Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cinderella Sunday - Whinge, moan, grumble and complain

Sunday morning, early - most other people are still snoring, but not me, I’m listening to my washing machine proudly announce the programme I’ve chosen while loading the first of three washes. A brief interlude, of coffee and chat with The Artist before he leaves to spend the day painting for his December exhibition, and it’s back to the grindstone.
What feels like the rest of my day is spent in the kitchen cooking for the next few days, hanging out washing, bringing in washing, mopping the floor, dusting, organising news items in preparation for our usual Monday deadline rush, and oh joy, I still have a little free time to iron.
Am I complaining? Of course I am. Like anyone else I’d like to spend the day slothing over a Sunday paper before easing myself out of the armchair to sit down to Sunday lunch, followed by an even more slothful afternoon in front of the telly, sewing – whatever….
Still – I don’t have to walk three kilometres to get water, we eat every day … and there is free medical care available 24/7. So I shouldn’t complain, I know. I should find the positive side to this situation and change my mental chip. But I don’t want to – I want to have a 46-year-old paddy and throw myself on the floor and yell it’s not fair.
Not a good example to the kids I know.
And having got that off my chest – I must leave you and turn my attention to a hot drier which is giving the finishing touch to my still damp washing before I tackle the ironing. Do I know any men who spend their Sundays like this? And if not – am I stupid? Rhetorical questions – so no replies please.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bugsville, Spain

Soon to be a view of the past

Sadly the wildlife outside in the garden doesn't just rear its ugly head in spring. Today I killed a small scorpion by the rubbish bin. I didn't enjoy it but I decided that I wasn't up for a reunion inside the house. Shortly afterwards I came face to face with my first, and rather large (5 cms or so) red palm beetle, weevil, mite or whatever, clinging to one of my new curtains. It was a soul-destroying moment. The Artist claimed he had seen one two weeks ago in the garden but I hoped against hope that he was mistaken. However when a neighbour told me she had found one floating in her pool, I resigned myself to the fact that I am going to lose my palm trees. Today this new sighting has confirmed my fears. The whole of the coast and inland is suffering a real plague of these destructive little b**gers as they suck the life out of palm trees before moving on to fresh pastures. So, here in their honour, before they start to lose their wonderful fronds, are two of my three palm trees.
The culprit

Monday, October 22, 2007

Awesome view from hilltop hotel

QUITE a breathtaking view and so was the road to get here, just above the village of Tolox, with sheer drops on one side and deep ditches on the other. Incredibly on the horizon we could see a darker blue patch and the more we squinted our eyes, the more convinced we were that it was the sea - some 50 kilometres away. It has been a magical day, full of shared memories and experiences to put away in our treasure box and bring out to relive again in the future. Getting away from all the drudge and responsibilities was energising. We've decided that we need to take to the road more often.  Click on the photo to make it bigger if you want to enjoy the view.

The Artist recharges his batteries

How relaxing green is. Looking across the mountainside at the pine forest we could see the afternoon sun searing through gaps in the foliage to touch the ground. Grey green mixed with yellow green, blue green, dark green, light green, green turning orange - sunlight turning one tree several different greens, shady green, shadowy green, bright sunlight green. From a distance they all make up one green mass but like everything, when you look closer, the subtle differences come forward and become obvious. Like everything in life, it just depends on your point of view.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Appreciating rain clouds over my house

I have just had the luck to come across

Quite amazing. I'd like to include here one of Soanya's entries because I think she sums up appreciation so well. It is something that would do me good to read every day. They are a couragous, or perhaps slightly mad, couple. I shall be following their progress regularly.

"Appreciation is an interesting concept. To consciously acknowledge your environment, the people around you and the events life puts before you as fortunate is like making every day Thanksgiving Day. Sometimes it's hard to even know that you've got it good until it's gone and you feel the absence. Appreciation makes you observe the details, to attempt to see what you haven't noticed before and be glad that you finally did notice it. It makes life richer and is not the kind of thing you need to spend money on. To always have a reverent state of mind is the most fulfilling and the moment you operate out of that state, life gets more difficult to deal with."

Life is full of surprises

LIFE is full of surprises, or perhaps I should say the post box is. Hardly a day goes by without some fast-moving reptile or insect shooting out as I put my hand in to pick up the mail. Today, gingerly, I opened the flap and something yellow, black and furry buzzed away. I think it was a bee, but it could have been a wasp. Inside by the lock, the beginnings of a nest. Summing up great courage I destroyed it. Much to my relief nothing else moved. Never in a hundred years did I dream that getting mail was so hazardous. I'll have to start getting the children to pick it up (wicked witch laugh)...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lying back and thinking of England

ALTHOUGH out of chronological order - I wanted to share this restful and familiar view of the green outback, or in this case, outfront at MH. If only I could see it more often. It's impossible to get up in a bad mood after seeing this. If you want to make any of the pictures bigger - just click on them.

