I got back from Spain on the 1st of January. I had a good time, in fact I had a great time. Every time we go its gets harder and harder to come back. I think the highlight of this year are as follows. Seeing all of Monica friends, who over the years have brought me, an out sider into there circle and made me welcome, friends who don't mind if I don't speak any Spanish, people are are just pleased to see me. I can truly say that I have friends like these on both side, but because of the whole Spanish culture it enables people to get closer. We found out that a friend was getting married in 2009, pushing the whole marriage thing on the agenda...getting married...my god do you know how much money I owe right now!! Going shopping was another highlight, the shops are crazy and it interesting to see how many people buy Heinz baked beans, present buying and putting the tree up, I have some pictures somewhere. I tried my hand at skiing, and didn't like, yes I managed to stay up-right, most of the time, only fell once and that was when I was going up-hill! I did the splits which Monica found very funny, shortly after that we heard that somebody has broken there back on a black route and at the time I watched an out of control skier clip the wrist of a lady sitting on the ground, the fun went out of it for me. However I did manage to pick up a tan. It rained, but most of the time the sun shone. It was nice to see Valencia again, Spain's third largest city is constantly growing in importance, the science city looked lovely all lit up, the new hospital is coming along nicely, its going to be the biggest hospital in Spain!! The new high speed transport link will make it possible to travel from Valencia to the South in a matter of hours. When I was out there in summer, the worst peace time accident occurred when a sub-way train came off its rails killing a large number of people from the same suburb. The train came to rest in a station called Jesus, a few days later I stood in that station and joined in the mourning, this winter the accident was far from peoples mind, Valencia is constantly looking forward and buy the increase in road traffic, the average Spaniard has money. There was a sad moment, as we walked down the street early one morning we passed a down and out sleeping on a park bench, it was early but there was lots of people and traffic about and the man had not woken up, we walked past him three more times that morning and still he had not woken up. How bad would it have been if he had died, a day before the New Year and not one Spaniard had tried to help him. I never did find out if he was alive or dead, but I don't think the average Spaniard cared anyway. While talking about down-sides, I hate travelling, I hate watching my own kind at air ports, there ability to take over both shocks me and surprises me. It started in the Bristol during boarding when the balding ex-pat announced in a loud voice "Your not getting passed me unless your in boarding group A." A man and his wife with there three children were trying to get passed him after being called forward to board. The same man, upon arrival at Valencia almost knocked Monica over in his rush to leave the bus and get through passport control. Or those people we used to see boarding during the summer months, those that take the opportunity to drink at 6:30am, you know when they get off the plane they will go to there little resort and disappear, returning to the UK with serious sun burn and non the wiser about Spanish culture. Why most the British shit everything up when they go on holiday, the Spanish view us as aggressive lay about, binge drinking, non-t-shirt wearing idiots. New years eve was interesting, always surprises me how the Spaniard manage to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds on the final count down. I managed 5, a record for me. Mind you I was still chewing half an hour later! Then at one o'clock we sang old land zine, reading the words from a computer screen and we celebrated New Years in the UK. At 3am everybody went out on the streets, some people went onto another party some people went home. We went to bed counting the hour till it was time to ago once again. I was commenting to a friend about the fact that in the late 80's retired couples used to change there house names to 'done-roaming' I might do the same. The post has turned into book....so I'll post pictures some other time.