Friday, November 6, 2009

Weather today

After yesterday's touch of the 'verbals' I'm keeping it short today...
Weather today: In a nutshell - windy. Temperatures have dropped - whoppeeee, at last.
Cloudy start but mostly sunny from mid-morning with a High 17ºC/63ºF Low 11ºC/52ºF. Northeast wind 29km/h (It felt more). Pressure 1018 mb. Relative humidity 61%. UV index: 3.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's the wisteria way



LIFE is full of surprises. Like this afternoon. I kept hearing a kind of cracking then stone-pinging noise coming from the terrace. Ting, ping, pang, ching - One, then another, then silence for a while, then another, then two or three. I had to cock my head and tune in to pin down the source. I saw some leaves russle over to my left just as I heard another paaang. It took me a minute or two to work out that the wisteria seed pods were bursting and sending seeds scattering over the ground and the garden. There were so many that you
couldn’t sit anywhere near the pergola without being hit. A horticultural battle field.

The wisteria is eight or nine years old and I’ve never heard it like today – with all the pods bursting one after another.

I ventured cautiously out to take a closer look and saw the floor littered with burst pods. Another one cracked almost overhead and sent its seeds flying, and me back to the kitchen. I never knew it was such an explosive affair. So I looked on the internet and came across this enlightening piece at

Popping Wisteria Seeds Pods!
by: Allen Buchinski
It’s autumn, and that means my wisteria seeds will soon be popping! If you’ve ever seen this happen, you know exactly what I mean, but if you don’t have wisteria in your yard, it’s likely that you’re not aware of the phenomenon.
We all know that plants spread their seeds using different mechanisms; some of the most common methods are distribution by wind, water, and animals. But the most fascinating, at least to me, is explosive dispersal, where a seed pod pops open and flings its seeds away from the plant. The evolutionary explanation for this is to prevent overcrowding of seedlings around the parent plant, giving them the light and space they need to mature.The pea-like pods, unremarkable from an ornamental perspective, are often overlooked in a profusion of vigorous leaf growth, especially because they’re green until they mature into 4-6 inch long hard shells. The pods turn brown as they dry on the vine. It’s after that drying process is complete that the fun begins, that and a hot Indian summer day.
It’s on those hot days that the seed pods are most likely to explode, typically later in the day after they’ve had a chance to absorb the most heat. If you have patience, you can sit and watch it happen. Look for empty husks where there weren’t any before (next to a lawn or walkway is perfect for this), then sit and watch. In fact, it’s more accurate to say “sit and listen”, because it practically impossible to be watching one when the moment occurs. It’s kind of like listening to the first few kernels of popcorn pop, the noise is a sharp crack followed by the sound of seeds landing away from the plant. If the wisteria is near a building, you can catch the sound of seeds bouncing off windows or walls, when it’s near a driveway or street, you can hear the seeds skitter across the surface.
The force of the explosion is truly remarkable; enough so that I don’t look directly at the plant if I’m not wearing glasses. I’ve seen a seed come to rest a full 70 feet from the plant, starting no more than 8’ off the ground and landing in the street (which starts 35’ from the plant), coming to rest against the curb on the far side. It’s exciting to see!
So how does it work? Forces build up inside the pod during the drying process, and when strong enough, the pod pops. The best description I’ve seen states: “as a pod dries, tensions are set up in the wall of the pod eventually causing it to split along two lines of weakness. As the two halves curl back, suddenly released like a tense spring, they flick out the seeds inside in an explosive manner.”1
You don’t need a hot day for the process to happen, it’s just that those days speed the drying process. If you take the pods and set them aside to dry, it’s just a matter of time before they pop; inside or out. Or you can speed up the process by putting the pods into the oven. The photo above shows the result of doing just that. The twisted halves of the pod, demonstrating the forces that had built up, are clearly evident. It’s a bit like running a pair of scissors along one side of a ribbon, where the uneven stretching causes the ribbon to twist and curl. In this case it’s the drying causing it to happen.
Plants serve all types of purposes. And while food and decoration are the most common, it’s kind of nice to find one that also provides entertainment!

