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This is Peter and Maureen Scargill's Spanish website. We live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarity, that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

We've had a home in Spain for more than 14 years and it is now our permanent base though we retain a small home in the UK.

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First of the Year

Our first trip of the year to Galera could have gotten off to a better start – because of the relatively short duration of this stay to set up the place for our much longer stay this year, we flew over.

Well, I don’t know why, but Newcastle Airport more closely resembled a cattle market on Friday morning. The length of the queues for customs was un-believable – I’d hate to have bad legs….

Despite all of this the airport was no-where near fully staffed! Treating paying customers like this is completely unacceptable and the airport should remember it is a commercial operation and not a make-believe extermination camp!

At the actual testing area, we were asked if we had any lithium batteries. I informed the lady that the only ones I had were in my charger, phone, tablet, PC and watch. She told me not to worry about the latter as they don’t have Lithium batteries. Had we had more time I would have educated her – but hey, life is too short.

Having discovered I had a laptop in my main bag (remember this for next time Peter, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT) she insisted it had to go into the carry on. I did point out that I have nearly ALWAYS put a laptop into the big bag as it saves getting it scratched up going through the usual scanning procedure. So, we shuffled our kit around and put the laptop in a carry-on bag and Maureen went through the detectors before me.

When it came to my turn I opened my bag to pass the laptop through separately – and lo, we’d screwed up and the laptop had gone into the wrong bag and hence through the detectors without a peep – in her bag. What a waste of time and energy but that’s how I generally feel about the UK about now – I’ve been so looking forward to this trip – to “get away” from it all for a while.

Anyway, onto the plane, Ryan Air, an uneventful flight, I was in the isle seat and the guy next to me was the same size as me which meant I was leaning slightly toward the isle, which meant in turn that every time I tried to doze off, the meal or drinks trolley bashed into me. Still, better than getting bored I guess. The most exciting part of the trip was the landing, a real winner which must’ve scraped inches off the tires. While the passengers were recovering from near heart-attacks at the severity of the landing, the usual Ryan-air automated musical fanfare came blasting through the Tannoy to proudly inform us this was yet another on-time flight – hurray! I’ll bet it still plays after accidents. I could imagine the plane lying at the bottom of the ocean, bodies slowly and silently floating around in the carcass and the Ryan Air speakers blasting away its cheerful message regardless.

I think most of us would have accepted a few minutes delay to not shorten the lives of our hearts!

Once inside Alicante airport, all went accordingly plan. We hired a car as ours is at the cave.  If you’ve not done this recently – car rentals are a daunting experience these days and if you don’t have a credit card, forget it. You have to agree to pay (in our case) £900 which you get back on return provided you don’t bash the car AND you have to pay up front for the full tank of gas which again you get back it you return with a full tank of gas. You can bypass the £900 if you pay them £150 insurance which is WAY more than any external company would charge of course.  Damage included a few scratches but they neglected to note that the entire rear windscreen wiper was missing. We took photos.

Weather at the coast was quite nice and we headed off to the hills. Our first stop was for some supplies and back in Murcia we found a Carrefour. I love Carrefour, it puts Tescos absolutely to shame when it comes to sheer variety of meats, cheeses, wine etc.

Olives at Carrefour

One bottle we picked up was £2 and we had that last night – absolutely lovely. You could not buy an empty bottle for that price at Tesco. The funny thing is all the online articles you see show these companies side by side – well, I’ve been to Tescos all over the UK and Carrefour all over Spain and France and there is absolutely no comparison. As usual I spent ages mulling over which olives to buy.


After spending far too much (enjoyable) time in the huge store, we headed off to the cave, arriving mid-evening. Despite being 16c during the day, it was 7c back in Galera at night. By the time we got the wood fire running and heaters up to full power – oh and recovered from the scorpion in the bedroom (he ended up in the fire) we were too tired to go out to meet up with folk, so we watched a TV show, sunk some of our cheap Carrefour wine and had an early night.


The night before, back in the UK, sleep had been something of a joke due to the arrival of five new kittens in the middle of the night and their mother was not going to do this without waking everyone up so, this morning we didn’t get up until mid-morning and headed off for lunch at El Parador before visiting friends Debbie and John in Huescar. Weather was great and late afternoon we came back just in time for an unscripted get-together with more friends back at the house – the day has just flown.

Visiting with friends

Almost all of our lighting is back in operation, the odd solar light crunched up due to UV degradation but that’s to be expected. Tomorrow I have to check the outdoor shower system which (it would appear) some idiot disconnected in our absence – I think I’ll wire the thing up to the mains next time we’re away. Bastards. Thankfully, neighbours had spotted this and turned the water off.  Said neighbours are back tomorrow – it will be great to meet up with them (and others) again after our winter break.

This evening we popped down to Pizzeria La Posa, met up with another couple of friends and spent the evening catching up with what’s been happening over the winter. It’s great to be able to wander down to your local in a foreign country and feel as much at home (if not more so) as you do back in the UK. Marvellous. Some jobs to do tomorrow but for now… perhaps a movie.

3 Responses to “First of the Year”

  • Peter Scargill:

    Thanks Keith – weather is “OK” – a few spots of sun here and there, I’m sure it won’t be long before we’re all hiding under pergolas – I can’t wait for the hot weather and a trip to the lake.

    We’re pretty sure we know who to blame – but everything is fixed and thank you for taking notice – much appreciated!!!

    Catch you later. I’ve dropped you an email so you know when we’re here and in the UK.

  • keith:

    My correct email address

  • keith:

    Hey Peter
    Keith here from the cave opposite. Very jealous of you guys being back in Galera.
    At the moment we have nothing booked until the summer – im sure we will squeeze in a bonus trip before then though.
    Hope the shower repair goes ok. I think Suzanne may have told you already that I don’t think it was running to long before we noticed it. It was the noise that alerted us.
    If I had my way I would blame the dogs 🙂

    A friend of ours is using our cave this weekend whilst he is inspecting the work on his own cave. Just thought I wold drop that in case you wondered who it was.

    Well have a great visit and will definitely hook up later in the year.