I told you that I thought the builder Boss-man Chris offered a shallow apology. Didn’t I tell you? I told you! The team arrive as usual and moments later two guys we have not seen before. They are installing a new air conditioning unit. Guess what you have to do for that? Yep, you got it … hammer another bloody hole in the wall! Not a good start to the day. But it is a first world problem!
Part of the morning and evening routine is to feed the dogs. A mixture of meat and biscuits. Barkley is a little older than Mini and has a problem with his back legs. To help him he has tablets with his meals. But dogs are crafty and so the medicine has to be disguised. I’m not too sure what Steve and Helen do, but I crush the 1 small and 3 large pills to a powder and then mix them with the other stuff in his bowl. While he takes his time, Mini scoffs her meal in about 3 seconds and then hovers threateningly over Barkley for anything he doesn’t eat, or most often nuzzling her way in. So we have to stand over Barkley and fend off Mini, not just so he gets his fair share, but also because he needs to have his medicine. I call Pamela at Jennifer Cunningham about my car insurance pack and speak to Kirstie. It hasn’t arrived, but I tell her we are travelling to France next week and then the UK. Later in the day, by email, I receive my Green Card which is basically an International Motor Insurance Certificate.
We set out for Denia to collect the official registration documents for the car that have now arrived. Not remembering exactly how Dave and Fi drive out of town we enter the details in Maps. I’m a bit uncomfortable with where we are going as it isn’t the way I remember. We are taken, by the voice, through the old town and wind our way up El Montgo along the Ctra. de Denia a Xabia. It is an interesting drive, but not the easiest of mountain roads. The main advantage is the great view from the top of El Montgo. A quick visit to Valgauto Motor. Having approached from the coast, I am now familiar with where I am and we take the Dave and Fi route back to Javea, via Ondara and the main Autopista del Mediterraneo (N-332).
Next stop is PC Solutions to look at printers, but before that we grab a quick coffee and then into the Mercadona supermarket. We grab a few things but can’t find the tinned tuna. After a major search we track it down. Not a great choice. There is a 900g tin, but not the 650g tin that Sarah can get in Consum. Because we didn’t bring shopping bags and we are on our way to PC Solutions the basket is abandoned in the aisle and we sneak out with the plan to get the shopping at Consum.
Round the corner to PC Solutions. Although we are digital nomads and we also have a printer packed up in storage somewhere in the world, it seems that we still need access to printed material. The reason being that in order to redeem the balance on our Opal cards (Bus, Ferry and Train prepaid cards used in Sydney) we have to print and submit a hard copy form. Also, although the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) have a pdf form you can complete on their website to register for overseas voting, you still have to print it off, sign it, scan a copy and send that back via email. Notwithstanding all this, we have also learnt that Spain still has one foot in the “Paper Age’! The mobile printer that we want isn’t in stock but are promised they can order it in within the next few days.
A visit to Blu to ask them about wireless mobile. They don’t do it so my options seem a bit limited. Although we have wireless at our various housesits, I also want to ensure that we have access when we are on the road, particularly if we need to be in touch with clients. Sarah has a major Virtual Assistant contract now and needs to be online to deal with business in Australia. There are lots of internet options in Spain, but so much is linked to home based products and you have to be careful as 2 or 3 of the suppliers only have regional coverage. One advantage is the recent move under the “fair use policy” to ensure you don’t get slammed for roaming charges when travelling in Europe. In the end we decided that we should be okay and that saves from entering into a commitment that we may only use on rare occasions.
I fill the car up with petrol and am reminded how expensive petrol is here compared to Australia. If we didn’t have to travel so much with all our luggage we would be happy with a couple of scooters. When we get to Senija that is probably what we will do … a few years to go yet unless our tenants in Senija, Leo and Marja, return to Belgium early.
The TV was playing up on Wednesday. There were pinstripe lines across the screen. We have tried every combination of the remotes and double checked connections. No good. So we watched Vera as though looking through a railing. My eyes are going funny. Today Sarah decides to switch off the whole set of technical mastery … in the prayer it all comes back on. It does. And it is fixed. Great technical solution!
Although the gym doesn’t open early Sarah has still been getting up at 4:30am as her body clock sets off a natural alarm. Now she is up for a different reason and that is to start work for her Sydney client who is utilising the Virtual Global Assistant services. This means changing her routine and going to the gym later in the day.
I get a phone call from PC Solutions. The printer has arrived. Great news and good service as we only ordered yesterday and it means again that we get it in good time before leaving for France. Sarah collects it on her way back from the gym. Its a very small box, but inside is a beautiful white and turquoise HP Deskjet 3720. I remove it from the box, sort out the bits and begin the process of setting it up. Again I am faced with one of the oxymorons of life. Blazoned in english on the label and across the very front of the printer is the statement “The Worlds Smallest All-In-One Printer”. And there is a selection of languages for set up to chose from: Spanish, German, French, Dutch … but not a single word in english … bugger! What would we we do without Google? Once again they save the day and after a bit of trial and error the printer is talking to me. The printer is wireless and later that evening while watching the TV it starts up all by itself and starts printing a page, which falls to the kitchen floor. I pick it up and read that an update has just automatically downloaded … cosmic!
