Home not holiday
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This is the start of week 2 in Menorca. Have we adjusted to permanent holiday yet? Well, we are trying very hard. Reminding ourselves that we are not on holiday but just living here, and therefore mustn't keep popping into bars or going out for meals. This is made easier by the tight budget we ( I suppose that should be me!) have set of not spending more that £100 per week. Menorca is more expensive than the Canaries or other Balearic Islands. For example, coffee and beer is 5 or 6 euros and a basic restaurant meal of one pizza, one pasta and 2 drinks came to 40 euros. So we eat in most of the time, but I did weaken one evening and have a cocktail. The compensation is table wine at 50 pence a litre. As we only have a microwave and double ring hob, meals are creative and original eg tuna and pea risotto, garlic mashed potatoes with fried chicken and tomato. The small supermarkets are winding down for the season and I have noticed that salad items like lettuce, that I reject as past their best on one visit to the shop, are still on offer 2 or 3 days later
Each day we tend to walk in the morning for 3 to 5 hours, stopping frequently to look at birds or the view so we don't travel great distances but it is very enjoyable, especially when it is time for our picnic lunch. (We rarely make it past 11.45am) The island has a system of Cami de Cavalls or bridle ways which can be used as footpaths. Some are rocky and difficult to follow if they are in more remote areas. Jim has finally realised how helpful the walking stick is on treks, especially going downhill, and he uses it all the time although at the moment he doesn't need it to support his leg. I want to get one before leaving for Mexico. Jim lead the walk one morning, trying to cross the peninsular from coast to coast but the path petered out and we lost it completely, resulting in a very tough scramble through scrub and bushes that were waist high for me. A machete would have been useful. I must say that I thought our trousers would be shredded but they were unmarked. Congratulations to Craghoppers! (perhaps they could sponsor us?) After an hour we ended up back where we started having worked round in a perfect circle
Then in the late afternoon we go to the “geriatric gym” for a very gentle work out. We are usually the only people there so if that is the case then we sneak into the kids area which is much more fun with a big climbing cargo rope structure and a zip line! Even Jim can be seen on that when no-one else is looking.
As dusk approaches we like to go to a small wetland area that I mentioned in an earlier blog, through the edge of the golf course, where the raptors (now identifed as a family of marsh harriers, male, female and juvenile), glide over the wetland searching for their supper as the sun sets. It is amazingly calm, and beautiful and again we don't usually see anyone else there. We stayed until it was almost dark tonight and then started back to find the six foot high gate in the golf club fence locked. Using our newly developed climbing skills from the kids play area we scaled the fence, just hoping that no-one was watching
The birds seen so far include the raptors, Sicilian warbler, Balearic warbler, stonechat, redstart, wheatear, green sandpiper, bee-eater, grey wagtail, herons (in huge flocks), and others we are still trying to identify.
My spanish seems to be working as I manage to have little conversations with people but it has not been put to any real test yet. I am sure that will come.
We use the netbook at night to research the birds/insects we have seen and to identify paths on Google Earth for exploratory walks. For some reason they are easier to identify from the air than on the ground. This is the best time for Skype contacts too, either late at night (we are an hour ahead of UK time) or early morning. We plan to hire a car for a week at some point but not until either the weather changes or we get bored with the local area. Hopefully neither of these will happen for a couple of weeks. I had cold for a few days but the fresh air seemed to help and I only had to miss out on one walk. Jim probably enjoyed being able to walk for once without having to stop every hundred metres to look/listen for birds. His leg seems fine now but this afternoon his neck started to give him severe pain so we will see what tomorrow brings. In case anyone is thinking “ what does he expect, climbing fences at his age?” I should say it started before then, honestly!