Merry Christmas & Prosperous 2009

December Already – Where has the year gone!  Have been very organised this year and have written all our cards and got them posted via our friends who we have seen and have kindly taken them back to the UK to post for us.  Have also got all the presents bought and posted off (quite a lot done via the internet and sent direct) so we can kick back and relax now!

We flew off to Gran Canaria for a week at the beginning of November to join Kate, Toria, Kieron & Emma for a well earned holiday. It was lovely to see everyone again and spend some time with them and it was also a nice break away from all the building work.  As we’d never been to Gran Canaria before hired a car to explore the island and found it to be so different in the centre and north compared to the South.  The south is very barren and rocky (not so much a surprise as it’s a volcanic island) with loads of tourist complexes and beaches but once you get inland it changes to mountainous scenery with pine trees and much more greenery.  The difference in temperature was also noticable – up to 10 degrees cooler in land and to the North.  We preferred the north of the island because the scenery was so much greener and less touristy – Phil’s not a beach and sunbathe person!  We can highly recommend a visit to the Arehucas Distillery in Areucas – a short tour around the distillery and then a fantastic tasting session of everything they produce!!  Near to Areucas is the town of Firgas where they produce mineral water (a good bet after sampling all the rums etc at the Arehucas distillery) which is sold throughout the Canary Islands.  Places to visit here include San Roque Square where the Townhall and Church of San Roque are located, nearby the Casa de la Cultura, a mill for gofio and the monument to the livestock farmer.  Also worth viewing are the promenades of Canarias and Gran Canaria irrigation channels placed at intervals and tiles painted with bucklers and local village landscapes.

After arriving back from our break in Gran Canaria Phil carried on with the work on the house.  He’s slowly been scraping/chipping the walls back to the old plaster and then giving them a coat of new plaster and painting them.  It’s been a long, messy job but he’s nearly done.  We’ve had scaffolding up on the landing since August and at last it’s now down and the place looks loads bigger and much brighter. The next job to tackle is putting in the new balcony doors we bought 2 months ago – probably do this after Christmas.

We are hoping to go up to the Sierra Nevada and do some snowboarding on Christmas Day – all being well with the weather.  The ski resort opened about 2 weeks early this year as we had some heavy rain which resulted in good snow high up and there have been regular intervals of rain so it’s meant some more snow up top and lower down on the mountains around us.  The weather here, like the UK, has been cold (we are so glad we are now in our new lounge with the logburner – once that gets going it warms up very quickly) which has meant the snow hasn’t disappeared in a rush.   We are also looking forward to the annual Conchar Wine Festival on 6th January and the 3 Kings Parade on the night of the 5th (not sure whether we will stay in Pinos this year to watch the local one or venture into Granada again).

Well that’s all for now folks – hope you all have a great Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009.

Abrazos y besos (hugs and kisses)

Mel & Phil