We don't have the space to carry enough novels for 12 months, so book swopping with other campers has been essential in ensuring we have enough reading matter. Many camp sites have a shelf of books available for swopping; we can leave a novel we have read and take away a new book. The books on offer vary; at Moncofa we could have stocked up on the entire Catherine Cookson collection, other sites lean towards Ken Follett style thrillers. However, the book swopping at the site in Guardamar is more to our tastes and we were excited to be able to swop 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' for a Graham Greene we hadn't read.
The Guardian is available in some towns and we have occasionally picked up local English language newspapers, aimed at the ex-pat community. These papers are similar to UK local papers; providing information on clubs and societies, photos of local events and have the inevitable readers' letters page. Typically these letters refer to a mythological
we hardly recognise, one where immigration is the biggest problem, immigrant communities fail to integrate and the British way of life is disappearing; the incomers prefer to live near to others from their home country, use their own language, open their own shops, religious organisations and societies. At no point do the writers recognise the parallels with their own lives. Britain
We took advantage of the ex-pats preference for English owned businesses and had two back tyres fitted to the van by Alfie, born in Essex obviously, at Tyres Direct, rather than tackle the transaction in Spanish. We made up for taking the soft option by attending the bingo night at the camp site, which did give us an opportunity to improve our Spanish numbers.