The first attempt to run the bulls down the street and in to the bullring

MONDAY 21-1-19

Unfortunately after posting the last offering Saturday night it began to rain, and continued to do so for much of the night. The upside was it seemed to drive the evening revellers indoors or back home and we got a nights peace and quiet.

Yesterday was a cloudy, cool windy day. We sat in the awning for the morning reading with the fan heater on occasionally.

After lunch the sun came out and we wrapped up and went for a walk along the promenade towards the town. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs and enjoy the afternoon sunshine.

On our return I made us a frothy coffee, though given the mess and washing up involved afterwaards you have to question whether or not it's worth the effort.

I have found myself volunteering to play beach volleyball on Wednesday afternoon having been approached by our very nice new neighbours across the road, Bob and Sue. The Chef declined the invitation, and will perhaps play Petanque instead, but she has suggested that she'll forgo that in order to come down to the beach and laugh at me. Behind every successful man is a woman, and behind every budding beach volleyball star is a chef.

We've now signed up for the campsite trip in to town for paella next Friday as it's the Paella Festival this week. Eight euro's each, so that's not too bad. We only signed up after being assured by a young lady in Reception, that paella here doesn't contain seafood, it's meat, including chicken, beef and rabbit.

In the evening we went for our usual  Sunday Roast, Spanish style, and very nice it was too. We spoke to one of the staff to ask about eating in the restaurant on Quiz Night, because last week the quiz had started while we were still eating, which was a bit awkward. She advised us to come up to half an hour before they serve as they will begin service "once the lady arrives in the kitchen".

After eating I spoke to a chap who was just paying his bill at the bar, as I suspected he and his mate were probably motor sport fans and wanted to know what the attraction was here as we've seen lots of motorsport decorated vans over the past weeks on the campsite (what's the harm in asking?). Well it turns out that there is a well known, very good, and challenging motocross complex somewhere just the other side of the mountain range behind us, and loads of guys go there to practice for the upcoming UK season, which means I could have asked him for his autograph if I'd had the foggiest idea who he was.

On our return to 'base camp' a tear welled up in my eye as the Spanish family who had arrived with their caravan on Friday, hopefully just for the weekend, left with their noisy feral kids. Praise the Lord!

During last night the wind got up good and proper. It seems to be the regular pattern with the weather here just at the moment, as cold wind from the mountains rushes downhill to replace the relatively warm air rising over the sea. Most reassuringly of all was that when I opened the motorhome door this morning the awning still stood there, and in one piece.

Another cold breezy start to the morning but it looked promising as far as sunshine was concerned.

After scrubbing up I did a few chores as well as checking the BBC internet news. Too depressing even to mention isn't it? Though I do like the idea that Nigel Farage just might form a new Pro-Brexit party to fight any General Election Comrade Corbyn may try and manipulate. Having a starting point of 17,000,000 votes in the bag before putting a leaflet through the door wouldn't be a bad start to an election campaign, and if that meant all of the political elite who tried to manipulate a 'No Brexit' in complete disregard for the democratic vote of the people, and as a consequence, lost their seats on the Westminster gravy train, would be a massive bonus.

Before setting off in to town (the folk in Reception refer to it as the 'village', but with some 18,000 inhabitants that's a big village, so I shall continue to refer to it as a town, albeit a small one) we popped to the shops and bought the ingredients for a homemade chicken curry, as opposed to a jar of ready-made sauce. Once the slow cooker cauldron was stirred, we set out for the 'Bull Running' starting at 13:00.

Well to our amazement we were able to enter the temporary bullring without paying and grab a space at the top of the grand standing area to watch the bulls arrive at the ring. Clearly Seamus O'Sanchez was in charge of events because after the bulls arrived at speed, they entered the bullring, did a few laps and then promptly ran out of the ring and back up the road. Clearly Murphy had failed to ensure that somebody closed the gates after the bulls had entered the arena.

We weren't sure whether or not we wanted to see this spectacle, but figured that we were in Spain, and so should embrace their way of life as best we can, and it would after all not involve the killing of a bull. We could never bring ourselves to support or watch bullfighting.

