Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Warmth, Weekend & Website updates

We had a great weekend, or at least Friday and Saturday with Caroline staying at Casa TulStig.
On Friday I walked the dogs an the blossom, as pictured on here the other day was loaded down with Bees. It was beautiful, scented and noisy with the bees buzzing- Spring is pretty much here!

Can you see the Bee top centre?

Caroline arrived in town after her conference in BCN and we had a delicious dinner at Espai Carmen, after a few pictures around town.

Saturday left some time for Caroline to do a  bit of shopping in Sitges , after breakfast out (of course), for pressies for her girls. We then had lunch in the garden, before having to drop back to the airport for Caroline's evening flight back to Murcia.

On the way back from the airport I was feeling a little off, and sure enough by the time I had been home a little while I flagged and hit my bed where I stayed for the next two days. A little bit of a chill methinks. Most of you will know that I don't react well to being unwell, and poor old Tony usually ends up taking the brunt of that. But her I am back to almost as good as new. I just need to be rid of this blessèd Sciatica, which has been hanging around for the last month now, and I'll be flying along again.

Finally can I beg of you a small favour. The other Editors and I have recently produced the new edition of The Joyful Warrior, along with some wonderful guest contributions, Please head on over there and take a look at this month's articles of JOY.

Oh and if you've a couple more spare minutes I've been busy updating our personal website too - Casa TulStig.

Comments and feedback welcome on both sites, pleeaassee.....

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Just cruising along

Key word in today's title: Cruising - yup we've booked our September Cruise. We're flying out to Venice for a one night's stay in a hotel there- it's goodness how long since we were last there- we know it's an age as we actually booked the hotel by fax last time!
The return flights are booked -Vueling - the hotel in Venice is booked - The Hotel Marte- has good and bad reviews but the good outweigh the bad and it looks nice enough and is cheap and central -and the cruise, of course, is booked too - we are on the  Costa Favalosa ( I just LOVE the name -echoes of 'Round The Horne') starting in Venice, on to another stop in Italy, then Greece, including Olympus, Turkey (Istanbul and another stop) and then Croatia - Dubrovnik, returning to Venice from where we will fly back to BCN. All that's to book now is the flights for our 'babysitters' Janey and Amy and we'll be all set- I'm discussing the details with Janey on Saturday -Skyping and booking all at once. 
It's all just so Favalosa. And for the more observant of you - yes it is with the same company as last year, and yes that is the same company as the Costa Concordia which didn't fare so well just recently. We had no issues with the company at all, and trust them to deliver an excellent time again.

The Costa Favalosa

As for my writing- I've been well into the sequel today again , another thousand or so words -I'm trying to step up the production. I'm enjoying the story, and yes it is surprising me too.  As for 'The Key' it's bouncing round in my head so I'm grabbing another notebook and noting down important facts and details so hen the time comes to set that down on disc (PC) I'll be well set.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Spring is springing!!

Whilst out walking with Cuddy and Xali yesterday morning I noticed the bloom on the trees is starting to appear. The temperatures are starting to rise, and creativity is in the air. TO me that all means spring is on the doorstep, knocking and will be in soon.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Back at the Type-Face

Yesterday walking the dogs I had an amazing idea for a new book. A poem popped into my head -well more of a little ditty than a poem, so I grabbed my mobile and recorded it so I wouldn't forget it. For the rest of the walk I was telling the new story aloud -I really find that helps me- and by the time I got home, dogs well walked -I had the basis for an amazing new book. I sat down almost immediately and wrote an introductory piece- well a first chapter more or less, and just to check how it read I sent a copy off to Janey with a warning not to open the file if she couldn't keep the secret. I spoke to her a little later and she said she was going to read it straight away. Within a short time I got  an e-mail reply -she loved it and is keeping the secret, but wants me to write the book ASAP. Just the reaction I was looking for.

It's a magical story that's already written, at least on the notepad in my head- I just need to get the words out... but first I have another priority...(sorry Janey) .....

