Archive for November, 2023

Another Chapter Comes to An End

I came to Spain seven years ago. It was like a half-way house. After so many years living abroad, this was still being abroad but not working. My task was to look after my two grandchildren while their parents were at work. What fun we had when we were together. There were weeks when I would take each of the kids to their after-school activities on four of the five days. (I have to say that my Spanish has not reached a high level because I seem to spend most of my days speaking in English.) It seemed to happen all at once – the kids suddenly grew up. They both want to be with their friends, not their grandma, which I totally understand and am happy about. Santi goes to guitar lessons and he decided he wanted to walk there on his own. Adri’s Art classes are on Saturdays. I wasn’t needed to take them to activities any more. My thoughts kept drifting to Scotland. I have to be there each December/January to help my son and his business partner with their Christmas orders. I also thought how much I missed tutoring Maths but my Spanish is not up to doing that here. I do enjoy helping Adri but Santi is good at Maths and needs no help. I thought of all the opportunities there are in Scotland to do charity work. I made up my mind. I would arrange to sell my property in Scotland and buy somewhere in Glasgow. Of course, nothing is easy these days. As December got closer, we decided it would be best for me to rent a flat in Glasgow until everything was sorted out. That was not easy either as so many people seem to be looking for places to rent these days. Then, there it was, the perfect flat. Thanks to my son and his wife viewing flats for me, they found one that I can move into at the end of November. Of course, it will be very sad to leave family and good friends here in Spain but I will always be able to come back for holidays.

Family Holidays

We had two amazing family holidays this year. At the start of April, the family here and I drove down to Portugal while my son and his family flew there from Scotland. We had rented a beautiful villa with a swimming pool. It was remote but quite close to Barcelos. We visited lots of local places like Braga, Povoa de Varzim and Vila de Conde and we had a day in Porto. Otherwise, we were to be found playing games in the garden of the villa, lying in the sun by the pool and eating at a large table outdoors – all thanks to the good weather. The pool was chilly but none of the swimmers seemed to mind. Everyone had a great time. In October, I flew to Scotland. My oldest granddaughter, Holly, had been to see a number of universities with a view to studying Medicine next year but she had not been to the University of St. Andrews. She and I travelled there by bus. It was an enlightening day for both of us. For me, it was like going back in time and, for Holly, it was like going forwards in time. The next day, my daughter, Susan, Holly and I to flew off for our holiday to Egypt. The holiday was hard work, with very early rises and tons of walking, but it was absolutely amazing. Our first day was spent in Cairo, all around The Pyramids, with Susan and Holly going inside the largest one. We also visited the Papyrus Museum and an Essence Emporium. We had a very early flight to Luxor the next day where we joined the cruise ship that would sail us to Aswan, with stops along the way. After lunch, we joined a small tour group and our guide and off we went to see the temples at Karnak and Luxor. Another early start to visit the Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut’s Temple. We sailed overnight to Edfu where another temple was waiting to be explored. More sailing to Kom Ombo where we took a walking tour of the temple and the Crocodile Museum. The next day was a very long but very spectacular day. We set off at 4am for a four-hour drive to Abu Simbel. It was just wondrous to see the two temples. The four-hour drive back ended with us swapping to another vehicle and a guide showed us the Aswan High Dam. He then took us to a small boat and we went out to an island to visit the Phileas Temple. I am usually not good with boats but I loved the Nile Cruise and was sad to leave the ship where we had made good friends but we had to fly back to Cairo. A lady guide took us to Saqqara where we saw lots of interesting things, the Step Pyramid being the highlight. Susan and Holly went into a number of the pyramids and tombs. After lunch, we went to the Cairo Museum. A lot of the things have been moved to the new museum which is still not open but we were lucky to see all the glorious things that came out of Tutankhamun’s tomb. We had a more restful two days before flying back to Scotland and, five days later, I flew back here.