Day 113 to 118 – Cadiz

There’s a green sheen across the campsite – bone dry sand is sprouting grass. It just shows how a good thunderstorm can transform arid land. I noticed something different yesterday too. On the drive to Gibraltar the ploughed fields we no longer a pale grey colour, they were rich brown.

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A week has been and gone, and the longer we stay here the more we love it. El Puerto de Santa Maria is a place I could live, especially in the cooler winter months. I am not sure I could bear the hot summer season.

IMG_0255Significant moments for the week:

Sunday and Monday were mainly beach and leisure days – we had a lovely walk in the pine woods on Monday, throwing the frisbee for Meg which got stuck in the trees, and problem solving with Ben on how to retrieve it. He enjoyed standing on my shoulders and poking it with a stick!

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On Tuesday, before driving to Seville to take mum and dad to the airport, we had a look around Jerez. The city was made rich by sherry – which is a British corruption of the name Jerez – and the vineyards around the town look well kept and rich, but we did ponder who drinks sherry now. Perhaps the Chinese market keeps Jerez rich now?

Sometime after lunch I took mum and dad to Seville to catch their plane home. It was quite a chaotic drop off as I was uncertain where I could stop to let them out.

Having dropped them off, I was alone with both boys and Meg, and was in no hurry to return to the campsite. We took the slow road back, stopping to walk Meg, then again at a shopping centre in an industrial estate outside Jerez. We bought dinner for Wednesday evening and more nappies for Jack. We then feasted on Kentucky Fried Chicken. We returned to the campsite after 7pm and the three of us slept in the roof, leaving downstairs ready for driving.

We had an early start on Wednesday to collect Clare from Jerez Aeropuerto, and arrived about 10 minutes before she came out. The boys were absolutely delighted to see their mum again, and insisted she sit in the back with them. In the afternoon we I took the boys out and they played with their new favourite toy – a mechanical digger in a sand pit.

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Clare joined us later with Meg, who found a feral cat to chase and disappeared for ages and ages in and around a particularly vicious cluster of thorn bushs and trees, under which was a well-stocked tray of cat food and fresh water. Meg simply wouldn’t recall. I gave up trying and asked Clare to have a go, and eventually Meg came out, a hurt dog.

Back at the campsite I extracted at least three thorns, from her front left paw, one of which was particularly long, just above her wrist, another directly into her pad.

The next morning, Thursday, she still wasn’t right, so we took her to the vet. On the way there, Meg did something quite remarkable, and something I had no idea dogs could do – she walked almost entirely on her two right paws, only occasionally putting down her rear left paw for balance. But it was Meg’s front left paw that she kept completely off the ground, clearly in considerable discomfort.

The vet shaved her front left paw and extracted perhaps six small thorns. The large thorn I extracted the previous day had pierced a tendon which was inflamed and infected. I then told the vet about Meg hobbling on just two legs, and he looked at her rear left paw, extracting another long thorn from between her pads. He then shaved that paw and found other smaller thorns. Poor girl!

An anti-inflammatory injection, and anti-biotics for me to administer. As we would be moving to a sandfly infested coast, I asked if he had a Scalibor flea collar we could buy, and he started on about a new collar that brand new research indicated was far better with sandfly and fleas and ticks to boot. Here comes the hard sell thought I, but it was sandfly protection that I wanted, and Scalibor the collar Katy, our home vet, recommended. I showed the vet the flea collar Meg had to protect against fleas and ticks – “Yes, he cried with glee – that’s the one. New research has shown that it’s more effective against sandfly than Scalibor. You don’t need a new collar!” Clearly he wasn’t on a hard sell. The collar lasts for 8 months, Meg has had hers for 5 months, I bought a spare for February.

83 Euros the bill – 25 for the consultation, 18 for the anti-inflammatory and anti-biotics, and 40 for the flea, tick and sandfly collar. It seems odd that sandfly infests Spain’s Mediterranean coast but not the Atlantic Coast. The vet told me to return tomorrow if Meg was still limping, he’d waive the consultation fee, I’d already paid that – this would be ongoing treatment.

Meg is a border collie, they are stoic dogs. They don’t keep keep a paw off the ground without very good reason. Meg wasn’t fixed and I knew it.

We had planned to pack up and leave on Friday, we delayed by a day. Meg went out to pee and poo and that was it. At 5.30, and after siesta, Meg returned to the vet. Her whole wrist joint was swollen, missed because of the inflamed tendon, now back to normal. Meg has a sprained wrist – complicated by at least a dozen thorn punctures.

Rest, antibiotics for five days, anti-inflammatory for seven. Another 22 Euros, 105 in total. What on earth went on in that thorn bush with Meg and the feral cat?

Catalonia has declared independence. Quite unexpectedly we have another country flag to buy for our van.

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