Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Good news

Well the sun came out again today. After three days of rain we were muchly relieved. That is bit of good news number one.
Good news number two is that my new phone arrived.  It is on this that I am typing now. It is a Galaxy SIII and is truly amazing.  The text predictor is so clever that it even offers the next word and is more often than not right.  Ican even dictate to it and it types word for word what I say.  There are still a load of features that I've not even found yet. So a hearty thanks goes out to Nick for suggesting it to me. It wasn't cheap but is so worth it.

As well as this in the post there was another packet.  Inside was a jar of extra strong Marmite.  A delightful present from a great friend in London Nigel.  More big thanks going out to him too. Good news number three. 

And if that wasn't enough tomorrow is a holiday here.  It's May Day. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Laugh - I almost didn't

Another wet day in VnG, and we've been loving it. Although the cats have become a bit stir-crazy. Sprout spent the best part of the afternoon chasing raindrops down the French windows. Thank goodness the animals can amuse us because the TV comedies these days just cant.

Rain through the French windows
 Tom planning something...

We've just spent an hour watching two new so-called comedies. The first half hour was called 'Vicious' and  starred Sir Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi, with Frances de la Tour. The two former playing a gay couple, the like of which we've never met, nor wish to. It was dire, with no laughs in it at all. All over-acted and should have been at the theatre and not on TV at all. 
The second 'Job-Lot' was about a Job centre and was too near the truth to be funny. more overacting and again no laughs.
As I said it's lucky the animals make us laugh...

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Don't talk just eat...

Less words today, but  just pictures... this is what I was up to this afternoon... BAKING ...

Wholemeal fruit scones 
with homemade strawberry jam and cream

Fruits of the Forest Muffins

And saving the best till last...
Raspberry Meringue Pie
(might not be the best looking, but definitely the best-tasting)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Reading and Writing

Whilst trying to stay off the PC to save my arm/shoulder a bit I've been indulging in one of my other favourite pastimes -reading,Especially as the weather has been slightly cooler and wetter. I am almost finished reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The prisoner of Heaven.  It's part of a series, and cleverly written to interweave the other two parts well within the story.

Today I have posted a lovely story to Writey Ho- Button -all about a delightful Chocolate Labrador - pop on over there an have a read- Tissues at the ready!! A must for dog lovers. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!

What a great heading I thought to myself when  I read cousin Will's quote from Henry V.  

Firstly because two days ago was Saint George's Day - St Jordi here, and the town as always went mad with books and roses. I asked a student why they give roses to their sweethearts on this day. The legend is that when St George (Jordi) killed the dragon, where the blood  fell to the floor red roses grew, as for the book giving I've still to get to the bottom of that one. 

The Rambla was bedecked with Catalan flags and with books and roses on sale. Every other street corner had a gypsy family, or parts of, selling roses to passing cars, or pedestrians. 

So that's the 'Saint George' part covered. Cry God- well that's what I've been crying lately with the pain in my arm and shoulder. But after four visits to the Vet and his magic energy treatment I am pretty much cured. Yesterday afternoon after the third treatment I felt quite ill. All afternoon I was cold and felt like I was starting the flu, and was in bed by 10.00pm. This morning I woke up feeling full of the joys of spring, and after another treatment am pleased, no delighted that the pain has resided to almost a memory of what it was. BY the weekend I'm sure I'll be back to full function. Of course I am sure the healing sent from around the world, including a powerful symbol from Brian has helped no end -Thank you all. 

England - had a strange dream last night that I was visiting Brighton for a special celebration, then the weather turned bad so I decided to take a walk along the seafront and maybe go to the cinema, as I haven't been to the flicks for ages. anyone fancy working out what that might mean? 

As for Harry - nothing relevant there, but thought I'd add this anyway -

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sunday - grub, fitness and pain..

Last night we had a delicious dinner of home made veggie samosas, onion bahjis, onion and spinach bahjis, veggie curry and rice. Although the recipes nee a little tinkering with for next time we were both stuffed soon after. 

Having had bad night cos of this shoulder/arm thing I ha my first lie in in an age. I slept in till 10.30 - unheard of. Xali got his walk with Tony but Cuddy had to make do with the garden. I don't think she really minded. Lake of use in my right arm/hand has meant little internet action either. 

When I got up I lazed in front of the TV watching the live coverage from the London Marathon, looking out for Carla all the time. We found out from Nick that she was wearing a purple shirt and purple head-band. Amongst the thousands of runners we weren't surprised we couldn't locate her. 

She finished after 5.59 hours, just within what she wanted , and a personal best. Well done Carla. 

This evening we've had leftover Indian from last night plus a Dahl I put together quickly.

Unfortunately the pain in my arm/shoulder is no better (Los años no perdonen - The years are not forgiving), which has meant no stories on Writey-Ho, and I've been writing this left-handed for the last couple of hours, so I've made an appointment with the vet. Remember last year when I had my back problem and he cured it with one visit, well I'm hoping for the same -I have to say I have more faith n his energy medicine than anything the Dr could offer... watch this space.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Super Sunny Super Saturday

Started of the day with a long walk with Xali and Cuddy -long enough to mean that they are both fast asleep now, snoring.  

