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The Language Mangler

Thursday 8th December

No photos today – I tried taking a photo of Lucy but rabbits and headlights…

Do you remember me telling you all that we have settled down in Pinedas de Mar and are sitting Xmas and New Year out and we’re not moving again for a month? Will you never learn? Whatever you may have read in this blog in the past (and in the future) is nearly all fiction, I make it all up as we go along, kind of. If I say we are staying here for a month it really means – we’re moving on soon. Ignore all that waffle about not wanting to put the miles in and it’s good enough here.

I’ve just booked us four weeks on a Camping and Caravanning Club Rally down south near Castellos and the reasons are many and varied. We both love travelling around, seeing new places and looking at amazing views but looking to the future is that what we want to do forever? Last year I noticed that we were retracing some of our steps and trying to not go to the same place two years running made planning slightly more complicated. We then get to thinking about different ways of doing things and one of them could be staying on a site for two or three months but is that what we want?

One thing I really do miss is camping. Visiting aires and sostas is not camping, we are in Pinedas and there are signs saying no chairs, no tables and absolutely no BBQ’s. I love burning food but my BBQ has been used maybe three times in Europe over the last thee years. My Cobb has been used once, my Cadac has never singed a foreign burger or decimated a European pork rib.

The answer might be to try a Camping and Caravanning Club site. Negatives are it is 250 miles south but advantages are:- 1.. it will be even warmer (maybe), 2. There will be British people to talk to, 3. The pitches are twice the size of our current pitch, 4. The pitches are cheaper than our current pitch, 5. We can have a BBQ, 6. No dogs on site (I don’t mind dogs but here they are all off their leads (despite the signs) and we’ve got a poo poo right next to us. 7. The electric supply is 10A instead of our existing 6A, 8. Can’t think of an 8

Our heating system has developed a fault since we’ve been here in Pinedas, so what you say, we’re in Spain but it does get pretty chilly in here at night, so much so that occasionally I have to put a pair of socks on – no jumpers yet! Everything works perfectly on gas but when we try putting it on mains hook up the relays inside the heater box start clicking. I’ve tried the age old method taught to me by my father, and handed down from generations before that, but it makes no difference how hard I hit the boiler, those relays keep on clicking. My technical director (Lucy) informs me that it is probably the 6A supply we have here, she’s never admitted to being wrong before so finger crossed.


The heating system is towards the back where Lucy sits and poor old me has to sit up the chilly end where the big glass windows let out all the heat and the blown air doesn’t reach. A week ago I had a brainwave – shut off all the vents except for the two right up the front, then I get a bit of heat and Lucy doesn’t have to complain about being too hot. Lo and behold we have perfect heating all round and everyone is happy.

Then we leave Avignon, couple of nights off hook ups and we get to Pinedas and hook up to the 6A supply. All of a sudden the heating doesn’t want to work, the relays start clicking as soon as the heating goes on so I have to switch over to gas to keep HRH happy. Hot water hasn’t been a problem at all but tonight putting the gas heating on caused more clicking relays and no heating. After playing around with different settings I found that the water will heat on gas or electric but we have no heating at all.

A bit more playing around, I remember all the vents are closed so I open them and voila, we have heating on electric (haven’t tried the gas yet but fingers crossed). It’s early days and everything may go tilt again so I can’t say that I have cured the heating yet and I really can’t understand why the relays start clicking within seconds of the heating being turned on just because the back vents are closed. Hopefully there is an expert out there with some ideas. I had been googling for answers but they were all telling me I needed a new PCB at £400 a time. 


We’ve just had a couple of relay clicking episodes (after an hour or so), the system isn’t happy but is still giving us some heat.

One of the plus points for staying on a C&CC site is being able to talk to British people (we’ve only seen three couples in the last three months and one of them got us brain achingly drunk) but I’ve really enjoyed mangling the European tongue. I’ve just had a really good idea, why don’t we invent a universal language and call it Esperanto?

So far this week I have asked for two beers in Portuguese (whilst in Spain), said hello in Italian to a couple of French camp site workers, totally confused the German parked behind us when I told him of our travels through Germany and he couldn’t work out why a Swede was driving a British motorhome, and confused the girl on the check out who assumed I must be British because I was the first person she has seen in a month wearing shorts and I replied to her in very mangled Spanish. The best answer to anything is que? You don’t need many words to confuse everyone you meet. Parlez vous Francais, sprechen sie Duetsch, habla su Espagnole, fela se Portuguese, Parli Italiani…

The other great thing about knowing very little about any language is that you are able to speak three or four different languages at the same time to try and get your point across. Bom dia, haben sie una baguette por favor, gracias is almost guaranteed to not get you a loaf of bread and then you can start doing lots of pointing.

Today I have been practicing asking a hairdresser to give Lucy a haircut with wash and shampoo. Mi esposa le gustaria un corte de pela con lavada y el champu. Off we trot to find a perrequeria. On Monday I had gone looking for a specific shop and he was closed. He was also closed on Tuesday and we discovered that Tuesday was Constitution day here and everyone adds an extra day to make a long weekend of it. Strangely we have a motorhome next to us with three kids and they arrived on Tuesday and left tonight. In fact, every time we go out we see loads of kids not going to school. It turns out that it is National “close the hairdressers for three days” week, they all closed on Tuesday and will reopen tomorrow. All the other shops were open though.

Anyway, wish me luck with my Spanish, everyone around here speaks a very vague version of Spanish called Catalan, it will be like me asking for a haircut in the Queen’s English but doing so in Basildon. Lucy is worried that something will go wrong with her haircut but what’s the worst that can happen? We’ll be visiting Sweeney Todds in the morning..

3 thoughts on “The Language Mangler

  1. Chris Clements

    Is the Ralley at Bonterra Park, Benicassim Mark? We love that site and always pop in for a week when in the area. Lots of English there even without a Ralley. A real community feel. It’s one of the sites we feel we could settle in for 3 months. I think it comes to us all in the end that although it’s nice seeing new places it’s also nice to settle for a while and join in with the activities of the other British campers – it’s a nice community feel.

    1. Mark Post author

      We’re going to Monmar. It got a bit confusing trying to book through the Clubs website, hopefully next year we might be sent the Winter Sun brochure or have a chance to look through it at some point in the year.
      All we really want is close to a beach, close to a supermarket and somewhere to put our chairs out and have a BBQ. There are a couple of aires that would be suitable but again, trying to search for the right place isn’t easy.

  2. chausson8a

    From my 28 years travelling the world in the Royal Navy, I managed to memorise “Two beers and my friend will pay” in many languages!

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