Sunday, July 6, 2008

Midnight Feast

We may have mentioned Mabel, the latest addition to our canine flock? Well, she's now made herself well and truly at home (see our Flickr photo album on

Her latest escapade involves her getting the fridge door open during one night, and eating half a chicken and a pound and a half of chicken sausages that Dave had bought for himself whilst Jeni is away in the UK. She even managed to shut the fridge door after herself, which would have caused a real mystery other than the fact that Dave found a couple of chicken bones and the string from the sausages in her bed! She then had the cheek to pester him for her evening meal with the other dogs!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Trekking to morocco

Lucky Dave, as well as being Luma's owner and a member of the band that our Dave is in, also runs an organisation called Granada Hiking. He's been running organised hikes around Southern Spain for several years now with great success, and also runs a locally based rambling group. Not content with this, he's made contact with a colleague in North Africa and has now organised three new trekking holidays in morocco.

The first holiday, which has no hiking and is therefore ideal for someone like us, is a ten day tour of Marrakech and the Sahara desert. As well as visiting Kasbahs (which I always though were arab markets but turn out to be Berber castles), you also get to visit the famous Todhra gorge and spent a few nights in the desert along with Berber tribes people. You get to ride on a camel amongst the sand dunes, and learn about their ways (the Berber people, not the camels!) which has remained the same for centuries. The all inclusive price for this is just 600 euros.

The second and third holidays involves a bit of hiking, and are intended for the fitter amongst us! One holiday involves hiking through the Atlas mountains for nine days and living amongst Berber tribes people, enjoying their food, music and culture. The other involves 10 days hiking around the mountains of Marrakech, visiting the 100 foot high waterfalls at Ouzoud, and once again enjoying the culture of the Berber tribes people. Both of these trips are around 450 euros each and include everything but your flight from the UK and your own travel insurance. Dave's contact details are on his web site -

If you do get in touch, tell him Dave and Jeni sent you.

Two falls, two submissions and a knockout!

You'll remember that I mentioned about us having an addition to the family in the form of Mabel, a hairy little stray who'd been found wandering near Lecrin. Well, she's here, and making her presence felt in many ways. She's determined to be top dog as far as her status with the other two goes, and it's interesting to see both Chip and Luca being a little unsure about her. They obviously realise that she's still a puppy (16 months) and that they have the edge with regard to experience, but because of her size, she just tends to barge on in and knock them both out of the way. Not quite playing to the rules!

When Lucky Dave* and his big dog Luma came round the other night, we thought that she'd meet her match and be a little more reserved. Not a bit of it though! Straight in with the shoulder barging and trying to get him on the floor for three submissions and a knockout!

You can see the other photos I managed to take of their second encounter on our Flickr site -

*Lucky Dave, as opposed to Dave the Plumber, Dave the language, Dave the fruitbat, Dave the chippy, Dave the ... you get the idea!

Climb every mountain

It was with some trepidation that we heard about the plan for our neighbours Patrick and Chris to scale Mul Hacen, the highest mountain in Southern Spain. Not just because our two friends Ken and Wayne had very nearly come to grief there a couple of years ago (although that was in February and they'd encountered the worst storm in a decade, and this is in June) but because the last time this intrepid pair had ventured up a mountain together, they'd got stuck in Patrick's big 4 x 4 and had to be rescued by Ralph!

Admittedly they'd gone up this time with several grown ups (allegedly), and the plan was to take a slow pace and stop overnight in the climbing hostel. But those of us left in base camp Tijola couldn't really rest easy until they made it back in one piece. Not only did they manage to do this, but Chris also came back with some photos of this amazingly high place. Have a look for yourselves on their Flickr site - (you might also like to make some comments - we couldn't resist it on some of the pictures!).

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Decision made, which means that we'll not be trying to get the Chelsea tractor back to the UK for its MOT and possible part exchange for an automatic due to the deterioration in the old boys left leg. The decision is to keep the car down here and to get it re-plated as a Spanish vehicle. This will mean getting new headlights, reversing light and fog light fitted but it will be a lot cheaper and much more convenient than the UK option. The other aspect is that it's a tried and tested vehicle and we need something that's going to be reliable on these roads. If it gets to the stage that Dave can't drive it any more, he's going to get Jeni a chauffeur's cap and start sitting in the back!

Give them the doggie Mabel

Oh dear. Jeni's fallen in love again and Dave prepares himself for a further bit of disruption in their lives. Her name is Mabel and she's about 18 months old. Described as a little scruffy tri-coloured mongrel, she was found wandering in the Lecrin valley area a couple of months ago by Kit's daughter Abigail. She's proved to be an extremely friendly, affectionate little dog and has put on hold their own plans for homing a bigger animal until they could find a home for her. How on earth she ended up with a name like Mabel is a bit of a mystery. The only other Mabel Dave remembers is the one who used to give them the money on the Wilfred Pickles radio show (blimey, that goes back a bit!).

It all kicks off when she comes to visit on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how the other two little chaps view this interloper as they've not been too happy whenever other dogs have come to stay (Chip's nose gets put right out of joint whenever little Scrumpy visits and Scrumpy and Luca get into a male pissing contest - literally!)!). However, perhaps because she's a little senorita it will be different for them. She's been neutered so leg-over Luca shouldn't be too interested in that department?! ... we'll keep you posted!

