Friday, August 31, 2018


A very pleasant afternoon was spent with our friends for Jo´s birthday at our nearby restaurant
Jo said it always rains on her birthday without fail
Not this year? with blue skies and a few fluffy clouds
However, would you believe a rain cell approached from Ibiza and quickly filled the sky with dark clouds, and yes it did rain, well more of a shower really, then it was all over

Everyone came back to ours for the evening, chatting and having a laugh, not a very early morning today! can´ t  think why lol

Progress is slow on the cot quilt
however it has all been pieced and sewn together
Leaving purple inserts to be attached then some sort of border
A bit of knitting going on too
Maybe for another post
take care

Friday, August 24, 2018

A little history

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of Chris´s grandfather´s gaining the DFM through his exploits in the skies during WW1
It is an interesting story and I thought you might like to have a read, 
(written by Chris)

It´s 100 years ago today that my Garandfather George Stanley Bell won the DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal) and became an "Ace in a Day" whilst he was a gunner on a bombing mission in a DH9 during WW1. It is also his 121st Birthday. Here is his Story.
George Stanley Bell DFM - Aug 23rd 1918
George Stanley Bell was an RFC observer and gunner, a very good one. Bell was posted to 49 squadron in July 1918 and assigned to a pilot called Ltn Spurling.
Spurling was from Bermuda and was one of the first coloured officers in the British military, he was already on his way to being a celebrity on his Caribbean island and had been promoted to flight leader whenever the squadron went on patrol, so he wanted the best gunner with him.
Bell had already proved himself earlier in the month shooting down a Hun during a dog fight. He spent each evening at the aerodrome stripping his gun, checking every part, carefully cleaning and oiling each component before meticulously reassembling it. He had seen too many of his compatriots die because their guns had jammed in combat.
On August the 8th the squadron moved to the front line to Beauvois to support the massive new allied attack on the Somme at Amines. Their targets were bridges along the Somme and railway yards, often flying two or three missions a day. Sometimes they returned without being challenged, but on other missions they were attacked by formations of enemy fighters.
The raids continued on an almost daily basis, on August the 21st they were attacked by a formation of 25 German fighters although there was no mention of casualties. They didn´t fly the next day due to bad weather.
Friday August the 23rd 1918 dawned clear and still, so the first patrol was scheduled for dawn at 5-50am. However things didn´t go to plan, their engine refused to start, and as the rest of the flight departed for the target, Spurling and Bell were left stranded on the ground. The flight was logged off at 6-30 am, Bell wrote in his log “washed out - dud engine”.
Spurling spent the rest of the morning with the mechanics trying to get the engine running reliably, meanwhile the first raid had returned and was preparing to go for a second time. Thinking he was going to get away with going on the second raid, Bell began to relax a little and contemplate the real meaning of this day - It was his 21st birthday, he was officially a man. He laughed to himself, if he wasn´t already a man, then what on earth was doing in the middle of all this! Anyway no one else even knew, they all thought he was older because he had added a year to his age and changed his date of birth when he had signed up aged 17.
All of a sudden a stern voice called his name “Bell!” “Yes sir” you´re coming with me. In an instant his heart fell through his feet, he felt the blood running from his face…. He trusted Spurling, but Major Hall wasn´t his favourite pilot officer and he didn´t feel confident putting his life in the hands of this man, especially today! He began to sweat and shake, he couldn´t forget what had happened just a few days earlier.
Another pilot officer, who had heard how good a shot Bell was had also called to him and said “come with me”. He had no choice but to follow orders. But as they were walking towards the aircraft Spurling arrived and said sternly to Bell “where the hell are you going?” He replied “With this officer sir”. Spurling shouted “like hell you are - get back inside”. Spurling turned to the officer and said “find someone else”. The other officer seemed flustered and in a hurry and by now he had lost all his patience. He shouted to another gunner “right you come with me”. The officer stormed off and headed for his machine, “hurry up get in” he yelled to the terrified replacement. Then he opened the throttle and without even turning the aircraft into the wind headed out across the airfield, he hauled the plane off the ground very quickly and started to climb steeply. At about 100 feet the plane stalled, one wing suddenly dropped and the aircraft flipped over and spun into the ground killing them both. It was Bell’s best friend and he knew but for the grace of god, or probably Spurling, that would have been him. So he was terrified today!
The second raid of the day was due to take off at 10-30am - Not only was he in a different machine, with a different pilot, it wasn´t even the gun he had meticulously stripped and cleaned the previous night. Bell began to feel very uncomfortable, he was always apprehensive before a mission, but this was worse, he was beginning to get a very bad feeling. There were a few more clouds by this time, but the wind was still moderate and the visibility was still good. As it turns out this was an uneventful mission, they arrived back at base two and a half hours later at about 1pm after dropping their bombs on Valenciennes Junction, but for Bell it had already been a very long day.
Bell went to the mess, he just wanted to eat something and get himself together, but just as he sat down Spurling came in and announced that their engine was fixed and they would all be taking off again for another raid at 4-30pm. The machine was a DH9, number D3056 and at 4-30pm they took off for the target. Once again it was Valenciennes Junction which was being used as a marshalling yard deep behind enemy lines.
