We got away from Mansle nice and early on a Saturday morning and even made it past Bordeaux without having to slow down much. Crossed the border into Spain same as usual, only knowing we were in another country by the slightly different road signs.
We made good time and arrived at the hotel just outside Zaragoza before dark. It looked like at one time it was a pretty fancy place – marble stairs, etc., and every second guest had a dog. Spain isn’t quite as dog-friendly as some places so where dogs are allowed you’ll definitely find lots of them.
Another early start the next morning and we headed generally south and a bit east. At one point we saw some smoke off to the left and not much later saw a convoy of army fire trucks heading towards it – they’re not wanting anything to get out of control in the current dry conditions.
We followed fairly main roads all the way home – the car’s GPS didn’t seem to know some of the newer roads but we knew where we were headed and I had my ever-present maps so it wasn’t a problem.
We got back to the house mid-afternoon and were glad to unload and relax for a bit – it’s been a lot of travelling in the last few weeks.
While we were gone the solar panels for the hot water had been installed as planned and the pool drained – not as planned. Apparently there was so much mud in the bottom from the dust storms in March that the filter simply couldn’t handle it and it had to be drained and several inches of mud shovelled out by hand.
Since then we’ve arranged several more things but the most annoying has been the water situation. Apparently not only did we need to take over the ‘rights’ – it was even part of the deed of purchase – but also had to become members of the local water co-op. The plumber’s wife – who is also our pool cleaner – helped interpret for us at the water office so we could get things rolling.
A few days after arriving back we saw a small pillar of smoke coming from the north just below the sanctuary. Not long after there was a spotter plane, then a couple of helicopters with water buckets dousing the blaze. Again – taking no chances, thank goodness.
We’ve done a bit of outside work as well, such as chainsawing the old and rotting wooden rails around the decks, and planting some lovely colourful flowers in some of the windowboxes and planters.
Also putting up some of the artwork from Papiano has made the inside seem more like a home and less like just a house.
The days are usually quite sunny and are getting hot but there’s almost always a nice cool breeze in the evening and again in the morning.
Sitting on the terrace beside the pool is very relaxing – jumping in for a swim will be even more so once it’s filled a few days from now.