For five years now, Julie Mills has been running Cinders Pre-Loved Fashion, a dress agency in the heart of Algorfa. She started off in a back room in Mailpoint (now Mary Girona Dance School on Avenida Maria del Mar Rodriguez), and for the last three years has traded from the shop on the corner opposite, next to Meson Algorfa, or the Red Bar, as it’s known locally.
In case you don’t know, a dress agency is a step up from a charity shop, and the charity begins at home, in this case. You take in your good quality clothes, Julie inspects them, and if they meet her high standards, she will sell them for you on a 50/50 basis. So if that dress that’s never seen the light of day since you bought it sells for €10, you get €5 and Julie gets €5, and everyone’s happy, because your mistake is somebody else’s dream dress, and they’ve got it for a price that won’t keep them awake at night.
I’ve bought a number of things from Cinders, and I’ve been delighted with all of them, in terms of price, quality and service. Julie has a keen eye for what will suit her customers, and she has a good range of items to accessorise your new purchases as well. The shop is beautifully laid out, and it’s a pleasure to just be there, because you get a warm welcome, and there’s so much to see and appreciate. It’s a timely reminder in this challenging period that there are still a lot of good things in life.
As we all come to terms with living with Covid 19 – because it’s not going anywhere any time soon – there are lots of reasons to shop at somewhere like Cinders, rather than heading for the crowded shops in Zenia Boulevard or the Habaneras Centre. Here’s why you should head down to Cinders Pre-Loved Fashion, even if we can’t go to the ball just yet!
If you live in Algorfa or any of the surrounding urbanisations, you are no more than 10 minutes’ drive from this fabulous shop, yet it’s surprising how many locals don’t even realise it’s there. So tell your friends on La Finca, Montemar, Lo Crispin and Montebello to get down to Cinders and take a look. And yes, there is a glass slipper there, although Prince Charming is already taken!
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday, 10.00 am – 2.00 pm
Telephone: 627 19 13 13
On a hot June Morning, the moment everyone – well almost everyone – in Algorfa had been waiting for arrived. The Mayor, Manuel Ros Rodes, challenged the Lo Crispin Walking Football team to a match against the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) to kick off the annual Fiesta Fortnight.
While Algorfa’s finest – or rather those who could be persuaded to show up on the promise of a barbecue – battled it out on the pitch, the WAGS (wives and girlfriends) from both sides encouraged their teams to give of their best. And although the players outnumbered the supporters, what the WAGS lacked in numbers they made up for in decibels.
Lo Crispin’s captain Mike Cooper – aka Cooperman – was awarded the honour of refereeing the game. It was a big ask, given the budding Neymars who threw themeselves to the ground at the drop of a hat, and the general flouting of rules by kicking the ball higher than regulations allow and the sheer speed of the ‘walking’ pace. Still, it was a compliment to his refereeing skills that Cooperman only elicited the occasional comment of, ‘árbitro, ¿dónde están tus gafas?’ (Where are your glasses, ref?). And nobody questioned his parentage either, so all in all a Good Show by the Ref.
After a hard-fought game and some very bad acting in the penalty box, the Lo Crispin men emerged the victors, beating the much younger Ayuntamiento side by 6 goals to 2. I mentioned to temporary Captain Red Ray that it must be a change for him to be associated with the winning side, being a Manchester United supporter. Tears filled his eyes, and he said my remark was way below the belt. If only Ray had been the drama coach, the lads may well have picked up some extra penalty shots, because it was a pretty convincing performance.
Chatting to Cooperman at the post match barbecue, his pride in his team’s efforts was palpable. This was the third match between the Lo Crispin boys and the Ayuntamiento, and the second victory for them. When you consider that the Algorfa Ayuntamiento side had two players from the local league team, and the minimum age for the Lo Crispin lads is 55, it certainly was a creditable performance.
Lo Crispin Walking Football team practice every Monday and Thursday from 10.00 am in the Algorfa sports stadium, as well as playing in matches around the southern Costa Blanca. Check out their Facebook Page for more details, or drop into the Lo Crispin Tavern to find out more. If you’re not yet 55, ask if you can be a guest player, like young Josh – 15 – who played a blinder. It’s all about having fun in the sun with our Spanish neighbours, and you’re guaranteed a good time with the Lo Crispin lads. See you at the next prestige game.
It’s great to be back in Algorfa, even for a short while, so I’m catching up with as many people as I can. Close to the top of the ‘Must Visit’ list are Therese and Mike at the Centro Rural de Algorfa. I arrived at just the right time, because the lunchtime rush had eased, and Therese had time to sit and chat for a while. As is often the case, when we get together, the talk often moves to crystals. Therese is an enthusiastic crystal user, and like many Irish ladies, she has a touch of the psychic about her.