The relentless bombing of the rail yards at Valenciennes was to try to disrupt the movement of German troops and supplies, but it had also attracted the attention of several packs of enemy fighters trying to stop the British planes, so hiding in clouds and avoiding meeting with them was also very important, especially before they reached the target when they were heavily loaded with bombs.
Beauvois was a very flat and large airfield, so the formation was able to take off to the west and into the wind, they then turned to the east and formed up whilst slowly climbing. By now a thick layer of heavy almost unbroken cloud had blown in from the west and was laying at about 6300 feet. They climbed through the clouds and reached an altitude of 13,000 feet flying east to the target which was about 85 km away.
The object once again was to bomb the rail junction. Nearing their destination some one hour later, the weather there was much better and they descended through scattered clouds and identified their target. Luckily there was no enemy opposition and the bombs were dropped. Following the raid all the aircraft turned west and began to climb above the clouds for the return flight to their own airfield near the small hamlet of Beauvois.
It is most likely that the strength of the wind had significantly increased as the afternoon went on and flying against this wind was taking far longer than expected, but worse, despite a compass and an air speed indicator, in 1918 and above the clouds they had no real reference to where they actually were. The further west they flew, the thicker the clouds became and the stronger the wind got, making it seem that they had travelled far further than they actually had. It was during this part of the flight that one of the other aircraft in the formation developed engine trouble and had to descend into the cloud. As formation leader, Spurling decided to descend too and follow it down to see where it had landed, but it was very misty and they lost it in the clouds.
So they began their slow climb back above the clouds to re-join their formation, but when they broke into the early evening sunshine there was no sign of any other aircraft and they realised they had lost their own formation too. Once again they descended to just below the cloud base. According to the log they flew around for about half an hour looking for a suitable place to land without realising they were still only about half way back to their base at Beauvois. Through the mist and murk they spotted an aerodrome and they were convinced they were over their own lines by now.
As they slowed down and descended to land, they were suddenly attacked by an enemy scout, Spurling was surprised at the audacity of the German pilot attacking them so close to an allied airfield, but then they both saw a well camouflaged formation of some 30 Fokker D7´s just below them at about 800ft and climbing towards them, they were still over enemy lines!
Spurling had been circling and descending slowly, so he had no power to just climb away, his only option was to dive and gain speed hoping to quickly climb away again. In 1918 the DH9 was, despite its unreliable engine, the latest technology and it´s climb rate and agility were far in excess of the German Fokker D7.
Spurling pushed the throttle to full power and he dived directly into the formation of Fokker’s with his forward guns blazing, one burst into flames and another 2 collided, one of which span into the ground and crashed. Bell saw four of the machines below his tail, so he fired at the closest one and it burst into flames, another one came up on the left of his tail firing at them, bullets slicing through the plane’s fuselage. Spurling, using the DH9´s ability to turn sharply, made a steep bank to the right and in doing so positioned the aircraft so as to allow Bell to fire his guns directly at this machine at a range of just 20 yards and it too burst into flames and crashed on the aerodrome below, The rest of the D7´s were firing tracer rounds at the rapidly climbing DH9 as three of the enemy aircraft gave chase, but their climb rate was no match for this aircraft without it´s bombs and Spurling quickly climbed away and they escaped.
Reaching a height of 6000 feet Bell spotted what he thought was an RE8 and relieved he waved at it, but as the aircraft turned toward them it began firing, shredding the fabric and tearing the structure of the biplanes right wings whilst also cutting the aileron gap wires which were essential for aileron control. Bell fired a burst back and the enemy aircraft went into a spin and disappeared into the mist below.
Their wings shredded and now with no ailerons for lateral control, they climbed again to get above the clouds and continued to fly west. The damaged right hand wings were tearing apart and the aircraft was shaking very uncomfortably. Spurling had only his rudder for control of their direction, which meant he could only make very long slow turns, and the wings canvas and wooden structure was so badly damaged there was no way they could risk getting into another dogfight to defend themselves.
For the next hour they flew west into the evening. As the sun sunk lower in the sky, below them there was thick dark unbroken cloud and with daylight running out they had no idea where they were. Eventually there was a small break in the cloud and they could see the coast below which meant they knew they were over their own lines by now. They slowly descended and as they did they spotted another aerodrome. Flying as gently and carefully as he could, Spurling slowly manoeuvred the DH9 into position and they landed.
The severely damaged aircraft, which had been hit in several places and with its right wings in shreds touched down heavily on the grass and with that the wings collapsed and broke up, but they had made it. They had landed at 1ASD a salvage airfield just north east of Boulogne. The aircraft was retained for scrap.
Bell was taken to hospital in Boulogne, he was bruised and battered from the landing but far worse were the mental scars. By 1918, PTSD had been recognised and Bell was quickly sent back to England to a specialist hospital and later transferred to a Squadron in England for the remainder of the war.
Having shot down six enemy aircraft between them and because each “kill” is awarded jointly, they had both become Air Aces in a single day.
Bell was awarded the DFM for his gallantry and became the first person ever to be presented with such a medal.
In WW2 he was recalled to the RAF and was stationed at Woodley Aerodrome near Reading.

