Current position, poolside, with sweeping views in the wilds of southern Spain.
When I say wilds, I mean 20 minutes from a largish town but here, 500m above sea level, ringed by stunning mountains and with eagles soaring at eye-level and surrounded by fields of almond and olive trees, you feel far from civilisation apart from the pool and the access to the fridge with beers.
Also the water went off this morning for the second time this week – living in magnificent rural Spain has its price – and the unreliability of services is one of them along with the flying, biting, things.
I’m here to visit my dad, a hop and skip from the town of Albox, in Andalucia, at the villa he’s making his part-time home in his retirement.
Like so many snow birds before him, has travelled across the seas to spend part of his retirement under the oh-so sunny skies of southern Spain.
Like bees to a honey-pot, inspired into a new life by endless repeats of houses in the sun-style TV shows, there are thousands upon thousands of British people here who escaped, making use of reciprocal health care and cheap properties – seemingly unworried by a looming Brexit. ( Some even headed home to vote for it which I and my dad find baffling)
My dad is somewhat of an anomaly, his reasons for being here are very different.
Yes, he likes the warmth and hopes to attract the grandchildren for holidays but as a life-long astronomer and published writer (of the scientific variety) he picked Andalucia (Spain’s southernmost territory) as it has the sunniest skies in Europe – it was here or Arizona.
You’ll never find him in British bar or indeed any bar, he’s here for the dark skies, low light pollution, and in the daytime – bird watching and photography – he’s a man of many gadgets so up here, away from anyone super sociable, suits him just fine.
It has its advantages, his property larger than most as it’s 40 minutes from the coast, but after decades long-term renting in a variety of places he was finally ready to buy his own and did.
We are now in the process, as a family, of making it our own and after years of visiting him in this part of the world it feels very familiar here.
The province of Andalucia, as a destination, means many things to many people in the UK.
Known for the moneyed resorts of the Costa del sol, for party-central Malaga itself, for cultured Seville, for the mountains of Sierra Nevada, for Granada and the curious bridge of cultures that is Gibralter – it’s main attraction is the sun.
We’re in Almeria province, a popular area for migrating and holidaying Brits thanks to easy airport access from Almeria airport itself in the summer months and all-year round from Murcia.
Let’s be honest, it’s a desert here.
This is by no means the most easily-instagrammable place on earth, but away from the coastal resorts with its beautiful beaches it is ripe for exploring.
The roads are generally clear and easy and the views and blue skies magnificent.
From previous visits I am more familiar with the coastal resort of Mojacor Playa and its white Moorish hill-top counterpart Mojacor pueblo, alongside the hilltop town of Cabrera – my dad’s first choice for a house but proved too pricy.
What the entire area boasts is walks, history not too far from the surface and acres of wildlife.
It was near Cabrera I saw my first wild tortoise.
Just hanging vulnerably in its natural habitat, which has proved too tempting for thieves who have depleted the population.
A wild boar was spotted here, right on my dad’s front drive – you can hear the guns on Saturday’s as the Spanish head out to shoot them.
Of course there are wild beaches and even more wild bars clinging to the coast but away from there you can almost see the Spanish from days gone by – there are still many cave homes in the area ( we visited one when hunting for a property).It is always worth visiting the myriad markets, local stores and the regular fiestas.
Though be warned, this is Spain, almost everything closes between 3pm and 5pm for siesta, unless you are in a tourist resort.
You can also read: Seven things to do that are not drinking or sunbathing in Almeria province