After breakfast we say goodbye to Jordi, and get a taxi - 30 minutes climbing up into the mountains. The day is spent mainly walking down, with only occasional climbs. In the morning we walk through deciduous woods, and find a bar at lunchtime for a drink. In the afternoon we can see the volcano Teide (Tay-dee) on Tenerife. At 3717 metres (12198 feet) Teide forms the highest peak on Spanish territory and the worlds third largest volcano (Last eruption 1909). (Thank you Wikipedia).
Gradually, we descend to Hermigua, where our next hotel awaits. Nearer to the village, we come across a chapel, brilliant white in the low sun. We take photos, and two minutes later sun drops behind the mountains :) The same thing happens at the church in Hermigua, a lucky day for lighting. We find a bar and relax, then find our hotel. It's perched on a hillside, with great views. At 7:30 a taxi takes us to a restaurant, which is on the beach. We eat dinner to the sound of waves breaking.
A shorter walk today, on the other side of the village. We go up, see more wonderful views, down, pass a dam, and back to Vallehermoso. After a late lunch in a bar, J & L snooze, and Tina and me walk down to sea, the same place as yesterday. En route we see bananas and unidentified fruits. At the beach there are massive breakers.
In the evening we try a different restaurant, and play hangman on the paper table cloth. Walking back to the hotel, we see lots of stars in a clear sky.
Before breakfast I'm standing outside when the woman with a bad leg walks along with her husband. She looks surprised when I enquire after her leg - it's not same woman... T & J & L take the micky, and ask if I enquire of all women I meet how their limbs are. I retort that it's a valid chat up line, sooner or later one of them will be injured, and will be impressed by my sixth sense. Jordi is around at breakfast but not his wife. We chat to fellow guests, some are on the same holiday.
We set off for a walk, a circuit around the village. We climb up for ages, with wonderful views. It's very green, and there's a bit of rain. There are palm trees, cacti, weeds trying to overgrow the path. We pass two tiny chapels. There's an old man with broom in the first, and a French party picnicking outside the second. Whenever we meet French people they always seem to be in groups, and having a whale of a time. We descend a very steep path to the beach. A swimming pool is empty, the sea has big breaking waves, we're advised not to swim. There is a road to a deserted bar covered in fallen rocks, under massive sheer cliffs. We walk back to village, and have beer at a bar. The French party are already there having fun. Lots of "Bonjours" to us. Before dinner we play Scrabble. Jim scores very well with one word which I won't repeat - where did he learn that sort of language. Still, as he says, it's in the dictionary. Roger Melley's dictionary, I think...
Our evening meal is in the village in a bar which our taxi driver recommended. We all order lots of tapas dishes, which are excellent. The meal goes on and on, with new dishes appearing at regular intervals. Did we order all these? It's a bit like the scene from Monty Pythons "Meaning of Life" where Mr. Creosote has a problem with a "wafer thin mint, a tiny little thin one." Somehow, we do justice to the meal without exploding.
3:30 is the sort of time which should only exist in the afternoon. Regardless, we all get up, cram our cases in the boot and drive to Gatwick. The flight is OK, making a nonsense of my worries of the previous few days. Why I think the plane is going to crash every time I fly I don't really know. Brandy in the departure lounge at 6:00 am seems to perk us all up though.
When we get off plane in Tenerife it's wonderfully hot and sunny. The time is around 11:30 - the same as the UK. A taxi is waiting to take us to Los Christianos where we will catch a ferry to La Gomera. We have two hours to kill so we have lunch on the beach, which is excellent. Fresh fish, salads, bread and olive oil, and mojo, a local dip which comes in two varieties: green, full of pesto, and red, hot and spicy. On the ferry, I fall asleep. When I wake, I stand up and lean low over Tina's seat. The woman occupying Tina's seat looks surprised, at best. Horrified is a fair alternative. J & L& T find it very amusing.
A taxi takes us from San Sebastian, the capital of La Gomera, to Vallehermso. The island is only ten miles in diameter, but it takes a while as we wind around the mountainous terrain. The hotel is lovely, with amazing views over the village and peaks all round. Les and I explore and get coffee, Tina and Jim take a nap. Back at hotel we meet another British couple. She hurt her leg a week prior to her holiday, so is going to do short walks. Dorothy texts the Saints result, 3-1 away to QPR. Hooray.
Dinner at the hotel is superb. Chicken soup, a vegetable platter, and for desert a sausage covered in gravy. We assume it's some local delicacy, then Tina discovers that it is a banana with palm honey (like maple syrup). The hotelier is Jordi, a very nice man. His wife has a crutch, she has had a fall. Not surprising given the terrain. Altogether a marvellous day, if a little tiring.
