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Leaving on a jet plane – 10 March 2018

To take our minds off the inevitable, we went for a walk to the fort across from the hotel.

We don’t think it’s a real fort. Maybe there was a fort there some time ago, but it looks like this was built for the tourists. I’d seen people on top of it, but couldn’t find a way in. Then we walked round it and there was the stairway on the outside at the back. No handrail, just steps, so maybe it was a real fort after all. Anyway, it was a shame not to climb it, so I did. Not a great view from the top because it’s not such a big fort, but at least I’d done it.

By the time we got back to the hotel it was time to go and get a taxi to the airport. Taxi came quickly and we were right at the front of the queue waiting for the check-in. Through check-in, and through security with ease, that’s when the disaster struck. While we were in duty free, I realised I didn’t have my boarding card. Now I had to have had it to get through security, so somewhere between there and the duty free, I’d dropped it. Checked the carry-on bag three or four times, then Scamp checked it. Went down the stairs to security and told my sorry tale to one of the security guards who then took me to a senior security man. He must have heard this story hundreds of times in hundreds of languages. He immediately went to check the conveyer belts and there on the floor beneath one was my boarding card. Absolutely brilliant! I could have hugged him, but since he had an automatic pistol and a baton like a baseball bat on his belt, I just thanked him and shook his hand and babbled my thanks. We would go home after all!

When I got back to Scamp, she took the boarding card from me and told me I was too stupid to look after it. She’s probably right. She went off for a walk. I got my sketch book out and did a bit of de-stressing sketching. Not the best of sketches, but it kept my mind off what might have been.

It wasn’t too long a wait for the call to gate, but then a longer wait to actually be released on to the plane. Comfortable flight, watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. We’d ordered an in-flight meal and I chose Chicken Curry. Luckily, before I opened it, the word Mussels caught my eye. It appears the sauce for the CHICKEN curry is made with shellfish, especially Mussels! I explained that I take a severe allergic reaction to mussels and got it changed, but nobody had heard of mussels being used in a chicken curry sauce.
To make me feel better, Scamp bought me a new watch I’d seen two or three years ago on the Thomas Cook flight. It’s a ‘good’ watch, a Citizen Eco Drive. Nice clear analog face. A ‘toy of the rack’ to take my mind off two near misses 😉

Arrived in Glasgow to single digit temperatures and torrential rain, but no snow, thankfully, although there were piles of the dirty white stuff everywhere where it had been bulldozed off the roads.

Today’s PoD is from the plane just passing over Puerto del Rosario in Fuerteventura.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow is for returning to normal.

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Too Cold?? – 9 March 2018

The last full day in Fuerteventura already!

After breakfast we walked down to the island to have a jug of sangria and pose in the sunshine. It wasn’t until we were on the bridge, watching the spotted or striped fish, it was hard to tell which, swimming beneath us, it wasn’t until then we realised that the wind was the killer today. The sun was warm and the sky was fairly clear of cloud, but the wind was cooling us down very quickly. When you hear the term ‘wind chill’ you think of snow and ice, not twenty something degrees in the sun, but the chill effect is still there and I was feeling it. Scamp wasn’t so bothered, but when we got to the island cafe itself, there isn’t much shelter there, especially when the wind is from the south as it was today. We walked a circuit of the round cafe building, then regrettably left. Too cold in Fuerteventura in March, who’d have thought it.

To lift our spirits (no pun intended) we walked up to the Spar shop in the Atlantico centre and bought another bottle of gin and some tonic. We also bought some spicy pimenton for cooking when we got home and the cheapest saffron we’d ever seen. Again the intention is to leave it in the cupboard and then take it out some day to make paella and remember the day it was too cold to drink sangria in the Canaries!

Had lunch in the hotel and afterwards, Scamp wanted to do some more sunbathing in the shelter of the gardens in the hotel. I took the Troopies for a walk in the wilderness to get their photos taken. That’s them at the top of the page the PoD.  Have you ever tried to take a photo of three troopies and a Peppa Pig in a gale force wind?  It’s not easy.  Oh how we suffer for our art.

When we both returned from our last outing on the last day, we started packing, with a little gin ’n’ tonic, to lift our spirits (N.P.I.)

