Back in September I ran into serious problems when I upgraded the software on my iPad to IOS 11; it was no longer compatible with Blogger, so I switched to Wordpress which was OK up to a point, but I know my way around Blogger and Wordpress was less intuitive. Today as I'm sitting at my Macbook and just playing, lo and behold I find that Blogger works perfectly with OS High Sierra, the latest operating system for Apple laptops and desktops. So here I am back where I'm happy.
Much has changed over the past few months. We were with our daughter for much longer than we anticipated when we returned to England. Our initial thoughts had been to head back to Lancashire which we are familiar with - we lived there for close on forty years before moving to Spain - and where property is much cheaper than in the South. The trouble was, we had spent too long in the sun; Lancashire, to be precise Southport which we had decided upon, was too grey, windy, wet and cold. On top of that, Southport is no longer what it used to be. It has suffered the same fate as so many other British seaside resorts following the arrival of cheap holidays in good quality hotels along the Mediterranean. The once elegant, fashionable shopping and leisure area of Lord Street is now a mix of charity shops and empty units and the main catering outlets are fast food brands, pizzerias and fish and chip shops.
Back to the drawing board and a map of the South Coast and its hinterland. Everywhere we considered was out of our price range it seemed, the most promising destination being Dorset, but even that was more than we wanted to part with. One possibility was available; residential park homes did fall within our budget but a lot of research was called for before venturing down that path. So, much time was spent trawling the internet to learn more, and the more I learned the more it seemed that it was a safe option subject to certain precautions along the way. And that has led to where we now live, on a residential park on the outskirts of Ferndown in Dorset in the village of West Moors. We have the family around us; Mandy and the girls are about an hour and a half away, whilst Nicky is also less than two hours away; my sister-in-law and her partner are an hour away in Dorchester and we have nephews in Worthing and Waterlooville.
The area has lots to attract us - Poole, with the Jurassic Coast as well as ferries to the Channel Islands and Cherbourg, Portsmouth (home to Brittany Ferries with links to France and Spain) and the Isle of Wight, Christchurch, Bournemouth, Salisbury, Winchester and the New Forest. We have been in our new home since mid-January and have spent the past month taking a selfish pleasure in not being exposed to the gales, storms, snow and cold that Southport is enduring.
On a personal note, at the end of November I had surgery to remove the cataract in my right eye and marvelled at the huge improvement in my vision; I am promised treatment for my left eye some time around April and hopefully then I'll be able to return to painting which is something that I have missed since my eyesight got so bad.
One coincidence that brings an amused smile to my face is that the local Catholic church about half a mile away is dedicated to St Anthony of Padua - or San Antonio de Padua, as he is known in Frigiliana.