Beethoven's ninth - a celebration for a Spanish bank. It might seem odd but sounds wonderful :)
I drive to Trowbridge early in the morning to meet a house clearer. Tina accompanies her Mum (happy birthday Joyce) and her brother to the New Forest to visit Joyces niece.
Steve, the house clearer, seems a nice bloke, and says he can do the job. I wander around Trowbridge before driving home, it's a very pleasant place but I much prefer Devizes or Warminster.
In the afternoon I visit Dad, who is on good form, and ply him with Jelly Babies. I also visit Dave and Dotty, who are also on good form. It's been a while since I visited them and it's good to see them both looking well.
In the evening both Jim and Les arrive at the station, and the four of us eat chinese takeaway food and prepare for tomorrow.
On my car stereo today, the wonderful Pioneers:
Them wail, them wail, them reel
but him couldn't take the trail
Them wail, them wail, them reel
but him couldn't take the trail
and Long Shot - him kick de bucket
Long Shot kick de bucket
Just one cancellation today, at lunchtime, which is a good time to have a break.
In the evening Tina and I watch the next two episodes of "Breaking Bad" which are as good as the first.
Only two cancellations today - not too bad. Actually, I prefer to have cancellations as I've become very lazy in my old age. For some strange reason it's never the last lesson of the day that cancels.
In the evening Tina and I watch the first episode of Breaking Bad - I should have paid more attention to Mr Trobe in chemistry lessons. Ken and Carol recommended it: if you haven't seen it you should - it's very good. IMDB rate it at 9.4, which even allowing for TV series getting higher ratings than films still is an extremely high score; putting it at number four in the best TV shows list. I'm not totally happy with IMDB ratings - the Big Bang Theory only scored 8.4 :(
My first lesson is with S, a nice man in his late twenties or early thirties. His partner recommended me; I think she is keener than he is to get him on the road. The first time I saw S was around three months ago. Despite telling him many times that he needed to bring his licence on the first lesson, he doesn't have it with him. We go on a wild goose chase to various addresses but still no licence. Fast forward a month or two; I get a message to say he has replaced his lost licence. We make another appointment. I turn up, he isn't there. When I call him, he is on the motorway returning home from work: "Did I book the lesson for tonight?"
Repeat the last appointment (seriously), then eventually I do see him, with licence. He can drive very well, just needs to pass the test. I try to encourage him to do his theory test, and at the end of the hour he wants to make a booking - for this morning. When I turn up, he apologises and explains that his partner (a very organised person with good judgement in most things) has gone out, and left no money to pay for the lesson (what he needs is a secretary... or a kick up the bum). I say it's up to him, he can owe me, or I will go back home... I go back home. It must be wonderful to live life only in the present, without having to look ahead and plan anything :)
The rest of the day is fine, K manages a whole lesson where I don't have to stop him pulling out in front of someone, Liesha has a drive in the dark with full commentary ("I'm ****ing scared Richard, I can't see anything!" - "You're ****ing scared ? ! ? ! ? ! ?"), and I drop off the Harry Hill tickets we can't use (Newbury, next week, sad to miss it but for a very good reason) to Carol. I return home quite late to Tina.
This email dropped into my inbox the other day:
"My Great Granddaughter has decided not to be a Pop Star and have someone drive her about; but will be a Hair Stylist instead and drive her self about. I promised her driving lessons for her eighteenth birthday, so it is now time to let her loose on the populace of Basingstoke, so here is the plan. I will pay upfront for fifteen lessons.
Have you got space for her and if so how do you want to be paid, I can transfer the cash direct, by cheque, Paypal, anyway you like as long as it does not involve going to a bank, at eighty five it takes me two hours to get out of bed and as I live in Chichester I can't appear with the dosh.
I emailed two other Schools in Basingstoke and never got a reply, I guess they are so busy they don't need the work, I built and sold two businesses and followed my Grandfathers advice "No matter what time of day, if there's a chance to earn a shilling; take it". Obviously they don't need the money."
People of his generation know how to express themselves in writing, don't they? I saw his great granddaughter today for her first lesson, and it went very well, I'm happy to say.
The last appointment is with Natalie, her final Pass Plus (post test) drive, which was mainly focussed on driving at night. We found a road where she had to adjust her headlights from dipped beam to main beam and back again around every three seconds, which was fun. Natalie sings in a band, their latest video is below: