This week starts with a morning swim & the sun is back after a few days of clouds.
Alan Morris diary 2021, week 37.
Friday, September 10th. This morning the sun was out & there was no wind so I went for my morning swim nice & early. I swam out to the nets turned & swam back to the beach. I always sit in the water at the shore for a while when I finish my swim, just to enjoy the sun & the water whilst I get my breath back. This morning a fisherman who has been fishing on the beach for a week approached me whilst I sat in the water. He started to talk to me in Spanish & with my broken Spanish, I told him that I was English & only understood a little of what he was saying. He had been pointing to my leg & had obviously seen the scars & unhealed wounds on it, I think he was telling me that he was a medic but I'm not sure. I asked him what fish he had caught & he told me had caught one Dorada.
I got out of the water and started to dry myself off & watched as my new friend the fisherman caught another fish. I went to the chiringuito & had a tostada & coffee, as I sat there the fisherman packed up his fishing gear & came to talk to me at the chiringuito. He told me his name was Juan but I wasn't sure what else he was saying but I did think that he said he would be back. As I finished my coffee & tostada, Juan did come back carrying a small bag which he gave me. It contained what looked like 5 bars of homemade soap & he again kept repeating the word ´medico´ as he mimed washing, specifically his leg whilst pointing to my bad leg. He has obviously seen how bad my leg looks sometimes when I go for my morning swim & brought me some soap that will help my leg heal.
I took my soap back to my apartment & had a shower, the soap didn't make my leg fall off or turn my skin blue, only time will tell if it helps but it was very thoughtful of him to give it to me. After my shower I walked backed to the chiringuito to read my kindle, my friend George picked me up from there to take me shopping in the Iceland store in San Javier. George picked me up & he had already picked another friend, Jim, up to go shopping as well. I only wanted some porridge but I still bought a bag full of stuff, including two different porridges, a can of soup & some Dr Pepper.
On the way home, we stopped off at the LA bar for a quick drink & to see if Jim´s son Steve was there. We had a quick drink but Steve was not there. Jim called him to find out where he was & we moved on to the Spinosa bar on the seafront in Los Narejos to meet him. We stopped at Spinosa for about half-hour before we continued on to La Zona bar. I had a bottle of beer & whilst Jim had some lunch & George waited, I went across to the Mercadona store & bought myself some ribs & potatoes for my lunch. Just as we were leaving La Zona, Jo the owner of the bar turned up, she is also Jims daughter in law so Jim said he would get a lift home with her. I was talking to Jo & she gave me an invitation to use the newly refurbished outdoor swimming pool in Los Alcazares.
The swimming pool hasn't been open for as long as I can remember but the town hall has had the grounds re-landscaped & the pool completely refurbished. It is opening up tomorrow by invitation only for people to have a look around & to try it out. George then drops me off at home where I have my lunch & spend the rest of the day in the cool, watching television & reading my kindle.
Saturday, September 11th. Today is the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the twin towers in America. I remember it as soon as I wake up this morning. I was working at Alton Six Form College at the time as a Senior IT Technician. I was in the college library where they had televisions, hanging on the walls, showing the news. When the first plane hit the sound was put on so we could hear what was going on. Most of the rest of the day students sat around televisions or sat around computers looking at news channel websites to watch the terrible events unfold.
I didn't go for my swim this morning as I am going to the new swimming pool when it opens at 11 am. I did enjoy the new pool it was very nice & the area around the pool had an astroturf lawn laid to sunbathe on. After my swim, I lay in the sun for a while reading my kindle before heading back home to watch today's football matches. I think the inside of the grounds that the swimming pool is in, is really well laid out. There is even a good, wide ramp for disabled people or people with walking difficulties, to use to gain access to the pool. The problem I had was getting into the actual grounds of the pool. The only area that I could get up on the pavement to gain access, was at the back of the grounds on the opposite side to the entrance. When I tried to go round the grounds on the pavement I had to stop, back up & manoeuvre my disability scooter back the other way, because of trees growing in the middle of the pavement. These made it impossible for anyone in a disability scooter or anyone pushing a pram to use the pavement to get around the pool in one direction. Going back the other way I had to duck under trees leaning across the pavement & avoid the overhanging bushes that surround the grounds of the swimming pool. When I got to the front of the grounds by the entrance I had to manoeuvre around two large plant pots that had been put on the pavement at the pool entrance. They might look nice but they cause an obstruction to anyone with limited mobility or parents with prams & should be moved to allow easier access to the pool.
On the way out of the pool grounds, I was able to bump down the small kerb at the exit as my mobility scooter has large wheels but many people with smaller scooters than me will have difficulty. I suggest to the town hall that they have a proper drop kerb at the entrance, move the flower pots & prevent people from parking across it so that disabled people, people with restricted mobility & parents with buggies can get access to the swimming pool entrance easier. Other than that I think the pool will be a real success.
This afternoon I really enjoyed watching Crystal Palace, now managed by ex-Arsenal player Patrick Vierra, beat Tottenham 3 - 0. I think that Wilfried Zaha a Crystal Palace player, but an Arsenal fan really enjoyed the game as well. He scored a goal & was voted man of the match. Then I watched Arsenal get their first win of the season as they beat Norwich 1 - 0. For the first time this season Arsenal were able to field a side that many people think would be close to their full strength team if they had no injuries. The score could have been a lot better but the result I hope will begin to give them confidence & that they can start to climb up the league. I enjoyed both games so much I stayed up to watch them again on Match of the Day, tonight.