After dinner we went to the entertainment team show. It was dire. Not funny at all. Dancers who couldn’t dance. Singers who couldn’t sing. Jokes that simply weren’t funny. We didn’t stay to the end.

Sat on the balcony and drank too much gin again to, you’ve guessed it, lift our spirits, and that’s why the blog was late.

Tomorrow we go home.

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Just another day in paradise – 08 March 2018

P1040411_2_2It’s Thursday today and that can only mean one thing.  Thursday Prezzies.  Scamp had chosen her prezzy and in late morning we walked to the shops.

That was after we lazed for an hour in the shade beside the pool.  I got fed up lazing and went to get some photos in the garden.  Saw a dragonfly, but it was doing circuits again and didn’t stop.  Sometimes it slowed down to tease the fish in the stream and let them try to catch it, but it was far too fast for them.  That’s where the PoD came from.  It’s a flowering and fruiting cactus complete with Spanish greenbottles.  Like bluebottles,  only green.  Still tired of lazing, I did some sketches of the folk lying on their sunbeds.

With one in the bag, we decanted ourselves from the sunbeds and walked down the road past the Sheraton to the first row of shops.  Had lunch (burger for me, tuna club sandwich for Scamp.)  The beers we had quenched our thirst.  Got the prezzies then walked back along the ‘new’ walkway. 

I had intended going for a walk to get some more photos and Scamp was going for a swim, but then there was a power outage.  We didn’t fancy going down five flights of stairs, or worse, having to climb back up them again if the lifts weren’t back in business, so we waited on the balcony and had another G ‘n’ T.  By the time the power returned it was too late to go for a walk, so we went for a swim instead.  I tried out the ‘adult pool’ and it was COLD!  Freezin’!  However, I was in and I was going to do a circuit of the little island with the jacuzzi in it.  All the while I had the thought of that warm bubbly water, that WARM bubbly water.  Finally completed the circuit and did get a chance to warm up in the jacuzzi.  Scamp joined me although, theoretically she hadn’t earned the treat, her not having swum in the freezing pool avoiding the ice floes.

Walked straight across to the middle pool and it was heated!  Hadn’t really noticed it before, but after the cold pool, this one felt warm.  Swam there for a while before returning to the sunbeds to soak up some rays.  Scamp went to swim in the middle pool.

Came back, fought with Lightroom for a while then went for dinner.  After that, went and grabbed a good seat for Tina the saxophone playing singer who would play some salsa, we hoped.  She did.  We twirled and twisted with the best of them.  Not as clean a demo as last time, but we have the G ‘n’ Ts and the Rum ‘n’ Cokes to blame for that. 

Exhausted now, I’m sitting on the balcony with the waves crashing on the shore wondering what we’ll do tomorrow.  Maybe a trip to Caleta?  Maybe hire a bike and go for a run?  Maybe go and have lunch on the island?  Maybe some, but probably not all of the above.

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The Walking Tour – 07 March 2018

7 MarToday we were walking down to the harbour with a stop on the way for a drink perhaps.

After breakfast, that’s what we did.  We plastered ourselves in suncream as per usual and walked around the bay to the new harbour.  It was only after we got back that I checked and found that it’s been ‘new’ since at least 2014, the last time we came to Caleta.  We had coffee at the new El Faro bar.  Lovely views across the bay, but the 1/2 litre of sangria we had yesterday for £5.50 would have cost us £8.50.  We had coffee instead.  Walked out to the San George hotel and just a little bit further on to the cliffs.  Decided that was far enough and headed back, past the Dorido Suites hotel which is not being demolished, but is being ‘renovated’.  I think that means the balconies are being rebuilt.  Interesting to see the quality of the blockwork!!  Glad we weren’t booked there an don’t think we’ll be going there any time soon.

