Tina has to go back to work, I only have two lessons. The first is with Stuart, when I collect him Ken is at home and we have time for a coffee and a chat. In the afternoon, I cycle to see Dad at Old Basing. He is well, but I won't mention his medals until they arrive and I can reunite him with them. I must talk to Dad and clarify what he got up to in the war.
On the way home I take a roundabout route, it's quite cold but bearable. I should get out more on my bike but it's just not the same in the winter months.
Another full day, with no cancellations! Several people ask me if we have put up our Christmas tree yet. Bah, humbug... of course not.
No cancellations today - but I finish at 3:30. Tina heads to London with Chris for a guided tour of Spitalfields on foot. The guide is a friend of Yvonnes, who is going to meet them at the start of the walk.
In the evening, Tina tells me all about her day. A highlight seems to be a scheduled stop a a very authentic bagel shop at the end of Brick Lane.
Work! It had to happen. Tina is still on holiday until Friday, but I have learners to shout at :) What promised to be a very busy day is eased by two lunchtime appointments cancelling - good. Tina sees Chris.
When I get home in the evening, Steve rings. He has found two medals from Dad's service in the war! I am so grateful to him, he says he will post them to me.
To Trowbridge. Steve and his helper Dave do a good job of clearing Dad's house. Tina and I wander around Trowbridge, then go to Bradford on Avon. The river is VERY high, and there's water running through the town. We eat a delicious roast pork sandwich in a cafe. Back at Dad's, Steve is getting on well, so we drive home and leave him to it.
Tina and I potter about in the morning getting used to Basingstoke. In the afternoon we walk with Ken and Carol around Malshanger, and catch up with each other's news.
Up early for the ferry at 7:30, no breakfast :( The taxi at Los Christianos gets us to the airport three hours before our flight. Somehow the aircraft stays in the air :) At Gatwick we say goodbye to Les, who gets a train back to Nottingham. We drive home through the dark in torrential rain, eat chinese food, then take Jim to the station for his train around 7:30 pm.
It's been a rare treat to spend a week together, I'm so glad we went away. Now it's weird to be back in the UK in the gloomy November weather when a few hours ago the temperature was around 80 degrees and the sun was shining brightly. I wouldn't like to give up the seasonal UK weather permanently, even the winter can be glorious on a cold sunny day, but there's a lot to be said for a break in the sun :)
We sleep well. Breakfast is a huge buffet. Jim and Les stay in San Sebastian, Tina and I walk for two hours over cliffs to a nearby cove for a swim. I forget my trunks but the beach is deserted so I can swim without them. Unfortunately there are no photos of this ;) It's very hot. We walk back and later meet up with L & J. We play scrabble in a bar in town before dinner. Les is miles ahead but I swap some letters to get rid of a "Q" and she pulls it out of the bag a bit later in the game. I manage to get rid of all my tiles. By some massive fluke and the fact that Les was stuck with her "Q" I win by a point. Bloody hell - I never win at scrabble :)
We eat another huge dinner, and get to bed relatively early.
We say goodbye to Alex, the owners son at our hotel. A very pleasant woman takes us in a taxi to a high place on the island - up in the clouds. On the way a woman with a child on her back is pottering about next to a tent at the side of the road. There must be some poverty on the island. Our driver drops us next to (I think) the Roque de Agando, the most prominent of a group of volcanic plugs called simply Los Roques, near the centre of the island. The rock is shrouded in mist, but still impressive.
Today's walk is down hill to San Sebastian, the capital of the island, where our last hotel is located. We cross a road and stop for coffee. The cafe is full of a coach party of cruise passengers, who soon depart. Rather them than me... It gets sunnier and much warmer as we continue to descend.
9000 people vive in San Sebastian, out of the island's total population of 28000. Compared to the villages we have been in so far, this is a teeming metropolis. Similarly, the hotel is huge, compared to the other two. Tina and I have a good look around the town before dinner. Walking back to the hotel, we come across a woman watering her plants outside her house. Tina and I say how pleasant her flowers look, and I snatch a photo. As we walk off she dashes after us with a rose for Tina :)
Dinner is posh and huge. Tina and I order paella as a starter - it's huge. Our main courses include kid, cod, and guinea fowl, which is all delicious. Later we play cards, a whist variant which lasts for around an hour. I win by a tiny margin, much to everyone elses disgust. Jim and I had a side bet and he's particularly miffed.
Breakfast, then we walk up into mountains. There is bright sun and it's very warm. As we descend to a bar cafe on the beach there is a little rain. Les and I share calamari. It's now too cloudy and windy to swim. We walk back to hotel and laze around.
A taxi again to our evening meal, a different restaurant this time, which has lots of fresh fish on the menu. The waitress / owner is a German woman, who chats when she has a moment. We all order lemon sorbet, which the waitress annoints with Limoncelli. A nice touch, especially when she pours four glasses for us as well.