Thursday, 1 January 2015

We go to Vera and wrestle with a water pump

When we first arrived at Camping El Quinto, one of the stacks of flyers
A Gaudi-esque apartment building in Vera 
Dave noticed in Recepcion was advertising a caravanning and camping accessories shop in the nearby town of Vera. We were particularly interested because the flyer specified gas canister refills for various makes including our Repsol propano. Having had a long country walk on Tuesday this week, we thought a town visit would ring the changes on Wednesday and we could take the opportunity to drop by this shop. We found the shop remarkably easily but were disappointed by the Se Alquilar (for rent) poster prominently displayed in the window. Oh well!

We parked up there anyway and walked along the main road into Vera town centre. It seemed that at least a quarter of the commercial premises were empty which made the road feel run down, but had we also passed their elegant and grand bullring which was well maintained and an impressive triumphal arch in the centre of a roundabout. We were unsure of the triumph it celebrated. I took a photo for Facebook of a fun Don Quixote sculpture in the grounds of the secondary school. It was similarly made, using metal, to the one we saw last year in Valoria La Buena. The pedestrianised town centre had a bustling community atmosphere in contrast to its suburbs. Christmas decorations were strung across the narrow streets and there were also at least three loudspeakers playing seasonal songs to the shoppers.

Our ultimately unsuccessful search for coconut milk led us into several independent supermercados - one international Indian-owned shop did stock large pots of spices for a euro each. I snapped up ground ginger which can also be hard to find in this part of Spain. Another supermercado was doing a roaring trade in green beans which were practically being sold out of the back of the van that had brought them to town. There was great excitement and women buying two carrier bagfuls each. I think the grower must have been a local farmer with an excellent reputation for their produce.

We spent a good couple of hours wandering Vera and luckily spotted the Gaudi-style apartment building pictured above as we were trying to head back to the car. It reminded us of our citybreak in Barcelona.

Back in Mojacar, after lunch I set out on a stroll with my current audio book - Walking Home by Clare Balding - down to the beach and along to a potentially interesting shop we had driven past before lunch. It is called Kasbah and has a fantastic range of Moroccan style clothing and homewares. I bought a wrap made of Aloe cactus threads dyed in vibrant stripes of red, purple, orange and gold. It is now draped over my bench seat in Bailey and looks gorgeous. We may need to return! The shop's owner is actually an American, originally from New Orleans. We've been there!

New Year's Eve didn't start too well. Halfway through cooking dinner, our Whale Water Pump decided to give up altogether leaving us with an uncooked rice problem. We filled a bottle with water from the campsite tap to last us overnight as we didn't fancy trying to work out how to fit the new pump by the light of a head torch and after a few glasses of mulled wine. Sometimes we just have no sense of adventure!

Today we decided to sort the water before walking as otherwise we might be too preoccupied worrying about it to enjoy the great outdoors. I suffered this a couple of days ago after forgetting the pin to my debit card. It's a good thing we did as the whole job took nearly two hours. The theory is simple enough - pump has an electric wire that needs threading through an outer blue casing. Blue casing is two connected tubes, one for water, one for electric. However, the instructions for exactly HOW to achieve this were non-existent. The Whale leaflet assumes the existence of staff! We blundered on regardless.

The raw wire ends are presoldered so solid and sharp enough to begin gouging into the inside of the blue piping at every opportunity, therefore making it impossible to thread the wire through. We eventually overcame this by slotting the plastic tube cover from one of Dave's tiny paint brushes over the wire ends and slathering both this and the wire itself with vaseline. Success. Once the wire is through its casing, the next step was to fit the other side of the blue piping over the water outlet on the pump. The old one had a straight tube with an expanding circle clip thing. The new one has a ledge on the tube that is almost exactly too wide for the pipe and definitely too wide for the clip. We managed eventually to force the blue over the tube but it is at a bit of an angle so possibly not secure enough to stay there forever, although it is currently so secure that we couldn't get it back off to try again. The circle clip is useless, but stuck in position anyway. At least we will know where it is if we need one for anything else.

And now the new pump works! And it's as loud as the old one used to be! Running water is restored. As a treat and due to all the 'stress', we are now having a lazy day, as you can probably tell from this overlong post, while our breadmaker is whumping and whirring away kneading us a tasty loaf for a good walk's lunch tomorrow.

Happy New Year!

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