.

They all stayed in a hotel near here and we had a great time together, even though the weather (as usual) was crap.

In July we went to Germany to visit Liam, Maddy & Ryan as usual each year. Wonderful time again in real warmth, love and happiness.

Then we came back here, still feeling “in transition,” fortunately we can keep calm and realistic together. It’s the best you can do in this kind of situation.

As for the here and now, we can’t make any real plans till after I’ve had my shoulder operation on October 2nd, because it might need further corrective surgery after that. What a bummer. But them there plans are still in the pipeline…

Over the months, we’ve been seriously looking at moving to a small town about an hour’s drive south of Benidorm. We’re with 2 different Brit estate agents there.

Stage one is a long term let from January to March 2014.

Meantime, remember the old ditty about feeling like you’re carrying round a sack of spuds on your shoulder? Couldn’t be more appropriate…

2 thoughts on “2013: Where we’re at now, and how we got here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s