Over the past few weeks I've been writing the sequel to WINNER -I'm loving the story and the way the characters are stepping up to the plate to tell their versions of events, but I've been stumped for a title that had grabbed me.  A little while ago Tony suggested a title. I considered it and we disregarded it. Then ten minutes later I had taken it on board, and it's now set. It its ideally and a couple of the characters had their say about it too.  So I now have my title.
I've been writing today for a while and am running along with the story- Lucy's been up again and sharing her part in the events.

I love writing, I love all my characters, old and new, and am so happy to have not just one book in my head now, but another that's just waiting to burst forth. I have to say I had been stalling slightly on my writing- lazy perhaps, but now I really am all fired up. I need to tell the story of the sequel to Winner (yes I'll share the title with you all soon), and am keen to get going with the new book, which is tentatively titled 'The Key'.

OK so here's the deal. I'm going to try to have the Winner's sequel done and dusted, editing and proofing aside sometime before the end of May. I know that's limiting my time, but I know I can do it if I just settle down. I'm hoping that by setting my target down here it will inspire me even more to get down to some serious work.... as I may have said before .... Watch this space.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Carnaval Sunday

Yesterday was Comparses in VnG - an amazing spectacle, but one this year we happened to miss. We did intend to go, but after having waited for twenty minutes for a bus we decided to give up on it, and save our energies for the night's festivities in Sitges.
Sunday night is the first Carnaval Parade in Sitges (The other being on Tuesday) and we normally make an appearance, and for the last few years we've appeared in fancy dress. This year we went with Sue and Jordi, and as the carnaval was much earlier than normal -I think the authorities are trying to curb the drinking and yob element by making it earlier.
We had a great time, saw some interesting and inventive floats, met up with Paolo, saw some chums from the Pub Quiz days and all this before midnight....

Today we were up and ready for action early on. Today was to be a DIY day- the wardrobe in the bedroom was begging attention, and the room itself needed a bit of TLC before Caroline comes to stay next weekend. I am happy to report that all chores done as far as we can. We just need to do a little more purchasing at Ikea and the like and it'll be as we wish.
Today has been one good day- 
one good day amongst many. 
I love my life, and happily life loves me.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Ball de Mascarots

Yes last night we were at the Ball de Mascarots in the Town Square, after a few visits en route.

First of all we dropped in on Jordi and Maria and their son (yes Jordi too), at Cal Jordi:

From here we had a wander down the Rambla interacting with all the other disfazados. It's so much fun when you're dressed up - everyone chats to you -usually nonsensical stuff about your character, but all with bon humor! Many times Tony was stopped for a photo -He must be on many people's facebook pages today!

Our next port of call was 'Beverly Hills' - Just as in other years they had no idea who we were when we entered and took a seat at the bar. When we raised our masks they all hooted and laughed and there was much hugging, kissing and hand-shaking. Just how long have we been using this restaurant?- well probably about 25 years!
After a beer and a plate of chips, and an obligatory toilet stop- do you know how difficult it is to use the loo when you're a star-wars storm-trooper??!! - we were off to the square, where the band/orchestra were limbering up. Soon after we settled into our space it was midnight and the band started with a Beatles set piece , followed by some Abba- they must have known we were there.

After enjoying the spectacle - and I don't mean just the one on the stage, and having a bit of a dance around, and yes another beer we decided to make a break for it before we got too cold or too tired. Home again around 1.30/2 ish - the animals were pleased to see us. As for us -  Happy and Tired and SOOOO enjoying our Carnaval 2012.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Carnaval Saturday update

So last night we had a great time.
I started the evening off with a massage and acupuncture from Jordi (Sue's Jordi) and left feeling quite bruised, but within an hour or so a lot more comfortable than I ave been in days.

I met Tony outside the Rambla school building where we were meeting up with some of the other teacher's for a little party in the classroom which overlooks the Rambla Principal, where the parade would be passing soon after. 

Snacking on crisps etc and drinking a delightful white wine we watched the parade:

 Even the dogs were getting in on the act. This one was out with his vampire owners.
The streets were packed with revellers. I sometimes find it hard to believe that anyone can be at home during the night of arrivó in Vilanova.

