Most ex pats living in Spain have a completely different routine in the summer and winter months. This is because the hot summer days make it quite difficult to do anything physical outdoors. Here in the Costa Blanca normal summer temperatures are 30c-35c, and the humidity is also quite high.
A Spanish winter is similar to spring or autumn in the UK. Although it can get quite cold, most days are sunny. It does rain, but usually no more than one or two days a week. There is a popular expression that Spain is a cold country, with a warm sun. This means that it is quite possible to live outdoors for most of the winter months.
My wife and I share two time consuming hobbies. First, of course, is wargaming. Second is hill walking. During the winter months, from October to May, we run two mountain walking groups for our local U3A. This involves planning and leading two five hour walks each week. I also record all of these walks on a blog. So three to four days a week is devoted to planning, walking and preparing the blog. In addition we usually wargame three to four afternoons a week.
The two hobbies complement each other. One is physical and the other mostly mental. I spend a lot of time on the computer either running the solo 1813 campaign, writing the walk blogs or planning walks. But the two days walking get us out in the beautiful countryside and keep us reasonably fit.
We do our last walk at the end of May, and we then switch over to our summer routine.
This year we visited the grandchildren in the UK at the start of June. This explains why there was no blog entry last week. I try to post an entry on this blog at least once a week, but find it difficult when we are on holiday.
We have just returned from a dry but quite cold Northumberland and must adapt to 30c overnight.
Our summer routine includes an early morning two mile walk each day. We did our first this morning. We start just before the sun rises, which is 0630 at this time of year. But it will get later and later as the summer rolls on. This exercise, combined with a daily swim, is the sum of our exercise during the summer. It is just sufficient to keep us from getting too restive.
The campaign and wargame blogs continue during the summer, which takes up parts of each day. But I really need a project to replace the hill walking. In previous years this has been model house building, rewriting wargame or campaign rules and map making for the campaign. We also spend more time at the wargames table.
It is in the summer that I regret I no longer have a lead mountain to paint. For 40 odd years I painted model soldiers daily. But as part of our retirement plan I decided to replace painting with actual wargaming. This has worked well, and we certainly spend more time on the table than we ever did when working.
The campaign works well, indeed too well. It would be a good project to start a new campaign each summer. But my 1813 campaign is so well developed that it would be hard to replace it. Each campaign phase lasts about six weeks, and then I start a brand new phase. Different location, different armies and different objectives. But because the campaign is designed for our armies and playing area, most games have a similar feel to them.
For a few years my summer project has been updating and revising maps. The campaign covers all of Germany, Spain and Portugal. But could easily be extended to include Italy and even United Kingdom. I need three large maps. One for all of Europe, one for Germany and one for Portugal/Spain. I then need five more detailed maps, one for each campaign area. And finally a wargame map for each phase of the campaign. Over the years I have updated them four or five times.
This year my project is to create a new set of maps, which will be wargame rather than actual. The map of Europe will show major cities, national borders and each square will be a campaign phase and will have the town names. The map of Germany and Spain will show major terrain, such as rivers and mountains. It will also have the same grid, but will show the city or town and whether it is walled or not. There will be two maps of each of the five campaign areas. Both will have the same detail and grid, plus major and secondary roads. It will also show large wooded areas. A second map of each area will show minor towns as well. This will be used to create the wargame maps required for each campaign phase.
I expect to finish the map project before we reach the start of the walking season at the start of October.