I took this one of Chris with one of his models, thought it rather fitting for the occassion

I was invited by our friend and neighbour Jo to lunch in Benissa
She had won this as a prize for her photo during the Moors and Christians
Chris came along too as the designated driver
It is a place we have never frequented, probably the last time too!
Nothing wrong with the interior, clean, attentive staff etc, but we were not given a choice it was Menu del Dia or nothing. Ok, we were game
But it wasn´t game but all fish!
The salad was very nice lovely dressing, refreshing, we tucked in
Now bearing in mind neither Jo or Chris like fish this was next
I could never eat that many, they were rather nice though Jo did disect a few on her plate and had a nibble but  that was it
A huge pan arrived and contents ladled into bowls, hmmmm
Rather like a sloppy paella but with sepia, little octopus with wiggly tentacles and a prawn in a most peculiar tasting sauce, Chris tipped the fish into mine and ate the rice being left with a clean bowl, the waitress ambled over exclaiming there is more, I give you more, vigorous shaking of his head and patting him tummy indicating being full, I think only I could hear his rumbling tum. It seemed to be the restaurants speciality and Chris groaned when someone walked by with a steak.
Jo didn´t fair much better, even the dessert of cheesecake was hard and cake like rather than what you would expect.
You have to be adventurous and open to new tastes etc so put it down to experience.
However we had a laugh, chatted, enjoyed each other company and passed a pleasant afternoon.
Oh, and they did put the rest into containers for a take away which Jo´s husband really enjoyed for his tea and her cats had a nice fishy supper.
Better go got a quilt to continue and some knitting to do, oh and maybe a few chores, we shall see!
take care

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Birthday boy

Our little micro climate missed out on the rain again yesterday
Inland they had storms, some dry where the lightening started some fires
There was a serious one north of us where over 2500 army personel, 21 water planes and ground crews attended. So sad with 40 homes lost but no casualties thank goodness.
We have a complete ban on any type of fire including gas bbq´s, so why are they still selling disposible ones in the supermarkets etc, daft! especially when villa owners do not put warnings in their infomation packs for guests about the ban.