Followed that up by walking out to the allotment, for the first time. It took about an hour to get there, and I'm relieved to say it was a really nice walk. 

Did about an hours work at the allotment, weeding and the such like.

Then walked back, another hour or so..

It was a great morning. Lunch was a delicious broccoli soup which Tone had made. Followed by a bit of a siesta.
The walk has been a Camino reminder and I am now so ready to get going.

I've been suffering from a dodgy, painful shoulder for the last few days. Tone got some heat spray which has helped a little, and he gave me a bit of a  rub, but still the shoulder's giving me jip. But it's not stopped me enjoying the day.
I'm off now to cook up some Indian edible delights ... look out of more of that tomorrow...

Friday, 19 April 2013

Friday Focus

Today has been Friday.
Today has been good.
Today has been cookie baking day.

 Gingernuts with oats, and raisin and coconut.

And a quick update on the rhubarb - growing nicely, Thank you. 

Oh and of course I've been writing. A nice little story on Writey-Ho about five girls and a fortune-teller

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Exceptional day number ......xxx

Another exceptional day for me here in VnG

I started the morning with my usual cholesterol reducing porridge with berries. I love this time of the year when the soft berry type fruits are around, and that I can eat breakfast in the garden is an added bonus.

I had one class this morning. Word formation -I love the logic of it all, and when the students get that 'aha' moment. I was especially pleased when one of the students told me that I know so much more than their previous English teachers. Flattered though I was I did point out that when I started I often didn't know what I was teaching very well either. BUt have to say I am a good teacher, maybe cos I love it. 

Lunch was spent with Christine who is visiting from Paris, and some of the rest of the Supernova A team -June, Bill and Liam. 

As the menus are lacking in vegetarian enthusiasm I usually get a raw deal -literally. And today I went for the Goat's cheese salad, which I enjoyed and didn't miss the fishy things my colleagues were stuffing down.

This afternoon I wrote. Have you read ALONE yet? John's continuing night of fear - I love writing and am getting more followers on the blog little by little. 

Another great class this evening - The third conditional featuring as the headliner. Do YOU know what that is? 

Dinner was homemade burgers with chips and mange-tout. Another of Tony's specialties  Now snacking on strawberries whilst watching 'Secret eaters' - which is interesting and amusing. Xali is snuggled up beside me and Sprout and Vinie are giving me that look that tells me they want me to stop typing as it's time for a cuddle up. So as they are the bosses I'd best do as they say...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Yesterday -Today (Contrast)

Yesterday I found the news coming out of Boston quite unsettling. Just about 14 years this week Tony and I were in the Admiral Duncan pub, with our amazing friend Kath, when it was bombed.  Normally I am not so affected by 'bomb-news'. What I think hit a chord so deeply this time was the sound -it was so reminiscent of the sound that night in the bar.  However we were lucky to get out relatively unscathed, and are still all great friends although now across the miles.

IT was a bank holiday weekend and we spent most of the time in shock, impacted by finding ourselves on the pages of the Sunday Observer.

Today I had a lovely morning, with an early start. I had agreed to take Sue's mum to the airport for her flight back to the UK. After that Sue and I went to he big shopping centre near the airport and enjoyed a girlie time shopping and having coffees and teas. I also spotted an ideal gift for a dear friend, that will be sent off as soon as I get the chance to wrap it and pop to the post office.

When I got back a bit of gardening was in order. grabbing a few weeds and the daily watering. Now the weather has got warmer it is an imperative for all my new shoots and plants.

What a contrast, and what a life -A fantastic one I can tell you!! And all shared with some of the best people I could imagine.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Green Fingers / fast fingers

I do love my garden, especially at this time of year, and even more so this year. This time of year because things are all coming to life in the garden, and especially this year as I'm starting seeds in the garden to transplant up to the Lottie. 

Yesterday I planted the rhubarb out that Nora sent over from Ireland, and I'd swear that it's growing by the minute. I've covered it with plastic crates so the cats don't use the soil as their toilet. Anyway I think tyhings are looking good so far:

I also transplanted some Okra/Bindi plants from the tray into their own pots, so that they can strengthen up a bit before going up the lottie: 
 This year, as always we are still growing tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce on the roof, and as the weather is improving they are really starting to grow. The lettuce in particular are running away with themselves.
 And here are the chillie plants, doing well. I'm thinking they'll need transplanting soon. I am so looking forward to getting fresh chillies! Hot food coming up. And of course any over production can be dried and hung in the kitchen. 

And of course as well as doing the green finger stuff I'm happiest writing in the garden too. Here's a pic of me today -fingers whizzing across the keyboard as I create another mini story for Writey-Ho
SO have you been over to check out today's story -Edna's tale! 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Human Towers

Yesterday we met Christine (ex Supernova teacher who has moved back to Paris) down on the Prom with a load of other chums for pre-lunch drinks. 
It was really hot, so the ladies had to apply copious amounts of suncream:

As we sat, chatted and drank...

When that party broke up, Tony and I walked further along the Prom to get some lunch at Pica Tapa. On the path in front of the restaurant there was a concorso of the local Castellers. Great entertainment whilst we ate.

