Digging your scene

Another year has passed and we head towards another summer of travel and visitors. I find it hard to believe that this blog started five years ago, leaving England in a Ford Transit van with all of our possessions and a three year old child, heading into our Spanish adventure. Here we are in 2023 and that three year old child is now a gangly, tech savvy eight year old, who has spent most of her life in Spain.

I guess we’ve settled into a rhythm of Spanish living, week to week, month to month, generally keeping our heads down during the uncomfortable winter months in a ‘summer house’, whilst savouring the weekends and looking ahead to school term endings. We’re fortunate to have a good set of friends nearby, with whom we socialise regularly, and have had plenty of visits from friends and family, so the time flies by as quickly as it would do anywhere. On top of that Lizzy’s social life is the busiest of all of us as she heads to birthday party after birthday party, and the parents gather together to eat, drink and chat while the children run riot. There’s certainly no time to feel bored as slowly but surely we are working our way around the house, inside and out, trying to add some aesthetic quality, whilst being pragmatic enough to accept that it will never be ‘finished’. The two cats continue to entertain us, the tortoise terrorises all of us (and eats more than me!), and we’re currently up to ten chickens…. It’s become a bit of an obsession!

As we approach our fifth anniversary of living in Spain it’s safe to say that, these days, we are rarely surprised by tardiness or bureaucracy, and my blood doesn’t boil like it used to, so I guess we’re finally becoming accustomed.

There are still plenty of occasions when we find ourselves muttering ‘Only in Spain’ however, such as last weekend for example….

When it comes to music concerts rarely do well known bands / artists perform in Valencia, and it’s one of the few things I miss about living in the UK, so I was looking forward to seeing the Blow Monkeys at a little venue in Valencia city. Selena had bought the tickets for me as a birthday gift and, as it was taking place on a Friday night, we had arranged for Lizzy to have her first sleep over, leaving us to have a very rare night out alone. The evening was planned; deposit Lizzy with friends, drive into the city for around 8, grab a drink near the venue, gig at nine, then have dinner (in keeping with the Spanish meal times) before heading home. Somewhat annoyingly the Valencian metro stops running at around 11pm so taking the car seemed the best option.

We weren’t familiar with the venue but I had researched the general area online and had found a few locations suitable for on street parking. As we got closer the traffic slowed to a crawl due to a road closure but finally we arrived in the general area only to find a significant Police presence. On street parking was impossible but we found an area of waste land that everybody seemed to be using as a car park. It was unlit and insecure but would serve a purpose. I’m not sure this was how Selena had envisaged her night out to start. We had fifteen minutes to walk and there should have been a couple of bars to stop at on the way but everything was boarded up and covered in graffiti so we continued directly to the venue. Strangely there was no activity when we arrived. All in darkness and nobody milling around as you would see at a UK gig. I had already joked that there would only be about ten people there as Spain tends to be in another dimension when it comes to ‘popular’ music. As it was only 8pm we decided to continue until we found the first bar to be open since arriving. It was clear that this was one of the less salubrious areas of the city but we endeavoured to enjoy the feeling of being ‘out’ on a Friday night and sat slightly bemused amongst noisy twenty somethings with a backbeat of even noisier party music.

With drinks finished and neither of us wanting to admit that so far, despite months of anticipation, the evening had been totally underwhelming, we made our way around the corner to see what kind of atmosphere was building at the venue. It was 8.45pm, fifteen minutes before the show was due to start, and still the place appeared closed! There was one other couple looking uncomfortable outside and nobody else in sight. I tried the door and it opened, still secretly hoping that there would be an excited crowd and sense of atmosphere inside, only to find a gloomy corridor with a bare counter and cash desk (where somebody should be checking tickets) before another door.  Boldly pressing forward I opened the next door which opened into the brightly lit concert hall. Stage, drumkit, microphones….. Nice little venue for a gig I thought; cosy and intimate. To the right of the stage was a bar with half a dozen people standing and chatting. Maybe it will actually only be ten of us here and they’re just running a bit late. One of the men at the bar came towards us and asked how he could help us, to which I responded, somewhat baffled by the silly question, “We’re here for the concert of course”. An awkward pause followed with all of us looking at each other. “But we don’t open until 10.30”. I produced the tickets to confirm the time, date and venue to which he responded apologetically, “Oh the promoters changed it! The concert starts at 11pm!” Well what can you do with that information?! Despite Selena’s protestations that nobody had thought to notify us we had little choice but to retreat outside and rethink.

The obvious solution was to head towards a nicer part of the city and eat dinner before, rather than after, the concert, which is what we did, all the while trying to fight the desire to head home and forego the show. Having bought the tickets online we hopelessly considered that they could have told us about the time change, at least then we would have been prepared, and we were glad that we had not opted to take the metro, which would have stopped running as the music began. However it seems that everybody else that had bought tickets (after us I presume) was fully aware of the 11pm start time as by the time we returned to the venue there were plenty of people around. The gig was a decent enough event, the audience made up of men and women of a certain age that had listened to the Blow Monkeys disco mix versions throughout Spanish pubs and clubs in the late eighties. In fact I had been in Tenerife as a twenty year old when I had experienced exactly that. How times change! Feeling hard done by that a concert doesn’t start until 11pm on a Friday night! Oh dear, what have I become? We were facing a busy day on the following day as we were due to host a barbecue so that’s my excuse.

Despite being seemingly too old for late night concerts we’ve kept ourselves active in other ways. Selena continues stoically with her running and yoga and I’ve enjoyed some decent hiking treks with friends, so we are never less than thankful for our lifestyle here.

The anticipated storms of March/April never materialized so we have been without rain since a downpour in February (disappointingly whilst friends were visiting!), but at the time of writing the storms are imminent. I’ve never seen it so brown and dry at this time of year so the land and reservoirs will appreciate a good soaking. Time to batten down the hatches and say “Hasta luego” after adding some random pictures below.

Fallas festival this year year was incredible – and busier than ever.

The below were not taken at our house!

Hiking ‘La Ruta de los Puentes Colgantes’ (hanging bridges), Chulilla.

7 thoughts on “Digging your scene

  1. Loved reading this! It won’t be long before you are like me and happy to watch your favourite bands on YouTube! Looking forward to seeing you all soon xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why not start your own band with Sam as your lead singer ? Selena and Nicki would be great attractions too. Matthew your brother could manage the crowds.


  3. It’s been a while since your last update so I really enjoyed this, I guess it’s because Spain really is your life now, you’re all in! Have a great summer, sounds great and definitely suits you! Enjoy x

    Liked by 1 person

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