Luckily for us, there was a taxi booked to take a friend's mother and sister to the airport leaving around the same time as we needed to go, so we all squished in together and shared the cost. (Good job I went or we might have ended up in Motril or Almeria as the driver missed the turn off for Malaga!)
It was quite a shock to the system to be met by the chilly, damp weather at midnight (not unexpected but a shock nevertheless...) but great to see my sister waiting for us and after we'd seen safely Mum home, we settled down for a little chat before bed. Three hours later, we were still chatting...
My visit back to England had no real focus at the time I booked it - it just felt like a great joke to play on Mum! However, in the meantime, my sister had found a new house and all was set for a completion on the day before I left so I'd get to see it and it was really exciting to think about them in a new house. As she's intending renting her current one out, rather than selling, it also meant that there was no moving day stress to contend with - the move would take place over the half-term holiday, one room at a time, with a group of my nephew's sixth form friends doing the bulk of the furniture-lugging. (She would have time to blog..if she was a blogger.)
They have found a farmhouse, with outbuildings and lots of land (she says she's copying me...but I think not!) and it was what they always wanted, though the intention wasn't to look for another couple of years. But when you find the house of your dreams...what can you do?
|Tantalising glimpse of 'Sunnyside' - soon to be renamed 'Pear Tree' Farm.|
We drove it past the next day on our way to meet Emily, my niece, to take the dogs for a walk. It is really difficult to see from the roadside but is in the middle of beautiful countryside in Cheshire and I was hoping to see it inside before I left.
We went to meet Emily and her housemates then set off for the beach on the Wirral. Everything around was looking very autumnal and moody - and the beach was incredible despite the biting wind that left my ears ringing.
Emily is in her fourth year of Veterinary Studies and currently shares a very focused household with three other vet students. As well as Judy and I on the beach, there were three dogs and four vets - which was almost the title of this post. Lovely bunch they were - all girls, all interested in the same things and very happy sharing their house with just one, very bright little Border Collie, Fizz, who absolutely fell on her feet when Emily got her from a rescue place a couple of months ago. The other two dogs are my sister's.
|Amazing skies, amazing beach. SO cold, you wouldn't believe me!!|
|A truly wonderful selection of different breads...|
|Oh sigh! I absolutely adore dorset cereals.... all of them!|
(Though if I had to choose just one, it would be luscious berries and cherries.)
|On arrival at Huddersfield...why they had the fountains on, I have no idea!|
I do like TK Maxx. I had to resist quite a lot of what I really wanted though as I was limited on space and weight for my return journey.
On the Sunday morning, there was a lovely craft and local produce market on in the big open marketplace - called 'Upmarket Sunday' - where Jenny and
I spent a lovely couple of hours, testing lemon curd, beetroot focaccia, cheeses and cake...
|Beetroot focaccia on the left, with goats cheese and onion - rather good!|
We had a lovely lunch in an old favourite and on our return, I began to realise I had spent a lot of time eating and was beginning to feel the effects of over-indulging...a very tight waistband!
And suddenly, Monday came and went - with no exchange of contracts on the house - so on Tuesday, I went out for the day with Mum, hoping to get a call from Judy to say all was sorted with the solicitors...but the call never came. The exchange of contracts didn't happen until last thing Tuesday, with completion happening as I was flying over Valladolid - probably! It ended up being rather stressful after all - I shall suggest Judy starts a blog or takes up doodling...
Because that was the other thing about my visit. I couldn't stop doing my Zentangles. So much so, I'm starting a new blog about them... it will be up and live very shortly. That way, I don't bore the pants off anyone who's not interested! I promised myself not to go on about it during my week at home - but by the end of it, Judy had shown definite signs of interest; Jenny will be a natural; Marion tried to commission me to do a set of pictures to go on her new kitchen wall...and my mum's friend was absolutely fascinated by it and watched me do a whole picture....I guess I must have mentioned it.
When the time came to go, early Wednesday morning, I left looking absolutely bizarre, with several layers on under my thick jumper and leggings on under my skirt - but it was SO chilly first thing in the morning yet, around 28 degrees in Malaga as I landed - difficult to get it right at both ends. Judy dropped me off to go and check my suitcase in whilst she parked the car. Imagine my surprise when I saw Chris, husband of Kath, walking towards me! The whole family were there as Bronte, their eldest daughter, was off to Boston on a school exchange!! It was a brilliant way to end my stay - hugs at the airport from lots of lovely people! It was quite a send off and drew great attention to my strange attire, I'm sure...
However, I discreetly stripped various items off along the journey, and so was able to travel back to Alcala by bus, without melting into a sweaty heap. It was absolutely the right thing to do.
And oh what joy to come home! It's a long time since I've been away alone and I did actually feel a little homesick - quite unexpectedly. But home really does feel like home now and I haven't stopped grinning since I got back. (Apart from when I stepped on the weighing scales...sigh.)
Nor have I had chance to speak to my sister as she's busy on her new farm, moving the hens in! I think by the time I get to see it, there might even be a pig and a sheep living there too. She's known her daughter wanted to be a vet for a long time....how absolutely perfect!