May 152014

Continuing our plan to explore other parts of Spain, we decided to visit the city of Toledo, renowned for its cathedral. Once again, we consulted our “Back Roads of Spain” book and discovered a route that would allow us to explore the region of Castilla La Mancha – Don Quixote country!

We spent 2 nights in Toledo, a wonderful old city, built on a hill surrounded by the river Tagus, and wandered the narrow streets, visiting the 13th century Gothic cathedral with its huge arches and the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes built in the 15th century. Our hotel was a stone’s throw from the imposing Alcazar, a huge stone fortress built in the 15th century at the very highest point in the city and which was held during the Spanish Civil War against overwhelming Republican forces in the Siege of the Alcázar, an incident which became a piece of Spanish Nationalist lore.

We spent another 3 days touring the vast countryside of Castilla La Mancha, one of the most sparsely populated of Spain’s autonomous communities and a symbol of Spanish culture with its huge vineyards, olive plantations, windmills, Manchego cheese and the base for Miguel de Cervante’s novel Don Quixote. We stayed in Consuegra, with its 12 windmills and castle, and visited other towns including Almagro and Villanueva de los Infantes.


We stayed in some wonderful hotels, including a memorable dinner overlooking a lake as the sun set at the Casa Rural La Laguna in Aldea del Rey. You can see more of the photos of our memorable trip in our photo gallery and also click here to watch a slideshow set to music.

A busy Spring

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Apr 202014

Not content with the very successful run last October for our Old Time Musical Hall production with the Careline Theatre group, we repeated the show for one night at the modern theatre of Calpe Casa de Cultura, in front of an audience of 270. Because of the time lapse, this required a lot of rehearsals but the end result was worth it, as the standing ovation proved! Once again, Vernon took the MC role played by Leonard Sachs in the BBC TV series and Celia took part in several tap routines and all the chorus numbers. Some of the photos can be viewed in our gallery.


Meanwhile, Vernon joined the Costa Blanca Male Voice Choir, which we have been following for several years after including them in our 2012 ‘Voices of Distinction’ concert. His debut concert was at the huge 650-seater Teulada Auditori, where CBMVC were one of 4 choirs taking part. You can listen to some the choirs’ songs by clicking here


Closely following these two events, we were invited to attend, in our role as mentors for the single-parent support group Guardian Angels, the Bay Radio Charity Awards Gala at the Denia Marriot Hotel. This was a prestigious, red-carpet occasion attended by the mayor of Javea and the British Consul from Alicante. Celia is pictured left with some of her fellow Angels in her ball gown, made specially for the occasion. More photos can be seen in our gallery.

Nov 042013

After the hectic two months of preparation for Those Good Old Days, we promised ourselves a mini holiday. We have been wanting to visit Granada for some time to see the Alhambra and also to see the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Our itinerary took us via Cartagena where we spent the first night and visited the Civil War Refuges under the city, having seen most of the other sights during a previous visit last year. We were also privileged the next morning to see Cunard’s cruise liner “Queen Victoria” docked alongside the marina.

We then headed off into Andalucia, spending the second night in the town of Gaudix, staying in a ‘cave hotel’ – many of the houses in the town are built into the hills and the hotel’s rooms were similarly hollowed out. The room was very warm, being kept a constant 18C by the earth around it, and we enjoyed a swim in the thermally-heated swimming pool and jacuzzi.


We set off for Granada, our next stop, travelling through some wonderful scenery on the northern edge of the Sierra Nevada. We were booked to visit the Alhambra at 10:00 the next morning and were amazed at the splendour of the Palacios Nazaries (you can see some of the many photos we took by clicking here.)


Our tour round the Sierra Nevada and Las Alpujarras over the next few days was spectacular, visiting wonderful little villages perched precariously on the side of the mountain, including Trevelez, the highest town in Spain at almost 1500m. We stayed in some lovely hotels and on our last day crossed a pass over the Sierra Nevada at 2000m, the highest we have ever been in our car.

We completed our trip by meeting for lunch Ray’s mum and dad, Pat and David, who were spending a few months in Mazarron in their caravan.

More photos from our trip can be viewed here and a slideshow of photos set to music here.

Nov 042013

In October we took part with our local amateur dramatic group, Careline Theatre, in a show called “Those Good Old Days”. Based on the popular, long-running BBC TV series, it featured many well-known, musical hall songs, some monologues and, of course, lots of dancing.




Celia took part in two tap numbers, “Leaning on a Lampost” and “I could be happy with you” from The Boyfriend, as well as singing and being part of the chorus for many of the other numbers, including a fabulous ‘London set’, in which everyone appeared on stage in their ‘pearlies’ (pictured left).




Meanwhile, I was cast as the loquacious Chairman, Leonard Sachs, well known for his elaborate introductions of the performers. For this role, I decided to grow a moustache, much to Celia’s dismay, which I shaved off at the earliest opportunity after the last performance! I also took part in the Sand Dance, which we performed so successfully a couple of years ago in the panto Ali Baba.

The show ran for 3 nights and was a huge success, being almost sold out every performance. One of the local newspapers, Costa Blanca News, described it as “A show to be proud of”. We had great fun and look forward to doing similar shows in the future.

You can see more photos of the show by clicking here.

Calendar Girl

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May 312013




For the past 2 years, we have been helping a charity based here in the north of the Costa Blanca called Guardian Angels, which supports single parent families. Our main role is to act as mentors to some of the members and act as a source of telephone support for them. We also help out at fund-raising events and special fun days for members and their children.

This year, Guardian Angels hit on a new way of raising funds, the need for which had increased, due to the fact that parents now have to buy children’s school books, previously supplied free by the government, at a cost of €300 per school year. It was decided to produce a Calendar Girls-type calendar for 2014, in which 12 ‘volunteers’ would pose partially but tastefully naked.

The photoshoot took place recently and Vernon created a special Facebook page to launch the project and appeal for sponsors. You can visit the page and get a sneak preview of one of the girls here. Of course, to see Celia’s photo, you will have to buy a copy of the calendar in September when it is printed. However, if you would like to sponsor her now to reward her for her courage in posing in the altogether, you can do so online at theGuardian Angels website.