Back at the Elba we were in time for lunch which had to be reduced in quantity as we were going to the Italian waitress service meal tonight.  After lunch Scamp decided to do some more sunbathing while I went for a walk to try to get some sketching done.  I’d already completed my 10,000 steps for the day and this was just a little extra exercise.  I walked along the pedestrian path to the Museo de la Sal, the museum of salt!  The result is shown below:

IMG_4706_4706By the time I’d walked back, my 10,000 steps had doubled to over 20,000, and it was time to get ready for our Italian meal.  We both started with a selection from the buffet, then Scamp’s main was Vegetable Lasagne which she said was “warm on a hot plate”.  Mine was Spaghetti Puttanesca. which was lovely, although the sauce was quite thick.  Pudding for me was a “Disgustingly lovely” ice cream on a mascarpone cream.   Scamp just had to have Tiramisu. A great meal with coffee and a bottle of wine added in for free.

Evening entertainment, apart from Pepe, was a dire soul singer who thought he was every real soul singer in creation, but the star attraction was ‘Mr Sleazy’ from last night reliving his even sleazier youth with some seriously bad dance moves.  Oh dear, I hope I never look like that.

PoD was the upside down beer bottle, entitled ‘Reeb’.  Work it out yourself.

Tomorrow?  I might find the church behind the museum, but I’ll be going by bike, hopefully.  Scamp says she’s hoping to be grabbing some more rays!

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Sangria, Dolphins and a Demonstration – 06 March 2018

P1040326The task for today was to walk to the island for sangria.  Anything else was a bonus.

After breakfast, we sat by the pool for a while, but I was getting itchy feet and wanted to go for a walk.  The grounds of the hotel are fairly extensive and really well landscaped.  There’s  a stream running through it with fish in it.  There was a waterfall too which feeds the stream.  Along the banks of the stream there is a cat house and a fenced off area for the partly feral cats to live in.  I’m sure you’d be impressed Hazy.  That was where I headed today.  I was disappointed to hear that there was no rushing waterfall noise and that was because the waterfall wasn’t operating now.  The river is still there and the fish are enormous.  There are loads of cats too wandering around.  Some are quite dismissive of humans, as only cats can be, others are quite skittish.  This too will be quite normal for you Hazy.  Saw one of these large butterflies and managed to get a photo of it while it was feeding on some pelargonium flowers.  That is my PoD.

Wandered back to find Scamp and then we got ready and walked to the island.  It is actually an island, partly manmade I think and only accessible by a bridge.  A new bridge as it turned out.  Not more than a year old and made of good quality mahogany.  Most impressive.  We found a table and ordered a jug of sangria.  It was really quite good.  Not as good as the brandy based sangria Scamp had in Trinidad, but tastier than a  lot of red coloured water I’ve had in the past.  Lots of apple and orange bits floating in it too.  That’s when we saw the dolphins.  I’d seen some from the balcony last night, but all I really saw was the spray from their blowholes.  They were far too far away and my binoculars were no use because they were in a drawer in the back bedroom back home.  Difficult to access from that distance away.  These ones were much closer, but you could clearly see their fins and the spray when they breached.  I took a few photos and we agreed it was good to see them so close to the shore.  When I went to pay I saw one of the dolphins even closer to the island, only it appeared that there was a ball shaped object floating, now sinking, now floating again, just ahead of it.  Next time it surfaced I saw the pipe of the snorkel strapped to its head and then realised that ‘fin’ was in fact the diver’s flipper breaking the surface.  Oh dear, what a numpty.  Sangria must have been quite strong after all!

Walked back via the Spar shop in the Atlantico Centre and bought a tin of Pimento Dulce (Sweet pepper) for cooking with when we get home.  Yes, I know that I could have bought it in Tesco for about the same price, but when I use this pepper in a paella, I’ll remember the day we had sangria on the island at Caleta and saw the mysterious dolphin.

When we came back, it was time for lunch and today it was steak for me, cooked perfectly. Scamp had the vegetarian option.  After lunch Scamp and I went for a walk over the wilderness bit of the dunes.  There wasn’t much to see there, but it was good again to listen to the sea crashing in.

After dinner we went to wait for the singer and sax player we’d heard the last time we were here.  Unfortunately she couldn’t start until some football game was finished.  Bad planning by the hotel authorities.  Also, the germans (Small ‘g’  –  you know what that mean) had taken over all the seating and wouldn’t let anyone sit near them.  Now maybe we’ve just met some rude germans, but every time we come into contact with them, they are rude and overbearing.  Eventually we found a seat far away from the guttural shouting they call language.  Heavens, they didn’t win the first world war and they didn’t win the second word war,  They weren’t even placed!  What right do they have to be so noisy and proud of themselves?  Like I say, maybe we’ve just been unlucky.

