We were hit by this bank holiday lark before, back in May. On our first night in Colmenar we ended up getting our first evening meal from the local garage. Luckily, this time we still had most food and drink groups in (with us having doubled up), but we were running low on bread and water. (We had plenty of nibbles, whisky, wine, pate, you name it…we just didn’t have anything to go with them!)

Once the rest of the gang had left, Karen and I headed out to see what we could find. There was a petrol station before we turned up the dirt track,so we were sure they would have something. Dad was the voice of doom at breakfast.

“I remember in Wales once and on a bank holiday, even the garages were not open.”
“Yes dad, but that was in the late 70’s…we didn’t even have 3 TV channels in those days. The world has moved on, and remember, we were ok back in May.”

We arrived at the garage and it was closed. Dad 1 – Progress 0. Undeterred, we drove on to see if we could find anywhere that was open. Karen and I were getting to know the supermarkets of the area quite well. We visited 5 in our first 24 hours here…not all of them on purpose. On Saturday morning, less than 12 hours after the previous supermarket trip, we were sent out to do a “top up” shop. (NB: we didn’t need to top up anything that the Fenner Men had bought, no sireee. It was the Fenner women who had forgotten things like salt (duh) and ice (double duh)).

We had located a local Mercadona about 10 km away (so not really that local); but basically, it was down to the roundabout, right and then follow that road in a straight line for about 6 km. We did that and found the supermarket. A common conversation when on holidays is how bad the car parks are at Mercadonas. Well, it makes a change from the usual conversations that we have at home with the parents about cold callers, how awful British Gas are and the fact that students from Edge Hill keep having sex in front of their house on a weekend. It’s great that no matter how small the supermarket is, that there is a car park, but they are usually underground and are impossible to manoeuvre a car in, never mind a car you are unfamiliar with and with the steering wheel on the wrong side. Luckily only 50% of that last statement was true as I was in the Rio.

We had to wait to get in, as it was a one in, one out system and then when we did eventually get in, someone had parked about 2 feet the wrong way and caused a total log jam. There were people tooting, drivers getting out of their cars; much excitement. We only had an hour’s free parking and it was 20 minutes before I had even got the car parked into a tight space millimetres from the wall. I often wondered why Mercadona sold such a wide range of car touch-up paint. Thinking about it now, it makes complete sense.

Once we had shopped, we headed back. I turned the sat nav off as it was basically just along a straight road and left at the roundabout. However, we hadn’t got the magic shopping item, the golden snitch, the piece de resistance, the main thing; the double raspberry Magnums, the birthday girl’s favourites. We stopped at Consum which was en route (which we had been warned was a bit expensive. I imagined Waitrose but really it was like a large Londis) but no luck. We continued along the straight road waiting for the left turn, but we we both sort of drifted off. I have no idea how long we travelled but at at roundabout Karen suddenly screamed “Dia Maxi. They may have Magnums”. This was great…only we hadn’t passed a Dia Maxi on the way here. We went in, and indeed they did have the raspberry Magnums, but I Googled our location and found out we had daydreamed our way 10km off course! Our left turn was was miles back. Still, we had found the birthday girl’s Magnums.

However, on a Bank holiday Monday, there was no chance of Dia, Mercadona or Consum being open, so we continued our search for an open garage. Eventually we found one in the village of Historica. It was a Repsol garage (which being a big fan of Moto GP, Karen insists on calling Repsol Honda. I think she thinks that Mark Marquez and Danny Pedrosa serve behind the counter during the week). We had hit the jackpot, it was open! It had water and even had an oven turning out fresh bread. Yep, we have moved on a lot since Wales in the 1970’s.