Monthly Archives: September 2011

Menorca 2011 – Part III

Day 15 (Friday 16/9/11)
To Es Migjorn for coffee in the usual bar in the centre (Bar Peri). Another Brit, nice chap, typical of the ones that seem to be around there, saw my phone on the table and asked if I was using their wi-fi; I wasn’t, but he had got the password from the guy at the bar, so I was able to log on [barperi123456]; the other Brit eventually got connected, but was unfortunately not able to get his email going!
Home (via Spar for more shopping!) for a swim in the sea, followed by beer and lunch. Today must be the first day we got to 2 o’clock before having the first beer of the day!

Day 16 (Saturday)
Went for a bit of a drive: Es Mercadal, Cami den Kane, Favaritx, Na Macaret, Addaia (lunch – tapas), Home. Very pleasant.
Burgers for tea

Day 17 (Sunday)
Bright start.
Never tire of opening the shutters to be greeted by this view…

Swam in the sea, 12.00-ish; tried new getting-in place — wish I’d tried this before, very easy.
Thunder and lightning + heavy rain for ten minutes or so, around 1.00
Rest of the day pretty much wet; doors and windows closed, though this did not keep all the rain out!
Es Cranc for tea: fish soup followed by rapa (angler fish) a la marinara for me; asparagus then grilled prawns for JL. (NOTE: do not have fish soup followed by a sauce-type main in future — too much similarity! NOTE 2: do not have asparagus in Spain — it’s white and watery!)
The family Cranc treated us as old friends, with kisses on leaving.

Day 18 (Monday)
Woke to more wind and rain. No pre-breakfast swim!

To Mahon for a wander round in the morning. Discovered the “blue parking” along the port by the ferry terminal is just a time limit (two hours), but you have to leave a note saying when you arrived. (NOTE: should keep pen and paper in the car.)
Coffee in the square at the bottom of the “main street going up” then walked up to the top square, sat by the fountain and walked down again. Checked out the multi-story ferreteria but didn’t buy anything. Bought palo crema from the pastry shop for tea.
Home for lunch, via the Hiper supermarket where we bought pork loin steaks for the evening meal.
Frequent cloudy periods for the rest of the day, with temperature noticeably cooler! Wind and sea unabated.

Day 19 (Tuesday)
Wind very loud overnight; woke to dull skies and seas still enormous: decided to go somewhere else to get away from it!

To Cuitadella, where we parked above the ferry terminal and walked into town. Very leisurely coffee outside a bar in the centre, and generally mooched about. Combination of end of season and our comparatively early start meant the place was very quiet — felt like almost deserted at first!
Decided to drive out of town in a vaguely southerly direction in the hope of stumbling upon a place for lunch; when that didn’t work out, starting to head homeward. At this point I was tempted by a sign on the ronda saying “platges” and mentioning “bars” — should have stopped to think or looked at a map! Drove for miles along increasingly rough roads until we ended up in a car park where the sign said “15 minute walk to the beach” (no sign of, or mention of “bar”)! Decided to cut our losses and return to Ciutadalla for lunch. Very nice pizza and beer in the Plaça des Pins; JL had Spanish omelette and salad. Hung around a while longer, since weather had turned nicer and we weren’t sure it would be so at home.
Es Cactus for evening meal: I had stuffed peppers followed by grilled scorpion fish, excellent; melon cream then duck leg for JL.

Day 20 (Wednesday)
Weather looking much better. Decided to be brave and do a pre-breakfast swim — too damned brave: absolutely freezing!!
Remainder of the day (happily) a standard Menorca Wednesday: church, Rising Sun, hypermarket, Es Grau, swim, sleep, tea at home.

Day 21 (Thursday)
Typical last day — eating up, drinking up, packing up. Trip into Mercadal to try and get a replacement coffee pot, having melted the plastic bottom by turning on the wrong ring on the cooker: failed — only option was EUR28.50 posh job, so gave up.

Day 22 (Friday)
Slightly later departure time, with no need to leave apartment until 11:00. Uneventful run to the airport, filling up the petrol tank on the way. On-time take-off and landing. Home around 4:30

All-in-All …
Excellent time; already looking forward to next year! Was three weeks a good decision? — definitely!

Menorca 2011 – Part II

The good thing about a three-week holiday is, you can start Week Two thinking how much time is ahead, instead of contemplating the beginning of the end: great feeling!
The down side is, the credit card bill is going to be three times what it is now!