When the music started, it was the typical middle-of-the-road stuff I hate.  Music for people who don’t like music.  However, Scamp coaxed me up to shuffle around the floor to something totally forgettable.  When we were leaving the floor she asked the singer if she could play some salsa.  Yes, she would.  She made an announcement that a couple wanted to do a salsa dance and she would play El Carnaval.  It was fast, really quite fast, but we knew it and gave it everything we had.  Not quite a perfect dance, but a good demonstration.  It certainly shut up the slimy guy who seemed to think he was John Travolta.  We got a great clap for that, then it was back to german junk and vanilla pop.  Got to keep the germans happy.  Look what happened the last twice they got upset.  We did try out our emerging Jive steps to an old Neil Diamond track and that was the end of the night.

Tomorrow we are hoping to go for a walk to the harbour.  Maybe get some food and drink on the way.

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Going to town – 5 March 2018

P1040296Today we were going in to town, Caleta de Fuste.  Not driving or bussing, just walking.

Lighter breakfast than of late.  Omelette chef is amazing.  Tossing an omelette like it was a pancake.  Never seen that done before, but will try it when we get home.  It could get a bit messy, I suspect.

After breakfast we started the trek out along the new walkway with it’s wide pavement and cycle track that zig zags its way across the sand dunes to Caleta.  It didn’t take as long as I remember it, but there was new scenery along the way.  New apartment blocks had sprung up in nice bright colours.  New restaurants had replaced old supermarkets and finally they have torn down the fish restaurant and built a new one.  I hope they’ve also torn down the attitude that if your face doesn’t fit, you don’t get what you ordered, or at least that’s the way it seemed to us when we went there a few years ago.  We walked through the town.  Scamp got some money and we had a drink in The Trafalgar.  It’s an institution in Caleta.  It used to be run by an argumentative Londoner who was always getting in a fight with his neighbours.  He was full of stories and having a drink in there was an entertainment.  Today was much calmer.  We haven’t seen him for years.  Don’t know if he went back to England like he kept threatening to do or if one of those arguments boiled over into something more sinister.  Who knows.  Scamp wanted to go there because she remembered you got a mug of coffee.  I just wanted a pint of lager and I knew you got British beer on tap, so both of us were happy.

We walked back for lunch and stopped to photograph the camels.  There have always been two camels on Caleta beach.  I think I’ve only once seen people paying for a ride on them.  Don’t know how he makes any money.  Today he seemed to spend most of his time picking up camel crap.  What a wonderful job.

After lunch Scamp was going sun bathing and I was going for a walk along the sea shore away from the town.  It’s a bit rough, with lots of sand dune areas and boulders by the sea, but if you can find a place away from the wind, it’s great to just sit there and listen to the waves crashing.  Got a few photos, but nothing startling.  On the way back I got a painting done, more of a sketch really of the little restaurant on the island off the beach.  You get to it by crossing a bridge.  We may go there for sangria tomorrow.

Back at the hotel we met up again and I went for a swim.  Scamp had already been to the pool.  Unfortunately the water was getting cold by the time I was ready for my dip, colder than yesterday I think.  That said, I did a few crossings of the pool before I came out.

Dinner was Canarian tonight, although no little yellow singing birds were in evidence.  What was there was roast leg of goat and it was really, and I mean REALLY lovely.  Like a cross between beef and pork.  Not the tough, stringy meat you’d imagine goat to be.  If I see it on a menu again I’ll definitely try it.

Entertainment tonight was Bombay Dreams.  Not the curry shop unfortunately, but a Bollywood dance quartet.  Three girls and one very camp guy gyrating and hip wiggling across the stage.  About a quarter of an hour into it, I started looking for paint that had started drying.  It was that interesting.  Unluckily for me it went on for another half an hour with wailing vocals and drum ‘n’ bass rhythm and absolutely no content.  Dire, and not a Rogan Josh in sight.

