An Ex-pat Monthly Experience of Moving to Gandia, Spain - Part 20

7th December 2023
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Christmas 2023

Christmas 2023 .........

Good grief, it doesn’t seem five minutes since I sat at this same keyboard (I have washed the keyboard membrane since …. Twice) looking at a blank sheet of paper with the heading, “Christmas 2022, staring back at me! But here we are and what a year it has been here in the wonderful Gandia locale.

From the highs of forming a fledgling pensioners cover band and going from two geezers with acoustic guitars, plonking away in a bedroom, to a full blown six piece performing band, this week about to play in the Nightclub of another local town called Oliva, having last week been privileged to play in the gorgeous garden venue of the Culture Centre in the middle of Gandia – and packed the place out so much that the bars ran out of beer! To the lows of watching from our terrace as a wildfire destroyed acres of forest on the other side of the valley. What a year it has been indeed!  We have witnessed the winds which even pulled up the artificial grass from around the pool, the overnight change from a bit of a ‘meh’ spring to a thirty-four-degree blast of heat in the summer.

We have gained two new additions to our neighbourhood as the original absentee owners moved on. Right next door to us on top of the hill, we now have more difference to add to our eclectic urbanisacion! (That’s a Spanish word for you. You’d never guess for what!) The most decent of Polish chaps, and fellow petrol head, who works for a German bank in Frankfurt during the week and his delightful partner, a Brazilian lady by birth, who having disposed of her business in Marbella is now tasked with creating their new home right next door to us. So next door we have my dear Lady wife’s ex school handbell on the wall between us, to save using the phone to attract attention! The latest addition to our little corner of Real de Gandia, is a Dutch couple, who have retired to complete our new circle and have already adopted Foss, a rescue pup of just seven months age from the same centre from which we adopted our gorgeous Wolfie. (Wolfie of course being moi ……. Ed).  ANYWAY! As I was saying (and what about the brothers?... Ed) Oh, yes, I almost forgot. When our previous Spanish neighbours moved away around the other side of the mountain, their two cats (brothers) kept returning to their original house, so they had to keep coming back and feeding them and suchlike. Well one of them started visiting us and as you do, we started feeding her titbits, which grew into regular daily visits and spending real time with us, so we messaged the owners and explained what was happening and could we adopt her – and what’s wrong with her left back leg? The owner explained that she is actually a he, and when he was a kitten he had a terrible accident that would have cost him his leg, but the vets managed to rebuild it with metal plates, so he will always have a bit of a limp. Oh and yes they would be delighted for us to adopt him. So, Borja joined our little family and is now thriving and twice the weight that he was!

Our new next-door neighbours, mentioned above, have now also adopted his brother, who they have named, Charlie, so all is well that ends well this year for two lovely cats, too! When we go round for dinner or drinks (which we have done regularly since they arrived), we are accompanied by Wolfie who has a number one fan in our Banker friend (only appropriate ….Ed) and within minutes, Borja will turn up too. This can be a little confusing because the brothers are more like twins, the only difference being that Borja had a creamy coloured flea collar. This he has now managed to separate himself from, so we have a job and a half, telling who Borja is and who is Charlie! I feel a song title coming on ……..!

So we have had a couple of fires in the log grate already.  Well it has been down to eleven degrees here! Very cozy it was too. It’s time to order a new supply because what we have left stacked up under the arches will not see this coming winter out. You really can feel the difference now every day. Eight o clock in the morning it’s quilted jacket temperature. By ten o clock it’s deciding whether to bother taking a jacket with you and by midday it’s wishing that you’d just put on a T-Shirt. At half past three the first goosebumps arrive and by four o clock you’re running inside for a sweater and it’s getting dark.

So to Christmas. This year we are driving back to Blighty in Monty, our motorhome. It will take three days to get to the tunnel at Calais, driving about seven hours each day and stopping overnight in our mobile hotel. Quite a lot of work has been done already, what with extra batteries and an inverter to provide 240v when we can’t hook up. A full-size enclosed awning which doubles the floor space of Monty. Fitting satnav and now rearview camera system, refrigerator servicing, getting a leaking water system sorted out and other ‘new acquisition changes.’ It means that we can retire to the peace of our bed at night after the revelries of the day without putting others out or the ever-increasing cost of Air BnB’s. Oh and we have parking and hook-up at a local pub. Well done Mrs H! Blinding result! In addition to all that, we can take our time coming back down through France (motorhome heaven apparently). When we drove over last time in the car, we saw so many places where we would like to have spent a couple of days, but obtaining accommodation was impossible. This time, we shall have our own! Latest addition to the RV? Socks! Yep, socks must be carried by law in any vehicle in Spain and France when there is a likelihood of snowy or icy conditions. Erm …….. we will be heading for the Pyrenees! And from what we are seeing on the UK weather shows, it’s quite likely that we’ll be needing them when we get there too!

So, one thing is for sure; if Christmas is just around the corner, the new year will be just behind it. Now, what will you be doing next year? I mean, there is a very nice villa for sale just along the road from us and Harry or Clark will be very pleased to give you a video walkaround, or better still, arrange an in person guided tour. The only thing of course being that, just like our two recent neighbourly arrivals they only deal with the very nicest of potential purchasers. So maybe we’ll see you soon?

A very Merry Christmas and every good wish for 2024, from Him, Her, Wolfie and Borja and the team  at ''For Sale By Sally In Spain!''

P.S.  If you wonder why we would possibly need snow socks in Spain, you may be surprised to read that Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland. Here in the La Safor region, we are surrounded by mountains sheltering us from the East. In Gandia you can be in the mountain valleys and climbing the inclines within ten minutes! Cool eh?

 


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