Day 8 (Friday 9/9/2011)
Hot sunny weather continues.
Swimming before breakfast now getting to be the norm — quite like old times.
Up the mountain for morning coffee: splendid all round views, much clearer than the last few times we’ve been up there; needless to say, didn’t have my camera! (but then we must have taken plenty of shots in the past).
Phone camera not really up to the job …

Looked at the sea late afternoon, with a view to swimming, but still a bit too choppy.
Tea at Es Cactus: very good fish followed by a poor Crema Catalana. I had grilled dorada and JL maluza (hake) marinara. The Wrights turned up at the next table!
Incredible Jennifer Jones look-alike also present — really rather spookily alike, right down to the body language and mannerisms.

Day 9 (Saturday)
Another fairly inactive day! — really must make the effort to Do Something soon.
Shopping in Mercadal followed by abortive attempt to get a beer: tried sitting outside three different bars before giving up and coming home; think perhaps locals are in Fiesta Mode (every man for himself), since preparations were obviously under way for same.
Sausages selection for tea with tomatoes and out-of-date coucous, which tasted a bit rank (couscous, that is, not sausages).

Day 10 (Sunday)
To Son Parc, to “see what’s changed” … not much, basically, other than continued development, particularly of the golf facilities. Compared to our first visit to Menorca, 24 years ago, it is of course very different; but then, what hasn’t changed in that period of time, here and elsewhere?
Had a beer in the beach bar but opted not to go right down to the beach.
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Moved on the Addaia, where we discovered something new to do: went into the “port” (marina) area, and had a pleasant lunch at the bar/restaurant there.
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Home for the afternoon.
Grilled chicken drumsticks dusted with cumin, rice and corn for tea.

Day 11 (Monday)
Clear skies after yesterday’s late cloud; wind has got up overnight, leading to a lively sea — not going to be swimming in that for a day or too.
Introduced ourselves to new neighbours, Jo and Jude, who arrived late last night; seem like nice girls — shouldn’t be too much trouble!
Jackie and Peter departing today: various goodies passed on to us (they clearly over-catered!!)
To Fornells before lunch to order tonight’s Paella Es Cranc.
Lazy afternoon at home (again!). Sea still very lively.
JL greeted as a long-time regular when she collected tonight’s tea
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Day 12 (Tuesday)
Alarmed when sprinklers came on just as we were contemplating our pre-breakfast swim, but it turned out to be The Gardener just playing.
Changed the bed and some towels — we must leave some dirty washing, or Christine will be think we are a right skengy lot!
Returned paella pan to Es Cranc and had a coffee in the square, then up to Mercadal for another load of shopping.
Lunch and the rest of the day at home.
Pork chops with mustard sauce for tea. (Note: the spare chops from last week that we had stored in the fridge were most definitely “off” so we were obliged to eat all six chops tonight!)

Day 13 (Wednesday)
No sign of the sea abating: it would be nice to have it calm again, so that there would be a few boats for entertainment.
To church in Es Castel: Michael in much improved form — quite his normal self
Beer at the Rising Sun.
Swam in the sea at Es Canutells, followed by nice lunch of grilled sardines in the Bar/Restaurant.
Home cross-country to Alaior, where we failed to find a supermarket open (so had to go to Mercadal Spar for milk) then home for siesta.
Corned beef hash for tea.

Day 14 (Thursday)
Another at-home day …
Walked up to super mercat to get bread for lunch
Swam a couple of times in the pool; sea not quite flat enough for comfort, but getting that way by the end of the day — hoping for flat calm tomorrow.
Weather remains clear and sunny, with some breeze; still around 30°.
Es Cactus for tea: EUR14.25 set menu and EUR8.95 house white very good value (two courses from a good selection plus ice-cream)

Ten Years On

So I guess many of us are thinking of “9/11” (as our dyslexic colonial cousins have it) today and, amongst other things, pondering on what has changed in the last ten years; thinking too, how fast those years have passed, if we are of a certain age!

Certainly, air travel has changed, for a start — as I am bound to note, since we at present on holiday in foreign parts. Have to say though, the security experience at MIA this year was very efficient and relatively painless, when compared to some of the inconvenience we have felt at times in those ten years.

Much has happened on the international scene, too, though whether we have progressed much in the “war on terror” (if you believe such a thing exists) is debatable, I think. Continue to have my doubts about Iraq and Afghanistan; but at least Libya looks as if it may turn out better.