Salad, champiñones, pimientos del Padrón, and  Patatas Bravas washed down with Vermut, all in the sun. 

Yesterday evening we finished off the spicy rice from Saturday's evening meal along with an onion and mushroom bhaji thingy I threw together. Yummy!!

What a great weekend. And today is shaping up to be a good old day too.... 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunday Cookies

Another great day at CasaTulstig. 

First job of the day was to bake a few cookies. These are delicious, and moor-ish. They were only out of the oven a few minutes and we'd eaten half a dozen. Tony's not really a biscuit person but he was happily joining in the munchathon! 
AS we were meeting Christine on the seafront (a friend visiting from France) I bagged up a few her and for everyone to share. Needless to say they all went rapidly. 

Oat and Raisin Cookies. 
Thanks to Allie for sharing Rachel Allen's recipe.

Makes about 30 cookies

110g (4oz) butter, softened
110g (4oz) caster sugar
110g (4oz) soft light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g (9oz) porridge oats
110g (4oz) self-raising flour
1 level tsp salt
110g (4oz) raisins
1) Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), Gas Mark 4
2) Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft.
Add the sugars and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg, water & vanilla extract while still beating. Reduce the speed and gently mix in the oats, flour, salt & raisins to form a dough.
3) Using your hands, roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place spaced slightly apart on two baking trays (no need to line/grease).
4) Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes or until light golden brown, but still slightly soft in the centre.
5) Allow to cool on the trays for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

As for the rest of the goings on here for the rest of the day I'll update you all tomorrow.... 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Food diary

Some of you may have realised by now that I'm a bit (a huge bit) of a foodie!

I love to grow my own veggies, prepare veggies, cook them and of course eat them, along with many other things.

Today I've enjoyed an exceptional day's food. And am lucky enough to do so every day.Can any of us in the western world really say that we've ever felt true hunger? I for one cannot and feel blessed that I always have enough on my plate.


Breakfast - Porridge with raspberries and Blueberries.

LUNCH - Courgette and cabbage Soup - thanks to Tony.

And dinner - Pizza style oven-cooked Courgettes with spicy rice and mange-touts.

And for pudding each time I've had a mix of strawberries, grapes, blueberries and raspberries.

Pretty healthy day -Now where's the chocolate!! 

Friday, 12 April 2013

A Charmed life

I so like getting my hands dirty! I love tinkering in the earth and helping things to grow. Even just touching on the edge of nature can raise my spirits and so it was this morning.

This morning, having dealt with matters financial, I jumped in the car with a tray full of French Bean seedlings, and set off to visit Lottie, our allotment. 

Whilst there I did a bit of weeding and sat under one of the fruit trees to draw a schematic of our plot, which is sitting here on the desk telling me to do something with it.

 Of course I planted the beans:
 And managed to work out how to use the delay button on the camera:

ON the way home I did a bit of shopping. Actually shopping is something I enjoy, even if it is just supermarket shopping. I love hunting out the best prices, finding new products and seeing what English products have made their way across the channel.

On arriving home I threw together a quick soup. Spinach and potato, with broad beans and peas (yes the broad beans and peas were leftover from dinner last night - well waste not want not!). Even if I do say so myself it was delicious, and nourishing.

 And of course with this fine weather we ate lunch in the garden.

After lunch an obligatory Friday siesta. I don't know what it is about Fridays but I do tend to save my weekly siesta until them. 
I then settled down to do a bit of writing on Writey-Ho. And am now going to settle down with a cup of (Vanilla) tea in the garden before preparing tonight's classes.

Hmmm- A charmed life and that's for sure.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

What a Day

Whilst I was teaching a few locals a few words of English the postman dropped off a package for me. A very special package. Inside were some Rhubarb crowns, all the way from a dear friend in Ireland -Thanks Nora! . Now these are headgear fro rhubarb queens, but little rhubarb plants. When I got home To say I was excited was an understatement. I am hoping that they take to their new home, and that soon (within a year perhaps ) we will be eating home-grown rhubarb. Also included  in the package were some sweeties, licorice all-sorts and rhubarb and custards of course.

Rhubarb crowns
 Rhubarb and Custards

Going back a little bit here, Tone and I met down-town to go to the Hacienda which is the local tax office.  Our Prime-Minister here has decreed that all foreigners have to declare any financial interests in their home countries. As we still have a flat in London we have to declare. This has to be done before the end of April. If we don't declare and they find out fines can start at 10,000€. The Hacienda were most helpful (NOT). they told us to register on-line and complete the declaration there.  At home this afternoon I did have a go at that, but like all official documents it is far too confusing, so we're going to have to pay a financial company to declare for us- That's tomorrow's job!

This afternoon I had to go to Lidl as they had halogen desk lamps on sale -half the price of anywhere else. Whilst there I also bought a set of knives, being a bit fed up with having to try and sharpen our best knife every time I try to use it.  SO as well as the usual chopping we now have a couple of new items, one here on the desk, with a cat sunbathing underneath, and the other in the kitchen ready for my next foray and baking extravaganza.

new knives
 new lamp
 So on balance it's been a grand day.