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21 April 2024
2021, week 17

In week 17 of 2021, I collected the new electric bike I had ordered from a local bike shop and ventured out on it, my first time on an e-bike.

Week 17 of 2021.

Friday, April 23rd.

After yesterday's long day, waking at around 5:30 am and not going to bed until the early hours of this morning, I catch up on missed sleep today and don't wake until after 10:30 am. In the afternoon I take the Sharky Mobile and go to the new Mercadona store to shop. After getting home, I had something to eat and finish just before my neighbour Russ knocked on the door to take me for a pint.

We walked to La Playa bar, where I played dominoes with my friends Shellie and Ady. I had a great afternoon talking rubbish and laughing a lot. I also got a WhatsApp message telling me the new electric bike I ordered is ready to be picked up. I message the store back to tell them I will collect it next week, hopefully, Monday, when I hope the weather is better.

I watched Arsenal lose at home to Everton because of the very poor goalkeeping of Bernd Leno. He scores an own goal to give Everton a 0 - 1 win. Once again the game was ruined by VAR as another ludicrous offside decision denied Arsenal a penalty.

My neighbour Russ has somehow lost his apartment keys, money and everything else he had on him so I pay his bar bill and let him sleep on my sofa until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 24th.

Once again, the sky is overcast and much of the day is cloudy and Los Alcázares is threatened with rain.

I woke to find my neighbour had gone, my kitchen a mess and all the lights on. I am not impressed by how he has left the place and sent him a message to tell him how I feel. After cleaning up the mess he made and steam cleaning the floors with detergent, I decided to stay warm and watched the second series of 'Keeping Faith' on television. 

My neighbour came round with the money he owed me for his bar bill but he can not remember even leaving the pub yesterday, let alone being in my apartment and the mess he made. He said he woke up in his own apartment and can't remember leaving the pub, that he had his money and must have had his keys as he got into his apartment. He woke up thinking he hadn't spent much money and wondered how he got home. 

Lesson learnt, don't allow drunk neighbours to sleep on the sofa. Make them sleep on the beach.

Sunday, April 25th.

Once again, the day started overcast, I can't remember a time before this, in the nearly 6 years I have now been living here, that the weather has been so grey and overcast for so long. Today was again spent mainly indoors reading, watching sports or streaming different television series to watch in a television binge day. Tomorrow I plan to walk to collect my new pushbike if the weather permits, so I rest my legs as much as possible today.

Monday, April 26th.

This morning looks overcast and grey but the localised weather forecast gives only a slim chance of rain. At about 10:30 am I began walking to the bike shop in Los Narejos to collect my new bike. The walk takes me around 35 minutes and I am quite out of breath by the time I reach the bike shop. As I arrive at the shop a lady I know, Norma, says hello and I stop for a chat. We are outside the shop next to the bike shop and I take the opportunity to rest and catch my breath for 5 minutes before going into the shop and collecting my bike.

The bike shop owner has my bike, a lock and a crash helmet ready for me. He gives me instructions on how to turn on the bike, how the electrical part can be used to help power the bike at different levels and how to remove the battery if I have to for charging. I quickly take the bike outside for my first ride on a bike in more than a dozen years. I am strangely nervous as I ride my bike around the quiet street that the bike shop is on. I go once around the block before crossing the road and riding the short distance to the coffee shop where I will see my friend Mike.

I am pleased to arrive at the coffee shop without falling off and crashing into anything, I sit and chat with my friends Mike, Theresa and Steve. I keep an eye on the weather as the sky has turned black and I fear the worse for a heavy downpour of rain. After we have been sitting and chatting for a while, I notice that the sky begins to clear after only a very light sprinkling of rain before I cycle to La Zona bar, where I intend to have breakfast. Unfortunately for me, La Zona can not do me a cooked breakfast this morning, I don't know if this is every Monday or just today. I have a coffee, cycle home and then go for a pint at the beach bar. I sit and talk to my friend Andrew before Russ and John turn up for a drink. I sit and talk for a while with them in the strong sunshine. It amazes me how quickly the day has changed when I woke it was overcast, whilst I was out it became black and threatened a downpour and this afternoon I sit at the beach bar and have to be careful not to get sunburnt. Hopefully, this is the start of the summer season and I can now start my new get fit campaign, riding my new bike and swimming in the sea again. 

Tuesday, April 27th.

This morning I woke early at around 5 am and can not get back to sleep. I work on my website for a bit, update my diary, have a pot of tea and wait for the sun to come out.