PoD?  Oh, it must be the camels.  Or as the bloke who wanders around behind them, picking up their dung, describes them.  Shits of the Desert!

Tomorrow?  Perhaps, like I said, a jug of sangria between us on the island.

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First Full Day – 4 March 2018

P1040266Woke early again, or to be more precise, were woken early by the weans next door running up and down the apartment.  Glad we did wake early because the sun was already shining and the sea was sparkling.

Went down for breakfast and after that sat outside at the pool to let it slide down.  Saw a dragonfly, a big green one.  It was on a mission and flying a circuit with no opportunity to land anywhere that I could get to, so I just watched.  Butterflies too, loads of them.  Some I’d seen in Trinidad last year and others that looked like cabbage whites. 

After we’d rested for a while we went for a walk along the front in the direction of Caleta de Fuste (AKA the town).  Loads of folk out walking, some swimming in the sea, yet more sunbathing.  Sunbathing?  A couple of days ago you were thought mad to be out without a waterproof, lined jacket, woolly hat, gloves and heavy duty boots.  Now it was tee shirt and shorts.  We only walked along to the end of the hotel section, past the posh Sheraton.  Scamp decided that was enough for a Sunday morning stroll and I agreed.  Anyway, by the time we got back it would be nearly lunch. 

Got a safe key and pool towels after lunch and went down to the pool again.  Both of us had a swim in the slightly heated pool.  Actually it’s warm enough once you’re in.  Sat a while longer to dry off before we went back to the room because it was nearly dinner time (everything revolves around food, you see).  Spent an hour trying to get a regime set up for WIndows to work with Lightroom so I could get my photos processed.  I think I’ve finally worked that out.  What is it about Win 10 that means it cannot take NO for an answer.  It still persists in trying to download the latest version.  It doesn’t seem to understand that my C: drive is only 32GB.  It persists in telling me to free up 8GB.  It doesn’t seem to understand the simple two word answer:   FUCK OFF.

After dinner entertainment was Pepe of course, followed by a magician.  Doves from up his sleeve, escapology and lady pierced by swords.  Hmm, seen it before.  Less alcohol tonight before going to bed.

Today’s PoD is of reflections and angular lines.  Very esoteric and ethereal.

Tomorrow we are hoping to go for a walk in to town.

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A cold start and an early start – 3 March 2018

IMG_4667Today began early, very early, around 5.15am, but I hadn’t slept very much the night before.  Too much stuff flying through my head, plus all the unaccustomed noise from the airport just across the road.  We just got dressed, grabbed our bags and headed for check-in.  Soon we were checked in and as usual my bag got searched at security.  This time it looked like a substance search.  Thankfully I hadn’t brought any ground coffee with me this time or it might have taken a bit longer.  It didn’t help that the reader the bloke put the sample into wasn’t working and the second machine wasn’t working either.  He eventually dropped the sample in the bin and told the senior security person that it had turned out clean, and I was through.  Overpriced breakfast at Frankie  & Benny’s then the long wait for our gate to be confirmed.  Of course we were leaving from gate 30 right at the end of the long passage way.  To confuse things even more, a flight to Budapest was leaving through gate 31 right next to ours.  Thankfully we got on the right plane and were soon up into the clouds.

Arrived at Fuerteventura after a bumpy flight got a taxi to the hotel and almost cried with delight when we saw the view from the 5th floor room looking right across the pools to the sea beyond.  Brilliant!  Got changed out of Scottish clothes and into holiday ones, then went to explore and refresh our memories of Elba Sara.


The rest of the day was spent relaxing, eating, drinking and sunbathing.  Food was just as good as we remembered it and the skies were as blue as we remembered too.  Onward and upward!


PoD is a plane we saw at Fuerteventura airport.  SmurfAir.


Tomorrow more of the same with the chance of a swim, perhaps.

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Dig for Victory – 2 March 2018

P1040263v2Scamp had checked in the morning with Tommy Cook and discovered that the flight was on at the posted time for Saturday morning from Glasgow.  All we needed was to get to the airport.  The weather was a little bit kinder, so I thought I’d try cleaning the car and see what came of that.

