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24 April 2024
Alan Morris & Alan Bond outside La Playa Bar in Los Alcazares.

This week started with me panicking, worrying that my apartment block would be demolished. I went to an 80th birthday party/meal. I stayed up all night to watch an Arsenal game live from California & I did lots of swimming.

Week 30 of 2023.

Monday, 24th July.

I woke up at about 6:45 am today. I had a coffee & sat at my computer checking my messages before going down to the Mar Menor for my swim. I swam out to the rocks & back 3 times before going back to my apartment for a shower & then having cereal & coffee. When I finished my coffee, I went downstairs to my neighbour Liz, who was coming to the AGM meeting with me at Fincalia, the apartment blocks management company.

When we got to the office, the meeting started at about 10:30 am, with the meeting starting by telling the people present about the demolition order on the apartment block. When finished, the building was given the all-clear by the architect & town hall, but when it went to the registry office, it was not cleared correctly. The registry office told the builders in 2011, but the owners & management company were not told until 2020. As the meeting went on, I was switching between panic & joy. We kept being told the building needed to be demolished & the next minute, it seemed like only remedial work was required.

Ultimately, I asked them to define their use of the words ´demolish the building´ because it didn't make sense. It turned out that it needed remedial work on the eves of the property. It did not need to be demolished. This didn't translate from Spanish to English properly & was causing all the English-speaking owners a lot of panic & unnecessary stress. By the end of the part of the meeting about the ´demolition order´, it was explained that remedial work was required to the eves of the building & that the management company & lawyers were talking to the registry office & town hall about who was going to have to pay for the work. As it turned out, the owners could end up having to pay, but it would be a fairly minimal amount, so after going to the meeting in a panic, I would leave quite happy.

The rest of the meeting was about general AGM business in which we voted to chase one of the owners for non-payment of management fees. The woman who owns the apartment is quite a bit behind on payments & says she has no money but rents her apartment out every week. She would pay off her debts immediately if she used four weeks' rent money. I would personally take her to court, denounce her & tell the companies that she rents the apartment through about her non-payment of bills.

When the meeting finished, everybody went home & I met my friend Martin for a beer. He had forgotten I wouldn't be at the bar this morning & I was told off for being late. I gave him my reason for being late & I was let off without any disciplinary action for my lateness. Martin, Dave & I chatted for a while before Dave left & a short time later, Kate brought Aria over to see us for a short time before we all headed home.

When I arrived home, my other neighbours had taken in a delivery for me from Amazon. The replacement glasses cases were much better than the ones I had been sent last week & I was happy to receive them.

Once I got in my apartment, I put the air conditioning on & within minutes, I was in a deep sleep on the sofa. I slept for a couple of hours. I think the worry of the apartment being demolished had stopped me from sleeping well last night & I felt much better when I woke back up. I got myself some dinner. I had chicken in tomato, onion & garlic & made some sweet potato chips to go with it. After dinner, I watched a bit of television before stripping my bed linen & remaking the bed before going to bed at about 11:15 pm.  

swimming icon1200 m

Tuesday, 25th July.

I woke up at 7 am & got a coffee before heading down to the Mar Menor for my morning swim. There were many jellyfish in the water this morning, but I ignored them & they ignored me. After my swim, I went back to my apartment & had a shower before going around to see my friend Kerry at   ATime4aChange to see if I could help her with a Facebook problem she had.

I stopped with Kerry for a while chatting & unable to help her immediately I promised to find an answer to her problem & to get back to her. I left her & went to see my friend Martin. I went along to Los Narejos & met Martin & his dad, Dave, for a chat. When Kate picked Martin up to go to Cartagena, I went to Mercadona to get a roll for my lunch. On my way home from the store, I saw some friends, Amanda & Ady & I stopped to chat with them & have a pint at Le Petit Bistro.

