Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Check ups, write ups and weekend surprises.

Today we have had our final vets visit for the year's vaccinations with Sprout's visit this morning. Interestingly all the kids have put on weight this year, with Sprout adding the lest, and of course Cuddy the most.

This afternoon I got back to 'TAKE TWO'. I had completed the first edit, but today started to add the final couple of chapters and as I was doing so a twist in the plot came up of which I have taken full advantage. I have to say that the writing today was flowing well and exciting for me.

Tomorrow is Tony's 60th birthday and I don't expect to have much time for the writing, nor over the next few days as Andrew and Jane arrive on Thursday and I am planning a busy weekend. The details of which you'll have to await on the publishing of the blog over the next few days.

and just cos I thought R2's pose was amusing here he is in the hammock this evening - Buddha-like

Monday, 30 July 2012

Sunday Catch up

Yesterday we had a great day.
A little while back I became facebook friends with a couple we used to see a lot of when we lived back in Brockley- Bob and Tom -they too lived in Brockley.
Well a few weeks back they surprises 'Skyped' us and said they would be in Barcelona on the 29th of July (Yesterday) as part of a cruise and would we like to meet up.
Meet up we did. I picked them up off their ship and we spent the day together, reminiscing, catching up and generally enjoying hanging out again.
WE were all surprised at how subjective all our memories were as we each remembered different things of days gone by to make up a bigger picture we could all identify. Sadly we also remembered many who have since died, but we really remembered the good times- and boy do I mean GOOD!!
WE are all a bit, quite a bit older and although our bodies have the signs of ageing none of us really 'feel' any older. 
It was great to show them round our new home, bot the house and the village and area.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Lunch at Eguzki


Rambla Principal, 58, Vilanova I La Geltrú, 08800, Spain
Tel: 938939456

Today we had another meal in a 'new' restaurant. This time lunch.
AS you can see from above this one is right on the Rambla (the main street in town).
We were there around one o'clock- not normally a busy time in Spain where everyone  tends to have lunch later (3pm or so) but we still had to wait a while to be noticed. The waiter serving us was pleasant enough, but not overly so. I think he had us marked as a couple of tourist who he didn't want to invest too much time in. 
We ordered the goat's cheese Salad with Patatas Bravas (sautéed potatoes in a spicy/hot sauce) , Pimientos del Padron (peppers from Padron in northern Spain, cooked on the griddle- occasionally with a hot one hidden in the bunch)  and some tomato bread (no butter here- but rubbed with tomato and garlic an drizzled with olive oil), washed down with a Clara (beer shandy) for me and for Tony an Estrella beer.  All to share (drinks excepted)
The goat's cheese salad was delicious with a grain mustard dressing that added a delightful tartness. (Fnnaarr Mr Brennan). The sautéed potatoes were perfectly cooked and the Bravas sauce mouth burning hot- just right. The tomato bread was really good too. The Pimientos del Padron, however, were a little overcooked and a little 'slimy' - Padron is on the Portuguese Camino so I've been there (along with Janey and Sussi) and tasted the real thing -these didn't even come a close second!

The service was a little lackadaisical, we had to ask for knives! But the waiter was pleasant enough for a tapas place.Although when asked about vegetarian options he didn't supply much information.
As for Price, all the above cost us just under 25€ (twenty five euros) -so not too bad at all.

The big test -would we go again- Probably not -more because the vegetarian options were limited than for any other reason. The other tapas looked really varied and tasty!

Friday, 27 July 2012


Today the editing of 'Take Two' has gone on unabated. I have gone all through the printed off pages and made corrections, changes, additions and even scratched some out, and now I have finished with my red pen and highlighters. 
I now need to update everything on the PC before doing another final proof and edit. Then we'll be all sorted. 
I'm dead happy with the story, especially with the twists that I didn't see coming at first. With no more melt downs in Casa TulStig I can see the first proof copy winging it's way to our letterbox well before the end of August. I know this a little later than originally planned, but hey no better late than never. 
Once that's done I intend to get my kids gang off on an amazing adventure.....

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Round up....

Life here at Casa TulStig hasn't been easy these last few weeks. Now that's not a complaint but a simple statement of fact.

Returning home from the Camino I always have issues to deal with and this year they were markedly harder than before. The settling in again wasn't so difficult, although I am still having camino-sickness pangs, but there were a few 'curved balls' thrown in my direction which I am dealing with day by day in my own sweet way, and when it's all been too much Tony has been there to mop up the shouting, ranting and crying.

The past week I've thrown myself into painting the flat. starting with the guest-room, then the hallway, followed by the living room. Phew a bit of a decorating and cleaning marathon, but everywhere does look so much fresher and cleaner, well everywhere except our room, which is yet to be done.

