Saturday, 29 June 2013

You can’t always get what you want ... but usually it works out OK.

I t was 16° on the paseo marítimo at 9.15 this morning. Every day it’s been one degree hotter. By now, late afternoon, early evening, it must be close to 30°. Even some of the Spanish are declaring it’s too hot. I think the Ga;licians talk about tyhe weather almost as much as the British!

Yesterday I walked about in the sun with Ian from Australia, mostly around Portonovo. 

The idea was to take Ian on a boat ride to the Isla de Ons. I’d checked boat times the day before and worked out that if Ian caught the bus from Pontevedra at 11, we could make it to the harbour in time for the 12.15 boat. Then we could spend an hour or two exploring the island, stopping for a sandwich en route and then a drink before catching the 5 o’clock boat back to Sanxenxo. 

That was the plan, at any rate. However, the plane was moderated as the day went on. First of all, Ian’s bus set off late from Pontevedra and it was almost 12 when he got here. We hoofed it down to the harbour to find that the ticket booth had not been open all morning, or indeed all yesterday according to the chap in the yacht hire place next door. Then we saw a boat setting off from Portonovo. Something was clearly not right. 

Taking a closer look at the boat timetable, we discovered the small print that said that these times began on July 1st. Until then, there were only boats from Sanxenxo on Saturdays and Sundays. Presumably the one I saw on Monday was because it was a día festivo. 

So we walked to Portonovo to see what was going on there. In the ticket office there, we found a timetable saying that there was a boat at 4.00 and that the ticket office, in the booth next door, would open at 3.30. So we abandoned the idea of a picnic lunch on la Isla de Ons and went and had octopus and baby sardines and salad along with a clara at a nice place near the harbour. All very relaxed. Very tasty. 

At 3.40 we wended our way back to the ticket office. No-one there: so we duly looked at the booth next door. There, just around the other side, was a small printed notice about special sailings on Friday 28th June: 12.00 – the one we saw leaving – and 18.00. As the only boat back was at 19.00, that was really not a lot of use to us. We would have arrived at the island just in time to turn round and come back again. And as the purpose of the trip was to have a good walk around the island, we abandoned the idea. It briefly crossed our minds that we could pretend we had gone and that both our cameras had mysteriously stopped working when we got there but we decided that would be a silliness too far. 

As a result we walked a bit further round Portonovo, found some steps leading down to a bit of a rocky cove and watched the owl and pussy cat almost going to sea in a pea-green boat: well, actually two girls in a banana-yellow inflatable dinghy (not, I hasten to add, in the photo). Just as we were convinced that they would be washed out into the Atlantic, they started to row in earnest and managed to get back into the shallow waters closer to the beach. Hurray! I really didn’t know who I should have telephoned if they had started shouting for help! 

After all that excitement we needed another refresco and sat and watched the world go by – slowly – and solved all the problems of modern society like a fine pair of grumpy old folk! 

Then we made our leisurely way back to Sanxenxo to get ready for “arroz con bogavante”. For last night was the annual chess tournament special dinner to which only selected people are invited. We feel rather privileged. 

Our friend Colin from Pontevedra joined us for the dinner. Here are Ian, Colin and Phil preparing to enjoy their food. 

Croquetas, pulpo (twice in one day!), something that I decided to call prawn lollipops ...

... and finally the pièce de résistance, the thing we had all come for: the lobster and rice dish. 

This was all excellent fare and went down nicely with a very good, chilled Albariño wine. 

The day may not have gone totally according to plan but I think I can confidently say that a good time was had by all.

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