I was showing her my latest purchases from Antisha Angels in Playa Flamenca, and also the beautiful healing wand Glenys bought for me. If you’ve never been there, you should. What Tony and Pat don’t know about crystals isn’t worth knowing, and he’s got stuff for cutting crystals and repairing them too.
This was when Therese mentioned that she had a large clear quartz crystal from a quarry local to Algorfa. Soon after the Centro opened in 2015, a Spanish workman brought it in, and Therese fell in love with it and displayed it in one of her glass cabinets, where it could catch the late afternoon sun.
Therese wondered if Tony could make her and myself a quartz point from the stone, which was actually a mix of clear and smoky quartz. She also thought it would be good to take some more points for a couple of friends who are also into crystals, so I agreed I’d take it when I go back to Antisha Angels on Friday. I’ve already given away a couple of the things I bought to people who needed them more, and basically, that is the heart of crystal work. A crystal that has been gifted and blessed with love and healing for the recipient will always be more powerful than anything you buy for yourself.
So, we took some photos of both of us with this magnificent crystal. and then we started to look more closely at the strata in the rock, and wondering just how many years – or hundreds or even thousands of years – each layer represented. When Therese had first shown me the crystal, I’d said I thought there was a natural division that was happening, roughly in the middle, and she agreed. I’d tried to wiggle the stone a little, but nothing happened, so I thought the division would happen when Tony went to work on it. We both hoped this beautiful, natural crystal wouldn’t shatter, but obviously, we know that crystals will do what they need to do, with or without our intervention.
Therese took the crystal from me, and as she did, it separated into two almost identical pieces. We both saw this as a sign that the crystal didn’t want to be taken away from Algorfa, and that it wanted to stay with us. Therese put the brightest half back in the cabinet, to carry on attracting sunlight and entrancing the customers. I handled the other half, feeling so privileged that the crystal had clearly demonstrated what should happen to it.
Being a natural, unprocessed crystal, there was a lot of dust and sediment all over the separated half, and it was depositing itself all over my hands, and the table where we sat. From an environmental health point of view, it’s not good, so I took it into the loo to give it a wash and brush up.
Now, if you’ve ever been to the Centro, you’ll know the decor is a little on the green side, to reflect Therese’s Irish origins. And this theme is continued into the toilet, with a bright green litter bin. When I started running water over the crystal and it gave off a green glow, I thought it was a reflection from the bin, so stood between it and the sink. It didn’t make a difference – in fact the crystal glowed even greener, and the whole room had a green glow. For a moment, I wondered if I was turning into the Incredible Hulk, then I realised that Archangel Raphael was infusing the crystal with his healing green ray.
I quickly dried it off, so I could show it to Therese, and a couple of other crystal-loving friends who’d arrived for lunch. However, by the time I got to the table, the crystal was back to normal, although significantly cleaner, allowing the smoky tones to shine through.
I placed it on the table, and we all tried to hold it. There was so much energy, all we could do was just hover our hands over it for a few seconds. It was a truly remarkable, mystical and mysterious experience, but it didn’t end there – oh no!
When I got back to Piddock Place, I did the mandatory Wednesday listen to Rai Woods’ Country Rodeo on Big FM Radio, then took myself off to the bedroom to write this post. Well, that was the idea. I’ve had a bit of a creativity block recently, with things that have been happening physically and emotionally, but I was full of ideas, and wanted to get it written while everything was still fresh in my mind.
My new crystal had other ideas, though. Because I couldn’t bear to let it out of my sight, I took it into the bedroom with me, and placed it on my bedside table. I wrote the first paragraph or two of the post, then started with a brain fog. I couldn’t think straight, so I decided I must be tired from all the excitement of the crystal and the heat. Trouble was, I couldn’t sleep either. I felt sick and dizzy, and totally out of sorts.
Eventually, it clicked – the crystal’s energy was just too powerful for the room, and for me, at such close quarters. So I returned it to the lounge, in line with the front door, went back to bed, and slept for around 9 hours. I woke this morning feeling more energised than I have for the whole of this year. and seeing I was taken to hospital with pleurisy less than a month ago, that’s a pretty positive result. And I can feel the crystal’s energy following me around the house. Isn’t the Universe truly wonderful?
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Here in Algorfa, spring has definitely sprung, and it’s nothing to do with the date, or the clocks ‘springing forward’ an hour. It’s the bursting out of blossom everywhere that confirms that the long, cold winter is giving way to the balmy days of spring.
It does get cold here in Algorfa, although at least we haven’t had any snow this year. Last year, on 18 January, the Torrevieja area experienced the first snowfall almost in living memory. The last time snow fell on Algorfa was way back in 1927, so everyone – including Yours Truly – was out there taking photos and videos for posterity.