As soon as it was light enough I set off on my bike ride. I cycled towards San Javier, turned past where the local Sunday market is held on Sundays, then headed back along the main road through Los Alcázares before winding through Los Alcázares to come out past the military base, onto the main road and then turned back into Los Alcázares and home. My backside was really sore and my legs felt like jelly but I felt good after managing my 14.5km ride. It took me just under 50 minutes but I think it will take me longer than that to recover. 

As soon as the beach bar opens I walk downstairs for a coffee and tostada. I take my Kindle to read whilst I wait for my friend Jaqueline, who is dropping something off for me on her way somewhere else. Jacqueline arrived and gave me a TV box that she no longer uses and stopped for a cup of tea and a chat. Just as she left my neighbours Russ and John arrived for a chat. After half hour I left and went back to my apartment. When I was at home my friends Frouk and Reindeer messaged me to say they were having a BBQ to celebrate   Koningsdag (Kings Day in Holland) and invited me to their house for a BBQ in the afternoon.

Just before 2 pm, I went to the BBQ on the Sharky Mobile. I spent a few hours in the sun with my friends eating, talking and laughing. I met two other people from Holland, Saskia and John, and one from Belgium, Chris at the BBQ. I feel that after talking to my friend John earlier, who is Norwegian, I have been involved in some sort of Northern European summit meeting today. When I left the BBQ I went along the beach on my way home, the wind had become very strong and the only people on the beach were fishermen hoping to cast against the wind and catch their supper.

Wednesday, April 28th.

I have an appointment at the office in Cartagena that deals with car registrations later today. Olivia will pick me up to take me there and translate for me in the hope that I can finally get my name taken off of the registration documents of a car that I sold about 14 years ago. This morning I have toast and a pot of tea, put on my dishwasher and then head to the chiringuito outside for a coffee. I sit there reading my Kindle and chat with the owner, Andrew, for a while whilst I wait for Olivia.

Olivia took me to the Traffic office in Cartagena but they will not take my name off the car registration without proof of a sale. Olivia tried her best to get it removed but it is just the archaic Spanish traffic system, they will not remove my name without a sheet of paper saying I sold it. On the way home, we stopped at my old home to see if the parents of the person I sold the car to were at home as they lived next to my old home. To my amazement, the wife of the man I sold the car to now lives there after returning from the UK to Spain. She remembered me and is going to look for some paperwork for the car or the business that he used to own and bought the car for. I hope she can help me. I find it incredible that the local authorities will not take the car out of my name. I have denounced a dead man (who bought the car) to the police, the police can not trace the car and neither can the traffic department but the local council can still charge me a tax for it 14 years after I sold it.

Thursday, April 29th.

This morning I went for a bike ride. I stuck to the main roads today rather than risk a puncture on some of the smaller roads. I managed about 13km which I did in about 40 minutes before my backside ached so much that I stopped for the day. After my bike ride, I sat at the chiringuito by my apartment for an hour or so reading my Kindle and drinking water only.

Whilst sitting at the beach I had a call from my friend Jo, whose daughter had taken me to the traffic office yesterday, to try and get the car I used to own, taken out of my name. They have apparently found me a way to do it that can be done online. It would seem that the jobsworth person we saw in Cartagena did not want to help as much as he made out. 

I had a breakfast of poached egg on toast and then took the Sharky mobile to go shopping. On the way to Mercadona, I stopped at my friend Gerry's house and he oiled some squeaky joints, on my mobility scooter not mine and I continued to the shop. The store has a ramp to allow people with prams or people on disability scooters to gain access without using the ramp. When I got to the top of the winding ramp, some complete arsehole had parked their car right across the top of it. This meant that I had to reverse back down the winding ramp to go in via the car only access. Why is it that some able people think that parking somewhere which blocks access for others, even for a few minutes, is okay? If you are reading this and you ever leave your car parked on a pavement, block a ramp to allow disability or wheelchair access, park across an exit or entrance, stop in a bus lane (for however short a time), park on a roundabout so you don't have to walk more than 5 paces to an ATM,  park where children need access, or in a disability bay when you don't need to, then believe me when I say there is a real possibility that you are an ignorant person and that I have no time for you.

For lunch today I had curried salmon with rice. This is something that I discovered in Mercadona which is very tasty, fairly cheap and good for your health so I will be eating more of it in the future.

This evening I watch Arsenal play Villa Real in the Europa League. Once again Arsenal were very slow starters and within 4 minutes were 1 - 0 down. By halftime Arsenal were 2-0 down and looked lucky to only be losing by that margin. Shortly after halftime, they were also a man down when they had a player sent off. Strangely this seemed to make them dig deep and they played a lot better, they scored a very important away goal and will go into the next game in this competition with a good chance of progressing to the final.