Rich urban zone. Cycle track. Lanes and orchards.
Once again, we drove to Puçol to catch the train into Valencia. In the cold dawn light, we left Valencia Nord station and headed out of town. This time we were passing through the richer areas with leafy parks and up-market apartment blocks. Fairly quickly we reached a cycle track that followed the path of a disused railway. This passed through rural areas although in the near distance on both sides were busy roads, towns and industrial estates. Later we used "cami rural" ways parallel with the bigger roads. These quiet roads service the orange orchards and give good access to occasional snacks. They are pleasant to walk along.
We again drove to Puçol. When I say we, I mean Neil as he did all the driving. He doesn't seem to mind it and I really hate it, so I'm lucky he does it. There are lots of trains on a weekday to Valencia and we had no onward journey to worry about so our arrival time was not critical. On leaving the station, I spot a 24 hour pharmacy. I try to go in but the door is locked. Seeing us, the pharmacist unlocks the door for us. We go in and get some otrivine. It is spray rather than the drops I usually get but it is too early in the morning to go into a long explanation about preferring drops. Also the pharmacist had obviously had a long night and could hardly keep her eyes open.
It is quite cold so we make very good time and are soon out of the city and back on our cycle track. I have already laid out my presents for Neil on the dining room table. Somehow the calendar with pussies on the front I got Neil has disappeared along with the four healthy bars. What has happened to them? By lunch time, it has warmed up and we bask under some orange trees. On our way into the orchard, we see a man who had arrived by motorbike picking himself a bag of clementines from an abandoned orchard. What a good idea. They would only go to waste otherwise.
We lie down and bask in the almost warmth of the sun. It puts me in mind of girls sunbathing at Felixstowe College and I tell Neil about it. Sixth form girls would change into swimsuits, very demure one-piece affairs and go outside and lie down on their blankets. I used to join them but didn't have a blanket, so I just lay on the grass. When the sun went behind a cloud or the wind got up they would roll themselves over and cover themselves with the half of the blanket they were not lying on. What amused me, described by the headmistress as the girl from the grammar school (actually it was one of the first comprehensives) was that they did the same when the male gardener passed by on his duties. I of course remained exposed.
What he made of it all I can't imagine. The English attitude to nakedness and propriety has always flummoxed me as it does other mainland Europeans. My French friends told me one of their standing jokes. It concerns an English woman living in Paris who asks the police to come to her flat because she is regularly being disturbed by the sight of a naked man in his bathroom opposite her flat. The police duly arrive and look through her window at the prescribed time. Mais je ne vois rien, Mademoiselle, they say. You get up on that chair, she says and then you'll see.
I am much less tired today but as the afternoon moves on I start sneezing violently. Neil's obsession has transmitted itself to me. I have definitely got a cold. Good job I got that otrivine.
On the way home we nip into our local shop to top up on bread, drinks, butter and, as we are near home, ice cream. In the evening we open our presents. Neil had already given me an ordnance survey map of Beccles and the surrounding area. He is making a set of pub walks which we hope eventually to sell to raise money for the school in Congo. The map will help me check that his route instructions are intelligible to someone who has not done the walk and who may have visited the recommended pub. He also gave me a timer as I find it very difficult to remember to check on the progress of my bread making and the time on the oven is not loud enough if you have fallen asleep in the middle of the bread rising.
My presents to him are mainly pussies and frogs. The pussy calendar is still missing, There are two sets of post-its with pussies on the front. There is a pussy tape measure where the tail is the measure and it retracts inside the body of the cat and more sensibly there is fluorescent band he can wear on his arm or leg when we are walking along roads in the dark. He is quite pleased with this present.