From the sunshine of Vigo's Samil beach where we caught crabs in the rock pools and from lizard spotting in the Castro park we travelled home for a couple of weeks to visit friends and family in the UK.
We flew back through the clouds to the cooler sunshine of Liverpool's John Lennon airport and hurried to catch the Terravision bus to Manchester city centre.
Stocking up with a few basic essentials before catching the local bus out of Manchester towards home, one of the differences between Spanish and British city centres struck us at once. We've got used to Vigo city centre supermarkets with everyday family shoppers. City centre Manchester supermarkets (yes, they do exist) are full of Manchester workers in a hurry on their lunch break. I won't even mention price differences!
So we made it home, still with enough sunshine to sit and chat to a neighbour in the garden. (Quite serendipitously we were also just in time to vote on the European elections, with a ballot paper as long as your arm and eventual results which led to another round of doom and gloom!) The grass clearly needed cutting but we were assured that the weather had been dry and sunny, even hot, for the last couple of weeks, so that should not be a problem. There would be time to get the mower out in the next few days and there was a little matter of local festivities to deal with.
For Whit Friday in our neck of the woods is one of the few occasions when we come close having a fiesta. The morning was fine and clear and the Whit Walks went ahead as usual, the local children following the Sunday School banners in a procession through the villages before indulging in the traditional pea-shooter competitions. Woe betide anyone who gets in their way!
Bus services and parking arrangements are seriously disrupted later in the day as the Band Contest gets underway. Brass bands from all over the ocuntry and from outside the country come to play in each of the villages and compete to see which is judged to be the best band.
Last year was warm and sunny but this year the clouds gathered in the afternoon and by early evening the rain had started to come down. Bandsmen had to wear raincoats and even the police horses looked cold. But the contest continued all the same although the crowds who normally line the streets six or seven deep were seeking refuge in the pubs and friends who usually folllow the bands from village to village opted to get in the car and go home. Spanish expressions spring to mind, such as aguar la fiesta which means to be a party pooper but literally to water down the party
On the Saturday morning the bridge was being decorated for the Tame Duck Race, nothing to do with domesticated ducks but a matter of floating plastic ducks down a section of the River Tame.
By the afternoon though the rain was back. The scheduled Beer Walk took place all the same. Teams of hardy or crazy people dressed as WWII soldiers, cartooon characters, jungle animals and much more tramped from village to village, stopping at all the participating pubs for refreshment and collecting money for charity along the way.
We, however, stayed at home, struggling once more to gain Internet access. Having solved our Vigo connection problems, we now found that we needed to coax and cajole our UK connection into letting us access email and Internet. Nothing changes!