Shitty Roses in Southern Spain

Is it good luck – or bad?

Yesterday when I left Portugal I thought I should be smart and fill up across the border in Spain as it’s about 5 cents a litre less.  The fuel warning Light came on somewhere around Faro I guess and the needle was nowhere near the bottom so I passed Olhào without a thought, over the river and into Spain.  Missed the first turn off for fuel but checked the gauge and it was still fine.

Yep, you guessed it – dead car at 80mph in southern Spain.  You may call it stupid, you may even call it unlucky – but for me, it was a stroke of pure good luck of the best sort.  The car managed to conk out less than half a K from the gas station that I had just missed. Jumped out, fluorescent orange bib on, 1st warning triangle at 100 metres, 2nd at 200 metres, left my phone number in the window and went for a little hike – just like clockwork.  Bought a 20 litre jerry can, filled it up and hauled it back to the motor, poured in the contents and she fired up straight away!  Less than half an hour lost!

I kept the can and refilled it at the next fuel stop too – just in case.  Now here’s a thing for any of you trend setters that drive 75’s like me – the gauge was nowhere near the bottom, and the engine just cut out without warning, stutter, judder, loss of power – nothing.  It went dead so quickly that I was looking in the rear view mirror to see what engine components of mine were bouncing their way along the Andalucian highway – but it was all good, just out of fuel.

Finally managed to get rid of that old dog too – the Mondeo sold on wednesday for the princely sum of  800€ – thats about 1/10 th of what it owes me.

Good run up to Brussels overnight – only managed to get flashed by 1 speed camera this time.  SatNav had me all over the place though.  Sometimes it would tell you to turn off the motorway, go half a mile down the road, make a U turn and get back on the motorway – all for no reason.  Another time, it gave me a screen shot of the distance being too far to calculate.  Strange I thought – but then it hit me, it is after all Lana’s satnav – so it is American.  Being American it is not used to going any further than two blocks because you can find a drive thru, KFC, Pizza Hut and Gun Shop all within 2 blocks of home.  Thankfully I knew the way roughly anyway.  Is it just me but if you ignore the satnav directions, does the voice sound a little ‘disappointed’ when she has to tell you she is ‘Recalculating’?

There was one point on the trip in southern france due to a motorway closure, I found myself in a dead end car park in a small french village after listening to the satnav for instructions – I was not alone, there were 4 other cars there too.

Spain – let’s talk about Spain. I am fully aware I have a spanish subscriber (olà christina !) but I am going to give those spanish drivers a good old dressing down.  What a bunch of fuck heads! – They drive like they are late for an appointment with the grim reaper.  Leave a space between you and the car in front, they’re in it in a flash.  Leave a space big enough for two cars – and a truck will be there before you can blink.  80mph and so close to your back bumper that you can’t see the numberplate or front lights of their car in your rearview mirror.  Having spent some time in Mallorca and ‘studied’ their driving skills, I did wonder if it was just an Island thing (cue music from ‘Deliverance’) but nope – surely they can’t be inbred on the mainland too ?

But now let me make amends – Spain, oh Spain – is such a beautiful country to drive across. I always head into Seville before turning north to Madrid, Burgos and then into Basque country.  Seville is only around 7 metres above sea level but once you get north of Madrid, expect 1500 metres in the mountains – just stunning.  It gets better though, the further north you go – Basque country is waiting and that my friends – has to be done at first morning light for the best scenery in Europe.

Sadly – due to my planning – it was pitch black when I got to Basque territory – but next time, I promise.  In fact, next time will be early January so might even be a snow covered trip by then.  I did reel off a few photos while I was, ahem, driving – will add them shortly so remember to take a look.

I did also manage to see the Eiffel Tower today.  It was way over in the distance as I joined the ‘Peripherique’ which is Paris’ answer to the M25 but considerably less classy as you would expect from a nation that eats so much cheese! (Ooh – Magali, I wonder if you are reading this too?) – I say managed, purely because it was covered and obscured by pollution and smog.  It was hard to believe that people view Paris as the most romantic city in the world as I starred through the gloom.  I think I would rather catch the National Express up to Scunthorpe.

Now the French drivers were a world apart, and dare I say it, almost as equally skilled and thoughtful as us Brits.  They don’t pinch your safety space, if you indicate to pull out, they wont accelerate to close off your gap – more likely to move out into lane 3 to give you more room, all in all, a rather splendid drive through France.  Now France is a Beauty too but not a patch on Spain.

Thankfully, there weren’t many Portuguese drivers around for the trip – they do find it hard to get the donkey and cart up to the minimum speed required for Europe`s motorways.

It’s time for me to shower now, I have to pick the woman up from the airport soon but please can I leave you with a little thought.

Remember when petrol first started getting expensive – it used to be displayed in cost per gallon but that would never have really hid the truth now would it, so ‘in line’ with decimilisation that happened a little over 40 years ago, we switched.  so instead of paying near 2 pounds per gallon, we are paying around 1.50 per litre which on the face of it makes it much easier to swallow doesn’t it?  Now convert it over – and you will be around 6.80 per gallon

Now – if that doesn’t get the conspiracy theorists going, this will

Compare the cost of a litre of fuel to a litre of bottled water from the supermarket – I bet you, you all happily pay more for a litre of water from the supermarket than you do for a litre of fuel from the same supermarket.

If you could get fuel out of your tap at home for free, would you still go to the supermarket and buy it ?



Shower time – I need to trim my ball bag



Have a moan - the beers are on me !!

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