Mad dogs and Englishmen

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SUMMER is here and we can all now start to enjoy life alfresco with less fear of getting wet or cold for the next four to five months.

Someone must have forgot to tell the Gods to turn the sky taps completely off because last Friday afternoon the heavens opened and there was heavy rain in the Almanzora Valley and the Los Filabres Mountains right down to the coast at Mojacar, Vera and beyond.

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Luckily as the rain started we were in the Oasis bar in Palomares meeting colleagues so the consensus was to cancel all appointments so that we could stay in the dry and enjoy an end of the week drink instead.

With the hotter weather sensible steps need to be taken to make life more comfortable such as making sure drinking water is always at hand. Filling a water bottle to three quarters full with water (not beer or wine you lot) and freezing it is a great way to enjoy ice cold water as it slowly melts when out and about in the car.

Family and friends visiting Almeria need to be reminded to use sunscreen to protect them from the sun and to rehydrate themselves with regular glasses of water as alcohol dehydrates the body. Anyone living here permanently may chose to ignore the last two bits of advice and have one more for the road instead. Sitting in a darkened bar in the heat of a day is a popular option for many and means lots of money is saved as sun cream is not required.

Furry friends cannot be left unattended in cars now even with windows open during the day time. When animals are left at home ensure that there is plenty of water and they have shade and ventilation. Dogs need be walked earlier in the mornings and later in the evenings to avoid the heat of the day.

Watering plants in the evening will ensure less water loss and as plants drink at night (and perspire in the day) you know it makes sense unless you are the local council.

Last year the area was ravaged by fire and many fires were either caused deliberately or by careless people. Avoid taking any vehicle through undergrowth as hot exhausts can start a fire. Dispose of used cigarettes sensibly and never throw them from a car window. It is illegal to have a bonfire now until November the first and even then by law the local police have to be informed in advance.

The wet winter means the campo is so much greener than is usual and the scenery is still so beautifully verdant. I walked the mutts in the hills recently not expecting to see anything unusual but there high up on a mountain slope was a beautiful wild iris in full flower. Luckily the dogs chose not to trample on it or eat it so when back home again I picked up the camera and headed back up into the hills. By now it was really hot in the sun and the two older dogs sensibly thought I was mad and lay down in the shade but Rusty the new puppy faithfully or stupidly followed me on the adventure to capture the image above for the article.

I wrote recently about the lack of driving standards in Spain and I read with great amusement in the Euro Weekly News the published letter from Mike Thomson as I thought he summarised the Spanish Highway Code excellently. Then through the post-box came an official letter about the reforma ley de trafico (traffic law reform).

I am sure this will urge all drivers to improve their driving skills no end. One change is that as long as one is not driving above 149 Kph on the motorway if caught speeding then the penalty is only 100 euros with no loss of points. Good to know if ever late for an appointment.

Drink driving it seems is now half tolerated by the authorities as anyone caught over the legal limit will only get four or six points. As it needs 12 points to be banned then it seems that someone can be a repeat offender and still avoid a driving ban. In fact anyone refusing a breath or blood test will only get six points anyway so make you own conclusions.

I think they should have gone further and simply banned the use of in car navigation systems rather than the three points and a fine for using the controls. What is wrong with a map for goodness sakes? So many people nowadays are sadly not using their brains to get from A to B and back again and so are losing a valuable life skill.

By Stephen Amore 

[email protected]

www.findmeahomeinspain.wordpress.com

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