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  • I didn't think I would like the Costa del Sol.

    We came here for the winter because my beloved husband can't stand the cold.
    I was expecting to find lots of ex-pats, many of them criminals on the run; vast and hideous golfing developments dominating the coast; depressed Spaniards suffering the effects of the economic downturn and beachside bars offering unpleasant and vividly-coloured cocktails to the accompaniment of vibrating music.

    I was wrong.

    Of course, it's out of season, and here I am going to the supermarket. I head down the hill, where on my left is a tiny valley brimming with fruit trees.
  • At the bottom of the hill, I negotiate the crossroads at the roundabout (the traffic lights are out of order but if you just walk into the road at the crossing place the cars helpfully and politely stop. The Spanish are surprisingly calm and courteous drivers: compared to the French and Italians for instance)

    Now I can see the sea. I could walk along the promenade but I choose instead to leap down from the wall and land with a thud on the beach.
  • Apart from the solitary fisherman, I'm the only creature on the beach. I can see Gibraltar on the horizon. The weather is looking a bit threatening.

    I beachcomb, as I have been trained to do since I learned to toddle and my dad had us looking for agate, ammonites and jet on Whitby beach.

    Today I'm collecting shells and white stones to decorate my Christmas tree. The short Mediterranean tide is going out, reluctantly abandoning red seaweed and cockle shells.
  • Aha! Friday has been here before me.

    But I don't catch up with him.

    Arriving at the supermercado, my bag of shells is carefully sealed by the security guard, which makes me not a little indignant. The sticker says "Feliz Navidad", but it might as well say "You look like a shoplifter"

    Maybe I am a bit dishevelled...
  • The sun has come out again as I head home with my bags. On the way back up the hill, I see the Sierra Bermeja rising above the town.

    One of these days, I'm going exploring that way...
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