Once we’d finally made it through immigration at Alicante, I checked in for our rental car (no queue whatsoever – good) and we made our way to level 3 of the car park, where the rental agencies have their bases. Our car was siupposedly a Skoda Fabia, black and it was in space #462, we were told. No it wasn’t; #462 had a Lancia Ypsilon sitting in it. Yes, as unlikely as it may sound, Lancia is still in business and making cars, or what passes for a car to an Italian, apparently. Scary stuff! In a former life, when I worked at Rank Xerox for a spell during the 70’s, Lancias were one of their favoured management company cars, just because of the specification – you got more toys in the Lancia than the similar Ford. The toys didn’t last long though, the Lancias fell apart in 2-3 years. I don’t remember the model name but they were the ultimate rust buckets. Even 1960s Vauxhalls outlasted a 1970s Lancia and that’s saying something. Lancia’s reputation became so bad, quite justifiably, that they were forced to stop trading in the UK. Here was a frightening reminder.
There being no sign of any reasonably constructed black Skoda nearby, I returned to the desk. The helpful Centauro man came out to try and find the right car. The advantages of a remote locking device: wander up and down a line or two of cars punching the zapper and wait for a car to beep, unlock and blink its hazard flashers. “Ah, that’s the one – space #442”. A quick visual check and we were off.
Off for a short time, anyway. Whilst still in the car park, we spotted a little blue warning light in the shape of a thermometer on the dashboard. Our exit route took us round back past the office so I stopped and called in. The little blue warning light supposedly said simply that the engine was cold and would extinguish when the engine warmed up. I’ve just started a car that’s been sitting overnight and the engine is cold? No shit! There’s a surprise. Now look Skoda, a.k.a. VW, never mind cheating on vehicle emissions, get the design right. Warning lights are intended to warn of exceptional conditions, things that are out of spec and require attention. A cold engine when you first start up does not constitute an exceptional condition. What is the point of “warning” me about it? We continued. Sure enough, after a couple of minutes the light went out. Pointless.
We got to Casa Libélule after an hour and lunch and let ourselves in. There were no warning lights showing but then I flip the power off when we leave. There perhaps should have been a warning light because Casa had an exceptional conditional: the outside wall, normally a plain, bright minimalistic white, showed signs of mould – a sort of mottled blotchiness. A small scale forest of furriness was visible on the back rest of one of our dining chairs. The top of our dining table showed tell-tale signs of mould, too. Worse; upon looking closer, not that it was difficult to see, the table top had developed a curve which in turn meant that the legs were toeing in a little. Very Queen Anne. I’m sure the silly wide angle lens in my crappy phone camera is exaggerating the effect but this picture will give the basic idea. Bother! All the other similarly constructed pieces of furniture look fine, BTW.
We got some fungicidal stuff from the local hardware store and I washed the walls down with that. They look a plain, minimalistic bright white again. Other than wiping it down – we don’t want to add further moisture to already warped wood – there’s little to be done to the table, just wait and see. I suppose it may shape-shift again as the atmospheric conditions surrounding it change but personally I doubt it. We’re not sure why we should’ve experienced this problem this time around, except that we dried some clothing upstairs shortly before leaving on our last visit. Maybe this loaded the atmosphere in the house with moisture which then condensed out as it got cold. We won’t try that again.
I won’t serve too much gravy with Christmas dinner, either – it’ll end up in your lap. 😀