14. Apr, 2017



Well we didn't have a very good night last night. Just before going to bed the water/leisure-battery management panel began buzzing intermittently. I knew I was getting low on water, but figured I'd have enough until the morning when I'd planned to drive the vehicle all the way over to the dump station on the far side of the complex, put a load of water in the tank and then enjoy a nice shower before dumping all fluids and taking on a full tank of fresh water. But no, I just knew that I wouldn't get to sleep properly with that keep going off. So with watering can in hand I set out for the dump station. The Chef suggested we just drive over there. "No" says I "That would be too easy". It didn't take me too long to return with ten litres of fresh water, sufficient, I calculated, to stop the alarm for the night. In goes the water, I lock the cap, climb back indoors, turn the system back on and BUZZzzzzz. I'd only half cured the problem, Now it was telling me I was low on 12v electric power for the living area. The only answer was to turn the whole system off until the morning, we should have been alright as enough light comes in through the skylight from the security lighting to navigate around during the night. So that was it, off to bed I went.

Then it was the horrid feral Spanish kids. Little kids, kids that should have been in bed hours ago, but this is Spain, and the little sods came out to play noisily until about 23:00, then it finally went quiet. Peace at last I thought.

I'm sure they don't have the equivalent of an M.O.T test here in Spain, because if they did then the four-wheeled piece of scrap which turned up and parked next to us at 23:30 would never have passed it. Not only that, having parked up they proceeded to talk loudly, followed by a re-start of the engine which sounded like somebody shaking a tin of nuts and bolts.

That was it. I left The Chef in bed whilst I drove all the way over to the dump station area, where I proceeded to pour about thirty litres of fresh water in to the tank whilst leaving the engine running to charge the battery up a bit. When I was done I told The Chef that we'd stay here for the night as there was nobody around us at all, well apart from the yachts in the Marina, but they seemed unoccupied.

I went to bed telling The Chef that we should be ok now, the battery was charged enough to stop alarming the system, there was enough water for our showers in the morning, all we had to do was fire up the gas boiler.

I think it was only about an hour later when I heard something like a fly or mosquito buzzing around my head. I kept lashing out but I should have saved my energy. Eventually I got up, turned the light on and armed myself with the fly-swat. The Chef wondered what the fuss was about. "Can't you hear it buzzing around your head?". She couldn't, and as I couldn't scare it from its hiding place to be swatted I reluctantly gave up and went to bed. After a while The Chef heard it, and it started to bother her, but I just couldn't be bothered any more. That was a long night, and I awoke with a couple of bites on my back.

This morning we enjoyed our hot shower followed by a word in my ear from the Marina security staff pointing out that I should not be parked there. Water off a ducks back. Mind you by the time I'd finished giving them my excuse, covering noisy Spanish kids, noisy neighbours and the need to run my engine, I think they wished they'd not mentioned it.

After a check all around the vehicle then dumping, and topping up, we were on our way to El Puerto de Santa Maria. There were two possible routes, a major road around the coast, or across country up in the mountains. The Satnav picked the mountains. Still it was dual carriageway and the road surface wasn't too bad given that it must be the preferred route for HGV's. Driving up and down in the mountains isn't a problem as long as I can get a good run at the hills and not get slowed down whilst climbing by weekend motorists or HGV's.

The route was quite pretty and very rural, in fact it looked like the English countryside with everywhere a lush green colour with rolling hills and herds of cattle.

In to El Puerto de Santa Maria where the Satnav had a bad hair day at the latter stages. Luckily I'd been on Google Street View and knew that I needed to take a service road off at the roundabout with the 'Burger King' on it. So back to the Burger King roundabout and in to the service road. Our parking area (GPS: 36.598161 W6.220831) is next to a mosquito infested swamp river, and on the other side, accessed by a bridge, is the town. It is only costing us €6 (a fiver) a night, and as it's Easter we get a pick pocket experience in the town, a beating up on the river bridge, or a mugging in the car park thrown in. Now that's what I call value for money.

Once settled we strode out for a look around town. It was packed with Spanish families doing what they do best - absolutely bugger all. There was a market and children's amusements just the other side of the river.

The architecture is very interesting. There are numerous buildings which are very old indeed, you can tell because they look as if they're about to fall down. There was even a church which The Chef tried to get a look inside of, but was refused at the door, which, had it been in the UK would have had a cordon of hazardous tape around it and a demolition order pinned to it.

Just before arriving at said church there were numerous people wearing religious attire and young folk carrying crosses back, presumably, to a store room. We had clearly just missed a religious ceremony, which was very annoying.

Our wanderings continued. We even came across a very nice beach with a free car park next to it. Further down the road on our return we finally came across the catamaran terminal for the cross-bay trip to Cadiz, though being true Spaniards they weren't working today. I favour catching the train there myself. They have been running all day and are far more reliable than a sweaty Spaniard who works when he feels like it.

On our return we relaxed with a nice hot drink and a biscuit (well actually it was me who had the biscuits).

This evening we have been enjoying the sounds from across the river, they have gradually become louder due mainly to a live band beginning a performance about 18:00. I assume they have come to perform to their ever-so-grown-up thirteen year old fans. I have just listened to their rendition of the Beatles classic 'Twist & Shout'. I tell you, they are really cutting edge out here in the Spanish sticks. They're going to be so upset when they find out JFK has been assassinated in Dallas, and that we beat Germany in the 1966 World Cup.

So here we are, door open 'cos it's nice and warm, fed and watered, and considering going back across the bridge in to town to embrace the celebrations. That's another way of saying 'I'll never get to sleep with that row, so I may as well go and join in'. 

Fortunately the loud music finished as we made our way across the river, and was replaced by a gridlocked town. Everybody was looking for a parking space. We assumed it was for an evening meal out with the family. 

The Chef and I had a nice wander round, enjoying the cool of the evening. On our way back we noticed a crowd leaving a pathway through the middle of them. This warranted further investigation. It eventually turned out to be a parade. At first I thought it was a get-together of the Irish and American branches of the Klu Klux Klan, until we spotted a religious effigy of Jesus and, presumably Mary Magdalene. My word it all moved slowly, we were there ages, never mind it kept us occupied for a while, and allowed the day to end on a festive note. 

Tomorrow we intend to travel to Jerez on the train.