He explains it so well, doesn't he? Come spring we should see quite a few offspring.
Weather today: Warm, warm, warm. Far too warm for this time of year which is why the wisteria probably went mad. At 11pm this evening it was still a balmy 22ºC - that's 72ºF for you farenheit folk. Officially - Sunny with a High 22ºC/72ºF Low 12ºC/54ºF. Variable breeze 12km/h. Pressure 1015 mb. Relative humidity 46%. UV index: 3 (can still get burnt if you're fair-skinned).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happiness is a spring onion

THIS could be hard to explain, but if you have lived in a foreign country you’ll know just how much people miss their home comforts.

Expats, when asked what they miss about home, always say (first, and with some resignation), family. It is, after all the expected reply. Then they say friends, and lastly they’ll reel off a short list, at great speed and with gathering enthusiasm, of their favourite food. Their eyes glaze over as they relive those sublime moments when they last bit into a freshly grilled Cumberland sausage or crunched the batter on cod ‘n’ vinegar-soaked chips.

It’s an age-old formula. And it’s true of any nation.

News had reached me that a large supermarket, stocked to the brim with British goodies, had opened nearby. I hadn’t been enticed. These places usually have the stock selection of Marmite, Cook-in-Sauces and Heinz soups. I can live without those. But a recent, long-overdue lunch invitation to my Spanish ‘in-laws’, (known in Spanish as familia politica which sums it up in a nutshell) sent me off in search of exotic guiri foodstuffs to knock their socks off.

I took The Artist with me to keep me in check. Our first trip to this temple of Britishness was surreal. Aisle after aisle full of expats happily torn between so much choice.
It’s sad I know, but I’ve waited almost 30 years to be able to buy spring onions in Spain and here I was living the moment. After that it just got better and better. Cheshire cheese, fruity herbal teas, sickly ice-cream soda, ginger beer! We came away laden down, me feeling hugely comforted by all these long-lost familiar ‘friends’and The Artist wondering whether he should get a Spanish girlfriend.

Yesterday I returned and in anticipation pushed the door open, ready to pounce again on the spring onions. It was then I noticed stacks and stacks of fresh eggs. Imported from the UK. I stood there for a minute trying to work out the logic of importing fragile eggs all the way from Britain when there are chickens just around the corner. But I couldn’t.

In fact, there were quite a few things that could be easily bought at Spanish supermarkets at a lower price but everyone is free to spend their money how they like. I’m not sure whether the cats here can appreciate the difference between Spanish cat food and imported Whiskas but it is on offer all the same.

I started to hone in on other incongruent items. Trawling the massive freezer section I came across the winner. Frozen vegetable and chorizo kebabs. Chorizo that had been made in Spain, of course. Shipped to the UK. Strung on a stick with veggies. Frozen, and shipped back to Spain to a British supermarket to be devoured by Brits, living in Spain. I’m still trying to figure this out, but coals to Newcastle is a phrase that keeps coming in to my head.

Still, I wish the supermarket a long and very successful life, which judging by the hordes of hungry Britons there yesterday, is almost guaranteed. We may be in the middle of a recession, but who can resist a little of what they fancy, from time to time.

Weather today: It's very early so it's hazy but the sun is up and it will probably be a glorious cloudless day. The rain in Spain is definitely staying on the plain today and forecast to miss the coast. High 29ºC/83ºF Low 19ºC/66ºF. Barely noticeable breeze 7km/h. Pressure 1014 mb. Relative humidity 58%. UV index: 7.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Summer is coming to an end...

Who would have thought that an ice cream or two could do this to a girl?

