A very Happy Christmas to you and hope that 2023 will bring you happiness and joy. Yet another year has rushed past us. Our trip to Spain in March/April and early May was not the greatest as the Spanish weather let us down. We had a Calima, which is a sand storm that comes from North Africa. Both David and I could not believe what we saw when we opened the shutters. It was like a shot of the Moon - eerie, still and everything red. Sand had got into everything and I mean everything. We were told not to go out of the house because of the air quality which was 10 out of 10. When we did venture forth to start cleaning everything up, there was as much sand in the house as out. Got everything spick and span, it happened again. So same routine over again. When it rain, it rained red sand. Not a good start to our 8 weeks away. The weather was grey and miserable, with an occasional day of sun, for days and days. We had arranged to travel to Valencia to visit our relations, Andres, Shanaz and to meet Alejandro for the first time. Their weather was not brilliant either and they had only had only had just the edge of the Calima. On our way back to Almunecar we stopped in Calpe where friends from Canada, Geoff and Maureen, were staying. On the morning we left Valencia I started being ill with sickness. I just could not stop being sick, so I spent our 1st 2 days in Calpe, lying by the pool enjoying the sun, yes the sun before returning to Almunecar. Our very good friend Gordon from good old days of Dubai, let us use his villa for storing all our gear (bike, cooking spices and a lot of clothes and equipment). We then returned to sun, sun and more sun until our return home to the UK.
On our return to the UK, we then heard from Kitty, David’s sister who lives in the South of France, that her mouth cancer was back and that she was booked in to have a very very serious operation. We had hoped to go a lot earlier than we eventually did. Schengen rules after Brexit stating that you can spend only 90 days out of 180 days to stay in EU countries. Eventually we arrived in France to help look after Kitty well after her operation and had to leave e because of our 90 days. I am sorry to say that our darling Kitty didn’t look like Kitty as she had a feeding tube through the nose, had lost 5 pounds, and had stitches ear to ear via the chin, bandages to cover a tracheotomy hole, just as many stitches in her mouth as out, chalk board and chalk as we could not understand her. Muscle removed from her arm to allow movement of the tongue, and skin grafts from her leg to make a new tongue. The surgeon had to take a lot more of her tongue away than originally thought. We eventually got her home after 20 days in hospital. We had to be with her for the first 15days, in case of a relapse. A few fun and games with the feeding trolley, tubes etc etc. Because of the rules and regulations, we had to leave at the beginning of September. Our 90 days up in 180 days (don’t forget we were in Spain for 8 weeks and we were trying to get France on the 20th June for her op). Every time we tried to get a visa - “go home and get a Visa and then come back” ?!?!?! David had already arranged that he would go back to France and help Christine when her nose tube would be changed to being fed via her stomach at the beginning of October. She was in such a state that he had to return on17th September - by then no visa required as we were in another 180 period ?!?! Cut a long story short he stayed for 5 weeks and came home at the end of October. She still has a long way to go with Physio and Speech Therapist. Simon Dani and the kids are all fine. They had a lovely 2 week holiday in Devon. On their return Simon went down with Covid and 24 hours later Dani did the same. Dani not too serious so she took the kids to school and collected. The kids were brilliant helping at home and never got Covid. Simon and Dani have had their 3 injections and still got it. Simon’s asthma is his weakness. Kitty is coming to us for Christmas her first time in 6 years. Also Christopher and Julie are going to be with us so that we can all spend some time with Kitty.
We wish you a really happy festive period and from our end we hope 2023 will be a better year.
Ann and David