But inevitably, it is at the personal level that one tends to concentrate; and in ten years, quite a lot has happened; most of it good, I am happy to say …
Anna and Matt have married, have given us three super grandsons, and seem to have a good life together.
I survived redundancy from Barclays, had six enjoyable years at Swinton, and managed to retire in modest comfort (so far!)
Mother-in-Law celebrated her 90th birthday and continues to thrive; Rosemary and Mervyn upped-sticks and move from Coventry to Garstang, where they are able to keep an eye on her, which is good for JL and me!
We continue to have good friends and neighbours, who make life pleasant (you know who you are!)
Great Britain may seem to be in a continuing financial crisis, and to have its share of other problems, but yet remains IMHO a good place to live.

There is a temptation, I suppose, to wonder what the next ten years will bring, but I think I’m content to go with Matthew (Matt 6:34) — “Sufficient unto the day …”

Menorca 2011

Once again in search of the sun in Menorca …

Day 1 (Friday 2/9/11)
Good flight, leaving at a reasonably civilized hour (9.00am) and arriving on time in Mahon. Agreeably surprised at the amount of leg room provided by Monarch – possibly due to being at the front of the plane? Tiresome delay in getting off the plane, due to “a shortage of buses”.
Usual program of lunch at Arenal followed by shopping in Mercadal  (as always, taken aback by the increased cost of the First Shop).
Got to apartment around 4.00, to be greeted by Christine and Des.
Jackie and Peter are also here this year.
Weather very humid and rather cloudy.
Spaghetti with corned-beef and runner bean sauce.

Day 2 (Saturday)
Started the day with a pre-breakfast swim — not done that for quite a while!
10.10 thunder
10:17 rain
sunny evening
Curious-looking “yacht” (in the rich man’s plaything sense) parked up just off shore. Obviously worth a small fortune; no identification visible; stern flag looking like a red ensign, but with a monogram in one corner; large letter “A” on the stern. In due course, the rumour mill says it’s “a Russian millionaire” — Jackie later informs us it’s Abromovich.

Pork chops, mushrooms fried potatoes.

Day 3 (Sunday)
Weather a bit better to start with, but still what the weather reports call “p/cloudy”; brief shower in the afternoon.
Swam in the sea — most pleasant.
Another posh boat anchored off shore — this time a more conventional affair, though probably no less expensive. This time no intelligence forthcoming concerning the owner

Pepe in residence during the day: greeted us like long-lost relatives, kissing JL on both cheeks.
Na Marga for tea – lamb chops for JL and rib steak for me (huge!)

Day 4 (Monday)
To Mercadal in the morning for a mooch around and to replenish supplies.
They have semi-pedestrianized the street south from Sa Placa, and introduced some new one-way arrangements, which resulted in us driving around for a while, trying and failing to get to our normal parking area.
When we finally gave up and parked in a new place, we strolled into the centre and enjoyed a coffee. The new arrangements have given the centre of town a much nicer feel, with more cafe pavement space and room to wander.
JL bought a blouse from Madona and I got a kitchen knife from the ferreteria.
Back home around noon, and I happened to glance out of the window to see something white and odd-looking in the sea about 100 yards off shore: thought to myself, “That looks like and up-turned boat.” Got the binocs out and sure enough that’s what it was, with four heads bobbing alongside. Spent the next hour-and-a-half watching the “rescue” — which comprised of another small boat that happened to be passing, and somewhat later a boat out of Fornells, apparently from one of the rental companies (assumed to be owners of the upturned boat). At one point, a jet-ski with a trailer appeared from direction of the beach, but didn’t stay long — this was the nearest to any “official response”, despite at least three people that we knew of calling “112”.
Wind began to get up seriously mid-afternoon.
Beef burgers, beans and fried potatoes for tea.

Day 5 ( Tuesday)
Hot sun and blue skies all day!!
Stayed home and made the most of it.
“Chicken in a bag” for tea, with rice and sweat corn.

Day 6 (Wednesday)
Church in the morning. Michael not his usual ebullient self. No sermon!
Sol Naciente for a beer; then shopping at Hiper Climent.
Lunch at Bar Es Moll in Es Grau. Sardined plus five tapas — too much!
Home for a swim, followed by tea break with Jackie and Peter.
The Wrights have arrived at 010.
Pizzas from Marga for tea (NOTE –  Es Cactus closed)

Day 7 (Thursday)
Swam before breakfast again. Clear skies with no wind – hot day in prospect?
Lounged around home all day. Walked to shop for lunchtime bread – very hot (12:15 — mad logs and Englishmen, etc)
Fried steak for tea