A busy summer

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Oct 262014
 

2014 has been the hottest and driest in the 7 years since we moved here and when the rain finally came in September, it was the first significant amount for almost 12 months.

However, it was a busy summer, particularly the latter part, which saw our youngest son Chris and his wife Georgie spending a 9-day holiday with us. As usual, Chris took every opportunity to use his photography skills, especially when we took a boat trip from Denia to Javea. We also visited the Valor chocolate factory in Villajoyosa, the town of Altea, a walk around Fontilles and enjoyed many great evenings out in local restaurants.

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In September, Mary-Louise, our other daughter-in-law celebrated her 50th birthday and invited us to a party held at the Kenza Restaurant in London. We had a great weekend, including an evening at the Piccadilly Theatre seeing ‘Jersey Boys’ and a rainy Saturday morning in Covent Garden!

Immediately on our return from this trip, rehearsals started for a Careline Theatre Group show called ‘Lest We Forget’, which played to almost full houses in our Alcalali theatre in mid-October, then one night in Calpe. The first act of the show celebrated the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 and the second act covered WW2. The show comprised songs, dances and sketches from those eras and Celia and I appeared in most of the scenes on one way or another, resulting in 8 costumes changes each. Vernon played a starring role as Captain Blackadder in a sketch from the famous Blackadder Goes Forth final episode, which culminated in the cast ‘going over the top’. Celia’s tap dancing skills were put to the test again with several numbers, including the songs In the Mood and Candyman. The photos below show Vernon as Capt. Blackadder, Celia (background) dancing to In the Mood and in a less than flattering costume for her role as a WW2 factory girl! We received many flattering reviews in the local press but we both found it an exhausting production and may well not become involved next year.

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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 folkore.

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 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.

 

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.

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

 

 

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.