6th February 2017. Roquetas de Mar, Spain.

The four of us chose to move on to Roquetas de Mar today.  I went out first thing in the morning and took some photos of the sun rising behind the huge boat on the green and of my favourite mermaid statue.  It was a lovely start to the day.

We were being very careful about not driving into Almeria as we had accidentally ended up driving through the Old Town in December  in the Fiat Panda we’d hired and the roads in the Old Town were so narrow we had a few nervous moments even in that tiny car! The idea was that we would all replenish our food stock at the supermarket en route then meet up in the car park at the beach in Roquetas where we’d camped for the New Year.  That was a great plan but a combination of events meant that although we were only 15 minutes behind them when we started out we didn’t actually get to the supermarket until after they’d finished their shop.  We were doing well to start with but as we were driving up to the harbour in Almeria  our SAT NAV suddenly threw a wobbly and froze just as Darren looked at the screen, he didn’t realise it had done that until he’d taken the wrong exit off at the roundabout and started heading away from the sea front and into Almeria, NO, NO, NOOOOO!  To make matters worse as he thought he’d got us back on track with a nifty piece of manoeuvring we got to the junction that was supposed to take us back to the sea front to see a diversion sign taking us down a small road, whimper……!  We were incredibly quiet as we drove down through the shops only to be spat out a while later at a roundabout a little bit further along the road we’d accidentally left 10 minutes previously, looking on the bright side we did see parts of Almeria that we hadn’t seen before, in fact it was like  a magical mystery tour.

We arrived at the car park Roquetas de Mar to see Jane sitting on a little stool soaking in the sun so Darren tried to run her over, or at least it seemed like that to Jane!  He got soundly told off for taking her sun!  The car park was so much busier there than the last time we stayed there, this time the back of the car park was full and we parked along the front.  The view was lovely but I felt a bit uncomfortable seeing so many vans here and I wondered whether we would all end up being moved on at some point as we’d heard has happened in a lot of towns when the stop becomes too popular.

As it was such a lovely day we got the bicycles out and cycled to the marina in Roquetas de Mar with Jane and Steve for tapas.  We’d intended taking them to a specific cafe that where we’d had good service and tasty tapas but it was closed when we got there so we went next door.  That turned into a comedy of errors, the poor waitress spent a lot of time apologising because she’d been given the wrong tapas to bring out, Darren however was thrilled because he ended up having 4 tapas to our 2 each because they’d brought out meat casserole for me instead of the mushrooms I’d ordered and then she brought him a hot dog when he’d ordered something else!  Nevertheless the food was lovely (Jane’s whitebait looked so yummy that I took a photograph of it) and the mistakes gave us a good laugh.  We spent ages sitting beside the marina chatting and watching the birds eagerly (I’d have preferred it to have been eagley, I’ve been dying to see an eagle for AGES) keeping their eyes on the fishermen as they cleaned their boats, ever hopeful it seems.

When we got back to the vans we put the bikes away and Jane suggested taking in the last of the sun so we took blankets over to the beach and sat with a glass of wine until it started getting chilly which was our cue to vacate the beach and go back to our warm vans.

Later in the evening Steve and Jane came over for dinner and we had a lovely evening together however when they’d gone home I started reading our emails.  One of them delivered some awful news, our lovely Dad had died peacefully in the early hours of the morning in his sleep.  Our gentle smiley Dad had been suffering from Parkinsons Disease for a number of years but he  caught flu recently and although he appeared to recover it had weakened him.

Before this horrible disease reared its ugly head our Dad was a fit and active man, when he was young he had cycled round Europe, he told me a story about a family he stayed with in Switzerland during that time, the teenage daughters took him to swim in a lake near their house, the girls both dived into the water and swam out to a raft where they waited for him.  However as our naive Dad dived in he received a nasty shock when he discovered that the water was icy cold, it was melted snow that had run down from the mountains!  Obviously being a young man he had to carry on as if it was the most natural thing in the world for him to swim in freezing cold water, I wonder how he managed to force himself back in the water for the swim to shore later on!

Our Dad was also a very talented artist and photographer and he painted lots of beautiful and sometimes comical scenes from photographs that he took while he and Sylvi were living in Spain.

I’ve added some photos of our Dad during his long and fulfilled life.  We love you Dad and you will always be in our heads and in our hearts, we don’t have to look far to see your lovely traits appearing in your Grandchildren.

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