Sunday, September 12th. I wake early this morning, strip the bed linen off of the bed & put it in the washing machine. I water all the plants on my balcony & then head out for my swim. As I get into the Mar Menor for my swim, my new friend, Juan, is fishing & asks me if I used the soap he gave me on my leg. I tell him I have & thank him for it again before I swim out past the rocks to the nets. I tread water for a while listening to the birds singing, it is very relaxing being in the water when it is quiet. I swim back to the shore, dry myself off, then go back to my apartment for a shower.
I have my shower & a shave, put another lot of washing in the washing machine & get myself some porridge for breakfast. The second I sit down for breakfast my friends Sheila & Bernard call me to tell me they are at the chiringuito having their breakfast & ask if I want to join them for a coffee. I finish off my porridge & go down to join them. We sit chatting for around an hour before they leave & I go back to my apartment.
On the way up to my apartment, I disconnect the battery from my electric bike & when I get into my apartment I plug it in to charge. Now the weather is getting a bit cooler I want to start to use my bike a bit more again, having the battery charged means I can still get home if my leg hurts when I go out on it.
For lunch, I get myself a tuna sandwich & after eating it I sort out the washing I have done this morning before I sit down to watch the Leeds v Liverpool football match this evening.
Monday, September 13th. I get up early today to go to the bank as they have sent me a message asking me to go in. When I get there I am seen quite quickly & they want to update my details. I get them to delete the landline number they have for me as I have never had a landline. The woman then tells me I need a Spanish mobile number, not an English one. I tell her that the number they have is correct & that it is a Spanish number. She tells me it is not a Spanish number because it doesn't begin with a six, I am just about to get her to try ringing the phone when she changes her mind & agrees it is a Spanish number.
She then tells me I must prove where the funds that are in my account came from. I tell her that they have already had all the documents for nearly a year. She tells me they have not had the documents & I have to explain to her that she took copies of the documents herself about 7 months ago & that I had also given them to her colleague. She still argues telling me they have never had them & tells me they will put an embargo on my account if I don't provide the documents. She then gives me her email address so that I can email the documents to her.
I go home, email the required documents to the woman at the bank & then go for my swim. I notice that Yuan the fisherman I see most mornings is not there today. I do my normal swim to the nets & back but when I get back the chiringuito has not opened & I can not get breakfast. It was set up & then they decided not to open it. I have no idea why it hasn't opened & watch at least 10 people walk up to it for a coffee or breakfast & walk away again.
I go back to my apartment for a shower & as I sit at my computer afterwards my friend Mike turns up. His phone is not working & he wants me to fix it. I have a quick look but it keeps going into standby mode, I tell him to take it back to the guy he has just paid €60 to fix it, to take another look at it. I make a pot of camomile tea & work on my computer for a while. I check my email & find an email from the woman at the bank telling me that the documents were already attached to my account after all.
At lunchtime, I go to see my friend Martin at La Sombra Pizzeria for a couple of pints. We sit & talk about the state of the world's finances at the moment, discuss ways to combat global warming, consider the threat to global security due to the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan & have a bit of football banter thrown in for good measure. After we finish our summit, I order a takeaway pizza & head home.
After getting home I eat half the pizza, place the other half in the fridge for tomorrow & then promptly fall asleep, not waking until about 10 pm. I get off of the sofa & go to bed, these summit meetings sure are tiring.
Tuesday, September 14th. I am up early this morning & I go for my morning swim at about 8 am. When I have finished my swim I go home, take a shower & then go back to the chiringuito for a coffee & to read my kindle for a while.
I then jump on the Sharky mobile to go around to the local Chinese shop & buy another plant for my balcony & another flower pot. I must be his best customer for flower pots, my balcony is beginning to look quite nice with all the different types of succulents & cactus I have on it.
The rest of the day I spend reading my kindle.
Wednesday, September 15th. It is a bit overcast & there is light rain as I start my swim in the Mar Menor this morning. The chiringuito doesn't open this morning so after I have a shower, I make myself porridge with a banana for my breakfast.
After finishing breakfast, I prepare, then put a beef stew in my slow cooker. I make enough for four meals so that I have some for the freezer.
The rain is on & off all day today, it's not heavy all day but there are heavy showers now & then. I spend the day inside binge-watching a TV program called ´Below Decks´. Some of the people in it are so full of their own self-importance I am surprised other members of the crew don't throw them overboard.
For my tea tonight I have some of the beef stew with a couple of dumplings, it is very nice & there is enough left for me to be able to put three portions in the freezer for another time.
Thursday, September 16th. Once again I am awake early & start my swim before 8 am. I have just got back from my swim & had a shower when my friends Sheila & Bernard pick me up in their car, we are going to look at a disability scooter for another friend, Jasmin.
We drive to the shop in San Javier that has the scooter that Jasmin has asked us to look at. Unfortunately for Jasmin, the mobility scooter is obviously for a child. It is a fold-up model that she was told she could put in her car to transport. What she wasn't told was that it was so small she could fold it up & put it in her handbag. It was so small I don't think the range could be much further than a kilometre & being second hand there was no way to tell how old the battery was.
After viewing the mobility scooter we go around to the place where I bought my mobility scooter. They have a nice second-hand model which may be big enough for Jasmin & a new one that would be ideal. I take some photographs of both of them & send them to Jasmin so she can make her own mind up about what to do. Sheila, Bernard & I then head around to the ´Timeout´ bar for a late breakfast. I had a small English breakfast which was very nice. It was the first time I have been there for a long time & I would definitely go back for the breakfast. After breakfast I am dropped off at home where I continue to binge-watch ´Below Decks´, It may be staged & the characters are a bit unrealistic but I am hooked.
This afternoon my friend Tess pops round with some E45 cream for my leg. She was in England last week & kindly brought me some back as I can't find it anywhere here. We share a pot of camomile tea before she heads home & I read my kindle before going to bed.