SUMMER is just a terrible time to diet. When you're not downing the G&Ts then you're having a congratulatory beer (reasons are varied: Mowed the lawn; It's the weekend; Just because etc). Alcohol makes me hungry. Hungry for carbs not lettuce. It's pretty much a chain reaction. Alcohol=carbohydrates=another kilo on the hips/waist/tummy/dinner-lady-arms. That's not to mention the ice creams, the long fried fish lunches on the beach, toes dug deep into the cool sand while you wipe the garlic sauce from the plate with French bread (sigh)...
And so to the groaning scales I go, to confirm what I already knew. My weight has gone up and I need a plan with military precision and determination, not to mention discipline if I am to succeed. I've had a week of mentally acclimatising myself (no weight loss though) and next week I shall go to the sports centre to see if my beloved Aquagym classes are back. Tragically this may not be enough and I could have to bare flesh in the proper gym. Will my fellow 'gymnasts' be able to cope. We shall see.
Soo, what do you think about the video below eh? Impressive? I'm quite chuffed. I've been trying to figure out for months how to put a video on my blog. And today I've finally worked it out. Not bad for a blonde. Now I have to see if I can post one of my own videos rather than one off internet.

Weather today: Overcast and muggy although this evening's a tad less humid and the sun is out. High 29ºC/83ºF Low 19ºC/66ºF. Despite the clouds, zilch chance of rain. Light southerly wind 11km/h. Pressure 1015 mb. Relative humidity 49% (Find that hard to believe). UV index: 7.

One lucky penguin

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My furry friends

Sockiboloski reading MY paper before ME.... What audacity..

Ayy, Minimama when are you coming home?

IT'S LATE and I'm tired so I'll be brief. I just wanted to share these two photos of my furry friends, both taken today. Kitty was obviously missing Minimama so she sat on the pine trunk in my bedroom and stared at a photo I have of Cookie when she was younger. It was a rather magic moment. Early Sunday morning and the air was still cool. I'd just got back into bed with a cup of freshly made coffee and was about to pick up my current book (Gerald Brenan/The Face of Spain) luxuriating in the knowledge that there was nothing I had to get up for. Outside I could hear horses' hooves as riders passed up our street en route for the village annual romeria (it's when the natives go folkloric and traipse into the countryside with our local virgen to enjoy song, wine and tapas. A Spanish knees up and great fun).

The other photo, of our rather intellectual Mr. Boloski, was taken after lunch when tradition dictates feet up for half an hour, and in my case a spot of work, going through the day's local and national press to see what stories are breaking. Old Socki was just lending me a hand by reading the Spanish national El País. As you can imagine he was a great help. He manages to nod off even faster than The Artist, who I believe must hold a world record for falling asleep in seconds.
Weather today: Hot but a nice cool breeze, quite pleasant in the shade and not like yesterday's sauna - High 28ºC/82ºF Low 19ºC/66ºF. A few clouds around but zilch chance of rain. Light southwesterly wind 14km/h. Pressure 1010 mb. Relative humidity 53%. UV index: 8.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

To go or not to go, that is the question...

Err, does this say how ill I am?
AND LASTLY, at least for today, I’d just like to share this thought with you. An agency headline in the papers today quoted a Catalan regional government press release, saying - The latest fatal Swine Flu victim went to hospital “too late”.

That’s eight dead in Spain, and counting… of course.

So what do you do if you think you have Swine Flu? See a doctor, no?

Err, don’t think so, at least not initially. We’ve been advised recently by the Spanish health service, through the media, to stay away from health centres and hospitals unless we are really ill (a bit of a dodgy one that, as we’ve no thermometer that says if we are - a little ill, quite ill, ill, looking pretty sick, really ill, seriously ill or just about to pop our clogs)

We’re told not to block up our GP’s waiting room and generously share our germs with our long-suffering doc and other patients. The message is clear – stay away, at least initially. Until what? Until it’s “too late”?

Difficult one, isn’t it? If I feel ill, if I have Swine Flu symptoms, do I see a doctor and get diagnosed, thus aiding a speedy recovery or do I wait until I feel desperately ill and take a chance I might not get better?

Is Swine Flu more of a killer than our usual winter run-of-the-mill flu that does the rounds? It doesn’t appear to be yet. Do we usually see a doctor when we have flu? I guess not, unless we are really ill… What would you do?