On 11 March, we headed off in the motor home to a rally, and when we returned home 5 days later, our garden was a riot of colour. There was beautiful pink blossom on the nectarine tree Tony had grown from a stone, and our orange tree – which had yielded the last of its fruit just a few days before we left – was bursting with blossom. It looks like we’re in for another bumper crop later in the year.
Paddy loves to run in the orange grove at the bottom of our road, and there, the fragrance of orange blossom is heady and intense. I now know what mind-blowing truly means. On top of all this, the jasmine which climbs lazily from our garden to the terrace is in full bloom, and again, the fragrance is overpowering, especially at night.
The jasmine plant was a moving in present from Glenys and her husband John 10 years ago, and we’re so pleased that she is staying with us and can experience her everlasting gift in all its glory. Every autumn Tony cuts it back ruthlessly, and every spring it rewards us with even more beautiful blossoms. He’s taken a couple of cuttings, which have also flourished, so we now have a wall hanging of fragrant white flowers cascading from the terrace ceiling down into the garden.
One of the few things I miss about life in the UK is the spring flowers – the daffodils, crocuses and primroses, springing up in the hedgerows, or flourishing in carefully tended gardens. Granted, we have several varieties of daffodil growing in the garden thanks to Tony, but it’s not quite the same.
That said, spring in Algorfa has its own special beauty, and it’s wonderful to step out onto the terrace in the morning. We can smell the orange blossom and jasmine as we enjoy our freshly squeezed orange juice, made with oranges from the very trees that are now assailing our senses with the fragrance of their blossom. And we know that this wonderful aroma promises a bountiful harvest in the autumn.
Walking up to the Red Chilli for lunch last week, it was breathtaking to see the beautiful splashes of yellow on the many mimosa shrubs on the new road from Algorfa to La Finca. So we have our own beautiful yellow spring flowers right here. I’ve seen mimosa in Devon and Cornwall, but not in such profusion, since it’s happier in hot climates.
Blossom time in Algorfa is truly magical. Try walking instead of driving, so you can see and smell the flowers in all their glory. And take a camera with you, to remind yourself how wonderful spring in Algorfa can be.
If you’re a regular reader and you’re sick of hearing me say this, I apologise, but it’s true, so I’ll say it again. I am so lucky to live in Algorfa. I’d never even heard of the place until we were shown the home we bought back in 2007, yet now I can’t think of any place in the world I’d rather be. Well, sailing the Carribbean with George Clooney might come close, but even then I’d rather he made the trip to Algorfa, just in case the Carribbean was a let down.
It was brought home to me yet again when I took Paddy for his customary jaunt in the orange groves. As I walked sedately after my mad mongrel, the smell of orange blossom filled my head.Judging from the quantity, the bees are going to feast royally this year.
Mount Escotera was looking sharp and clear too, with a few clouds assembling over the peak. I love this time of year, when ‘My’ mountain isn’t obscured by a heat haze, and you see different colours depending on the direction you approach from. I have literally hundreds, if not thousands, of photos of the mountain, and every one is different. I never tire of the view, which is just as well, since we can see it from our garden and terrace.
When Paddy had exhausted himself chasing rabbits, we headed back for home at a much slower pace than on the outward journey. Just as we climbed the incline above the groves, I spotted something in the middle of the road. It looked suspiciously like a snake, and indeed it was, so I approached it with caution. Incredibly, in the 9 years we’ve called Algorfa home, I’ve never seen a snake locally, although most of the neighbours have. This one was around a metre long – or 3′ 3″ in English money, and I had no idea if it was venomous or not, so I kept a sensible distance. Luckily Paddy had spotted a lizard enjoying the last of the sun under a nearby bush, so I was able to get a couple of decent photos without worrying about either or both of us becoming snake target practice.
I’m not brilliant at identifying snakes, so I posted the pics on Facebook, and it was identified as a Ladder Snake, which is apparently harmless and also a protected species. It’s native to Spain, Portugal and parts of France and Italy and it gets its name from the markings on its back, which look like the rungs of a ladder. Apparently they grow to around 160 cm, so the one we saw was probably a teenager in snake terms. Good job Paddy was so fascinated with the lizard, because protected species or not, there might have been one less of them if he’d spotted it.
I love the fact that a simple walk with Paddy can bring me so close to Nature at its best, and yield such great photo opportunities and material for the blog. So I’ll say it once more – I am so lucky to be in Algorfa in spring. Okay, I’m missing the hedgerow flowers and green fields, but my adopted home has its own brand of spring beauty. And I bet George Clooney would agree with me!