contentedsouls

Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

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A rude awakening by the locals

Posted by contentedsouls on 01/05/2019

I crashed out of a deep sleep by the noise of full pelt bang, thump, base music. Soon followed by shouts of “Orlando, beunos dias” and loud volume, rapid responses in all things Spanish that I couldn’t decipher. Then another radio – again full volume – on a conflicting channel. Within another 5 minutes, the apartment reverberated with the sounds of grinding machines.

We should have thought about this; it was out of season and the time when the apartments are re-furbished for the summer rentals – sitting out on the balcony was impossible for fear of flying debris (i seem to have lost the photos of great chunks of masonry on our balcony from the floor above) and paint! The other thing we should have thought about was the aspect of the apartment; North facing, so it never got a jot of sunshine and was permanently cold. Fortunately we were left 3 oil filled radiators and we had the electric fan heater off of the van – all of which we ran round the clock (even though it was lovely and warm outside). If our rental hadn’t included utilities we’d have been seriously in the do do! Daisy was apalled and took to her ‘cocoon’ in front of the fan heater by day and the bidet next to the radiator, when it was switched off overnight.

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It only took us 2 hours to come to the conclusion that ‘Orlando’ was either hard of hearing or very lazy and we did, quite quickly, get heartily sick of hearing his name being shouted. We were, sort of, pre-warned about the need to access our apartment to paint the balcony by a ring at our doorbell one evening. An elderly gentleman with a beard presented himself with the name of Geronimo – after all the ‘Orlando’ stuff, this was too much for me and I had to remove myself to another room in paroxysms of uncontrollable laughter, leaving G to wrestle with Geronimo’s, self professed, perfect English! I’m sure, when he was born, he was the apple of his Mother’s eye and Geronimo seemed a perfectly good name; or maybe, her labour was so long and so hard that, when he eventually popped out, she shouted Geronimo and the name stuck – I suppose it could have been worse; he could have introduced himself as Eureka! Either way I was, by now, in total hysterics and requiring an emergency supply of Tenna Lady. Needless to say, his ‘perfect English’ took a phone call to our landlady to unravel (and yes, his English was a lot better than my Spanish). We agreed to take ourselves out for the day to leave them access and we packed a picnic and drove down to a deserted beach where Daisy could run free outside. The odd hiker that we encountered was highly enchanted by the idea of me walking a dog and a cat.

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Needless to say, having purposely stayed out of the way all day, they hadn’t got around to starting on our balcony when we arrived back.

Mike and Annie turned up to stay for a couple of nights, which was fabulous as we hadn’t seen them since the ‘excitement’ of Utrecht’s narrow, bendy bridges. We didn’t have a lot of choice re taking them to lunch, but we did find a little pavement bar doing a menu de dias; a beer each, bread, salad, a choice of starters, mains and puds – all in, for 10 euros each. We went back their several times and found that a whole bottle of wine between the two of us was also included!

After their visit, we went on a road trip in the van to visit an old Air Force pal of G’s and take in some of the scenery further South. We had planned to be gone for a week, but told the builders we would be gone for 3 days and wanted the balcony sorted before we arrived back.

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Gary and Rita’s place was lovely and they looked after us so well. Their area was much more geared to English speakers (including a book shop stocking only books in English where I finally managed to purchase a Spanish/English phrase book) than ours, and far more restaurants and shops open. After lunch we watched the fishing boats coming in and going straight through to the auction room.

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Each crate went passed on a conveyor belt and the buyers bid via a hand held device for each numbered crate. A number of species was still alive, like squid, and climbed into adjacent trays – so some would have gained a bit and some lost! Amongst the buyers were the people who owned the adjacent wet fish stall who opened it up and put it straight on sale – doesn’t come much fresher than that and it is all so cheap; very easy to eat both well and cheap in Spain.

We then went up to look at a little, remote, finca which G had seen for sale – just because we could – but the details failed to mention that it was 1 of 3 terraced cottages. Not much point in being beautifully remote if you have two lots of neighbours attached.

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Back at the apartment, the builders had finished with us, but not the rest of the building – we looked forward to Saturday and Sunday mornings when they didn’t work and we could have a lie in….oh no. A bit more into the season now, so the local ‘events’ started up on the beach (a few yards down the road) at the weekends.Whether it be horse racing, cycling, mountain bikes, roller skating, et al; the common denominator was the loudest PA system I’ve ever encountered.

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5 Responses to “A rude awakening by the locals”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    But Jill… that’s the great thing about village life in Spain & France surely, there IS a community and it has spirit, well that’s what I’ve experienced in the south of France 🙂 Noisey of course… but at least they are having fun, I can’t get enough of it 🙂

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  2. vallypee said

    Oh poor you!!! The Spanish are noisy aren’t they? The more noise the better, it seems, and fiestas are on somewhere every weekend. I see what you mean when you say it wasn’t ALL good! Still, you made me laugh with Geronimo…wonderful!

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  3. Marcelle and George; really sorry but I only just found your comment (on Road trip to Spain). You were stuck in ‘pending’ but should go straight through in future! It was lovely to find that we were not the only ones who found Spanish eating hours ‘challenging’ on both digestion and bed time.

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