Hot July

AS YOU'LL have guessed by now, I am a bit of a weather friki so just had to include this snippet – and as the coastline is just heaving with tourists baring pasty winter flesh (yes, even the Spaniards) to turn a golden brown, I've included a snap from our very short holiday last week (more about that another time if you're unlucky...)

July registered the highest average temperatures in this area since 1949. Nine alerts of forecasts for temperatures of more than 40 degrees were issued by meteorologists during the month and the average daily maximum was 32.3 degrees. The average minimum was 22 degrees, just half a degree less than during July 2008.

Am I grateful for the aircon, or what…

Weather today: Hot and sweaty - High 32ºC/90ºF Low 23ºC/73 ºF. Early morning sea mist along the coast that was soon burnt off by the sun. Not a cloud in the sky. Light southwesterly wind 15km/h. Pressure 1015 mb. Relative humidity 51%. UV index: 10.

Tragic run

Ermitaño takes umbrage but the runner survived
Chaos as Ermitaño ploughs into runners
SO MUCH has happened since I last blogged. Too much to put in one entry, your eyes would just cross. My middle name should have been Keepmeaningto.

Tragically, the day after I wrote my last entry on San Fermin, a young man from Madrid was killed. Twenty-seven-year-old Daniel Jimeno was an experienced runner and aficionado de toros, but was in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the Jandilla bulls, by the name of Capuchino, gored Daniel in the neck, severing an artery. The medical team moved swiftly and got him to the operating theatre in record time, but the surgeons couldn’t save him.

Ten more runners were injured, most of them by the same bull. One was a 60-year-old American who had a serious head injury. Americans, and foreigners in general, are notorious for getting hurt in San Fermin. Either from lack of experience or sheer foolhardiness. This was one of the worst encierros I have seen.

Two days later (it’s an 8-day affair) a Miura bull named Hermitaño took umbrage with another experienced runner, just outside the bullring, and attacked him continuously, despite other men’s efforts to distract the beast. From the TV footage you’d never think the runner’d survive – but he did, despite being gored twice and thrown around like a sack of potatoes. It is always a question of luck – good or bad – on where they get gored that determines whether they survive.

Moving on –

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A load of bull

I CAN'T begin to describe how San Fermin got under my skin – it just did. The first time I remember getting hooked was nine years ago, while we were in the middle of a building frenzy on the house, although I’m sure I watched it before then, on and off. But for the last nine years, I’ve only ever missed watching the running of the bulls through Pamplona’s historic streets at the beginning of the July, if I’ve been ill.

From July 7 at 8am for half an hour each morning, until July 14, I’m just not there for anyone. The Hockey Star used to watch it with me, but since he’s become a fully fledged teenager, it gets in the way of his sleeping through ‘til lunchtime. In any case, he was always very censorious of me, because I ooh and aah (as you do) if someone gets tossed by a bull or if a mound of men pile up in front of the oncoming horns. And he can’t stand the fact that I sing the chant to the Virgen along with the runners before the race starts. Just a party pooper – no fun. Minimama has never professed any interest but it could have something to do with the date coinciding with the beginning of the school summer holidays.

So today was the third encierro so far this year – and luckily no one has been gored yet, though a few have been carted off to hospital with concussion, contusions and a couple of lads have had a close encounter with a horn, which has punctured their flesh, but no proper goring. It’s a risky business. At least 14 people have been killed over the decades.

I’m dead against bullfighting, and I know that the horned beasts that run the streets will turn up in Pamplona’s bullring in the afternoon, but I am fascinated by the encierro. If I was young and in Pamplona I’d have to have a go – but I’m middle-aged and my running’s not up to scratch so if I ever get to be there for the fiestas – I’ll be content to get a spot to watch them rush by.

