I have mentioned in the past that our two hobbies are wargaming and hill walking. Our main consideration when deciding where to live in Spain was that it must be a good walking area, and the house must have a wargames room.
We choose the Jalon Valley because it is a favourite walking area in the Costa Blanca. It is about half an hour from the busy coastal holiday towns of Javea, Moraira, Calpe and Benidorm. It is also a completely different world. The coast is busy all year, but particularly in the summer. The valley is a peaceful haven all year around. It is a popular spot for ex pats to retire and have holiday homes. But unlike the coast we are a small minority and the valley maintains its very Spanish feel.
Parcent is a small town of 1,000 people, about 100 are British, German, Dutch or Russian. We choose it because of the beautiful views, excellent walking and extremely friendly population, both Spanish and ex pat. It also has more than its share of good restaurants and bars. There are four excellent restaurants, including one which specialises in paella and where you must book in advance all year around. There are also three bars which are popular with Spanish and ex pats. The village is very popular with ex pats living on the coast who enjoy the beautiful valley views as a break from the busy coast.
Our introduction to walking in this area was with the Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers, the largest walking group in the area. We soon joined a smaller group, and walked with them every week for about 9 years. Four years ago we decided to form our own walking group. By then we knew enough walks to offer a different one each week during the walking season
We wanted to restrict numbers to no more than 20, and to encourage members to walk each week. In this way we would be walking with friends, rather than the more impersonal feel of large walking groups who vary leaders and walkers each week.
We soon reached the magic number, and not wanting to turn members away decided to start a second group to walk each Monday. Our original group walked on Thursday. We used the same walks, but separated them by six months.
Last year half of our Monday group broke away to form their own group. We decided to take advantage of this to reform the Monday group to offer shorter walks of 4-5 hours. Our Thursday group would continue to offer 5-6 hour walks.
The problem was that we did not have many walks less than 5 hours, and would have to create new ones. This would mean a number of recce before we could offer them to the new group.
Both of our hobbies are very time consuming, and it is sometimes difficult getting the balance right. It is too hot to do any serious walking June to September, so we tend to do much more wargaming in those months.
However we have managed to keep an even balance over the years. The walking takes up about four days a week. Two days walking and two days recording walks on the blog and preparing for the next week walk. On the remaining three days we fit in our wargaming. The table is always set up with a game, so we can play for an hour or two when we feel like it.
However since we started regular walking again at the start of October, we have had to fit in extra walks to recce new shorter walks for the Monday group. This could only be done at the expense of our wargaming.
All of this is just to explain why the reports of the current campaign have slowed down. During the summer it was twice a week, and even then difficult to keep up with the campaign. Since October it has reverted to the normal once a week. But this week we have failed to complete the latest wargame and prepare the report.
You might well say that if this is the worse of our troubles then we have little to complain about. And indeed I would agree. We are very fortunate that we have the health to enjoy both hobbies and to live in such a beautiful area so well suited to enjoy both.
But I will be glad when we have completed the new walk recce and can revert to our more usual and relaxing weekly routine.