The costumes were from the very plain, but inventive to the brightly coloured, and all worn with a sense of fun.  Some of the costume and floats were political, ridiculing the current council members and their policies of cutting services.

Many had themes, from terrorists against the cuts to outer space visitors, to nurses to Robin Hood

After watching the parade and seeing the lads and lasses from our Barrio go by on their floats we headed off to the Indian restaurant where we had a delicious and fairly spicy curry. It seemed the entertainment was going to continue as the waiter had no idea how to use a waiter's friend corkscrew and ave us moments of enjoyment as he file and fumbled his way through opening bottles of wine as different customers arrived and ordered. 
As we prepared to leave and pay our very, VERY reasonable bill, Christine and Jordi (a very popular name here) came in for dinner. Christine had had a few more than she could manage and proceeded to apologise for her condition. I'm sure the poor girl will be most embarrassed and contrite next time we meet. During our conversation Christine asked if I would teach her to cook muffins, and also how to make the beef and steak pie I made for a party once. SO we agreed to set a cook-date once we're back at school on Wednesday.
Next we had a bit of a long walk home, through the detritus of the evening, and along the way we were still entertained by various characters in their evening's outfits. As a break we dropped off at Cal Jordi, to see Jordi and Maria (yes a very popular name here). From here we wend our way up the hill arriving home later than intended.

This morning I had a couple of classes. The first class only one student turned up, so we played a game of scrabble, and after an hour he was happy to go off home again- that's the pleasure of teaching adults. This allowed me a chance to whizz round the market and get a tray of strawberries and a couple of bunches of asparagus- all for bargain prices - How I love the market- Fresh veggies for next to nothing. Over half of the second class were in attendance so we had a more or less normal class. I was teaching Homophones which always amuses me.

This afternoon we've had a quick siesta, and have tried on our costumes. We're now taking a little time to relax before we begin again.... Fancy dress ball at Midnight here we come.

Friday, 17 February 2012


An early post today,a s things at Casa TulStig are heating up as we get ready to play our parts in Carnaval. Tonight we will be spectators at the big parade, tomorrow we will take an active part in the fancy dress ball in the town square, but all that's for later...........

Today is Arrivó -The arrival of the King of Carnaval- Carnestoltes- This afternoon the kids will be parading round town in fancy dress, and this evening it's the adults turn- the Parade of the King will be passing up the main Rambla for all to see, and we will be there watching,a s per usual. This year we are planning to watch from the balcony of the school building with some of the other teachers at around 7.30-8.00 for couple of hours. Then we're planning to have dinner somewhere with Jordi and Sue.

Before that I have a two hour class -not sure how many of the students will turn up though, as they'll be getting ready for the evening's festivities. Then I'm having an other massage and Acupuncture session from Jordi- my sciatica just wont budge at the moment!

And we've already had a busy morning -Tony's been down town to shop for some essential odds and ends, and to pop into the chemist for painkillers. I've been to Lidl and got important supplies in for the weekend.

We've just been in the street decorating the front window with a Manton (Carnaval Shawl) and streamers, as is our tradition, and now we're planning on a spot of lunch before the rest of the above starts to kick in. Today broccoli soup sounds ideal.

The photos on her are from last year's festivities for Arrivó and front window deckies from then too - there will be more from this year on our website and Picasa site later, over the weekend or early next week.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Today was the first day of Carnaval- Meringada. earlier this afternoon  there were battles in and around the town hall, and Placa de la Vila -meringues, or anything that resembles a meringue were hurled back and forth. Walking to school this evening I saw some of the casualties of these battles -clothes hair and faces covered in shaving foam, meringue and all manner of white pasted- an yup they were almost all smiling- That really is what carnaval is about FUN, and from tomorrow we will be joining in....

As for here at CasaTulstig we have continued with the de-cluttering and renovation of the guest/spare room/office. Julie came round, poste gym, to help out with removing furniture and clutter to the skips- she's a real minimalist and helped me to get into the de-cluttering mode.  Tomorrow the 'work' will continue.....

