Now, the following blog post should have been full of lovely pictures of windmills, boats and large open Norfolk skies....
But right at the very last minute we got cold feet worrying about the UK weather and went to Spain for a week. Same price and guaranteed sun - t'was a no brainer. We weren't expecting fires though....
Cala Blanca - Hot
Flames seen from the villa at night
In September I mostly:
- Swooned whilst the BSO played my favourite 'Nimrod' in Salisbury City Hall
- Started a felting class at the Arts Centre (tried to go through the wrong door on the first night as usual)
- Saw my first fungi of the season (v excited)
- Missed having a dog :-(
- Shouted at dangerous drivers
- Attended a 'Come & Sing' of Mozart's Requiem in the Cathedral and got to have a sneak look at the glass exhibition 'Reflection'
'Connection' by Artist Galia Amsel
Our week in Spain was very hot but little did we know that the day we arrived there was a huge forest blaze in Javea and thousands of people had to be evacuated. The three separate fires were started deliberately on one of the hottest days of the year with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees.
This was the view from the villa when we arrived!
We had left the UK in a comfortable 19 degrees and arrived to 38 degrees in the shade and smelling like a couple of kippers from the smoke. We put some water by the front door at night, kept the keys in the doors and the iron gate unlocked - just in case. Quite a few unlucky people lost their homes.
We saw countless helicopters flying over the fires.
And we watched uneasily from the beach as this yellow sea plane did loops, scooping up water from the sea and then flying incredibly low over the buildings to drop the water. After the fourth time round I had to move because I felt like I was in a disaster movie!
The smoke made for an amazing sunset
It was so hot that we had to go out early every day (unnatural). We were in the medieval old town one morning by 9am! The narrow streets meant that we could get lots of shade from the buildings and the indoor market was air conditioned so we spent a lot of time looking interested in the fruit and veg.
Apparently, Javea's wealth was largely due to the raisin trade.
Sarah enjoying a coffee - I preferred iced coffee - with ice cream
Why can't our roundabouts look like this?
It was tempting to spend the whole week in the hire car with the air con on but I wanted to explore another mirador - Cala Blanca. I have now seen every one of the 15 miradors (viewpoints) around Javea. I do like a challenge.
Cala Blanca - mirador no. 5
This street was decorated for the Olympics
Lots of v posh big villas
Les Pesqueres - mirador no. 12
Our favourite find was Granadella (mirador no. 14), a beautiful quiet little cove. We saw some very laid back Spanish firemen leaning on a fire engine but as they have to deal with forest fires on a regular basis it was business as usual. All the cars in the tiny village were covered with a layer of ash.
We had breakfast on the beach of buttered fruit bread and a flask of coffee followed by a swim. It's a stone beach so my newly purchased jelly shoes were a boon - I did feel about 12 years old in them though.
I can't believe how close the fire got to these houses
A massive area was burnt
We explored Gata, renowned for basket making. It was quiet, un-touristy and very Spanish. A lot of the shops smelled of cooking and on closer inspection you can see that the shop is merely the front of someone's house and you can see them eating lunch and cooking out the back!
A cool church to visit
The basket shops smelled divine - I bought a small momento.
I saw my first fiesta in the port at Javea, which went on until about 3am! The fireworks didn't start until midnight.
Denia was interesting and bigger than Javea.
I tripped in a hole and fell flat on my face on the sand taking this picture - wally.
We caught a free solar powered ferry to the town
and saw more basket shops!
We walked up to the castle very slowly - the temperature makes you feel like you are wading through treacle.
Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion
A tiny street leading to the castle
The best day for me was climbing part of Montgo. I am now even more in love with this mountain.
Look - he's so handsome
And the view!
We saw wild fennel, lavender, cacti...
The last night - After an 8pm swim in the sea and en route to a Sangria - dangly earrings added for the evening.
Even the Pyrenees don't impress me on the way home
Let alone the Isle of Wight - grumpy.....
Still, it is nice to be away from the heat and mosquito's, I suppose!
Embracing Autumn and getting doggy fixes where I can.
Our neighbour's dog Twiggy - being camera shy in Grovely Woods
'Chicken of the woods'? Fungi not the dog.
My friend Hayley's dog (another Twiggy!) embracing the autumn mood.
I think Twiggy has the right attitude to life. Well, I'm off to don my sheepskin slippers, tracky bottoms (sex goddess that I am) and snuggle down with a homebrew and assorted nibbles in front of Monty Don and his crumpled linen jacket. I wonder if he likes real ale?
Ta ta for now....