'Tis the season to be jolly, ooohhh, don’t know about that! Seems to me that every channel on the one eyed goggle box shows little but despair and despondency for Christmas. Never mind, only 374 days until the next one and perhaps that may bring good cheer to one and all.

But let us be serious, if you’re feeling the pinch and wondering what tomorrow will bring, just believe there’s always someone out there a lot worse off. If like me you have your health, food on the table, amiable friends and treasured family with you, then next year is another fight, just enjoy today!

Here too the air is filled with consternation as to what the future brings, no more so than amongst the ex pat community who, though showing a brave steadfast face, may be in fact on the brink of a second major life changing move, though will it be for the best? The Spanish economy, though not in freefall like the British one, is also feeling the pinch, especially as with every week comes news of people selling up from all over and moving back to their original or away.

I myself am relishing the New Year and the challenges it brings, I mean, it would have been hard enough back in blighty, but here, unlike some, I believe it to be another straightforward open door rather than a revolving one. Our last house had gas central heating with bills going off the scale, but here I have a wood fire as do many, and I can easily get free wood.

With that comes the cylinder gas that runs the hob and the hot water boiler, but this again is so much cheaper than the supply we used to have. As well as that, I’m lining up jobs for the next 4-6 months as a self employed tradesman whereas before we both always had that chance that our employment would cease or dispense with our services, and who can get a job after forty on the same money, in the same position in the current climate? I certainly don’t believe present Government propaganda!

No, as my opening statement suggests, you can fight the good fight next year, you have to diversify, move on or move away before life eats you up or dries you out, only my philosophy I grant you, but those that do are the ones that survive or die trying.

Prime example is my eldest son, worked his hardest whilst waiting to enlist in the service, saw an opportunity in a local department store for a fast track and took it. Only problem was, the senior staff within that store were all stuck in the past, empirical in their belief that change and new blood is bad and newbie’s should be seen and not heard. How sad the tale then that our son was forced to leave and ventured abroad to America and Mexico whereupon he learnt more about life in four months than he would have done in forty years within that store. Now an RAF Officer training to become a pilot, it’s ironic that he can look back and without any malice, still feel sorry for those ex work colleagues who sneered and scoffed, but after next week, those staff at Woolies will become just another miserable Christmas statistic!

As the spring arrived and the heat began to thaw the ice, no, wait a moment, we didn’t have ice, I mean as the never ending sun shone and spring arrived some time in February, it was suggested by the elders in the mountain villages and back wood pueblos that the summer was going to belong and hot. We had a number of visitors booked to come out from ex work colleagues to family, though I think it was more out of curiosity than wanting a holiday. But all were welcome, even though I’m still waiting for Alan the editor to take up my offer! Anyway, rather than repeat myself from earlier episodes, the summer came and we experienced many new places, new friends, new ventures, new business and, well, new everything! It’s true what they say, when the holiday session has finished, (that’s the time between moving out and being hit hard in the face by a reality check) you start to see everything differently. Having a partner like Rosa can be a help, especially with her phenomenal ability to pick up the language so well, but I’m also reminded of the fact that when things take a turn for the less positive, (I never say negative) then I have to take it on the chin which is where blame is generally fixed. It’s not that we mean to argue or even lay blame, it’s just that with some things it’s easier to lay them at someone else’s door than your own, but as long as at the end of the day it’s sorted, then you can move on and wait for the next hiccup.

We arrived halfway through the previous summer in blazing heat so the gradual acclimatisation helped us cope somewhat better even though my dearest chose to spend most of the hottest days up to her neck in the pool, as did visitors who had dared venture out during the fried months. It was funny to us as we wandered around doing household chores that others lay perspiring and dog panting while trying to replace their own body weight in liquid every hour or so, still, I’ve done it myself.

And unlike the previous year, now I had work and clients who depended on me for assistance, no matter how hot or what time of day it was, so all the more reason to adopt the Spanish Siesta whereby I could pop home and either sleep or relax in the coolness of the air conditioned bedroom for a brief respite.

It wasn’t all work and no play though, for Rosa especially there was a new venture in that she joined the local tennis set, excuse the pun, whereby she has since improved her serve, dropped a dress size in weight and can now give me a run for my money. Once again, only having the freedom and time has given her the opportunity to enjoy one of her favourite sports and it also gives me a good workout, (it also gives me a break from worrying about whether or not I’ll lose an appendage when she’s working her way through the wood pile with a chain saw!) That routine went on throughout the summer which was a real learning curve, a sort of trial by fire if you will, but all too soon, the first anniversary of our arrival approached, the one year mark which had left the previous twelve months as a memorical fleeting blur. Not quite full circle yet as we planned to celebrate the first full calendar year as the real anniversary which is but a week or two away.

Our next piece will be the final feature closing ‘Our place in the sun’.