The cleaner was meant to come this afternoon, but Sarah advised Helen that it wouldn’t be worth it with all the building dust that will probably be generated again next week. The notes Steve and Helen left mentioned that the 50 Euros were to pay Fatima, but we couldn’t find the money anywhere .. eek … just as well she didn’t turn up!
At 6:15pm the gate bell rings. When I say bell, I mean bell. Its one of those old school bells on a chain and rings just like the old school handbell with the wooden handle. It sent shivers down my spine. I nearly stood to attention in the playground then realised that I needed to run up the steps to greet the visitor. Not only that, but it set the dogs off on a marathon barking session so pandemonium was let loose.
The school bell immediately switched my mind to “authority”and true enough there was a motorcycle policeman at the door. I quickly ran through all my crimes since being in Spain this last 4 weeks, but couldn’t come close to justifying a police visit. I then recall the basket of shopping we abandoned in Mercadona yesterday. I guiltily opened the gate and immediately saw the bright yellow Post Spain scooter. It was the postman! I am relieved. The dogs are still growling and muttering behind me. The postman waves an official looking envelope addressed to Steve and a handheld device for me to sign. But first he has to complete a tear-off section. He asks if I am Steve Davis? I think quickly. I did play snooker once. I think if I say no he may not leave the envelope. It looks important and I don’t want Steve to not get it. So I say yes, thinking I can just sign and go. But the Postman looks at me and says are you sure? I say yes. (Bugger, Bugger, Bugger). He writes my name and then asks for ID … Bugger. I point at the name written and say I am not Steve … shaking my head sideways. He looks at me with a knowing look, saying something in spanglish. I smile innocently and give him my name. He writes it down. I can take delivery of the envelope if I provide some form of identity. I point down the steps and go and get my UK driving licence. I return and proudly present my ID. He shakes his head and mentions an NIE. I fluster. I can’t remember where I put the certificate and I don’t have an NIE card yet. He then says Passport. Ahh, yes. I have one of those and I know where it is. I retrace my steps down and back up in the hope we are now making progress. I hand him the passport and in my rush leave both gates open. Barkley and Mini see their chance and in a flash are racing out of the car port and up the road. I’m in between shouting at them and trying to grab this bloody letter for Steve. I sign on the handheld device and take the letter. I look up the road and there are no dogs to be seen. Bugger, bugger, bloody bugger! The Postman gives me an evil smile and says he’ll get them. Does he mean run them down? Meanwhile I have nightmare visions of my Boy Scout days. My Mum was only laughing about this on the phone the other day.
As a young boy I was in the Boy Scouts and once a year we raised money through “Bob-a-Job” week. In those days the slang for a Shilling was a “Bob”… which became 5 New Pence. There are 100 pence in a pound so it gives you some idea of the value. Obviously worth a lot more at the time. In those days it was safe for young people to knock on strangers doors and and say “Bob-a-Job?” the idea being that you would perform some small tasks for a Bob and if you were lucky a bit more. I guess that the simple minded organisers didn’t consider the fact that a guy called Bob could answer the door and get the wrong idea! I remember once that some mean bastard had me cutting down bushes and tidying his garden all morning and gave little more than a Bob!
Anyway, the thing that made my Mum laugh was that one of my jobs was for a neighbour who lived in Hankinson Road, just around the block from home. I knocked on his door and within minutes was taking a fluffy little dog for a walk. It was only to walk the block. I went down Somerley Road and turned in to Maxwell Road, passing our house. I was approaching Abbott Road when a much larger dog approached. Its still just a blur now. All I can remember is that a dog fight ensued, or should I say one big dog ripping a small fluffy dog to bits. By the time the owner of the large dog had separated them I was left with a ball of red at the end of a leash. I was in shock! This poor animal limped home and I had to present the loved and bloodied pet to its alarmed owner. I still got the “Bob” … why I don’t know, but I did. This minor accident scarred me for life, yet it always makes my Mum laugh when I tell her I am looking after a dog!
So where was I … ah yes .. this vision of a previous situation racing through my mind as I went in search of the those chimps Mini and Barkley! I ran up the road, no shoes, the gravel biting at my feet. I turn the corner and the postman is parked across the road like a police barricade during a major incident and the two large black labradors are looking at me sheepishly. I bark at them and they race towards me. I wave at the nice Postman and grumble at the dogs who obviously are happy that they got one over me. Bugger … but they are safe and that’s all that matters.
I need a drink … were is that 3 Euro bottle of Cava from Consum?
Until next time 🌏