Spain update jan 2021 - Fri22jan
Friday 22nd January 2021
At night we woke up by scary gusts that shook the house and the trees in the garden to their foundations. The electricity fell out several times and the dogs were whining in terror. It was even so bad that Dirk as well as I had a déjà -vu when we saw the palm trees fold in two and the wind tried to tear away the patio cover. Two weeks ago, the snowstorm also started on a Friday and in such a way that Dirk’s co-driver could not land…If it continues like this we have again a problem I wailed worriedly and I imagined a plane spinning around in the sky which had to continue the flight to Barcelona… At 7:00h suddenly, the wind died down and it started to rain briefly but heavily, and then it became quiet. Awfully quiet and I thought, silence before the storm… Luckily it stayed out.
A few hours later we received reassuring messages from Dirk B. telling that he is waiting at boarding and a little later that he is on board of the plane. As proof there is a photo from Dirk B. in a half empty or half full plane. Dirk followed the course of the flight on his cell phone, he leaves an hour later to the airport and delivers Dirk B. around 3:00h safe and sound in Casa Belgica where a warm and turbulent welcome is waiting for him. Second time, lucky time, I am relieved. As usual after arrival of our guest we start with lunch and catching up on necessary information. Because Dirk is worrying about the announced supply for the shelter, we have a short lunch. In vain as the expected delivery is delayed. An hour later it is obvious that it will not be supplied today but “mañana”. The Spanish way in fact…in the evening after the aperitif we eat French fries with breaded fish…
Saturday 23rd January 2021
Today the van and the luggage are prepared, and the travel documents and the corona measures are checked for the umpteenth time. Thereafter, very much against his will by orders of Julian, Dirk must go to the construction market Bauhaus which is about 20 km in the direction of Madrid. Julian is afraid of running out of material while Dirk is in Belgium and he does not dare to drive that far himself. Dirk B and I are more experienced drivers and after the necessary purchases we take him to a restaurant in Xanadu to thank him once more for his courage and perseverance for flying for the second time after the first disastrous first time to Spain as co-driver. Fortunately, this second time with success. We all enjoy our “outing” for our guest has not been in a restaurant for a long time. And Dirk has not been this relaxed for a long time and for me it has been a long time since I had to prepare my usual spaghetti the night before the departure. Although I do not know if that is good because breaking with tradition always has its consequences. Anyway, the three of us enjoyed it…
Sunday 24th January 2021
At 7:30h we are at the breakfast table and an hour later the first travelers arrive. Everybody is alert, especially our dogs 4 of which do not know yet that they also go on board. While I prepare the lunch packages for the drivers Hyppolythe, Théophile, Tito and Napoleon go on board much to the consternation and excitement of their brothers and sisters and peace will only return when they have left. I can hardly keep them in the kitchen, and I am obliged to close the shutters. Nevertheless, the loading noises are sufficient to crowd at the door window to catch a glimpse of the event. I can hardly go outside amongst our pack to make photos and to film. At 10:00h all are loaded, we say goodbye and then they are gone. While Vali is closing the gate, I let the dogs out and they all run into the garden, too late, the van is gone. One by one they go inside to mope wronged in the kitchen and the living room.
During the whole day I am informed about the progress of the drivers, the traffic, and the weather. When I call them to tell that I will go to bed they are in Poitiers and it is still drizzling but it is still quiet on the road and in the van. In Calypo it is pouring rain during the whole afternoon and a strong wind is again blowing, but it is not as bad as in the past days and weeks I tell Dirk. It keeps raining during the entire night and the wind is blowing stronger than I expected because the howling wind is tearing at the shutters and makes the doors rattle in their hinges. I like nightly storms and a howling wind but “enough is enough”.
I see all hours on the clock, the dogs also suffer from the weather and behave accordingly, sigh. And this is my first night alone. Because we agreed that Dirk would call me after his short night rest in Hof Rosa Canina it is 8:30h when I receive a phone call. Everything went well at Marianne’s place and at the arrival in Hof Rosa Canina, everybody was on duty and now they are preparing for the adoption day. Knowing Dirk, I will hear later how it went.
Tuesday 26th January 2021
When Dirk called yesterday afternoon that the adoption day went smoothly and that everybody was happy with the new family member and the new family member with his or her “new and first” family, a concept which was unknown for him or her and then he continued with today’s planning. When I told him to rest and to sleep long, also a concept that was unknown for him (and me) he told me that he had to be in the garage at 9:00h with the van that produced a strange noise, and which kept him worried for weeks. I think he is wrong as I did not hear anything special during our trips to Talavera, but I am not an expert. Anyway, when he phoned me this afternoon and asked to sit down, I knew bad news would follow. A dog who was returned, Marianne and Anne and their team who had discovered a problem with one of the galgo ladies during the sterilization marathon? Fortunately, not so. It was another kind of bad news. Earth shocking news, news of 5000 euro!!!
The garage had told him that the complete rear axle of the van must be replaced! Dirk had been lucky to have reached home safely but driving back in that condition was no question. The garage owner was able to order still today the axle for double wheels in Italy. Meanwhile they would remove the old one and prepare for replacement. For Friday or at the latest Saturday they would have finished the repair the man promised. My head was turning around when I heard this but what is needed must be done, whatever the cost. Preferably without delay I must not think about the risk they could have had if the axle would have failed during the trip. I experienced it years ago and it was terrible. It was not too early to buy a new van. It has been delivered but currently it is with our regional manager Carine whose husband is designing the custom-made aluminum boxes, to make them and install them. Anyway, the “old” van must be ready for Sunday because I cannot survive here any longer than 8 days.
