Thursday, 31 October 2013

No new flat, but a new gym

First of all  - an update on yesterday's flat buying scheme.  The purchase has fallen through as the vendor is not willing to budge on price at all. He says that he has already reduced the price to get a sale and won't discount it any further. as the previous reduction was well before we even viewed the flat it doesn't really have any import on our offer. anyway we are unable to go to the full price, especially considering the current market, and have backed out. Whilst being disappointed we know that there will be another place that we like, and as we are in no hurry we are content for things to take their course...

And now..Yesterday a parcel arrived that we had been waiting on. It was a new cat gym for the boys, all the way from Germany via E-Bay. Their old cat gym was more than a little frayed at the edges and was in need of renewing. Happily it is their favourite scratch place, meaning that they leave the furniture scratch-free. 

Having opened the box and taken out all the pieces it was clear we could just have bought the box the parts came in as the cats immediately decided that it too was a great toy. As the gym  was made in Germany the instructions came in German, with an interesting English translation, and full diagram, which really was not of great help.

Photo: And the instructions.

However, I managed to fix it all up quite quickly with just one error, and even incorporated some parts of the old gym, the bits the cats used most.

Photo: Done!  With TulStig  modifications.

It's already taken a bit of a hammering as they've bounced all over it and scratched (as they should). any bets on how long this one will last? 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Holiday let...

WE put a very cheeky offer in on the flat we like a couple of days ago... Arghhh what on earth are we doing I've been thinking since, as well as excited at the possibility of becoming holiday-let landlords. We are hoping to get our hands on a four bedroomed (two doubles and two singles) ground floor flat in the middle of town- 5 mins form the beach. For anyone who knows VnG it's near where Oganquit used to be. It also had a large terrace/patio and two smaller ones, one off one of the bedrooms and one off the kitchen. Both Tony and I loved it as soon as we saw it.

After I'd put the offer in the estate agent called and asked me to drop in the office for a chat. 'Oh-Oh' I thought too cheeky?!

The living room

I dropped in for a chat and she suggested putting some money on the table to prove we are serious about purchasing. 1000 or 500 euros. This will then reserve the flat so no one else can view it until an offer we make is accepted, or we decline the purchase. At which point the money is returned to us. Is said I'd have to speak to my old man first and get back to her. It all sounded a little dodgy.


She also said my offer was a little 'Fuerte' (cheeky). To which I replied we just want to open negotiations. Also pointed out that we have the money in the UK ready to pay up front. NO chain, no mortgage to arrange.. should make our offer more appealing.


After umming and Ahhing for a while I plucked up the courage to call one of my ex-students- the Notary of Sitges and ask if this was normal practice and to see if she would represent us with the purchase. Shouldn't have wound myself up so much. She was delighted to hear from me and said this was normal practice. She also said she'd be more than happy to represent us, which is great cos she'll really have our backs and as I've taught all her family I know she'll not rip us off.


Called the estate agent back and have agreed to drop off the smaller amount of money tomorrow... fingers crossed we can reach a satisfactory negotiation with the current owner...

Fingers crossed everyone please...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Double dig day

Today was pretty much a day dedicated to the Allotment.
I went up there this morning with most of the 'Horta buddies', Tony being the only one missing - he was chained to the kitchen making pumpkin soup for lunch.
We started by getting the block of concrete out of the hole and rested it by the fence -job done (at last)!

Then more digging over, weed and stone removal, before we all headed home for lunch and naps.
This evening we went back for an hour or so with a couple of bottles and a few snacks for an  impromtu get toegther 

and to meet Dani, one of the other horta people who has a rotavator and has agreed to rotovate all our plot for a small fee. Ironic as we'd almost dug it all over already.

We took Cuddy and Xali up with us so Cuddy could have run around and Xali could watch. uddy loved playing in the mud and chasing stones.

 It wont be long before we can start planting now... 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

(Back) In the zone


Isn't it funny how sometimes the decision is made for you, and yet all along it was you who made the decision and then the pieces fall into place.