It took me the best part of half an hour  to clear the car of snow and another hour to dig away a path from the front wheels to the twin ruts that ran down the hill.  I wasn’t alone in my travail.  There were woolly hatted diggers everywhere this morning.  Some digging, some spreading salt grit and some just leaning on their shovels shooting the breeze.  When I came in I was tired and aching, but confident that we could break the grip of the snow. Most of the folk I spoke to were more worried about getting back UP the hill, rather than getting out.  I smiled, because that wasn’t bothering me that much.  I knew that if we got out, we wouldn’t be worrying about the return journey until next week. Scamp, meantime was trying to book us a taxi, but having entered the queue at position 9  then after 18 minutes, having reached position 4 in the queue, I wasn’t confident that we’d get a taxi, anyway unless they were driving helicopters, they were unlikely to get the up the hill and there was nowhere safe for them to stop and pick us up on the main road.  The decision was made.  We’d drive.   After lunch I went out to inspect my handiwork and was impressed with the way the salt and grit had reduced the icy snow to sludge.  Cautiously nudged the car forward, then back again and the tyres were gripping well.

The drive in to the airport was a bit of a disappointment after all the digging, spreading, working in the salt and clearing of the car.  It just worked, thankfully and we were parked up in the multi at the airport in record time.  Hotel is a bit basic.  Heating seems to be controlled through a timer and as a result the room is a bit cool, but we’re here and that’s much further than I thought we’d be last night.

There is a picture to go with this blog post, but I haven’t had time to process it yet.  Perhaps  I will tomorrow, all being well.  Scamp is happily sitting watching athletics from Manchester as I write this.  Me?  I’m just happy that all that back-breaking digging was worth the effort.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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Going Outside – 1 March 2018

Cabin fever was high today so I went for a walk in the snow

Put on my wellies and cleared a path from the front door. Thankfully the boy next door had cleared a path from their door out to the pavement, so I only had to join ours up to theirs and we were done. The snow was powdery and light and lifted easily at least it did until I trampled it with by wellies, then it compressed into slabs that were heavier, but still easy to lift with a shovel. I wanted to see just how the outside world looked in this deep, white coating. The answer was that it looked very bright and I instantly regretted not having a pair of sunglasses to hand. Why would anyone need sunglasses on the first day of March?

I walked over to Condorrat and watched the cars go by, slowly, from the bridge and watched the police erecting a ROAD CLOSED sign complete with a complement of cones on the northbound side of the M80. There weren’t many cars, lorries or other vehicles going in either direction, which was just as well as the road was down to one lane. The road over the bridge was down to one lane too with the extra hazard of a black van parked outside the bookies half on and half off the road. As I got closer I noticed that it was a satellite van and there was a film crew interviewing one of the ‘workies’ shovelling snow from the pavement in Condorrat. The news must get through, you know.

Tried in Spar for bread or milk, none. There was an enormous queue snaking all round the shop and folk with every conceivable foodstuff in their basket. Tried in the newsagents for bread and milk, none, but at least there wasn’t a queue here, so I bought a couple of bars of chocolate. It is still Thursday, even if we are almost cut off from civilisation!

Walked back and had soup for lunch. Then took Scamp out to survey the snowy scene. She was as impressed as I was with the alien landscape we walked through. This time I was wearing my cycling glasses with yellow tinted lenses. They make everything sharper and yellow (obviously) for a while and then you don’t notice the yellow, in fact you notice just round the edges, outside the frame that everything there is blue! So strange. There was a bit more traffic on the motorway but the diversion was still in place and when we walked back to the estate ring road, it looked much the same as it had when I first went out. I’d say it was down to one lane, but that would be a misnomer. There is no way you could call two slushy ruts in grey snow a ‘lane’.

Came home and fed the birds at what was the back garden. It’s now another field of white. At least there was less snow falling today and for a while it even felt as if it was thawing slightly. As I write this, around 10.30pm the temp is only -0.4ºc which is a good sign I hope

PoD is a ginger bottle (soft drinks bottle) stuck in a half meter deep snowbank.

Tomorrow, who knows. Checking websites to see what’s open and what’s not. Will keep you posted.