Off to Sign

Our Spanish legal eagle informed us that completion of our house purchase was booked for Monday, 2nd February. So, I’d booked a 2-week trip to Spain to complete the legal formalities for Casa Libélule. As luck would have it, our English neighbours are travelling out to their place for the same two weeks. So, we have travelling companions. Even better, we have a place to stay for the first few days before we move on to our normal assignment of house-and-dog-sitting. 🙂 What it is to have friends!

Today we had “an interesting” departure from Luton Airport at the usually crowded 7:30 AM. Snow had been forecast for a while and, just when you want the weather guess to be inaccurate, it proved to be spot on – it did, indeed, start snowing as we arrived at the airport. Fortunately, conditions didn’t get bad enough to stop air traffic and we boarded the plane, standing on the aircraft steps in the snow as our fellow passengers took their own sweet time getting themselves seated and blocking the aisle while they did so. How can people take so bloody long to sit down when they have an allocated seat? Normally I like walking across the apron to an aeroplane – you get more of a feeling that you’re flying – but on this occasion in snow, a jet-way would have been very welcome. Eventually we got inside out of the snow and took our own seats in what must have been Olympic record time. No one awarded us a medal, though.

Snow had accumulated on the aircraft’s wings and control surfaces so El Capitan announced that he would first have to taxi out to a communal de-icing area. Progress was slow but eventually it was our turn and a truck with a large hose-on-a-boom device approached the plane and began squirting a strong jet of pink fluid all over the port wing, just outside out seating row. The pink fluid was followed by green fluid all of which must have made a bit of a mess of easyJet’s orange corporate colour scheme. The queue of planes approaching the communal de-icing station reminded us of larger fish waiting for Remoras by coral reef cleaning stations. Well, you have to do something with your mind at such times of delay. Our cleaning was eventually finished and we were away about 45 minutes late.

Our flight was blissfully uneventful until we began approaching Alicante when, as El Capitan warned us, turbulence began and the plane got into the rock and roll spirit with some shake, rattle and roll. A 50mph wind was blowing off Spain and across the sea. Fortunately, the wind was blowing straight down Alicante’s runway so the actual landing was very nicely handled. Well done First Officer!

We usually borrow a car when in Spain but this time our friends will be here, too, so I’d booked a rental car, not something I usually enjoy, just because of the insurances and so on. Picking up a rental is never quick so I was relieved to see just one couple ahead of us in the queue for Centauro. The queue of people waiting to collect from Goldcar, on the other hand, was huge – about 20 strong, which would have taken most of the afternoon I should think. Our paperwork seemed straightforward and was swiftly dealt with. We wandered into the car park and collected the keys for a car that turned out to be a Fiat 500L, the Large version of a Fiat 500. The thing was pretty beaten up with dents, scrapes and creases across several panels. I returned to check that all the existing damage was noted which, apparently, it was. Meanwhile, Francine performed miracles finagling our two modest cases and camera rucksack into the crappy boot space. Let’s face it, Italian cars are crappy all round.

We made our way to Jalón while I tried to get used to the Fiat’s gearbox – one or two changes fluffed – and other controls. Strange cars always take a while. We made it safely, despite a buffeting from that coastal cross wind, where we re-joined our English neighbours to bed down with them for a few days. Well, we had a quick drink first, of course, just to recover from the journey.

It might be windy but the skies are pleasantly clear and blue.

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Posted in Spanish Venture Part 1

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