Well, it has been nearly three months since my last post. Losing my handbag certainly started me on a fast track learning curve, but it gave me a quick insight into life on "the Coast", now all that is sorted. Frankly, I would have rather given them the €15 if they would have left me with my documents, but actually even that was an interesting process and so, we move on.
At the beginning on December we did our first few performances of the Panto. We had three different venues and made lot of money for our chosen charities which ranged from Chaplaincy funds to helping a homeless charity. The best thing though was the friendships made and the sense of belonging to a group of people. Pauline Hulme our director is great at drawing talent out from people who didn't know they had any!
John and I have stated a few hobbies; he goes to Digital photography and I go to drawing and painting - both classes by courtesy of thee University of the Third Age - (U3A)!
John and I are now regulars at he church here - we always thought we would go along to a Spanish church when we lived here, and although we have attended a couple of Spanish services, we now find ourselves very much involved with the English speaking congregation of the Anglican Chaplaincy here - to the point that finally John was given permission to officiate and lead the service preached his first sermon there last Sunday. It was very well received . The new chaplain arrived two weeks ago- an ex-benedictine monk (!) - his name is Alaric and we are keen to discover how it will all go. We'll keep you posted on that one. Apparently, he's a bit of a musician and is into films- sounds interesting.
So, after Christmas, we started rehearsing for the first of a series of concerts with our chorus Touch of Class. We are a non-profit group putting on concerts to raise funds for various causes on the coast. Last night we performed the first concert at an ecumenical centre here in Fuengirola . The centre is a base for language learning, but also feeds the Homeless or struggling families twice a week. So, the money raised went to them for their work. I have had the privilege to be part of a team that feeds around 40 men and women every two weeks and my Spanish has been considered an asset as I am the only one currently who speaks fluently so I can chat to our "guests" and relate their problem to the lovely assistant who then refers them to Social Services.
I also teach Spanish to a couple of friends who are longing to be in a position to chat to their Spanish friends and neighbours. I so admire their determination to get to grips with the lingo and they are doing fine.
Oh and that's the other thing - we can now have access to the public health here - so that's a relief. I have also been helping an elderly lady who broke her hip on the Sunday before Christmas by falling from the church steps on to hard concrete. Pat is the most amazing 86 yearold who has lived here for many years. I accompanied her into hospital to help with translation and after her daughter came out, I went with her and still do so - to act as interpreter between doctor, patient. and daughter. Again, another experience - seeing the Health system here in action.
The Health provision here is excellent if you are part of it, with a brilliant use of technology that carries all your details on one plastic card that goes between all doctors and even the pharmacist - so no problem with mislaid records. However, if you are not part of the system - as is the case with many of our homeless - the story is very different. Emergency treatment, yes, but prescriptions cost a fortune - it's tough!
Well, on a lighter note, after having no sun on our terrace since November, it is beginning to creep back around again with all the promise the "Costa del Sol" holds. Apparently, we have just had the coldest winter in memory - typical - the Suttons have arrived! However, as you who have seen my Facebook statuses will know, we have also had loads of sun and wonderful walks on the beaches. It's just a question of looking for it.
Since I last wrote, we have had visits from my brother John and Gloria, my sister-in-law as well as our good friends Bill and Penny. We have visited a few great restaurants and life is good.
This post is far too long, so if you are still with me, thank you. The next few months will see us returning to the UK for Esther's important birthday, plus a trip to Dubai where we will attend the wedding of some friends and John will conduct the spiritual side of their marriage.
Oh and for those wondering, Oscar is just fine and has adapted well.