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Well today was day one of clear the clutter and operation guest room as we pulled apart one of the old units, removing all the detritus that was ensconced inside first of course for sorting - and started to remove it to the skips. This clear out and renovation has been on the card for some time now- dare I say years, and we are now tackling it.  At the moment the room does look a little dishevelled, well very messy to be honesty, but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. Tomorrow there will be more of the same, as Julie is going to pitch in and help after her morning trip to the Gym - with a promise of lunch of course- and we'll move closer to a cleaner, tidier and less cluttered guest room.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's Day

So did I get breakfast in bed this morning? Did I get a surprise present, did I get dinner on the town.... Sorry none of the above, but to be fair did I give any of these things to me¡y dear hubby- no again. We don't tend to celebrate St Valentine's day as such, preferring to get things during the year as the fancy takes. Well that kinda does mean that I buy things throughout the year for Tone, but I've kinda got used to the way it all works in our house! And no that isn't a complaint- I just know my man- and am very happy and after all this tmie can happily report that today I am still in love with him.

Julie popped round at lunchtime after I had texted her to say there were Hot Cross buns available after our UK trip, and crumpets too- Yummy brunch we had. Oh and I'd brought her back some of her favourite chocolate counters, which she was happy about.

This evening Tony's cooked a delicious Spag Bol -well it is Tuesday. and we're relaxing in front of the TV.

Life is good, when is it really any other way here, at Casa TulStig.

I hope each and every one of my dear friends out there has had a good day too. 

Happy HUGS from VnG.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Weekend Surprises...

Over the weekend we were missing in action from the blog site I'm afraid- well we had a secret mission in hand and were off and away.

After month's of planning with sister in law,Jane, and niece, Amy Tony and I were planning a surprise arrival at my brother, Andrew's birthday party. Andrew was 50 just a little while back, but they were in Barbados partying on the day, so we'd agreed to celebrate this last weekend. We'd had a few moments when we thought we'd given the game away, but fortunately not..... To see his face as he opened the door and saw us standing there- PRICELESS!!  He clearly had no idea!!

So we left here early Saturday morning, flew to Gatwick where we were picked up by Amy. We then did a little shopping, both for the birthday boy and some goodies to bring home. Then we stopped off in Henfield for a while - the village in which I grew up. We dropped into one of the local hostelries for a pint or two before heading out to Andrew and Jane's place. Amy dropped us off at the top of the road and then went off to the do. ten minutes or so later, as agreed, we knoked at the door. Andrew answered and had such a look on his face it was magic. Yup I almost cried!!

Well -The party went on into the later hours and of course I may have had one or two G&Ts too many but we had great time. The evening ended with Andrew and I duetting on Sing-star -a kind of karaoke game.

ON Sunday I cooked breakfast before we headed out to the George (another hostelry) in Henfield for lunch. Before going we called ahead to check there were veggie options, and the chef said he could make sure there was so we booked a table- I ordered the Sunday lunch option without meat and with veggie gravy as previously agreed with the chef on the phone- it confused the waitress slightly but I must say it was exceptional.  . It was the kind of Sunday lunch I would do myself- now believe me that is five star praise.

After that we had to head back to the airport for our flight home, which wasn't a wonderful experience  -thanks Easyjet, but hey ho one in fifty flights or so being a bit off kilter matters not much.

And as for the goodies we managed to haul home: (How many can you name?)

Friday, 10 February 2012

Happy Birthday ....

Today was yet another milestone in the TulStig Household.  Our little girl -the only one in the house- was four years old today.  I can't believe it was four years ago when we went to that little farm down on the seafront adn were chosen by this tiny little puppy, who wanted to come and live with us!
How did this big gorgeous monster.....

 grow from this cute little puppy in just four years...
I am pleased to say that even though she is the equivalent of 28 years of the human-kind she is no more mature than the rest of us!!


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Grinning, bearing it, and loving it....

This evening I saw a beautiful yellow Labrador coming towards me, walking jauntily on its lead beside its mum. It was wearing a vet cone so I guessed it must have had some sort of treatment recently. It wasn't until it got closer that I could see that it's jaws were wired with at least half a dozen screws and bolts sticking out. I couldn't believe it- he was clearly happy to be out walking with his mum -that shone through his eyes and whole demeanour, and really made me reassess my gripes over my sciatica, which incidentally has been at its worst today, but I shall endeavour to bear it with good grace, and hopefully tomorrow have another massage with Jordi before our relaxing weekend.