If you’d like to learn more there are countless sites on internet – just google San Fermin or take a look at this pretty basic web -
Or better still - check out the Spanish TV site - though it's not in English you can see photos - click on the fotografías tab at the top or videos. There is also a section on how not to be a guiri (foreigner). They're notorious for behaving badly.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My poor little girl

TODAY I’d just like to say that my little girl (she’s only 20) has been very poorly. Minimama, as we call her, on account of her being a younger, more clever, more beautiful and slimmer version of me (I know, I didn’t think it was possible to better the present, but there you go – wrong again hey) has been smitten by a nasty bug over in Ecuador where she’s living right now.

She’s had a fever, cough and flu-like systems as well as a dodgy digestive system. She's felt very rough, but the worrying thing is she was at a wedding with another girl who has been diagnosed as having swine flu, or whatever you want to label it. Luckily Minimama is on the mend and the hospital she went to doesn’t think she has the same problem, just a touch of a stomach infection. I felt quite useless half the way around the world.

Here are some get well flowers just for you… And a kiss from the Hockey Star, the Artist, Kitty, Sockiboloski and Tom. Hope to see you soon!
PS - Just seven days until San Fermin starts in Pamplona - I'm getting excited already...
Weather today: Hot and sweaty - High 32ºC/90ºF Low 23ºC/73 ºF. Not a cloud in the sky. Light southwesterly wind 12km/h. Pressure 1016 mb. Relative humidity 56%. UV index: 11.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Plum season

THIS year our little plum tree has surpassed itself and yielded almost 2 kilos of fruit. I’d like to take credit for this – having nurtured, watered it, and catered for its every whim. But I’d be lying. The plum tree has adapted to my brand of organic – thrive or die. There is no special treatment as I’ve no time. All that is left, quite naturally, is a garden of survivors. So, well done plum tree and let’s be seeing an extra kilo or two next year.

And while I’m on the fruit subject – I''m already looking forward to lots of apples this autumn - the tree is positively groaning while the grapefruit tree struggles to give fruit every other year. This spring it was covered in blossom but the vicious winds in April knocked most of them off, which is a good thing because the poor little tree looks barely big enough to stand up – and it is ancient so it must have been planted on some pretty poor soil.

Weather today: High 32ºC/90ºF Low 22ºC/72 ºF. Not a cloud in the sky. Light southwesterly wind 11km/h. Pressure 1012 mb. Relative humidity 55%. UV index: 10.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ayyyyy, they’ve axed my Aquagym

Just got back from the gym. Yes, me. Incredible I know but two months ago I signed up to an exercise programme, under careful medical scrutiny. Not a doctor as I had thought but a chap in a white coat with a degree in sports. In any case, my Not Doc was very thorough and as soon as he heard my knees crackle like crisp packets he sent me off to Aquagym classes which was probably all the Fitness Centre’s insurance would cover me for.

Aquagym is a small group of ladies of a certain age and girth, who perform aerobic-like exercises (that’s the theory) in a waist-deep swimming pool to the thump-thump-thump of disco music while a young, svelte slip of a thing yells instructions from the pool’s side. It must be an attention-grabber because we inevitably draw a sweaty audience from the upper floor gym. For The Artist, who is at least as athletic as me, this whole thing conjured up images of the dancing hippos from Walt Disney’s Fantasia. How rude…

Actually it’s probably worse than that. We go red in the face too which the hippos didn’t. I thoroughly enjoy the whole thing, except perhaps the ladies’ communal showers. My legs no longer feel like cement blocks when I get out of the pool after our class and I feel so much fitter.

I even thought I was on my way to becoming thin. Not so, said Not Doc who soon clarified that a little water-bouncing was never going to make me thin, just tone me up a bit.

He must be right. Since then I’ve met several girlfriends who swear they go to the gym every day from Monday to Thursday to do excessive, masochistic exercise routines. Rather disappointingly they still sport their usual porky silhouettes.

But today I heard crushing news. The FC management swines have wiped our Aquagym off the timetable - changed for the summer while the Fitness Centre is overrun with kids – out of school for the three-month academic break. Ayyyyeeeee - How frustrating. I mean it’s OK for me not to go because it’s not convenient/I’m too tired/I’m too old/too busy/got to have a tooth pulled etc. But for THEM to cancel our class until October – How could they?