In the evening, the news was already spread amongst the co-workers and when the van is not ready for Friday Roel, Vincent, Dirk B and my Dirk will get the baby proof dogs at Marianne’s place with their own cars. Thanks to our creative GINB co-drivers this problem has been solved. There is no lack of worries, it is all we have for now. The breakdown of the van, galgos returned after barely 2 months adoption due to partner violence while the couple at the adoption of the dogs brought a trailer full of presents for the dogs in Spain and everything looked fine. Others are returned because the owner has fallen and do not dare/want to walk anymore and after their family council the children did not care whether the dog would stay or not…Did the poor souls come that far from Spain for this? Fortunately, most adopters make up for these blunders more than enough. Like those who send mails that they feel sorry that they could not meet me when adopting their 2nd or 3rd dog and that they miss the “old” adoption days and events. Do not worry, I also miss them, and you all do. Hopefully see you soon…
Saturday 30th January 2021
To make up for this loss Dirk and our “new” coordinator Roel, who is replacing big Dirk in corona times, sent me photos and mails about the adoption day on Saturday. It is a slight consolation for my incapacity to attend but it was better than nothing and it made me incredibly happy, this way I was a little bit present. Besides, I am not the only absent one, also some of our co-workers cannot attend since corona changed our life. Apart from Kris and co-driver and Roel, who are part of the permanent welcoming team, only the co-workers living nearby are helping. What a situation is this. Anyway, in the afternoon I received a phone call from Dirk that he was on his way home. The job was finished, and everybody was happy with the new family member. The adopters as well as the co-workers have sent many greetings and left presents and the van that Dirk could pick up yesterday evening in the garage together with an invoice of 6300 Euro (!!!) was performing well. I am reassured!!! Because the van was ready only yesterday evening the gentlemen co-drivers and Dirk picked up in the afternoon the sterilized ladies with their own car at Marianne’s place and sent me the message not to worry, everything was under control and I received movies to confirm.
Later he picked up Yolanda’s Luc “d’Artagnan” at the station, he was that morning co-driver on duty on the return trip to Spain. For supper he bought 2 pizzas, and, in the morning, they left as usual at 5:00h, having picked up first our 4 dogs in Hof Rosa Canina before the departure to Spain. It sounds like music in my ears. I am sure already that I would count the hours until their arrival. Another week alone with 10 dogs including 4 “handicapped” and a non-castrated one had burned all my energy. After having received several phone calls in the evening regarding their pizza party Dirk ended with the message that he would call me underway tomorrow. I went to bed late because outside again a strong wind started beating the rain against the windows and made the house rattle again. Nevertheless, the dogs were reasonably calm, well, calm. Eusebio was complaining the whole night, the others were behaving. As if they knew that he “little general” was preparing the return trip. Anyway, during the night, it was once more terrible weather. It is not normal even the Spanish say that and most of them do not worry about the climate change. Fake news Trump would have said in his glorious days, luckily, we got rid of him. And now the weather…
Sunday 31st January 2021
After a bad night, the first thing I thought was that today was the penultimate day of the hunting season!! To celebrate gun shots were heard in the fields despite the bad weather. Tomorrow is the end of the season, not only for the “gentlemen” hunters but also for thousands of galgos that would pay with their lives and die a cruel death. The best ones out of the bad were on a long waiting list to be dumped in Las Nieves, the rest were less lucky. Shortly after 6:00h I decided to call the drivers. They were at 120 km before Paris and Dirk would call back when they were on the “direct” to Bordeaux. When I asked about the weather it was raining also. When driving through the French flooded landscape it continued to rain now and then, especially when d’Artagnan was driving Dirk said. Around 16:30h they crossed the French-Spanish border and at 18:30h Dirk called telling that they were in Burgos. Another 200 km and the GPS told that they would arrive at 21:30h. During the 1700 km long road they only stopped for a sanitary need and to fill the van, eating was done during the driver change. I know by experience how miserably long that road is, and I could only be grateful for their courage and self-sacrifice and hope for a safe arrival home. That they would be “home” at 21:30h seemed to be wishful thinking of the GPS. Not so as at 21:20h I received a call that they would be home 10 minutes later!! And so, it happened. Should the welcome procedure still be mentioned? Who was the happiest and most relieved is hard to tell. When after unloading the van and the extensive welcome aperitif including treats, we went to bed the “little general” lectured the dogs beforehand and it was quiet during the whole night.
Monday 1st February – Tuesday 2nd February 2021
After the gentlemen had slept rather well, we went to Xanadu to eat something. Meanwhile our 14 dogs “exhausted” from all emotions were sleeping under Vali’s supervision the sleep of the innocent. Coming home from our lunch after a few hours they hardly looked up and continued to sleep. It should be said that I was also tired but also happy. I was tired from the past week and relieved that it was behind us, but for how long? The day after at 6:00h Dirk brought d’Artagnan to the airport. For us, the usual routine could restart because after the hunting season tsunamis of exhausted skinny galgos would arrive and amongst them there were certainly some with fractures…