This morning I decided to do a bot of baking. Realising that we had a few bits of chocolate in the chocolate trunk, ends of bars we hadn't got round to finishing off yet so decided to throw them all in a bowl, with some cranberries and crushed hazelnuts, then whip up some muffins, which I took to school -and which were well received, as you can see from the following selection of pics:

WHen one of the other teachers asked why I baked - my reply was that I love cooking, and so enJOY seeing the smiles on my colleagues faces as the stuff the goodies down, as you can see from the above pictures. 

On another note - I've been back to the writing big time today with 'The sequel' as we're currently calling it, until I settle on a name for Winner's sequel- today Lucy found her voice and boy she has really been chatting away, and I have loved every minute of writing up her words. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Keeping Toasty

Still blinking cold here, but so bright and crisp it's a pleasure.  Out walking with Xali and Cuddy in the early mornings does mean I need to wrap up warm, but with my new jacket, bought last year, a scarf I got as a Christmas present from one of Tony's sisters, and the hat that Tony bought me I stay rather toasty. 

I've even taken to wearing my new hat to school to keep my head and ears warm- which has created a bit of a stir amongst the other teachers- well a giggle really -Sue said it even looks like I have pigtails, but I still refuse to answer to 'Heidi'! The other morning when Liam picked me up at the roundabout down the road for our trip to Ikea he commented that he wasn't looking for father Christmas  when he pulled up at the kerb!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


I forgot to mention yesterday that I have been back at the PC writing this week.

For a while I wasn't writing much, life got busy, I got ill, excuses, excuses, excuses. Then a couple of nights ago some of the characters from Winner acme to visit in my dreams- and when i woke in the morning I knew that their continuing story needed to be told. They insisted on it!

I was a bit worried that I'd have lost my mojo, and that the muse may have deserted me, but plucked up the courage, opened the 'sequel' file (it does have a working title, but not sure of it yet!) and asked for my characters to return and tell their stories. No sooner said than done. Aaron - one of the members of the boy band Bounce stepped up to the plate and started to tell his story -and once again it all feels so organic- I'm loving it. That voice over my shoulder that puts the story together is still chattering away- and now is asking why I'm writing this and not concentrating on book 2 in the Joey et al saga- and that's a pretty good question -I will be back with the whole mob tomorrow- which is quite important for me, as when I spoke to Nick today who has already read 'Winner' he expressed his desire to hear 'what happens next'. Hold tight young man, I'm going to set to, and hopefully in a couple of months the sequel will hit the lulu website.

While talking to Nick today, which was better than 'really nice' I spoke my dreams aloud for one of the first times- I am a writer, and would love to concentrate on that more. To walk in the summer and write the rest of the year- now that's how I see my future.  So Universe I'm sure you're listening (when aren't you) and even if not I know you hear, so watch this space.

To check the Universe is on-line I decided to take an 'Oracle Card' so grabbed the box 'Wisdom of the Hidden Realms' and this one fell out before I had chance to choose anything:

The message:

Always Allies and never Challengers, the Winged Wise Ones represent the aid of all the angels.
When you enter their realm, know that your sincere prayers will be answered according to the will of the Divine.
This also represents Divine intervention and the potential of miracles to heal and transforms as if by magic.
 Have faith, whatever your circumstances: Heavenly beings are watching over you.
The Winged Wise Ones give you a glimpse of the future by offering messages whispered on the wind.
These are translated within you as inspired thought, instantly unravelling the past and revealing the present.
 Be aware of the Higher Consciousness in you.
This is a good time to observe your thoughts through meditation.
Who is observing those thoughts?
That self is kin to the Winged Wise Ones, who have come to help you soar.

Yup - The Universe is listening should I have doubted it.  By the Way I love this deck of Oracle cards. It feels right with me - it really resonates.

