God the price of Gas.

I knew it was coming and I should have dealt with it a few weeks ago when we were in Mojacar and we had a Ferreteria on our doorstep.

We intended to be leaving today and move on up the coast. Jaki has been a bit restless here, there isn’t apparently enough to do (though when asked what it is she wants to do she shrugs and say’s; ‘I dont really know’ then talk’s about ‘walking around a village or going to the market’, which she could actually do just as well at home).

So she decided it was time to move on.

However, finding the next stop isn’t as easy as it would appear especially if you’re bored sitting on the beach and want to ‘walk around a village and go to the market’.

That doesn’t seem to be one of the key selling points for the camp sites advertised in the ACSI book!

By the time we had gone through the books and tried to compare them to the on line maps, it was too late to make a decision so we decided to stay here an extra day to allow us to find our next port of call!

The maps in the ACSI book don’t match up with Google maps, which is a shame. In fact the whole lay out of ACSI book and it’s maps is s bit amateurish !

So, when I got up this morning, instead of starting to pack I was looking for something to eat for breakfast, and there wasn’t much.

I decided I couldn’t face the last few Shreddies that were hiding at the bottom of the box, especially as we had no sugar and had run out of honey, so I tried to light the grill to toast the last few dry pieces of bread we had left over from Wednesday.

But alas, It wouldn’t light and it soon became clear we had run out of Gas!

Not some thing that should warrant a mention in a travel blog you might think, but like most things, it took on a whole new meaning here in Spain.

The normal Gas bottle in the UK can be purchased from many suppliers and they tend to be fairly bog standard, but when you run out of gas here in Spain it starts to get complicated.

See: https://www.backpackinglikeaboss.com/gas-bottle-refills-spain/

The bottles are different, and it might even be that the actual gas is different too, though if Im honest, I haven’t really gotten my head around it fully.

What I do know is the actual fitting (the regulator) that goes on the bottle is different to the fitting that I currently have on my UK gas bottles. So, in order to get a new bottle here in Spain I expected to have to purchase a new regulator too.

I decided the best thing would be to go and ask he lady in reception who spoke very good English. Sadly when i arrived at the office i was met by two very nice ladies who spoke reasonable English but who failed to grasp the technicalities of Corgi regulations which was beyond them and my Spanish wasn’t up to plumbing instructions.

However, after a rather intense game of charades I was able to get them to understand my requirements.

Unlike Camp sites in the UK that have a shop that sells accessories, Pegs, Gas and the odd tube of glue, none of the sites we have chosen to date offer anything like this and it required a visit to the local hard ware shop.

The Ladies made some phone calls and then explained to me that the only one shop in the whole town that actually sold gas bottles was Optimus Feretteria and they gave me a map showing where it was.

One of the nicer roads I cycled through,

It seemed a long ride but it had to be done, so after loading the route onto my phone I set off down the cycle path into the town and then right up through the centre, out the other side. Eventually I came out on a dual carriageway which climbed a very steep hill where I found my destination was the very last building on my left before I joined the motorway.

I was very hot and sweaty when I entered what was very much like a huge B & Q so I wasn’t surprised that most people chose to avoid me. I went through the check outs and found the Customer service desk and asked the lady if they sold Camping Gas?

She shrunk back, hid behind her perspex screen and pointed in the general direction of the store whilst shouting some thing completely indecipherable at me that sounded very much like. “Fuck off smelly”.

I went to the far end of the store where there was yet another desk with a perspex screen but this time there was no one behind it. I loitered a while but no one seemed to be serving so I decided to have a bit of a look round. Eventually i found a BBQ section and there were some small cans of gas, the sort you would use on a blow torch and I approached a lady tapping furiously at a till.


She looked at me slightly strangely, shouted some thing that sounded like. “Fuck off Smelly” and pointed back in the direction I had just come.

So I went back to the desk, loitered around again and watched as three different customers got served in front of me.

Now, I’m nearly 70, I’m a bit over weight and I haven’t done any Karate since i was in my 20’s but i decided enough was enough and I sucked in my stomach, stuck out my chest and pushed into the front of the queue.

Clutching a picture of a gas bottle on my mobile phone I shoved it in front of the only staff member still standing and asked if they sold camping Gas?

This obviously worked and the next moment he appeared with a gas bottle small enough to fit in my back pack. Oh and I had better have a regulator too I reminded him.

He reappeared with the appropriate regulator, gave me a card which recorded my purchase and told me to pay on the way out.

At the Check out I paid using my credit card, forced the bottle and the regulator into my back pack and made for the door with “Fuck Off Smelly’ ringing in my ears.

The ride home was a bit uncomfortable as the bottle didn’t fit very snugly and it was bloody heavy, but my sense of achievement carried the day.

As I rejoined the cycle path which runs along side the railway line I was feeling good.

I became aware of a familiar smell, the smell of Privet Hedge which instantly took me back to my youth, when I used to stay with my Grandparent in their flat in Marlborough Hill, right in the centre of Bristol. Below even was Bristol Wire Rope and Georges Brewery.

At that time the centre of Bristol and especially the area around my Gran’s flat was full of ‘Bomb Sites,’ the result of Intense bombings during the second world war.

These were the Adventure playgrounds of my youth.

Derelict houses, with skeletal beams and tumble down walls were common place. What is now the BRI was once a waste ground of strewn rubble and in every crack seeds would grow. Buddleia and privet grew everywhere. The smell of these shrubs instantly takes me back to a time of ‘Stone fights’ organised by Mike Throne who lived above LLewellen Gears in Kings Square and ‘Dares’ that required the young Bill H to walk across the roof beams of a damaged house without falling into the cellar.

I remember My Gran and Grandad talking about someone they knew who was buying up Bomb Sites at £100 a time, which my Gran thought was completely insane! Imagine how much money that guy actually made when redevelopment came along?

My Grand Parent were bombed out 4 times during the war and had to move to a different house and start again each time. What resiliance?

Strange to think the centre of Bristol was a waste land as a direct result of German Bombing even as late as the 1950’s ?

When we moved to Sea Mills in the mid sixties, every house on the estate had a privet Hedge all round the garden, front and rear and it was a requirement of the tenancy to keep it trimmed and neat. Due to the constant cutting they never really produced much flower, so the smell doesn’t remind me of those days quite so much.

That smell is Hot Tar, but that’s another story.

So once I got back to the van I swapped the bottles around and connected my new bottle to the Paella burner.

It was only then I realised I already had a regulator that fitted my new bottle. Should I take it back?

I think not!


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