I've still been doing a few classes, at least until the end of the month, and I've been busy with a secret project. I'm also taking part in a 'Oracle card motivation week' which is as wonderful as always even though it's pushing a few buttons of course.

This week we're also busy with the annual vet vaccination appointments. Tuesday it was Cuddy and Xali's turn. Cuddy has put on 3 kilos over the last year, but according to dear Oscar is carrying it well. Xali although he is well is becoming quite deaf, and sadly has cataracts and is losing his sight. That of course makes me very sad. He's such a charmer and never been a problem and the thought of him not being able to see hurts me more than him I think. Today we too R2 and Vinci. fortunately they are both healthy too and they too have put on weight.

Today, after reading dear Beverly's post about her writing I sat back in front of the laptop and typed a few words, before doing some editing on the 'finished' parts of 'Take Two'. Just reading the first few chapters made me quite emotional- and I wrote the stuff. Sadness and happiness all in bite sized pieces.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Nuraghe, Vilanova


Last night we went into town for dinner, and on Julie's suggestion tried a different Italian restaurant- The Nuraghe (which is a Sardinian megalith 'building'. It is situated just north of the Town square, dead in the centre of town.  

We sat out side as it was a hot night and had excellent service from some of the friendly waitresses who interspersed their Spanish with the occasional words of English. THE service was excellent adn caring without being intrusive -just what we look for when dining out.
The menu is huge with a wide range of pasta dishes and pizzas. WE both went for Pizzas -I ha one with artichokes and other veggies on it, whilst Tony had a salami one. They were thin and crispy and topped with a goodly amount of cheese. 
We ordered a red whine (chilled) - and were asked whether we liked strong wines or wanted something lighter. With the waitress's help our choice was just what we were looking for. 

All in all an excellent dining experience, for just over fifteen euros each (15€) .  

There was even a French Bulldog at the next table that had us captivated, oh and a cute guy in shorts with the hairiest and chunkiest legs which just about rounded off the experience for us.
Like Arnie: We will be back!

Oh and BTW we have decided that this summer we are going to try and find a new restaurant each week to try out... sow watch this space for further reviews of the eateries in VnG.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Too hot for owt

Hot and humidity has stopped progress on the redecoration. Even the cats are listless. So we are going out for dinner as neither of us want to spend any time in a hot kitchen.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Painting and Pasts

Another busy day at Casa TulStig. 

I spent the morning painting the guest room, which included shifting furniture, dusting and cleaning too. BY the mid-afternoon it was all done, and so satisfying to see the finished effect. Just need to sort out which pictures are going to go on the wall eh voila!!
Gosh don't I look like Ralf Harris - Can you see what it is yet? 

This afternoon I even took some time out for myself and met up with Sue (and Lily) and had a walk down the Rambla to the seafront, where I completed a bit of secret squirrel work (Shhh) and we ahd a drink in Cafe Des Arts, where the waiter turned out to be one of my favourite students from my time at OK Idiomes in Sitges. I didn't recognise him at first as he'd grown his hair, but once he spoke  'Do you remember me' I remembered straight away. His name is Victor and he used to have lessons with another student (Gerard) and they were some of the best classes I ever did there -we had a real laugh. Happily he is working at Cafe Des Arts for the summer so we'll be seeing a lot more of him over the next few months, at least till he returns to Uni in September.  Whilst we were sitting enjoying our refreshments my phone rang- It was Bob. He and Tom are cruising round to the Med next week with a stopover in Barcelona next Sunday. We have arranged to meet up and spend the day together which will be great as we haven't seen each other face to face for about 20 years.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


This morning I had an appointment which meant a lot of waiting around. whenever I know this is a possibility I take a book with me . The book I'm reading at the moment is 'Tiger Hills' by Sarita Mandanna. I only picked it up two days ago and am already over halfway through. It's a really gripping story of starcrossed lovers in India at the turn of the last (1800 - 1900) century. 
 It made the time waiting whizz by. 

Today I spent some time doing something else which I love- writing, and after just a few hours at the PC I had added another section (of 0ver 3000 words) to Take Two. Another crescendo reached and we'r estill rushing along to yet another. The characters are all enjoying themselves, well more or less and there's even a twist bubbling along nicely. Ah the satisfaction of a process going well. 

I havea real passion for books, whether reading them or writing them. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

Monday Triple Update

HUGE FANFARE:  (have to add a Fnaarr her for Mr Brennan!!) The carpenter has left the building and the work is done. Of course now I have to spend some goodly time repainting the whole flat- that's the trouble with having work done en-bulk. So today I purchased a pot of paint and am ready to start with a bit of clearing up first. as an added bonus when he (the carpenter) found out I was an English teacher he asked if I'd teach his brother who is failing English at College. He's going to give me a call alter in the week.