Having watched the spectacle we won't return to any further 'performances' during the week, and look forward to the day we can distance ourselves via Brexit from some of their customs, though as a people they are very warm and welcoming.

Most of our fine dining cuisine, namely the homemade chicken curry finished up in the bin, though it was a brave attempt. I had put too much curry powder in, and it was rather dry, though I did add white wine to the portions as we went along. Still lesson learned, and I'll have another try at sometime in the future. The purpose of such exercises' is to try and find meals which we can make from locally sourced produce rather than bring so much with us. Especially as we have decided, that, God-willing our grand finale motorhome tour will be back to Istanbul as part of a three month tour. Hopefully it won't be for a few years yet, but that's the plan.

This evening is a very windy one, and no doubt the awning is bouncing about a bit outside, but we're here indoors with the central heating on, so all is well.

Tomorrow we are having a day out in Valencia on a campsite excursion, just thirteen euro's each, so that's pretty good, only problem is we set out at the ungodly hour of 09:00, so we'll have to set the alarm clock before going to bed.

I shall attempt to attach and share a little ditty my daughter Clare sent me regarding our PM. I shall remove it in the very near future.

The parade of Devils

The portable bullring

Tipsy our near neighbour

SATURDAY 19-1-19

Yesterday was quite cold and cloudy, with a cool breeze. I needed to get some hand washing done as I'd dropped a tiny amount of food down two of my three sweat shirts, just enough to leave a mark, and needed to get them back in action. They were very slow to dry.

We had decided to go for our second bike ride of the week as we would need to return the bikes by Tuesday, and as we're down for a coach excursion to Valencia that day, they'll have to go back on Monday.

We headed for the port area of Castellon, somewhere we'd been before, but in these parts unless you want to ride in to the sea, or up a mountain there is only north or south along the coast which can be travelled. Annoyingly I'd forgotten to take the little pocket camera with me and thus could not capture any images. On approaching the port area we were pleased to see that the authorities had clamped down on long term motorhomers selfishly taking over the public car park by the beach for the winter. They have doubled the size of the aire, which was underway the last time we were here and have also now created a good sized motorhome park on the edge of the airfield used by insane people to skydive. It looked pretty rough and comprised mainly of Germans, French and Dutch judging by the vehicle registration plates. Still if they want to live like pikies that's up to them.

After a walk around the promenade area at the port we made our way back. It was not a comfortable journey for either of us as the bikes had no gears and uncomfortable saddles, but being full sized bikes they were easier to ride than our small folding bikes which we had left behind at home for this trip.

On our return we sat out in the awning for a while and read, giving our bottoms a chance to recover.

 The evening meal was a pizza and chips, only this time the pizza was baked in a large, dry, frying pan with a steel lid on cooked on the gas hob in the motorhome. This was an experiment of mine to try and create an alternative method of baking for when we are touring around and cannot used the small electric oven. It was fairly successful, and hopefully the next attempt will be even better.

Our evening entertainment was watching an episode of 'Blue Planet 2' and 'An Idiot Abroad', both on Blu-Ray.

We weren't in bed very late, but I was awoken by a live band playing in the Sports Centre from 00:30 to 01:00 this morning, which seems a most bazaar way to arrange entertainment, and they're doing the same tonight, though with a disco. I do hope it ends at 01:00 as well.

We awoke this  morning to a lovely sunny day which soon warmed up. My first job was to make a marinade for my steak. It was a concoction including some Bourbon whisky, barbecue sauce, ginger, tomato ketchup and hoi sin sauce. Next it was the housework and water duties, before finally wandering down to the shower block for a scrub up.

Once we were sorted we decided to take the bikes back to the sports centre since we were going in to town anyway and we wouldn't be using them tomorrow as they are forecasting drizzle overnight and all morning. On the way we passed the small kiddies funfair and a portable bullring. We understand it is used for competitions where people have to remove something from the horns of a small bull. Something like that anyway. They are doing it at 13:00 each weekday, so we may get to take a closer look.

