We had planned to go away with my Dad during the half-term week. He came from Dundee and we like to go back every now and again to visit relatives; we used to regularly to visit my Grandad and I have lots of lovely memories from being very small of being in my Grandad's house, going to the beach at Broughty Ferry to eat ice cream and spending time in the area. Now, we visit less regularly and when we go back we see how much the city has changed and many of the places that my Dad recognised from being young himself have gone, but it's always great to spend time with family.
For some reason, this time we had only booked our dog and cats in at the kennels and hadn't quite got round to booking the accommodation; perhaps something deep in our subconscious told us that we wouldn't go. When it came to it, we couldn't face going to Dundee without my Dad this time, but we will visit again.
I was ready to spend the holidays at home, but my husband insisted that we needed time away. He was quite right, of course. I had become over-tired and snappy, dividing my time between our house and Dad's without actually having any more hours in the day. My husband decided that we needed to go somewhere that would involve doing as little as possible, where there was no connection with my Dad and where we would feel on familiar ground which would help to reduce the stress that I was in denial about but everyone else was bearing the brunt of. We went to Fuerteventura.
My husband and I used to visit here BC (before children) and we love this volcanic island. It's much quieter than the other Canary Islands but there has been a lot of change since we last visited. Fortunately, the change hasn't involved building on every available inch of land and we were still able to see across to the mountains and to the sea. We can't quite put our finger on it, but there's something about this place that makes us go "ahhh" as soon as we step off the plane. It's quite magical.
The plan was to do very little, and that's just what we did. We swam in the pool (which was freezing!) - or at least, small daughter spent most of the time in the pool and I enjoyed watching from the warmth on the side.
I deliberately didn't take any socks to knit as I'm still making a concerted effort to get through my WIP list so instead I took the yarn to make a start on the dog jackets that I promised to make for a friend. In hindsight, it wasn't my best choice as I could have done with the dogs around to try the jackets on, but I managed to make a prototype which I've been able to try on the dogs now that I'm home. A few changes are needed, but at least they should be quick to knit now that I know what I'm doing.
We sat at cafe tables and watched the world go by. We ate many of our meals out which is always a treat, especially when fresh fish is on the menu! We even found a restaurant that was having a children's Hallowe'en party so that small daughter didn't feel that she had missed out on the fun at home.
We took long walks down to the beaches. Some were sandy ...
and others were rocky. The contrast in the beaches (and the sky!) was remarkable considering that we passed both on the same walk.
We admired the Bouganvillea flowers which were everywhere
and marvelled at the plants which sprouted up out of nowhere. Their determination to grow in apparently nothing is incredible. As Fuerteventura is a volcanic island, vegetation is rather sparse and although there is a beauty in the shades of the stone, I know that I would miss the green of England if I were there for any considerable length of time.
We paddled in the sea (which was warmer than the pool!)
We played games ... we always take our box of Rory's Story Cubes on holiday with us as they're ideal to play with whilst waiting for food to be served. Each face of the dice has a different picture on it and you shake them up and then tell a story with the pictures that you get. We've had some tales, I can tell you!
And we played impromptu football on the beach. It was so lovely to have the time to do things like this; most of our days are spent chasing lost minutes as we're always running late for something or other. My Dad was always ridiculously early for everything so perhaps this is my form of rebellion but it's not really very successful as it does frustrate me that we're never on time!
And we enjoyed the brief sunsets, watching our shadows lengthen and the rocks on the beaches turn to red. The sunsets never seem to last very long here, bright sunshine becoming darkness in a very short space of time, but they can be quite spectacular with the sky turning beautiful shades of peach and orange across the horizon.
We only stayed for five days, but it was long enough to recharge our batteries. We enjoyed the feel of the sun on our faces, walking around in shorts and t-shirts in the winter - not something we've done since we've come home! I've managed to leave my snappy, over-tired self behind and although we've hit the ground running since we returned, it has been with a renewed sense of vigour.