JACQUI and I moved out to Spain to try out living here for six months starting in October 2004. We have now witnessed our seventh Christmas in Almerimar and I could not contemplate going back to the UK now.
Our quality of life here is much better even though we have seen a considerable reduction in our disposable income. Particularly thanks to the dramatic drop in the Pound/Euro exchange rate over the last few years.
For six of our seven winters here we have been blessed with excellent weather throughout December and the Christmas period. Of course we get windy days and some rain from time to time. We even had snow for the first time in 50 years and hailstones for the first time in 30 years in January 2005. Nevertheless the Christmas period just about always enables us to play some golf in the sun and spend some relaxing times with great friends.
December 2009 was the exception in our time here. We had the most rainfall in our area for around 50 years. It rained almost continuously in December and it took its toll on our apartment. We had what seemed like a waterfall coming into our kitchen last Christmas day due to a leak in our roof terrace. So much so I had to leave straight after a great lunch in a local restaurant to come home to bail water off our roof to lessen the amount that would come into the kitchen. Sadly this task was a regular one throughout last winter.
As mentioned in Paul Whitelock´s blog here the Spanish insurance companies have found various ways of weaseling out of paying up for the restoration work necessary to resolve the problems caused by ingress of water. For this reason I spent most of the summer working on our roof terrace to make sure we did not have the same problems this winter.
Although we have had a reasonable amount of rainfall this December it has been around the average of six days of rain that is expected in the province of Almería. It has been enough to test out my work on the roof terrace which appears to have been a success, thank goodness. However we have had loads of bright and sunny days mixed in with the odd rainy and windy ones.
Last year, while I was bailing water off the roof terrace, Jacqui was dancing away to Christmas tunes after an excellent lunch in a local restaurant along with lots of friends from our town. This year Jacqui had a similar experience in a different local restaurant but I had the great pleasure of joining her on the dance floor (a bit of an unusual experience for her).
Like last year our Christmas lunch this year was a cross between a traditional English one and a typical Spanish meal. We had a selection of the standard starters off the menu. The main course was turkey and leg of pork with home made stuffing (courtesy of our friend Alan who arranged the lunch). We also had the best sprouts I have had in my life, oven baked in butter with a little bit of chopped bacon. Dessert was home made Christmas pudding and custard (prepared by Alan again).
The Christmas puddings are now becoming a bit of a local delicacy. The owners of the restaurant we went to last year decided to visit their family in Madrid rather than open this year. They took with them one of Alan´s home made Christmas puddings plus some custard powder and instructions on how to make the perfect custard.
This year we struck up a great relationship with the Spanish families that were eating alongside us. They were intrigued by the wonderful crackling on the leg of pork and the Christmas pudding so we gave them some to try – they loved it. Once the meal was over the Spanish families asked us to turn the music up and started joining in dancing with us. It made for a fantastic day.
So the normal service of a wonderful Christmas day has been resumed for me in Almerimar this year.
I hope all the readers of the site had as good a Christmas day as Jacqui and I.