Back at the campsite I popped almost next door up on the next level to take a photograph of 'Tipsy' a lovely collie dog who just sits outside its owners caravan awning with her rag toy and ball and you never hear a murmur from her. I complemented the owner and said that I wished all dogs on the site could be as well behaved.

We decided to have our barbecue early afternoon so that we were done in time to wander down the town for 17:00 as there was the 'Parade of the Devils' through the streets. Before setting out we prepared the vehicle and awning for a wet spell starting sometime this evening, and turning the central heating on low ready for our return.

Needless to say the parade started late, never mind, this is Spain, and they probably got up late from their afternoon siesta. It wasn't breathtaking, but it was a bit different and it did get us out, and off the campsite. As usual we got to see half the campsite down the town doing just the same as us.

We're expecting a noisy night tonight. We are already having to listen to loud music and a compare who likes the sound of his own voice, and that's back down in the town, about a mile away.

THURSDAY 17-1-19

We woke to quite a nice warm sunny day yesterday and so I got a bit of hand washing done. Yet again there was a camper down at the block watching over one of those silly camping twin tubs which take about four pairs of pants and a hankie.

We didn't need to go shopping as we had booked a table for two for tonight is Quiz Night and because it's so popular you have to either dine in the restaurant before hand or pay twelve euro's a seat to sit at a table and not eat, so it didn't take long to work out we'd be better off dining in. When I spoke to our new team members across on the opposite pitch, Bob and Sue, they were happy to join us for a meal so a table for four it was.

At the beginning of the afternoon Petanque session we spoke to Pauline and her husband Kevin, who had sat just across the way from us at last week's quiz and did quite well on their own, so I joked they could join us next week if they wanted to. As it happened they were pleased to be joining a team as the felt they wouldn't stand much chance on their own.

So yesterday evening The Chef got another night off as we dined a la carte, three courses for a very reasonable €12.95 each, and that included a drink. The only problem was that we hadn't finished the meal before the quiz kicked off, and I, as the scribe of team 'The Fab Six' found myself with the sheets and pen in front of me and my dessert way off to the side. Never mind I can always try sponging the marks off my trousers and washing my sweatshirt.

Amazingly enough between us we had an answer for every question, and lo and behold scored enough points to take third place winning a prize of twenty-two euro's.

This morning was quite cool and cloudy. The original plan was for us to visit the weekly market in the morning, go for a bike ride this afternoon and then down to the town for the start of the celebrations for St Antoni.

Having walked down to the market area we discovered that it wasn't on today, they'd come out in sympathy with the supermarkets and most shops and not opened. I tell you the Spaniards don't need much of an excuse to have a day off. The upside was that we then spotted areas of the High Street had been cordoned off and police standing around. We decided to hang around for a while to see what was going on. Soon young children and their parents turned up with bunches of flowers, which after a parade around the town they deposited on a small stage outside the church. I thought that maybe the stage was to be used for the beheading of badly behaved Spanish kids, but my luck was out today. Never mind the festivities last another week, as next week is the Paella Festival with rows of stalls selling their wares as well as other entertainment.

Then it was back to the campsite where we had our main meal early - barbecued cod. The first time ever. I cooked it on wet planks for a bit of a smoky effect, but the cod although quite pricey here (they seem to prefer hake) it was a bit watery, a bit like cheap chickens back home that have been injected with water.

Never mind it wasn't a dreadful experience and we'll learn from it. Having spent the rest of the afternoon sat in the awning to keep out of the cool air we made our way back in to the town for yet another parade of idols and floats. Needless to say we saw many familiar faces from the campsite down there.

We were pleased to get back to the motorhome where I'd left the central heating turned on. No doubt this evening will be spent watching a DVD or two. Oh how I wish I had bought the satellite TV kit with us.

There's more going on down the town tomorrow, and if we want to do something else we can always go for a bike ride.