Tom Tom Go

AS I've managed to catch Tom, the stray who adopted us, on camera too I thought I'd introduce him. Ever since he's been coming over to the food bar at the kitchen window, he has blossomed from a frightened, skinny, abandoned waif to the glossy, confident, ankle-nipping chap he is today. I'm surprised our relationship didn't end when I whisking him away to the vet to have his balls chopped off. But today he's a lot happier for it and can dedicate himself 100 per cent to fattening up and lazing around without having to worry about what the ladies might think. A bit like the average middle-aged man.

In theory, I'm still looking to home him - and will probably have to when the cooler weather comes as The Artist is allergic to cats and it's just not fair on him to bring another one in. Only Kitty has avoided the camera this time. She's finding the heat hard to deal with and moves very little. It's hard to remember that she is an old lady as she is still lithe and agile.

Life's tough

LIFE'S tough for a cat in this household where their biggest decisions are: Shall I get up? Shall I eat some more? Where's the coolest spot? Where's the warmest spot? Shall I sleep here? there? or in the lavender bush? It is easy to see how Socki gets so stressed out. Here's a picture of him looking completely out of his box after a day of challenging decisions. I have to say, he makes Garfield look like some kind of athletic feline superhero. So here he is - our village's feline philosopher - doing a few neck stretches to tone up his triple chin.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Born to be rich...and fat

WELL, here I am into my third day at MH and you just can’t believe how easy it is to slip into a-do-nothing mode. I’ve decided, rather unsurprisingly, that a life of luxury is for me. Today, after the unappetising waft of meals-on-wheels, M&D and I were struck by severe hunger so we fell into the nearby Royal Dragon. Mmmmmm, excellent. I’ve included a picture of me just after lunch. M&D looked just the same but I couldn’t squeeze all three of us into the camera lens. Otherwise my stay has been sleep, eat, quilt, quilt, quilt, unpick, unpick. Today as I’ve reached my sleep and eat targets so I’d better waddle off to the quilting room….

Porked out

Me after Peking duck, sweet and sour pork, bird's nest of beef, huge prawns, fried rice, prawn crackers... I was completely 'stuff-ed'. Time for tea then?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Body count rises

THE body count rises to include one more cadaver. A rat this time.  Was it you Tom? I do hope so - your industrial feeding is making your upkeep expensive - the least you can do is zap the odd rat.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Miss Kitty takes a rest from spring hunting

Washing up liquid

AT THE check-out in the supermarket this afternoon, whiling away time as you do, while the queue moves slowly forward to the pulsating peep, peep, peep of the bar code reader - I noticed that the couple in front of me had bought washing up liquid. Whether this was before or after the till girl rang for assistance, standing and holding up a box of Durex contoured condoms, to ask the price - I can't remember. I can only remember how glad I was that it wasn't me. Anyway, back to the washing up liquid - Some bright spark had thought to call it 'Exotic Washing Up Liquid'.
What is exotic about washing up? It certainly isn't in our house. Even if the liquid smelt of Caribbean islands, Chanel No 5 or passion fruit salad, washing up would not be exotic. In any case it convinced the couple up front. Let's hope the condoms do too. A sort of exotic, erotic shopping trip. Who would have thought that a visit to the local Lidl could offer so much. Struck by curiosity I was dying to rush back and find out what 'exotic' smells like but I was trapped by the trolley behind me. Another day perhaps... or there again, perhaps not.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Great looking grass

Thoroughly recommend grass-ripping-out to relieve stress. Not only do you feel better, but you get great pleasure out of the rough physical effort, and to boot - a great looking lawn... what more could I want.. actually...

Body count goes up

SADLY our body count has gone up - it's now four mice, one bird, two lizards and one sales director - Oh sorry, how silly, it must have been wishful thinking. Well, here we are at the thankful end to a difficult working day, but nothing life threatening so I must be grateful for that. Following a little grass-ripping-out session I now feel a lot calmer.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A true portrait

A true portrait of daily office hysterics. I'm the one in red at the top lefthand side (I think...)
SON had a slight medical problem so I rang his doc this afternoon, thinking they’d be open but I was too quick or they were late. In any case, I got the answerphone. Instead of the usual “leave a message” spiel, a metallic male voice said “Memory full, please call later”.

Isn’t that wonderful! If a machine can have a full memory, then surely I, a middle-aged blonde qualify on a regular basis to use the same phrase. I think so. So from now on, I shall just say that when things become too much. “Mum?…” “Sorry, memory full, please come back later”….

