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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The saga of the Licencia de Pesca

We have evolved a flexible routine based around shopping, cycling, swimming, washing and socialising, pretty much like back in the UK but rather warmer :) Visited some old friends in the Almafra brotherhood (and sisterhood!) for lunch on Sunday. Great to see everyone again, talk rubbish, eat and laugh just like old times.

Mr H would like to go fishing as there are Carp and Barbel in the rivers and lakes so he's on a quest to get a fishing license (licencia de pesca). There is no national fishing license in Spain and for the Costa Blanca there is a regional license but it's taking some getting. Four weeks so far with no success. Following various sources he's tried Tourist info, tackle shops, police (as apparantly there is a hefty fine if you don't have one), the port office, sailing club, several branches of the Caja Rural (building society) and the local town hall. He has spoken to a different person each time and gets conflicting advice each time. Communication is difficult as not many speak any English and Mr H's grasp of Spanish is still limited to ordering cervezas and patatas fritas. Still, he is persistent and has enlisted the help of our good neighbour big Nige and together they are determined to crack this one.

Nigel spoke to a receptionist whose cousin goes fishing and following some phone calls and to'ing and fro'ing he managed to get the right forms filled in and letters signed (as we're not residents) and the address of the right department to go to in Alicante.

Armed with all this Mr H and I set off on the train into the big smoke. We found streets not identified on our map and became rather lost. No fear, we visited the large hotel we had passed several times during our ever-widening circuits to ask for directions. Even when pointed in the right direction by a very nice english-speaking gentleman we managed to arrive at the building ten minutes after it closed for the day, bugger!!!!

We then got lost for another hour trying to find our way back to the train station! Thank the lord for an emergency stop at Burgerking then home again. Mr H has gritted his teeth and vowed to see this quest to it's bitter end. I feel it would be easier to acquire the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail than a chuffin fishing license. Mr H and Nigel have held a strategy meeting and intend to go again next week armed with an array of forms, euros and true British grit.

On Monday Mr H and Nigel set off bright and early to Alicante by train. This time the office was open and after obtaining a ticket from the machine and a short wait they sat face to face with the guardian of the licenses!!! Handed over the forms, letter and passport and the official filled in another form in triplicate (modelo 046 SARA). So close! They then had to take these forms to the CAM bank and pay the fee. 25 euros for 3 years. Initially they got in the wrong queue at the bank but recovered swiftly and handed over the cash with the forms to be stamped. Returned to the local office and they received a 3 year licencia de pesca, result!!!!!!

We all celebrated their fruitful campaign with a house specialty and a beer back at base camp. Well done lads, so proud.
Just need to find some fish now :))

Feliz Navidad One and all XXX

Monday, 5 December 2011

Sunshine and Sprinkles

Settling down to life on the site now

it's a fair way to the beach at Guardamar but we take the occasional expedition there;

and to Elche

Have been sampling the local chinese buffet along with our neighbours which is all you can eat for 10 euros. This is no ordinary chinese buffet, you order from an extensive choice of starters and main courses and your food is freshly cooked and served in a modern restaurant by very pleasant staff. The evening evolved into a co-ordinated sampling of nearly every dish on the menu by us all and every dish was excellent.

I joined the line dancing with the fabulous instructer Angie in charge. I must say I managed to pull off some spectacular moves  but most of them bore no resemblence to what the rest of the class were doing and were performed in the opposite direction. My fellow class mates and the instructor were very tolerant and have invited me back again next week, I must be the in-house entertainment. Mr H agreed to have a go at dance lessons this week unfortunately for us it was salsa. We paid attention and diligently attempted the steps. I was trying to lead and Mr H was sweating like a bull chanting in my ear one, two, three, hip! By the end of the hour we had changed the instructions to one, two, three, dislocated me hip. Decided it's not natural to see Mr H mincing like a pro and am more than happy with his northern soul influenced shuffle on the dancefloor.

The past week has been a hive of activity in between the heavy downpours (which we understand are untypical). It's a good job Mr H applied his engineering skills to construct some wooden supports for the levelling jacks before the rain, some pitches are unusable as vehicles have sunk up to the axles. The staff here spring into co-ordinated action and arrive equipped with tow-rope, dumper/tow truck, wooden boards, rakes, sand and plenty of muscle. No lives have been lost and all vehicles sucessfully rescued and relocated.

Between the occasional spells of rain which according to the local forecast are known as 'sprinkles' we get plenty of sun and it was rather surreal to be sunbathing whilst Christmas carols were being piped over the tannoy!! We then had the swimming pool and spa to ourselves which was 'esplendido' but again surreal as music from the 'King and I' was playing in the background.

Mr H has installed an 'extend-a-stay' joint to the gas tank and had the RV certificated so we can now run our appliances off the refillable propane bottles. The gas engineer spoke no English but was very efficient and expertly produced hand drawn plans of our gas system in triplicate as per certification requirements. Mr H never ceases to suprise me in his endless pottering, today I found him prostrate under the RV with a reel of TV aerial wire and was greeted by "can you see it yet? I'm shoving it through the hole". Now I was able to ascertain that he was re-routing the TV aerial direct from the external plug but god only knows what the neighbours thought. As I write this blog he is lounging in his chair poised with his beloved fly swatter planning to suprise our resident fly. The fly does not appear threatened as it has just buzzed around the RV in slow motion then landed on the fly swatter. Mr H's killer reflexes kicked in (must be the hot blooded salsa session) and with a celebration like he scored the winning goal at Wembley the fly is no more. Life as we now know it!