Sunday 12 January 2018
The last week has been a mixture of fun and work.
The start of the week saw us celebrating Kings Night - 'El Noche de Reyes ' - on Sunday evening. Still suffering from Christmas illnesses compounded by our, umm, enthusiastic New Year celebrations, we were not able to watch the grand parade in Estepona, where twenty or more floats distribute 14 tons of sweets to waiting children and adults. We joined in the processions last year and know that they are great fun, but this year we celebrated on board Offbeat and listened to the celebrations going on around us.
Kings Night is a big thing in Spain, equivalent to Christmas Eve in England and most towns and villages in Spain will have a parade, which will end with children giving letters to the Three Kings, letting them know they've been good and what presents they would like. Children then leave their shoes outside the home so that the Kings know where to stop and leave their presents.
Feeling better on Monday we joined our good friends Edita and Richard and their friends for Kings Day, the equivalent of Christmas Day in England. Kings Day is a bank holiday in Spain and is the traditional day for having a sumptuous meal and giving presents. We were blessed by having lovely warm weather so were able to enjoy drinks on the patio before lunch.
After a superb lunch we shared presents, ate far too much Roscon de Reyes cake (Kings Cake) and drank too much port and brandy. The cake is ring shaped and decorated like a crown, topped with fruit and bursting with either vanilla or chocolate cream. Buried inside the sponge is a figurine of a tiny king and it brings good luck to the person who finds it. We were rather greedy and ate two cakes, with Richard and Mark finding the Kings, so they wore the crowns!
Next day and it was back to work on Offbeat, but first a bit of planning for our summer cruise. We have agreed that this summer we will leave Estepona at the beginning of April and head back to the Balearics where we will continue part 2 of our original plan. Assuming we don't get sidetracked again, we plan to go to Menorca, Sardinia, Corsica and then back to Mallorca where our grandchildren will join us. We will then head back to Estepona for September when we will meet up with Mark's family.
With this in mind, we're both conscious that there's only 11 weeks till our planned departure date, so time to crack on. But first, there's friends to see and fishing to be done. So, I met my friend Elizabeth for coffee and croissants before she returned to Switzerland. We had a relatively early start and with very few people about, we had a lovely long walk along the seafront. It was so warm and calm, it was one of those 'ahhhh' days.
Later in the day Mark went to sea with his friend Isaac in Polaris. As it was still calm weather there wasn't any sailing to be had, but fishing to be done instead. Having watched a beautiful sunset, they came back empty handed, they did have a couple of bites but they got away. So, next day off we go to the fishing shop to get new lures and stronger fishing line. Maybe better luck next time!
And so onto chores. This week we've sanded down, varnished and painted woodwork, washed and dried sails, washed and waterproofed the tent that gives us a sort of conservatory and refurbished the lockers that hold our gas tanks for cooking. Doesn't sound a lot, but prepping for this sort of work is very time consuming and sometimes takes longer than the job itself, especially when you're preparing woodwork or if you have to cut half a dozenscrews to the exact length needed.
Although there is still work to be done to get Offbeat ready for the summer, it does feel like we're getting there and whilst it may feel like all work and not much play at the moment, if our summer plans come to fruition, we'll have 24 weeks of playtime in glorious weather and spectacular locations.