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A splodge of geranium fuzzy-felt fuschia

Garden body count

GLORIOUS Sunday. Cool breeze coming off the Mediterranean, sky blue, sun hot, shade deliciously cool and all the flowers are out in the garden - even the grass is still looking green. Sneaking around watering every two days now. Like I said before, no hosepipe ban but I still feel guilty as there are other parts of Andalucia that have water restrictions - so I try to be careful.
Sadly spring brings its usual garden body count as the cats sharpen their nails and hunting skills. So far four mice, one bird, one lizard and, thankfully, no snakes. Kitty is top for birds, Socki for mice and Tom? Who knows. On a very windy evening last week we came home to find Kitty had cornered a rather large baby blackbird. Luckily, with Mini Mama's screaming and flaying (distracting Kitty's attention) - it got away. Son picked up Socks and put him inside. Then he and I watched the hilarious spectacle of lithe Kitty running around the garden with Mini Mama thundering about behind her, trying to catch her. Finally, cunning won over speed - and in the house they came and we hoped the night would enable the blackbird to make it back to safety. No body - so looks like it did.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Lip Service

WHAT an experience! A couple of days off work and there I was with my mother and daughter (known to her inner family circle as Mini Mama on account of her being a smaller version of me) trawling the store I love to hate – El Corte Ingles. Love to hate because its overpriced and the shop assistants have no idea what customer service means. But mum loves it and she was only here for a short visit. While she tried on clothes I wandered over to some lipsticks claiming to pump up your lips to grouper fish size. What fun! I’d heard about them but never seen any before. With a less than generous upper lip I was game to try so while the shop assistant slapped on one she swore by – I chose another. Then we stood there for a while and watched how each other’s lips got redder and more swollen. On the inside, it felt like I’d kissed a stinging nettle. Not unpleasant but not something I’d like to go through on a regular basis. I thanked the girl, saying I’d be back another day and wandered back to mum. My daughter caught me up. She could see some difference. I definitely felt like a grouper fish by now but it was more apparent to me than to others.

The 'after' photo

The 'after' photo. Despite fat lips I really didn't feel at my most attractive

Monday, May 28, 2007

BY JEEVES, I think I've done it - I've worked out how to get one and a half space interlining, and all on my own. Or have I? Nope - seems like I haven't What have I done? Who knows? I don't. I guess I'll have to publish this and see what happens. The beauty is you can rub it out afterwards. To finish up, I'm going to include a photo that I love. It's the Faro de Trafalgar (of battle fame)on the Cadiz coastline in southern Spain. The beaches are wide, the pace is laid back, the Atlantic sea fresh and in the wrong places, treacherous - but it's the best place around here for chilling out. 

Friday, May 25, 2007

London in three days

Riding at the top of a double decker -
Trafalgar Square here we come!

WE MADE a lightening trip to London at the end of February. What a buzz - back in the centre of the real world just for a few days. Adios Spanish suburbia, hola big city. The Artist was on a mission to visit every art gallery and museum that was open. I was hoping for a rather slacker pace. 
He almost managed his objective but I did slow him down every time I succeeded in squeezing in a quick coffee somewhere before being whisked off to the next exhibition. If you're up for burning your throat, have tireless legs and just can't get enough of virgins, Renaissance landscapes and religion then it's fine. We saw truly beautiful paintings, others were awe-inspiring and then there was stuff that you just wondered how it had made it into a museum. I was OK with most of the contemporary work until I saw the red-triangle-on-purple-background legpullers that just don't do it for me.
I also sneaked into the gift shop at the Tate Britain and National Gallery but was very restrained, buying just two books - one on Turner and another on Impressionists. Which is just as well as I already have a shelf full of unread art books.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May rain, deadlines and non-starter diets

RAIN. What a luxury to wake, so late in spring, to the plop, plop, plop of water dropping from a broken drainpipe. Everything's soaked so no need to sneak around the garden watering the grass, at least not for two or three days. There’s no hosepipe ban but I still feel guilty. A wet-earth scent invades the air and it smells so good. Almost healing. Temperature is down so I can wear sleeves and cover up bulging-wrestler arms, at least today.
It's an early start at the office today so I drag bod out of bed. First day of new diet so exercise must accompany it so I walk to work with much huffing and puffing, as the route is mainly up hill.
Diet stopped at 10. The American brought in excellent homemade chocolate cake. It'd be rude to say no.
The American has also discovered some first class crisps, the good old, fried in a ton of oil, Spanish ones. He brought those in too. Diet finally shot to pieces when I realised I couldn't make it home for lunch so ordered fat-ladden sausage and bacon buttie on white bread from English bar next door. Must be stress-eating, or maybe it's just because I decided to start diet today.