Dec 202014

Having joined the CBMVC earlier this year, Vernon was keen to start rehearsing for its busy programme of Christmas concerts and returned to the fold as soon as the Careline show, ‘Lest We Forget’, finished.

The song list for the lead-up to the festive season consisted of traditional carols such as ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’, as well as several popular seasonal songs such as ‘I Saw Three Ships’ and ‘When a Child is Born’. The choir also sang an Andalucian carol in Spanish plus, in Latin, ‘Gaudete’, a song originally recorded by Steeleye Span in the ’70s, and in Italian ‘Va Pensiero from the Verdi’s opera Nabucco – quite a challenging repertoire!

After last year’s successful ‘flashmob’ in the La Marina shopping centre in Ondara, the choir arranged another ‘Concert for Shoppers’ on the last Saturday in November. Celia filmed most of the songs, which can be viewed on YouTube.

CBMVC at El Verger 2-12-14On 2nd December the choir was invited to take part in the Grant a Wish concert in the Casa de Cultura in El Verger, which it opened with a 30 minute set.



CBMVC at Moraira Carol ConcertThere followed an appearance at the Javea U3A carol concert and another in the church square in Moraira, organised by the Lions.


CBMVC in Benitachell ChurchFinally, there were two, hour-long, Community Carol Concerts in churches in Calpe and Benitachell, the latter being literally ‘standing room only’. You can watch a video of the final song of the Benitachell concert, ‘You Raise Me Up’, here. After this concert, the choir held its Christmas party at a nearby Chinese restaurant, when everyone let their hair down, with lots of impromptu and acapella singing during the evening, including a slightly different version of ‘You Raise Me Up’ – a short clip of which can be seen here!

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.

ur 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.

You can also view a slideshow of photos set to music here.