DECLUTTERING - we're still checking the cupboards and shelves to get rid of anything we no longer need or want. We've also had a message today that a local animal charity is happy to take everything off us for onward resale- Result. Tomorrow I am tackling the kitchen cupboard -bowls, dishes and assorted unused items will be going the same way as books and other knick nacks etc.

TULSTIG GRUB: This evening we had a delicious curry meal. I made a fresh veggie curry, which we decided to have on crusty slices of bread with cheese on top melted under the grill. It was yummy even if I do say so myself. The only thing was neither of us could finish our plates- over the last few weeks we've both got used to eating less. Having just watched a programme on 'Five a day' food industry scams I am glad we live here and get our fresh veggies, our diet is definitely lacking in processed foods which is a really good thing. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Kittens and clutter

Yesterday was Sprout's third birthday. I can hardly believe it was three years ago that I found his bare little body by the skips in a shoebox whilst walking the dogs. Our vet suggested he probably wouldn't survive, but I doggedly fed him every three hours (night and day) for the following few weeks, and not only did he survive he thrived. 

In August 2009 this was him next to his toy:

And this is him now (same toy) - What a handsome young man - and so loving - this afternoon he's spent a lot of time rubbing his nose and face all over mine- leaving me with a fur covered and itchy face- ah that's love! 

Today we've been continuing with our decluttering. It seems no-one wants our books, so sadly (and slightly guiltily) we are dumping them. So if you've been to our place(or seen any listed on our web-site http://personales.ya.com/tulstigespana ) and seen any that you might have liked to read get in touch quick. We've also been going through the cupboards and drawers and chucking out anything that is not of use or too close to our hearts. I'm loving all the clean space it's creating.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Settling in

Each time I come back of the Camino settling back into my everyday life is a struggle. This time has been easier in some ways, butt here's also been enough other things hitting the fan to make it even more difficult than normal. 

I was about to write a whining blog.....

Then today I saw these:

So enough of the wallowing - it's time to pull myself together and get on with it. Who is the one with faith in the law of attraction -time to walk the walk again....

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Home again

Well I guess the title says it all -I'm back with my family in CasaTulStig.

At Santiago airport I checked in, sticks and all (they have a special no charge for sticks agreement for pilgrims travelling from Santiago).

After a slight delay I arrived back at BCN airport, picked up my rucksack, but no sticks. OMG my friends had got lost en-route. after a quick and efficient chat with the 'lost luggage' desk I was advised that as soon as they were located they would be delivered straight to our door, and happily they arrived this morning.

Arriving home is always a little traumatic after so long on the road, and this time as we have been having work done in the house it was doubly so, as the house was in a bit of a mess. Now I don't know about you, but I can't sit amongst a mess, so as soon as I arrived home I set to on it all so as I'd feel more comfortable.  Isn't it incredible how dust gets just about everywhere, especially when builders take no care to prevent it. Anyway the house is starting to get a little more comfortable, and tomorrow I shall be talking to the builders first thing...

So to the two questions that most of you ignored, but a couple of you did your best to answer.

First of all my sticks- Yes Janey was right - they were named 'Jane and Nick' -so I have a little something here for you when you come over next month. As soon as I received Janey's whatsApp message with the answer I wondered how she'd got into my head again!

And the weight I lost - 7.5 kilos (one stone and two pounds and a bit) - Janey thought I'd lose one and half stone (9.25 kilos) and Nick thought I'd lose 12 kilos - Janey you've done it again.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Ready for home

Today I've been playing 'tourist' and have wandered the gift shops and museums, and even been in the Cathedral.
For lunch I found a tasty vegetable pie -almost as good as 'Greggs Pies' but could have done with a bit more pepper. I could only buy a huge chunk so have saved a piece for tomorrow.
This afternoon I had myself an extended siesta and spent some time going back over my last two weeks on the road. What an amazing experience I hhave enjoyed again. Highs and lows both physically and mentally.
This evening I have found myself drawn back to Charlies bar and another G&T before dinner.
Whilst I have enjoyed my time out on the road I am now more than ready to return to Casa TulStig annd more so to my family tomorrow.
This afternoon Fina (the landlady of the room I am staying in) kindly organised a taxi pick up outside the flat door for tomorrow morning. This afternoon I also wrapped up my sticks hoping the airline wil let me on with them. So I am just about ready to go. .....

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Job done.