Birthday mealAfter leaving my friends, I went back to my apartment to get ready to go out to an 80th birthday party tonight. At 7:15 pm, my friend June picked me up to give me a lift to the restaurant   Otomatua in Dolores de Pacheco. As I arrived, I was given a wine & orange juice drink that was very nice & refreshing & soon found I had been saved a seat with my friends Jacqueline, Paul, Wendy & Yvonne. The meal was fantastic, there were several starters before I had my main meat course. 

The alcohol kept the conversation flowing all night & the whole night went off very well with music & singing. Everyone sang Happy Birthday in both English & Spanish to Peter. At 11:45 pm, my friend June messaged me to say she was outside ready to pick me up & I quickly had to depart. June was good enough to drop Jacqueline & Yvonne home before taking me back to my apartment. Once I got home I got myself a large glass of water before going to bed at around 12:30 am, it had been a long day & I very quickly fell asleep.

swimming icon1200 m

Wednesday, 26th July.

I woke up at around 8:00 am feeling a little fragile after a long day yesterday, so I didn't go for my swim today. My friends Kathy & Tony arrived just after 10 am, bringing their laptops & external hard drives to allow me to work on them at home. We went down to the chiringuito for a coffee because sorting photographs on their external hard drive took so long.

I worked on Kathy´s photos all day & night. I think Kathy, Tony & Chris must all have been trying to make sure they all had copies of the same photos & it is a very slow job weeding out duplicates & transferring all the photos & videos into a more manageable filing system.

Thursday, 27th July.

I finally stopped working on the photos & videos on Kathys' hard drive at about 3 am. I wanted to rest my eyes before the football match between Arsenal & Barcelona started at 4:30 am. I am unsure how I managed to stay awake all night to watch it. I tried to find the match on television at 4 am but only saw information about the game, for some reason the game had been delayed.

The friendly match between Arsenal & Barcelona was held in California in America & finally kicked off at just after 5 am in Spain. The game started quite well, but Barcelona went ahead, a bit against the run of play, when Lewandowski scored. Arsenal were soon level when Saka scored & could have gone ahead, but Saka missed a penalty that Arsenal were given for handball.

Barcelona again took the lead & went 1-2 ahead when Raphina scored. Arsenal again equalised when Havertz got an equaliser & made it 2-2 just before halftime. At the break, Barcelona made 11 changes & Arsenal made 1 change. Arsenal were the better team in the second half. They made many changes throughout the half but continued to control the game. Trossard scored two goals to make it 4-2 before Torres scored to bring Barcelona back into the game. About a minute later, Vieira scored an absolute wonder goal for Arsenal to kill off Barcelona & the game finished Arsenal 5, Barcelona 3.

When the game had finished, & the sun was up & I decided I might as well go for my morning swim. I went down to the Mar Menor & swam out to the rocks & back twice before finishing & returning to my apartment for a shower. Once I had showered & cooled off, I finally went to bed at around 8 am, 24 hours after getting up yesterday.

I woke up around 11:30 am & got myself a couple of coffees to wake myself up properly. I sat at my computer checking my messages before heading to the Economy Cash store to get something for my dinner tonight. When I got home, I continued working, sorting the photos on Kathy's hard drive. I downloaded some open-source software called digiKam,  which should make it easier for her to start cataloguing her photos & videos correctly so that they don't get doubled up & make it easier for her to find photos & videos she is looking for by tagging them correctly.

The rest of the day was spent testing out the digiKam software & trying to sort through the different drives given to me by Kathy with her photos on.

swimming icon800 m

Friday, 28th July.

I woke up around 8 am today. I got myself a coffee & some scrambled egg on toast before settling down at my computer to carry on working on Kathys' photos. at about 10 am, Tony dropped in another laptop for me to take photos off of.

I set the transfer of the photos running & then went out on my disability scooter to get some bread. It was already very hot when I went out & I didn't stay out longer than I had to. I started running the digiKam software on Kathy & Tony's photos when I returned home. It was very good but very slow on the old drives on the laptop & external hard drives.

