Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain
in the Autumn for a month or so

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Monday, 3 March 2008

More progress today - and it was warm and sunny, too!

Today was quite a good day.

I had psyched myself up to deal with the planning application lodged last October for the landscaping I want to do at the front and side of the house and as my first move this morning telephoned the people who had prepared and ledged the planning application for me to reconfirm what I had to do; firstly it was clarified to me to which office I had to go to retrieve the approval and pay the required fee. Off I went this morning with my copy of the planning application and as there wasn't a queue was dealt with almost immediately by the person on duty at the counter - he took the application, studied it for a moment, then looked up the file on the computer and found it very quickly. He indicated it had been approved and printed out the invoice to pay for it and then fished out from another file the approval document. All done in about five minutes, at a cost of about €107-. Next job is to put the finishing touches to my own ideas about the detail of the landscaping (what parts will be tiled/paved and what parts will be for planting); the tiled/paved area will be somewhat less than I have approval for and I have a contractor in mind to do the work so I hope it can all go forward pretty rapidly.

Wine. I enjoy drinking wine and at home (in Scotland) am quite heavily involved with a wine appreciation society (in fact I still maintain the website, yes even from Spain, and was for several years the Treasurer until my plans for having a holiday home in Spain began to take shape a few years ago, after which my continuance as Treasurer became impractical). Anyway, I am quite choosy about what wines I will drink, although I enjoy trying new wines from different regions and countries; this is one of the joys of a wine appreciation society - one gets to sample a wide range of wines over the months and have the opportunity to compare, for example, wines made from the same variety of grape from widely different regions. For everyday drinking in Spain I tend to buy wines in the €3.50 to €5.50 range for a standard 75cl bottle; I don't go for bottled wine in the €1.20 to €1.50 range; there are quite a few in that range in the various supermarkets I visit. However today when coming away from the cash counter office for the town council of Mazarrón I passed by the central market and a nearby bodéga I haven't been into before, although I've passed it often. They have seven or eight different wines available from the barrel, a mixture of reds and whites, a rosé and even a cream sherry - all at incredibly low prices per litre. What I chose to try was there was a basic red ('tinto'), 13 deg. alc., for the princely sum of €0.97 a litre. I got two litres and bought a reusable plastic bottle for it - total cost €2.19!! I sampled a glass later when I got home for lunch and it is surprisingly good - very soft and drinkable, perfectly sound wine. No great character of course, but extremely good to drink with the plate of cured ham followed by the salad I had for lunch. I understand from a few friends here that it goes off quite quickly, as the screw cap on the plastic container can only provide limited protection for the wine, specially once there is air in the bottle after some of it has been drunk; however, I expect that most of it will have been drunk before that becomes a problem and of course it is so inexpensive that if I have to throw some of it away it will hardly be a major loss.

Other good news today - I took a spin upto the furniture shop where my remaining living-room items are to come from to see when I can expect delivery. After 'phoning the respective supplying factories I understand most of it should be delivered to the shop locally later this week and the final items possibly early next week, so with a little luck I'll have everything by the end of next week.

It was another lovely day today - I spent most of the afternoon out on the front patio reading and taking in the view. I came indoors just after the sun had set fully - it was very clear over the mountains at the other side of the valley so their silhouettes were very stark against the sky at sunset; it really is very beautiful on evenings like today here.

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