Day 23, 26th Jan – Throwing down the gauntlet

My heart flutters with hope, like wings of a fledgling bird on the edge of it’s nest.

I can see a vision.  It’s so clear, I can almost taste it, palpable enough to hear the rhythms of a new life and touch it’s fabric.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

There is something magical, gazing up through muted-green, olive tree foliage, to spy dawn’s pomegranate glow reflected on the shanks of Mount Bernia, It offers tranquility to early day musings, lets the mind wander slowly down dapple-shaded avenues toward wakefulness.

Our stress-free hosts invite us to sit on their balcony as we drink tea, coffee, share stories and let the day rouse us properly.  As the sun’s rays gain power we move down to the porch, chatting, laughing. It’s an easy start to Saturday. Mundanities (washing, emails, uploading) are taken care of with more tea and more quiet chuckles.  

M’s asking lots of questions, Gary and Lesley (G&L) are endlessly patient as we root through the details of their existence here and how it came to be. Decision trees, route maps, little challenges, big ones.  Things they would do again, or differently.  We are utterly enchanted with what we see here and try to remember that a sunny Spanish weekend in January is not a new kind of existence.

After the slowest of starts, it’s gone noon before M and I rattle the camper up to the mountain’s footings for a walk.  We’re on our own (Stan stayed on paw-gentler terrain with G&L) and in ‘our’ type of territory.  From the pathways, some of which extend 5 or 6 hours of walking over to local towns, we have rock behind us, a view of the sea ahead.  

M throws down the gauntlet.

“I don’t want a new life to be something that I drive, that I source and find.”

Ok. 

I keep my eyes on the sand-coloured soil of the footpath and wait for whatever’s coming.

“You do it this time.  You find it.”

Ok.

OK!  

I suppress a grin and manage not to Whoop and Cheer.  Eek!  

M’s comment is fair enough. I wanted to do a camper, which meant he sourced the vehicle, the parts, built the internals, did the plumbing, most of the electricals. Did it all, in short, except the soft furnishings. And that’s the same for much of how life runs: I have the blue sky ideas, M makes them happen. Fair do’s; it’s my turn.

We get back to base and I report the conversation to Lesley.  She raises her eyebrows, beams, and pulls out her IPad. We set to, looking at estate agents’ offerings online.  

There’s not much in: (a) our price range, (b) preferred locations or (c) the size/type of property that we’d be interested in.  It’s not going to be an instant find, but that’s a good thing. Tempering the keenness is a good thing.

The plan for the evening is to celebrate the birthday of builder Kevin (a friend of G&L) down in a local town with his wife Sally, and another couple.  It’s a great Chinese restaurant that has pre-prepared dishes but also cook a range of fresh fish, poultry, red meat to order. There’s lots of laughter and funny exchanges. M and I get to ask more questions. Kev and Sally have been here for just less than 5 years, Tina and Darren about 10 months.  They’ve all found work, faced challenges, struggled with the heat in August.  

We ask, what for us is the key question: Was moving here the right decision?  The answer is unanimous and unequivocal: Yes.

Kev, a DJ at heart was up for hitting downtown Bernissa, drinking and dancing. To my immense relief, no-one else had the energy.  I drift in and out of sleep on the back seat during the 45 minute drive home.  It was immensely kind of Gary and Lesley to include us with their friends.  Generosity has been the by-word of our visit.

Stan is having a brilliant time.  He’s trying to make friends with G&L’s dogs, they’re less keen.  But he’s getting spoilt rotten by G&L.  He has been awarded free access to all of their dog toys and has been given a sleeping bag to supplement the rugs, dog’s bed and other spots that he can choose to lie down.  As the day warms up he moves in and out of the sun’s glare, a rotating set of toys in his mouth and a slow wag of contentment in his tail.

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