I had a chat with my Uncle Paul via Skype this afternoon. The English hospital system is failing him badly. After telling him he was not well enough to even travel short distances after his heart attack, they forced him to go to multiple hospitals for more tests yesterday. All these tests would have been done in one place here in Spain & there would have been no travelling between hospitals to do the tests. When I spoke to him today, a day after the tests, he was still very breathless from the exertion of travelling between hospitals & doing different lung & heart tests. I hope that they can get him feeling better soon. 

Unfortunately, Kathy & Tony got delayed & didn't manage to collect their laptops & hard drives until later in the evening. I explained to them that the photos, videos & music on both laptops were now on the hard drive & that I had begun to sort them & tag the photos for them. Until they get their new laptop, I advised them not to install digiKam as it was too big to run quickly on their drives.

I spoke to my friend Pat this afternoon & he said he will come round & fit some shelves for me next week. I hate asking for help to do such simple things, but as I have no tools & can't manage to do things myself, I am always very grateful for his & my other friend's help. We also arrange to meet up to go for a curry soon.

The evening was spent watching television until I went to bed at 11 pm.

Saturday, 29th July.

I woke around 7 am this morning & got myself a coffee before putting a load of washing in the washing machine. I then checked my messages on my computer before swimming at around 9 am. 

Many Spanish people stretched out in the water, parallel to the beach today. They make it impossible to swim around them, so when I got to the rocks, I swam around their length. I saw lots of beautiful fish & thousands of jellyfish. The sun rays shining through the water sparkled & cast patterns on the seaweed on the sea floor. After completing a lap of the rocks, I swam back to the beach & then went back to my apartment.

After having another coffee & some orange juice, I removed the software from my computer that I had tested for Kathy & Tony over the last couple of days. It was very good but I already pay for a full photo editing & managing piece of software, Adobe Lightroom & Adobe Photoshop, so I have no need to keep digiKam on my computer.

At about 11:30 am I went around to the local Dia store to get some cereal & Greek yoghurt. The yoghurt & cereal I have been eating do seem to be helping with the acid reflux I suffer from. It hasn't gone completely but it has got better so I will continue with some of my diet changes & maybe make a few others.

This afternoon the heat got too much for me, it was 46°c on my balcony again. I went inside, shut all the doors & windows & put the air conditioning on. The afternoon & evening was spent binge-watching Yellowstone, I love watching this program, it reminds me of my visit to visit to many of America's famous National Parks on my first escorted tour of the USA. The grandeur of the natural landscapes in this TV series makes you want to go & see this wild untamed area of America for yourself.

swimming icon750 m

Sunday, 30th July.

I woke around 7:30 am & got a coffee before going downstairs to the Mar Menor for my morning swim. It wasn't too busy when I arrived & started my swim but people soon started to arrive & the water was soon filled by a snaking line of Spanish ladies playing block the Sharky. I swam to the rocks & back 3 times before giving up & going back to my apartment.

I spent the morning doing some family tree research & updating some of the genealogy pages on my website. At 1 pm I decided to take a break & to get myself some chicken for my lunch. I prepared the chicken thigh & wrapped avocado, camembert cream cheese & mushrooms inside it. I had it with mashed potato & mixed vegetables, & it tasted great & I will try it again.

I was settling down this evening to continue binge-watching Yellowstone on the television when my friend Alan Bond messaged me to say he was going down to La Playa bar for a drink & asked me to join him. I set off straight away, glad to get out of the apartment for a while.

We got a beer but it was too hot to sit inside the bar & we went outside to sit chatting. We discussed our different health issues, past holidays, & football. We drank beer & then held the same conversations all over again. We are both getting older & our memories are fading. When we realised that we had forgotten the story halfway through telling it, or that we had told the story before, we just laughed, drank more beer & then started all over again.

It is good to have old friends so you can repeat your stories to each other. I am lucky to have a few friends whom I can repeat my stories to. I hope anyone reading this has some good friends they can repeat their stories to & friends who will listen to their repeated stories without getting annoyed at the repetition.

I walked home around midnight & when I got in I got myself some water before going to bed. 

swimming icon1200 m