Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The chilly UK return

View from the Micalet

Blogging has become rather a 'bottom-of-the-pile' priority in recent months, for which I apologise. I still have it in mind to do some serious video editing from our year in Spain and to post some more of the fascinating highlights, though time is simply not one of those available assets currently. One day... promise...

Well, since mid-August, a fair amount has happened. We had a great final month in Valencia - saw many friends and received our final few visitors before packing got underway, ready for the great return to the UK. Our wonderful landlord and his wife paid us a visit in the final few days, armed with gluten free brownies - took us nearly a fortnight to finish the tray, but the were delicious. Interspersed with visits from friends and fits of box-packing, we managed to make a final few visits to places we had unintentionally avoided during the previous 12 months. A trip to the Cathedral in Valencia and a hike up to the top of the Micalet tower next door. What amazing views across a full 360° panorama - the entire Valencia region in focus on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Sadly as the month drew towards its conclusion, the arrival of Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One coincided with our own departure on Sunday 24 August. Having got rid of the packed boxes to our wonderful mover - Jimbo the Scot - the previous week, we were left to pack the final oddments and stuff the last bags into our car - just as Hamilton was relinquishing his opportunity to win the European Grand Prix a mile down the road! Of course, packing the bags and stuffing the car was made all the more difficult by the fact that the grown-ups had been up the previous night until around 4am at a number of clubs and restaurants in the Barrio del Carmen area of Valencia, for a finale shindig with our great Spanish friends. Still, despite the cloudy minds and the sleepy heads, we finally departed late afternoon, just as the F1 traffic started moving for the city boundaries, but we still managed good time northwards towards Bilbao, where we stopped off at the Hotel-and-Go in Ribabellosa.

Departing the cold, wet and windy Bilbao, headed for Portsmouth

The next day, we made the final distance to a grey, cloudy and damp Bilbao in less than an hour. A further thirty hours or so later, and we were entering the harbour at Portsmouth - strangely, with marginally better weather!

So that's it. Back in Blighty! But for how long? Well, that's the 64p question. We're now ensconced back at work and play in Cambridge, but there's a desire to find our way back to Valencia at the very first opportunity... and we do have ways, you know!

Liz, Chris and Jo return to the UK with mixed feelings

In the meantime, I really must get back into this blogging lark again. Not only do I need to backfill our year in Spain, but time is marching on here in Cambridge and we have much to report on what's been going on for the past couple of months... back soon!