We have a birthday boy today
2 years old, time flies
Butter wouldn´t melt!

Just a little more done on the cot quilt and a little knitting too
Bit hot really

I´ll leave you with last nights sunset, very pretty
If you are wondering why there is a wire fence with tin cans on it, next door put this eyesore up a few weeks ago, ugly, dangerous, but there is no telling some folk

enjoy your Sunday
take care

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Pottering about

I have been tidying up the courtyard and melting in the process!
After all the lovely flowers all the pots needed rearranging and sorting out, some are even budding again which will be nice.
We planted some cucumbers, plum and salad tomatoes and these are now ripening nicely.
We have already had quite a few cucumbers and along with some of our plum tomatoes, Chris made some gazpacho, (a very flavour some cold soup)

I also put down a large pot of potatoes, be interesting to see what happens to those.
We were a little late with the courgettes but even they have flowers now
We have found container growing in the courtyard to be the best way of growing some veg especially with the difficulty of watering well.
I love going outside and picking what you want.

take care

Monday, August 6, 2018

Water baby

Done and dusted for another year, phew
Early evening we were entertained by the traditional dancers, then it was supper followed by another band, who actually finished early at 12.30 so a reasonable bed time about 1.30! although being deprived of sleep its amazing how difficult it is to drop off
Apart from the streamers and mobile bar waiting to be dismantled, you wouldn´t even know we had four days of partying, everything is swept and cleaned 

We have been here 11 years now and one of our priorities was to have a pool
We are lucky that it is just over 9 x 4 m so a length is achievable
The steps are built in such a way that it doesn´t hinder swimming and you can reach  Agatha (the fountain) easily. The top step warms up in such a way when the skimmers are on it pushes the warm water into the pool, which is currently 30C
Having fibro it is difficult to get any exercise that doesn´t cause alot of pain and anguish
I decided to get in the pool and gently work away at some lengths and by going diagonally gain a few more inches
5 days in, I am up to 50 lengths (approx 400m)
Can´t say I have noticed any difference yet, but it must help towards a little fitness and possible weight loss?!
Taking the opportunity whilst the water is warm
As Dory said keep on swimming lol
take care

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Party time

Fiesta time again
The festeros are doing things a little differently this year which is quite nice
The streamers are the same, very pretty
Friday night was a change of band which didn´t finish till 2.30am
So by the time every thing had been packed away it was bed for 3.30am
You can see our ground floor courtyard in the top left hand corner
So you can see its pointless trying to sleep until it´s over.

Usually all is quiet till Saturday evening and the furries have all day to 
recover and go outside until we round them up again and shut them in.
This time we were woken at 7.45 am by fire crackers  being lit as they organised a bbq for breakfast
Then set up a bouncy castle for the children
(our neighbour being a big kid - she had never been on one)
At least it was quiet in the afternoon and we managed a little siesta
Each evening a picnic supper is enjoyed about 10pm before the band starts around 11pm
this finishes about 2.30/3 am

Sunday morning is the church service and races
The church has been decorated with lillies and the scent is really heady
Part of the service is Santa Barbara being paraded around the plaza twice with the piper and drummer leading and the congregation following 
This years festeros present cake to next years festeros with a flower, so it´s our turn next year
They also serve ice cold lemon drink, rather like a slush puppy in texture, very welcome as it was 37.5 in the shade by then.
Races are held for all age groups with prizes for all the children
Then gradually people disperse ready to start again tonight.
Unfortunately the Spanish love fire crackers and let them off without warning, which is very disconcerting and extremely loud.
Hubby gone off for a siesta so I am doing a little knitting under the ceiling fan
take care