Spring Trip To Spain – Day 2

An early (05.30) start for me, less so for Garrath (08.00) but a slooooooooow morning for us both, just pottering really. I got the camera out to capture a cloudy sunrise, but after that it was just catching up with EPZ, doing routine household stuff then preparing to go out to lunch at 14.00.

Getting ready to go out proved to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. ‘Why’ I hear you ask? Well After humanely evicting two spiders, bathing and dressing, my eyes were very sore and they started streaming big time. The last time I had a reaction like this was when I was in Nevada and Arizona in February 1995 and I turned out to be allergic to the wind pollinated scrub out there. What on earth I am allergic to here I know not but the reaction was dramatic and painful.

Fortunately I had some eye drops which seemed to help, but most effective was shutting the window, so the culprit, whatever it is, is outside. My right eye is much more sore than the left one. It might have something to do with having been punched in the eye by a stretching Helmut on the bed shortly before our trip. Anyway I managed to put a semblance of make up on so I look a little bit like me, not that anyone gives a damn. Women of my age are completely invisible so we are free to look as awful as we please, nobody cares.

Garrath had booked Sunday lunch at our favourite, posh restaurant, La Viña de Calpé, before we flew out. It is where we had Christmas lunch and New Year’s Eve dinner and it is magic. As we walked down there my eyes started to get sore again but fortunately I had taken the precaution of wearing waterproof mascara. Inside the sheltered terrace of the restaurant they settled down again.

The lunch experience did not disappoint. We had four starters (taster menu style) –

Carrot purée with ginger served with dates and peanuts
Quinoa risotto with baby veg
Prawns pil pil, followed by

Mint sorbet

Garrath’s main – Beef fricasee
My main – Sea bream with tomato concasse

The mains were accompanied by squeaky beans and sweet and sour red cabbage with cinnamon. Wonder of wonders for me, there was even a dessert-


We ended the feast with coffee for Garrath, green tea for me along with the Moscatel that is traditionally served at the end of a meal here. That lunch is not untypical for a Spanish Sunday lunch out. It helps one to understand the siesta. After a huge meal like that it is tempting to just collapse in a heap and sleep it off.

I would have been happy to do just that but Garrath had stated his intention to walk just a short way along the prom to work off a few calories. Inevitably we did the whole thing, right up to the furthermost cafe where we had coffee and tea before toddling back along the prom via a wee and tea stop. Several bottles of fizzy water over the afternoon do tend to make frequent stops like that necessary.

I was deeply disappointed not to have a camera with me, but Garrath hadn’t stated his intention to walk the prom until after our meal so I didn’t bring the kit with me. EPZ-ers will understand when I say that there were lots of candidates for a photo posting dedicated to Lifesnapper on the beach in bikinis from size 6 to size 30. For those of you of you who are not EPZ-ers, let me explain –

EPZ is the abbreviation for ePHOTOzine, the forum where I post some of my photographs. Lifesnapper is the handle of one of the photographers there. His favourite subjects are young, pretty, preferably scantily clad women. I have often suggested to him that he is missing something by failing to see the appeal of older, rounder women and I have previously posted sets of photos of such more mature, corpulent beauties and dedicated them to him. Today there were lots of suitable candidates plus lovely light but I didn’t have my camera with me. Damn! Later in the stay perhaps.

I had hoped to go out on a bug hunt with my camera today but for most of the day it has been cloudy and windy, not ideal bug hunting conditions at all. Later in the afternoon we had sun and saw a some cardinal beetles and few butterflies but as I have already explained, I left the camera behind. Whilst I disapprove completely with the self appointed, anally retentive Photo Mafia and their ridiculous, made-up ‘Rules’ there are a number of things about photography that I heave learned over the few years that I have been a keen clicker. Here they are –

1 The most magical shots always present themselves when you haven’t got your camera with you.
2 The lens you need is always the one you left at home.
3 That competition winning shot opens up in a very small time window when you have the wrong lens on and the wrong settings selected.
4 Some clown always walks into the middle of your very carefully prepared landscape or architectural shot.
5 Butterflies, flies, ladybirds and the like always fly off a nano second before you press the shutter release.
6 All animal life, including wildlife and pets, has an inbuilt sense of when a photographer is around and a full repertoire of hideous poses to employ at those times.
7 For every brilliant wildlife or pet shot you get with full eye contact you will get at least ten of the subject’s butt.
8 Even on a windless day a stiff breeze will spring up just as you press the shutter release for that flower shot.
9 No matter how many lens cleaning cloths you buy, you won’t be able to find one when your lens is dusty.
10 Even when you are meticulous about preparation, your spare battery will go flat just before you need it.
11 No amount of spare memory cards is ever enough.
12 The computer’s image download programme invariably crashes when the download is 98% complete.
13 No matter how much you love an image and how carefully you have followed ‘The Rules’ as dictated by The Photo Mafia, some fellow photographer will find fault with it.
14 Everybody blames you when your photographs reveal how ugly / fat / mean spirited / drunk the bride / groom / bride’s mother / bride’s father / groom’s mother / groom’s father / bridesmaid / best man / usher / guest is!
15 Portraits should never ever be released to the subject without being heavily edited / airbrushed.
16 Carefully set up shots of famous landmarks will invariably be invaded by some grinning moron who drapes him/herself across it so that their companion can take a picture of them with their Micky Mouse camera.
17 The only way to get pictures of famous places free of Japanese tourists is to be there at 4 a.m. on midsummer’s day.
18 If you dare to enhance your images in Photoshop you will be declared persona non grata by the self selected photography purists who are more interested in the process than in the image.
19 If you drop a lens it is never, ever on to a soft surface.
20 The printer always runs out of ink on Saturday night after the shops close when you are due to deliver your photos early on Monday morning.

No doubt fellow photographers will be able to add many more, but those are mine for now.

We are now (19.49 on the 15th of May) in the local watering hole enjoying our first recreational, alcoholic drinks. Garrath is struggling with visual seizures and with difficulty doing mental arithmetic, something at which he used to excel. It is hard to come to terms with but a combination of ageing and having your brain serially carved up is bound to take its toll. Let’s hope that it isn’t a sign of more aliens growing in his brain, but if it is, we just have to deal with it. In the mean time, R&R at the local bar.