If you were in Torrevieja in the summer of 2015, it’s quite possible you were on the scene to see cinema history in the making. Especially if you happened to be down by the Marina, watching the Blues Brothers strutting their stuff, closely followed by local comedian and drag artiste Stevie Spit, resplendent in a red chiffon gown and high heels. More alarmingly, maybe you were there when two guys on jet skis packing guns and wearing skeleton masks roared into the Marina demanding fuel. You didn’t dream it – you were part of the fulfillment of the 30 year dream of Billie Anthony Gaddess – actor, screenwriter, Torrevieja home owner and the driving force behind the community produced film ‘The Cucaracha Club.’
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Europe – and particularly Spain – is much more motor home friendly than the UK. There are very few height barriers, and if you take up two or even three parking spaces, nobody seems bothered. Also, there are lots of places where you can pitch up for free – or ‘wild camp’ as it’s called in the trade. However, as with all things, there are people who will take advantage, and then the police will be called in to move them along, and maybe impose a hefty fine too.
One of the (very) few things I miss about England – along with spring flowers, and all the green fields, which of course, need lots of rain, which I don’t miss – is hitting the Pound Shops. That’s those hallowed halls where everything is just £1 (or even 99p) so you don’t have to ask the price. When we return to the UK for our two month summer sojourn, I usually bring back so much stuff from Poundland the 99p Shop and any other cheapie shop I happen to spot, there’s barely room for Tony and Paddy in the motor home. Now there is a sort-of Poundland in Spain – Dealz shops charge €1.50 an item and are the nearest equivalent. However, the nearest one to us is in Alicante, which means leaving Paddy home alone for far too long. But help is at hand, because Poundshop.com now ships to Spain, as well as many other countries in Europe.
People move to Spain for all sorts of reasons, and often turn to something different in their new life in the sun, but it’s unlikely that too many of them possess such extraordinary talents as Jan Cave Barry and Jim Barry, or have such a prosaic reason for moving.
‘We were fed up with the weather in Ireland,’ says Jim, who hails from Dublin and now lives with Jan in Torrevieja. Lots of people carve out new lives for themselves when they move over to Spain, and Jim and Jan are no exceptions. However, this is not just a case of giving up the office job and trying their hand at writing to pass their time in retirement. Singer, songwriter and performer Jim is now a successful artist, while Jan has morphed from dancer and theatrical performer to children’s author and artist, although she modestly describes her particular brand of art as ‘daubing.’
One of the many advantages of living in Spain is the low tax on alcohol, which means that you don’t need to take out a second mortgage to have a good night out at the bar, or sit and nurse one drink for hours. However, it has its disadvantages too – the fact that booze is so cheap and readily available can mean that you drink more than is good for your health. And with the summer fast approaching, that nice cold beer that seems so inviting could be making matters worse, as alcohol has a dehydrating effect. Also, remember that drink driving limits may be more stringent in Spain than in your home country.
This year, for the first time ever, we had about 50 lemons on our tree in the garden. It’s a big improvement on last year’s three, but you do have to think hard about how to use them. After all, there are only so many gin and tonics you can drink and still have a healthy liver! After making preserved lemons, and fresh lemonade, I decided to try an old favourite from my childhood – home made lemon curd.
Think of sport in Spain, and most people think of golf, closely followed by water sports such as swimming, diving and wind surfing. But what if you’re a man past the first flush of youth, who thinks golf is a good walk spoiled, and isn’t into water sports, but wants to keep fit? Walking football could be just the thing you’re looking for.
What is the EU Referendum?
It’s highly unlikely you haven’t heard about the EU referendum announced originally in the UK in January 2013 by the current Conservative government, which will decide whether the UK remains part of the EU. The date is set for June 23rd and will decide on the future of the UK either as a continuing member of the EU or return to a time of sovereignty not seen in over 4 decades. Should the UK remain in the EU and will a potential ‘leave’ vote impact the current status of British expatriates?
Back in the day when the package tour operators first discovered Spain, just about every bar served free tapas with drinks. And back then, because Brits were rather suspicious of ‘foreign muck,’ they were left largely untouched, thus offending our generous Spanish hosts. Now that Brits are involved in a love affair with Spain so deep that they are moving out here in droves, they bemoan the demise of the free tapas.
After 8 years of living in Spain, we’ve finally made it across the border to Portugal for a month long vacation in our motor home. I was prepared to be dazzled by the beauty of the Algarve – and I am – but what I was not prepared for was the considerable differences I would find between the people and places of Portugal and Spain. They may share a peninsula, but they are divided by both culture and geography.