On our way back

Around the headland at Oropresa

The beach at Oropresa

The marina on the approach to Oropresa

TUESDAY 15-1-19

Having discussed our stay here in Benicassim we decided to put a bit more effort in to what we did during our stay. To that end we decided that yesterday we would take a packed lunch and our small folding chairs, as opposed to the larger, fancier, heavier, reclining chairs which remain on the vehicle permanently. The smaller ones are our 'beach chairs' and since we're only a short distance from a lovely beach, we just had to bring them along.

The experience was a timely reminder of what such a trip is all about. We had a lovely clear blue sky, it was warm, the sun was shining, and I was hungry.

We found an ideal spot with wooden planking  stretching out on to the beach. It was only when we left and saw the signage that we realised that we had been sat in the disabled area, but never mind, since nobody had come up behind us doing wheelies, demanding a space no harm was done, and we'll do it again. It goes without saying that if any disabled person turned up we'd give the space to them immediately. I could also tell them that their allotted toilet and shower cubicles were locked, because I knew, I had tried them, and instead, finished up using a cubicle a short distance away, in my bare feet. Needless to say that upon leaving the cubicle my feet were first washed in a puddle of water on the promenade, the result of automatic irrigation of plants, then under a cold tap for feet washing on the beach, followed by a good spell paddling in the sea.

Lunch was a delicious crusty baguette with some salad in it, coupled with the rest of the chicken drumsticks from the barbecue, all washed down with a can of beer. That was a very tasty and enjoyable experience.

The Chef had thought to bring her book down to read, but not me, and so I struggled to do absolutely nothing as I sat there enjoying the sunshine. I did try to capture the feel of the moment with three very short video clips, but they were taken with the little pocket camera which has only a small screen with which to see the images. Give me a viewfinder any day is what I say. With the glare of the sun it was almost impossible to see what it was I captured. Never mind, they tell me sloping horizons are all the fashion these days.

After our very enjoyable session down on the beach we sat outside the awning for a while before it very quickly became too cool to stay out. It was then time for our evening meal which was spaghetti Bolognese, made with a jar of local tomato sauce, to which The Chef added some oregano. The result was rather quite nice, and the sauce has been added to our list of foods we can buy down here with confidence in the future.

The evening's entertainment was the final episode of 'Blacklist' Series 3....... I knew it, I knew it, I told The Chef I didn't think she was dead!

This morning, despite the lack of sunshine streaming through the roof vents we arose earlier than usual. I won't reveal the time as it's far too embarrassing. Even so, we both still had our bathrooms to ourselves. I really don't know when our fellow campers get scrubbed up.

First stop this morning was the local sports centre where we could get seven days free bike hire per month. All we had to provide was a phone number, our passports for ID, from which the passport number was taken, and a fifty euro deposit per bike. Our original idea was to hire the bikes for seven separate days, but given the time taken to walk down to the Sports Centre, go through the paperwork and adjust the bikes, we decided to just keep them for a straight seven days.

Then we were away, back to the campsite where we had lunch.

Suitably refreshed we set off for Oropesa, the next community along the coast, along the former railway line. We've done it before on our bikes, so knew what lay ahead, but it was so nice to get off the campsite and get amongst the locals.

It's quiz night tomorrow night, and we have been approached by the very nice, newly arrived couple across the way, to form a team, which we readily agreed to. This tactic will hopefully help us to avoid teaming up with the couple who were invited by Steve and Jane to join us last week. Don't get me wrong, me and my darling Chef would never claim to be clever, but that pair would leave you seriously concerned about the standard of education in Southwest England in the nineteen sixties.

In order to ensure we get a table we have booked a table for four which means we've got to eat our evening meal in the restaurant. Hopefully we'll find something on the menu that we enjoy, and we'll have a lovely evening.

This evening is the 'Never Mind What You Voted For - You'll Get What WE Want' pantomime finale, with the vote on Theresa May's lamentable Brexit deal in the House of Commons, otherwise known as 'PantoLand'. I could wait until the result of the vote is known before posting this drivel but it looks as if the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Only tomorrow will their Anti-Democratic antics begin.