After a great nigt's sleep I set out  late this morning into the rain. At this point in the journey there is no way to get lost with signs everywhere.
Arriving in Monte de Gozo,where I had planned to stop the night? I decided to carry on to journey's end: Santiago. I arrived in front of the cathedral in pouring rain with a beaming smile on my face.
I'm now settled into a private room and am taking my reward of a G&T  in Charlie's bar (AKA the cafe casino).
Tomorrow I shall play the tourist before flying home on Saturday.
Happy??? You bet I am.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

I have now arrived in Pedrouzo and am staying in one of my favourite albergues from 2010: el puerto de Santiago. The hospitalero is kindness itself. The place is spotless and light with background music playing that is truly relaxing. Sitting on my bunk this afternoon was like time travel - all that was missing was Janey. Messaging her through WhatsApp anc both got a little emotional. The Camino can do that to you.
The way today has been clogged with peregrinos an tourigrinos which has made it less fun - I'm not sure that walking with a hello kitty bag on your back full of your cosmetics really makes for a real pilgrimage, but who am I to criticise?!
This afternoon I have had an extended and reviving siesta followed by a hot cafe con leche and tasty pastry. Tonight I shall avail myself of the veggie meal in the cafe across the road, but for now I am super-chilled.
As I get closer to Santiago I am beginning to think that I dont want it to end. In parts its been really hard, close to giving up hard, but I'm still going and feeling good.
Tomorrow I am planning to stay in Monte de Gozo - a 500 bed albergue complex. Apparently the dorms are small and its not as bad as it sounds. Anyway I shall offer a full report tomorrow.

Weighty question.

I'm a little disappointed with the lack of responses to my "what did I call my sticks?" question. Only three entries as far as I can tell. Hedwig says 'leftie and rightie'. Janey suggested 'Nick and Jane', and Ashley has offered 'Bill and Ben'. 
So I thought I'd pose you another...
Before starting the Camino I weighed myself and was a little shocked to find I weighed more than I ever had. So the question is... by the time I get home on Saturday how much weight will I have lost?
Here's a little clue. I can now tighten my belt two more noyches than before.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Dreams, memories and stories.

After a terrible night's sleep,due to the noisiness of a group of teenagers, I set out earlier than intended and was more than pleased to be back in the peace of the countriside.  I 've also been having the weirdest and sometimes disturbing dreams.
Just outside Melide is the 50 km marker, where Jane and I posed for photos two years ago (check pivasa albums). I stopped here again and got a young lady to take another for me.
A little bit further on I crossed a stream on big boulders. More memories of 2010. Then a little further on was the fruit stand where we stopped for raspberries, but sadly today it was bereft of anything.
Much of the walk today was along farm tracks,and some through eucalyptus groves where the smell was intoxicating.
As I was only going as far as Arzua today (about 15kms) it didn't take long to arrive. This was good news as my right foot has been giving me a bit of PN pain today and is still quite sore.
Part of the way I walked with a lovely woman from Colorado, USA,who had a touching story about what brought her to the Camino. I was almost in tears.
I am now in the Albergue de Fonte, which is cosy. Just 6 beds in tbe room, wifi, and all mod cons. On arrival I did a load of washing and dried it in the drier as the skies have been threatening rain all day.
This evening I shall be making myself a light dinner, after a yrip to the shops, and hopefully getting a much better night's sleep.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Melide & memories

After dinner last night I had a chat with the late arrival -an Aussie guy. Phew,not a happy chappy - and you guys downunder call US whinging Poms?!?
A later start again this morning, as all future days will be. The morning started with a mixed climb -both gentle and steep- up to a craggy outcrop. Up here I found the most beautiful purple orchid - Stunning.
A little further on I stopped at a roadside cafe for a coffee, where Lennie and Jan caught up. Len insisted on getting a photo of me, never having seen me with a coffee  before.  A minute or two later Sabine caught up too - it is clear we are all takking it a bit easier today. Sabine and I plan to stay in Melide, whilst L & J are going on to Ribadiso.
Within very litlle time at all we had arrived in Melide. After finding the albergue we found a cafe for one last lunch together on the road. Again the bocadillos were huge and we each ate half, stashing the other half for later.
After lunch we hugged and L & J went on their way and I queued to gst in the albergue, which BTW is really nice.
Showered and freshened I set out to explore the town and find places from my memories of 2010 - Chaplin cafe being fhe main one. Once I had found it and reconnected some memories I bought some cherries and sat in the sun to contemplate.
What a wonferful life I have.....

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A relaxing Sunday.

Woke late this morning - around 6.30, then took breakfast in the albergue of toast and juice, before setting out.
A gentle walk of just 15 kms today and for a change Jan,Lennie and I walked all the way together.
Along the roadside and thrpugh the fields and woods to our destination of the day: As Seixas.
The albergue here was built in 2010 and is excellent both in its tranquil location and condition.
On arrival I found some lentils in the drawer so after a shower added a stock cube and the tin of mushrooms i had to make a lentil stew for the 5 of us who had arrived. The other guy didn't like lentils. Jean Claude -the Frenchman got some 0% beer from the vending machine to go with it.
The hospitalera here? Ana, is verry young and a delight. She is so helpful and using my skills of translator. She has brought bread and eggs from her home for thosr who didn't carry food with them. Looks like most will be having tortilla tonight. I have a pack of pasta in cheese sauce!