Mozzies and Big Ears

I am incredibly popular … with small biting insects. I have tried extra hard this trip to keep them at bay, choosing to wear a lovely cocktail of Neem oil soap, Jungle formula, Avon Skin so Soft and a dash of Smidge. None of this seems to have worked, although I guess a truly scientific experiment would involve leaving one limb without any of these olfactory delights. In all honesty I’m too chicken to try that.

Anyway, one of the little blighters had a go at one of my ears, right on the edge where there is very little flesh and it has left me with one lug significantly larger than the other in the style of Mohammed Ali.

I’ve read a lot about it on the internet and the theories that abound about who is most likely to get bitten include the following: pregnant women (err no); people who don’t wash very often (excuse me?); overweight people (only a little – that’s not fair); men (definitely not so); beer drinkers (not often); Blood type O (mine’s A) and women with a lot of oestrogen (long gone I’m afraid). So that’s a load of humbug. I am now overdosed on antihistamine tablets and a bit grumpy.

OK, now I’ve got that off my chest here is our report after three nights in Alcossebre and camping Playa Tropicana. It rained, so that didn’t help but we managed a few bike rides, several long walks and played loads of games as you do when it rains on holiday. In a couple of dry hours we walked the dogs to Cap y Corb which was a storehouse for merchandise brought in from the sea in the 18th Century. It is now a nightclub and during the day a coffee shop. We’d been yearning for a little culture and thought we might find it there. We didn’t really, but we did find a sweet little cairn that someone had built and a lovely cup of coffee and cake served by a charming and friendly couple.

Pebble beach


Ever since our friends Jann and Pat came to visit last August we’ve been obsessed with a word game called Quiddler. It has us completely hooked. If you’re looking for an addictive card word game that will drive you crazy and cause a few arguments we can recommend it. They also taught us a simple gambling game called Scat, or 31. To be fair, being from across the pond, they didn’t know that Scat is sometimes used as a dirty word in the UK but it amused us quite a lot when we played with them. Being in Spain we have renamed it Scorchio!. If you want to know how to play it, here are the rules.

Camping Playa Tropicana was riding high on a score of 10 on the DB scale until the washing machine incident.

Being a wet couple of days we really needed to use a tumble dryer as well as a washing machine but every time Shirley went to reception to buy the tokens they said “No dryer tokens, maybe tomorrow.” Hindsight, being so smart, now tells us that it was foolish to attempt to do the washing with the promise that the dryer token would be available last night. We hung the washing out under our awning and waited. Still no tokens and the reason given was “Woman with key has bad fever”. We slept in a Chinese laundry last night.

Here is a picture of Shirley with her head up my shorts - draw your own conclusions!
Here is a picture of Shirley with her head up my shorts – draw your own conclusions!

Another issue with the laundry was that the washing machine somehow managed to destroy one of Shirley’s bras. It went in white and came out a kind of black and white oily tie dye. Shirley, clearly very unhappy with this, marched off to reception to complain. The receptionist called a site handyman who then called the foreman of the handymen and they thoroughly examined it. Good thing she isn’t shy. They promised to get the washing machine man in the very next morning but after the promises about the dryer tokens we weren’t holding out much hope… and in all honesty what was the man going to do about her bra? I’ve promised to have a go with WD40 – she won’t smell nice but it might keep the mosquitos at bay.

We had a meal in the site restaurant last night, partly because the Chinese laundry made cooking a bit awkward in the van and anyway we didn’t want our smalls to smell of salmon. We ordered a pre-dinner drink when we got there, forgetting two very important details. One was that if you order a gin and tonic in Spain the barman will go on pouring the gin until he stops – no measures here. The other thing we forgot is that the meal of the day is usually three courses, bread and a bucket of wine. It was a really excellent meal and by the end of it I was seriously tipsy. Shirley, thinking it was the wisest thing to do, left me sitting at the table while she went to pay the bill. I looked up bleary eyed and noticed a pleasant looking couple a couple of tables away trying to attract my attention so I wobbled over in their direction, trying hard to look sensible.

“You English?” they asked.

“Yes, well no, well yes, well Scottish … well nearly … well not really …”

They looked at me in astonishment.

Eventually I managed to make a reasonable stab at a conversation but it was touch and go whether the words that left my brain were going to be the same ones that came out of my mouth. I was much relieved when Shirley came back and made light hearted conversation so that I could go back to grinning inanely.

Sometimes I entertain myself by reading campsite reviews. Usually they’re sensible but the best ones are just plain stupid. One came back to me as Shirley walked and I wobbled back to the van. A man had complained that a campsite had no toilets in the bar meaning that you had to walk to the shower block if you needed to go. He said his wife was very unhappy because she’d nearly wet herself. Under the influence of several units of alcohol this seemed hilarious to me last night. Poor woman.

We woke this morning to find our washing dry, no sign of a hangover and a distinct readiness to move on. We were on our way in good time with the idea of moving just a short distance down the coast to Benicassim. We’d heard good reports about the site but one of the reviews said it was a bit fish and chips and bingo. As we bowled along we began to wonder if we really wanted another sea side site. We fancied a look at the real Spain we said and on a whim, after burling through Benicassim to get some food from the supermarket, we shot off up into the hills behind Valencia to a site in Navajas called Altomira.

We found it eventually, but didn’t stay. The pitches weren’t big enough for our van so we had to drive right out again and make our way to the outskirts of Valencia where we finally landed, exhausted, for an overnight stop.

Ah well – tomorrow is another day.

2 thoughts on “Mozzies and Big Ears

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