I have come home and opened a bottle of cava to commiserate with myself. Now I shall be forced to spend my summer evenings with my feet up, quaffing chilled white wine and enjoying some splendid Spanish cuisine … life is tough.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A little history of Chefchaouen

A LITTLE history of Chefchaouen, courtesy of and unedited, arrghh it was tough but I think it is much more charming in its original form.

A little history of Chefchaouen
The city of Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 by Mulay Alí Ben Rachid. Located in an enclave difficult to access it dominated the mercantile route between Tetuan and Fez and served as a base to restrain the entrance and influences of the Portuguese of Ceuta.
During 15th and 17th century the city prospered and grew in considerable form with the arrival of the moriscos and sefardíes who were expelled from Spain. Until nowadays the district Andalúz is one of the most popular of the medina.

The Kasbah was constructed by Mulay Alí Ben Rachid and soon recovered by Mulay Ismail at the end of 17th century to defend the city. First of all the Portuguese tried to attack the city then later the rebellious tribes Bereberes and after that the Spaniards tried to attack.
The city was closed to all the foreigners, especially to the Christians, until the beginning of the Spanish occupation in 1920.
However, at the end of 19th century the first travellers arrive: the French explorer Charles Foucauld, disguised as a rabbi; the English journalist Walter Harris as rifeño, and William Summers, an American missionary, who was poisoned and died there.
Between 1924 and 1926, during the war of the Rif, Abd-el Krim was able to expel the Spaniards, but these did not take long to occupy Chaouen again in September of 1926, this time they remained until the Moroccan independence in 1956.

Chaouen here we come...again

MARCH is here at last and our mini trip to Morocco is getting closer. I'm so looking forward to going back and to introducing the Hockey Star to a new culture. I want to see his face as his senses are assaulted with so many new sights, smells, sounds and sensations.

If his globetrotting sister was with us she'd be fascinated - there again so would the locals - with her.

This trip will be different of course -it's not the first, so it won't be as intense, but it will give me the opportunity to see things in a more familiar and relaxed light. I shall take fistfuls of batteries for my camera and dither outside little shop entrances trying to convince myself that I don't need to buy anything. What I will buy is orange blossom oil - just smelling it relaxes me instantly. And this time I will buy the rose petal cream - how did I come back last time without it?
Weather today: High 16ºC/61ºF Low 12ºC/54 ºF. Overcast with sunny spells. Moderate westerly wind 39km/h. Pressure 1017 mb. Relative humidity 47%. UV index: 4

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Living on three euros a day

WEEKDAY mornings usually start off with a wrestling match to tune the car radio in as I drive the Hockey Star to school. It’s a fight for either the local thump-thump-tonka-tonka rock station or the news analysis discussion programme. No guesses for who chooses what. The Hockey Star has the advantage of not having to keep his hands on the wheel and, quite frankly, I’m not much up to a fight before my second coffee. So we have the seat-vibrating stuff on the way there and the political post-mortem drone on the way to the office.

Today, after ten minutes of button-pushing even My Boy admitted there was nothing worth listening to, so I got lucky. We tuned in just as they were asking, what would you spend your money on if you had to live on three euros a day? Ho, I thought, a coffee is one euro – and I need two to get operational – which would leave me with a euro to eat something – one euro of food for the whole day? I’d have to cut out coffee so I didn’t fade away. Gone would be the days of dribbling industrial quantities of olive oil over a toasted bread roll and a steaming hot coffee for breakfast. That costs over two euros.

We listened some more. A lot of people interviewed said food, many others would rather starve and buy cigarettes. One hygienic chap couldn’t live without a toilet roll. It started us thinking. Bonzo said he sometimes buys a bread roll and a couple of slices of something porky from the supermarket next to school during break time. That costs 60 cents. You can get a 1.5 litre bottle of water for around 25 cents. Not much of a breakfast but it will keep you alive and leave you with 2.15 euros for the rest of the day.