Synchronicity is ruling my world for sure. Before starting to write this entry I tried to access the Lovely Michelle's blog, but kept getting an error message- I've just got in and read her day's entry- Trust your vibes and Abundance - How cool is that- another message to tell me to get a grip of myself and realise I know where I am going.

As for other news this morning I eventually got to Ikea, thanks to dear Liam, and our guest room is now full of cardboard boxes as we plan to assemble everything in a few days time.  This afternoon I chatted with Nick- I felt he needed a call, and it was great to catch up. This evening I've had some good classes, and am now toasty and full of Tony's delicious Spag Bol. Mmmm Good day all round.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Wrapping up

I've not been on  here for a few days again -Apologies for the lack of normal service, but I've been ...well not sure really- busy, nithered by the cold, not in the mood to blog, a bit glum, well a little of all the above.

It's been freezing here the last few days -and yes I mean that literally- by early evening on Sunday the temperature in our patio had dropped to -1º. I can honestly say that it's not been this cold since we moved here, wo we're keeping well wrapped up with the heating blasting through the house too. We were promised snow but no go on that one. The frozen roads in the mountain did put pay to a trip to Ikea though when Liam had problems getting into town and then had a puncture, but that's been re-scheduled for tomorrow.

This weekend I've been talking 'The Magic' again. On Friday Michael called to discuss translating it into German. He's doing a translation course and would like the experience to translate a couple of books. He also thought he might be able to find a publisher in Germany, or at least help the promotion. And with a contact who is a publisher in London we've fingers crossed that the English version will be taken up too. Fingers crossed.

As for 'Winner'- It was a rather strange experience to walk into a class on Saturday and see my book in one of the students bags- She'd brought it in for signing. And almost as strange both books are now available on Amazon.co.uk

Thursday, 2 February 2012


This morning Tony and I were out early -in the car for 7.30 to be off and we were more than shocked to see the temperature gauge registering at 3º -we were even more shocked when a little later as we headed inland into the hills that it dropped to 2º.
This evening the temperature is dropping back and is expected to hit zero, or even just below. There's been a lot of talk of snow coming our way, and the schools even closed at 3.00pm just in case -ours didn't of course -we're made of sturdier stuff than that.

We've the heating on full tilt and we're happy indoors, but goodness knows what tomorrow may bring- will it snow, or just be a cold day again. Well lets wait and see....

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

February the FIRST.

WEll here's February and so far things can only get better 'as they say'.

ONE. I was supposed to be going up to Ikea with Liam this morning to get some new furniture for our guest room. Just before he was supposed to pick me up he called to say because of the ice in the mountains he was going to be delayed. A few minutes later he called to say his had had got a puncture and he'd be round as soon as he could. Half an hour later he called again- the tyre changing was becoming a bit of a palaver and we decided to postpone. 

TWO. Whilst waiting for Liam this morning it started to rain. When I came back in I noticed that the water wasn't going down the drain.  To check what was going ion I flushed the loo, but the water didn't appear down the usual drain route, but it did rain. ???? I thought. we called the insurance company who sent someone round to take a look. After a lot of head shaking they said that as there was no damage anywhere they couldn't fix anything under the terms of our insurance- we now have to wait for something serious to happen. WTF I thought. I'm going to see if I can get hold of some drain rods over the next few days and check it out myself.

THREE. I settled down to check e-mails and do PC stuff, as the day was looking like a write off on any other front. Yup you've guessed it- The computer started to give me weird error messages. SO I turned it off and left it till much later- and happily it seems to have sorted itself.

FOUR.  Nope haven't got a number four yet. And guess what? we're both still smiling and doing the whole 'Que Sera, que sera' thing- we can't do anything so aren't worrying either. Well the Ikea trip has been rescheduled, the drains appear OK at the moment and we have a plan, and the PC is working OK.

What a start to the month. And tomorrow snow is forecast- YES- Snow- WTF I am thinking!!

Happily I have had some lovely correspondence with some of the ladies from OZ, and managed to get this month's newsletter out too. I've also been road-testing my new trainers, and had some time to read up on the Camino Primitivo. Was it a bad day -not really- a wasted day- not at all.