Friday, 6 March 2015

What a joy.....

.... to be able to watch a decent, interesting and adult motoring programme.

I am referring to the new series on Channel 5, 'The Classic Car Show' with Quentin Willson and Jodie Kidd.

What a difference from 'Top Gear', a programme that I avoid like the plague, not wishing to watch the antics and tomfoolery of the three puerile presenters, being oggled at by their adoring fans, prattling on about cars that all but a tiny minority will be able to afford and denigrating those vehicles that ordinary mortals can afford.

'Top Gear' is, in my opinion, a programme that has done much to fuel the appalling driving standards on our roads, with its emphasis on speed, aggression and cynicism.

'The Classic Car Show' is obviously geared towards lovers of classic cars and judging by the first programme yesterday will keep me thoroughly engrossed; a very civilised programme.

With my keen interest in classic cars it will certainly satisfy me, although I think that it is worth mentioning the glaring gap that seems to exist in the market for a sensible motoring programme about ordinary, everyday cars, comparing and assessing their design, practical features and technical performance etc.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

I swop the Morgan for a Megane!!

We'd arrived at Alicante Airport and the young woman at the car hire desk handed me a square shaped piece of plastic with a tag on it displaying the car hire company's name.
The scene from our hotel at Manchester Airport prior to our departure the following day!!!

What on earth is this I said, to which she replied that I should stick it in a slot in the dashboard and then press the starter button to get underway. After considerable mental and physical contortion in the dimly lit car park the slot was found, I shoved the thing into the slot and the whole dashboard lit up like Blackpool Illuminations. You know I am finding it increasingly more stressful at airports without all this new gadgetry adding to my anxiety.
Moonrise over Ibiza. A view from our apartment...

....and another shot of the same event.
Anyway, it proved to be a pleasant car to drive, albeit that it could have done with a bit more clout to climb Puig de la Llorenca, the mountain on the side of which our holiday accommodation was situated at around 400 metres above sea level, overlooking the Mediterranian and just underneath the summit.

We had decided that we would escape the rigours of an English winter by visiting, for the whole of February, the only area of Spain that we hadn't visited before, the Costa Blanca.
Calpe and the Penon de Ifach (known as the northern rock by the Romans to distinguish it from the southern rock of Gibraltar)
We based ourselves in an apartment in Moraira, between Javea and Calpe and looked forward to some reasonable temperatures and sunshine, to recharge our stocks of vitamin D.

Alas, initially the weather was cold, in fact Valencia along the coast to the north had a fair covering of snow on our second or third day and I opened the front door on the day in question to a few snowflakes fluttering down.
Cycling team in training with Parcent in the distance.
The apartment was not geared for use as a winter let, but fortunately we found a couple of 'blankets' for the bed, went out and purchased four hot water bottles (12 euros) and an electric fire (19 euros) to bolster the existing air-conditioning/heating units.
The almond blossom was out in the Jalon Valley.
The low temperatures lasted only for a short while and for over three weeks we have enjoyed temperatures of 14-22 degrees, much higher than those at home, athough it has to be said that next time we will not be renting a property on a hillside, regardless of the view, as the temperatures at 1200 feet are somewhat cooler than at sea level.

Waiting for our 8 euro five course meals in the village hall at Parcent!

We travelled 500 kms plus in the Megane, particularly enjoying the Jalon Valley where we stopped for lunch on one occasion in the local village hall, five courses including a bottle of wine for 8 euros each, just wonderful.
Moraira Marina with Calpe and Ifach in the distance.
In Javea we added another Paradore to our collection, although only for coffee on this occasion, bringing our total of Paradore visits to 23, throughout the whole of Spain.
El Portent and beach, our favourite.
The cost of living is so much lower than in the UK and a couple of ex-pats who we met said that they lived well on a weekly shop of £70 !!! Certainly, we lived extremely well, enjoying the wine and Senor Torres's brandy and enjoying the competitively priced Menu del Dia's from time to time.
Climbing towards the summit of the Cap de la Nau.
But oh, it's just so nice to sit there in the sunshine watching the world go by.
Dawn from our bedroom balcony.
Yesterday, as I sat in the minimal surroundings of a local garage, with a single bar fire for company, waiting for the Morgan to pass it's MOT, I realised what a lovely time we have had.