On the home front we’d be sleeping in the street on and under cardboard we’ve found in the rubbish containers – so no costs there. We could also get one free hot meal a day and an occasional shower at a homeless shelter. I don’t think there are any costs for showers – but there might be. I told the Hockey Star that I’d seen a programme where a reporter lives rough for a month. She’d filled up a small plastic bottle she found with liquid soap from a public bathroom (so don’t say you don’t know now). Same soap will do for bod and hair. So by now we’ve had breakfast, showered and had lunch and still got 2.15 euros. Free meals involve a lot of queuing but we can cast our eyes over a library book or a discarded newspaper. Both are in abundance and keep us culturally up with the best of the property-owning capitalist bunch, err like you and I for instance.

I think you get the gist. Clothes from the bin or from the church and so on. It can be done if you pare life down to barely an existence. Sadly millions cope like this every day.

Street sleeping and a tramp’s life means hardships beyond my imagination but I think the idea of trying to work out how to live in Europe on a ridiculously small amount of money is an instructive exercise that can highlight just how much we spend on unnecessary things. And talking of unnecessary things, now that I think of it I shall do away with Bonzo’s pocket money. What’s he need it for anyway?
Weather today: High 18ºC/64ºF Low 9ºC/48ºF. Sunny. Light southerly wind 11 km/h. Pressure 1017 mb. Relative humidity 73%. UV index: 3

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I’ve felt like a dog this week

OVER THE last week my companions at work have heard me coming well before I get through the office door. The elephant-bellowing nose blowing that precedes me is a hint. And try as I might to be discreet, I just can’t get my atomic-blast, brain-lifting sneezes down to a polite kerchu, kerchu. Some women can. I can’t. And that’s on a good day. On a bad day, I accompany the above with a range of sniffles, tragic sighs, croaky voice and a cough that masquerades as a St Bernard’s bark. I also look very sorry for myself. At the risk of cracking a cheap joke, and I can’t resist it, I’d say I was well in touch with my male side. Sorry chaps.

However, this bout of gungy germs – my first this winter I can proudly claim – has its bright side too. It means I can finally doze and do dying-maiden, err correction, I mean dying-matron, impressions on the sofa with a clear conscience and not feel lazy or under pressure. Real colds, or imaginary, are also amazingly good at keeping the old gaffers at bay and my cheeks free of toothless kisses which are almost all I can expect these days.

The vicious microbes that have knocked me rather more off my feet this time than I expected are still with me a week down the line. I had hoped they’d be on their way to another bod by now. It must be an age thing, but it serves as an excuse, or reason even, to apologise yet again for not ‘blogging’ more often.

In fact, truth be told, I’ve hurried back today because my amigo El Funcionario (, where you can practice your Spanish) has linked me once again to his increasingly famous blog, not as a favour you must understand but more as a whipping to get my act together. At least I can be consistent in my constant apologies for not keeping this blog up. And being consistent is a good thing, so I am told.
Weather today:
High 17ºC/63ºF
Low 7ºC/45ºF
Light southerly wind 11 km/h
Pressure 1017 mb. Relative humidity 55%. UV index: 3

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's late, it's cold and it's Monday

It’s late, it’s cold. It’s Monday and I’m tired, but I feel guilty I haven’t posted anything on the blog for almost two weeks – especially as I promised myself that I would be consistent – so here is proof that it is brass monkey weather. I should have posted other stuff too, but it’s been even more hectic than ever recently.

Today, at last – I have made it to the health centre where, weighed down with forms to fill and leaflets on all the different options I have to get myself fit, I dithered as to what option would be the quickest, least painful and that required the least amount of effort. I can see I am starting out with just the right attitude, hey. Will the flat-stomached, stick-insect me finally find the way out of this fat, bingo-winged version. It would be great. Having lost 10 kilos last year, (and put on several over Christmas, sniff) now is the time to get another 10 kilos off. Watch this space…