A shaggy tooth story

Having had toothache along with his usual aches and pains, Dave took himself off to the dentist this morning to try and determine what the problem was. He's got so little of his own teeth remaining now, what with bridges and crowns (and gaps!) that it was hard to see what could be causing the pain. His usual dentist was on holiday, so he went to see a new guy who had opened up a few doors down.

Dave found himself in a modern, squeaky clean surgery along with a dentist who looked to be about 14 years old (however, the dental nurse was a few years older, so he was reassured to some degree). With Dave's limited Spanish and the dentists limited English it took a series of mimes and some sketches on a piece of paper to explain what the problem was. 'Ah, hot and cold. No problem' said the dentist, and soon located the offending molar by using something hot and something cold (works every time!). When Dave had climbed down from the top of the equipment rack, the dentist settled him back in the chair and began examining the tooth.

Obviously recently trained in all of the latest techniques, the young man donned a pair of safety goggles, a mask, two pairs of rubber gloves and what appeared to be one of those head set devices worn on television by doctors who examine pregnant women. Having noticed a sign on the surgery wall that advised patients to tell the dentist if they were pregnant, Dave didn't like the direction his mind was going! He felt decidedly relieved when the dentist suddenly removed the head set and put it back into its drawer, evidentially deciding that it wouldn't be needed.

'Mmmmm' (prod, poke, prod) ' Molesta?' asks the dentist. 'Mmmmumble' responds Dave, and they both stop and look at each other. 'This hurt?' explains the dentist. 'Ah si' responds Dave in his unique Japanese Spanish. This continued with the dentist tapping his way around all of the teeth inside of Dave's mouth, rather like the wheel tappers used to do on the railways looking for loose wheels, thought Dave as his mind began to drift again. Having established that just one tooth was the cause of the pain, our young dentist settles down to work in earnest, being handed what felt like to Dave about twenty different pieces of equipment by his nurse, and placing them into his mouth.

After much scraping and prodding, and much grunting and clenching of buttocks by Dave as the dentist cleaned up the area around the source of the trouble, it was decided that an X-ray would throw a bit more light on the situation. This was quickly done with some very futuristic looking equipment and within minutes they were both looking at a picture of a tooth that had a very visible fracture across the top of the roots. Source of problem; source of pain. Best course of action was to remove the tooth as it was beyond repair. 'No problem' says our young professional, rubbing his gloved hands together.

Anorak alert - The dentist went on to explain to Dave (using some very ably drawn sketches of teeth and gums) that the reason the tooth had fractured was because it hadn't had another tooth to press up against. Because Dave had a gap where the opposing tooth was meant to be, the damaged tooth had gradually travelled outward, until it had exposed the weaker root area. Normal usage had then placed too much pressure on the vulnerable tooth and it had fractured.

Having sat down in the dentists chair at 10.30am, the time now being 12.00pm, Dave anticipated another half-hour at the most and settled down for the extraction. Whilst not exactly looking forward to it, at least it would mean the end of the pain. Jeni arrives at this time and the dentist goes through everything with her just in case Dave hasn't understood. Time now 12.30pm and two hours of treatment having elapsed.

So, first set of injections ... 'Feeling numb?' 'Er, no.' Second set of injections ... Feeling numb?' 'Er, a little.' 'OK, we go for it.' 'Aaaaargh!'. 'Mmmmm, very strange, you shouldn't be feeling anything.' (this translated by Jeni). The tooth now going throb, throb ... 'Maybe a bit more anesthetic?' This continues for the next hour and a half, with increasing amounts of the anesthetic having no effect on the tooth at all! The whole area around the tooth; the whole of the right hand side of Dave's face; his tongue and the sides of his nose are completely dead, whereas the tooth is still happily throbbing away. Jeni points out that Dave usually has to have double doses of any medication due to his body mass, so in with the needle again. Partial success and the dentist quickly gets to work loosening the tooth before the anesthetic wears off!

1pm comes and goes, 1.30pm, 2pm, and the anesthetic has completely worn off and the tooth hasn't budged. The dentist decides that he's going to hit Dave with the extra strong anesthetic but needs him to have some blood sugar in his system before he does. Jeni volunteers to pop up to the bar on the next corner and returns with bottles of peach juice which Dave is encouraged to drink. The tooth is very angry at this stage and the cold drink doesn't help the situation at all (remember the 'hot/cold' symptoms?!). Dave's now been in the chair for three and a half hours and no real progress has been made. The dentist decides that after administering the extra strong anesthetic he's going to cut the tooth into sections and try and remove it bit by bit.

Jeni later admits that, as well as feeling anxious for her marido carido (dear husband) she's also having a vegetable anxiety at this stage, due to the fact that she's still not done her weekly shopping! But duty over-rides and she sticks by Dave and pushes the thoughts of carrots and runner beans to the back of her mind (not an easy thing for Jeni as those who know her will appreciate!).

So, anesthetic working and Dave gripping the arms of the chair, the dentist starts to dissect the tooth (sorry about the imagery here for those of you with a sensitive disposition). It takes him another hour to do this, along with another injection and the comment - 'I've never had to give this much to anyone else before!' Four and a half hours comes and goes; five hours, and the dentist is still heaving away on the tooth. A final injection (with the dentist muttering under his breath about the doses being big enough for a horse!) and after five and a half hours the last piece of root is dropped into the tray. There is suddenly a festive feeling in the room and the nurse, the dentist and Jeni are all beaming at each other and examining the bits of tooth. Dave slowly sinks deeper into the chair with a groan, thankful that it's all over.