Recently I wasn't enthused with one of my passions - writing - and didn't even make many posts on here, or Writey-Ho. I knew Nanowrimo was coming and thought that this year I might give it a miss, although I kinda fancied the idea. 

Then walking home I had a flash of a story, in fact the start of a story, the first chapter.

Within a day or so Michelle checked on me to see if I was doing Nanowrimo.

Then a friend at school lent me a book - 'The Artist's Way' about creativity and flow. I read the first chapter and felt it was written for me. I've now ordered my own copy to read it all. 

Same friend then said she had a great idea for achildren's book but didn't know where to go with it- Nanowrimo I suggested, and I'm hoping she's going to sign up so we can encourage each otehr.

That day I got a message from another friend who used to live in VnG and was back in town for a few days and wanted to meet up. He too did Nanowrimo last year. We met up and talked books, story-lines and characters. We both love our characters and the way they are so real to us.

That was just what I needed -I am enthused - so much so that today I moved my last effort another step towards publishing. One more illustration from Ritu, a cover from Alan and I'm pretty sure we'll be fit to go...

I'm back in the zone, my muse is chattering for me to write. Nanowrimo here I come, and a sequel to 'The quest for the magic Key' ....

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Dog's life

What an exciting day.

This morning we had meat and biscuits for breakfast. meat and biscuits, meat and biscuits. It was delicious - I love food. I tried to sneak some of the cat's food too but Daddy M was watching me carefully.

Right after breakfast we went for our walkies. Xali's a bit slow these days but that's OK, he's my biggest brother and I love him. There were a few strange clouds in the sky so I was a bit nervous when we first got out on the street, but Daddy M chatted to me all the way up to the park where he let me off the lead and I could run, run run.I love the park, love love love it!

I love the park. Xali wanders around sniffing everything while I bound around 'tigger-like' enjoying the smells and wind rushing past my ears. Sometimes I have to check what Xali's looking at just so I don't miss out on the local news, but often I'm just too busy run run running. When I scratch at the ground Daddy M chases me off and we play a game of chase. Isn't life fun!!

This morning we saw the cat from round the corner so I went a bit mad, but Daddy M held me tight so I couldn't chase. Lucky cat, unlucky me. Still another day I may be able to chase it. 

When we got back indoors Xali had his breakfast and I'd kinda forgotten that I had mine so was a bit disappointed that I didn't get some food too, but it was okay. I did get to lick out Xali's bowl afterwards, even though he hadn't left anything the taste was still there... mmm -- biscuits and meat! I also watched Daddy M have his toast and hoped I might get a crust but he wolfed it all himself, but he did let me sit on the sofa beside him. 

Next Daddy M went out. I didn't quite understand where he was going. I think he's trying to learn the cat language,which is silly co they understand him well enough anyway. Daddy T stayed in bed cos he wasn't feeling well. I took him my rag rope, and rasta man but he wasn't in the mood for playing so I curled up beside him and listened to him and Xali snore.

Later on Daddy T got up and went out too. When he came back with Daddy M they were a bit excited about something.  They'd seen a flat something and they were talking numbers which I didn't get, but I did get a chewy before Daddy T went back to bed and Daddy M used his computer thingy. He's got a sore wrist at the moment. I think it must be all that W stuff he does on the internet. I can't quite remember what it is but he gets really excited and moans now and then, it sounds a bit like walking, or washing... ah now I remember it's writing. He loves writing.

In the afternoon he was talking to the PC thing and a picture of uncle Michael in Düsseldorf talked back. It was kinda funny to watch. Then he said he was going to take me out and picked up my lead so I got a bit excited too.

We went a really long way and bumped into Auntie June on the way.  We also saw some things that were all woolly and smelly, Daddy said they were ships or something, they worried me a bit so I tried to ignore them and their funny old noises. When we stopped, like a hundred miles from home, we were in a place with funny smells, but we found Daddy's car, so we came home in that.

When Daddy T did our dinner- meat and biscuits- I love it - Daddy M went to a thing called work, but first he said he was meeting a Nanowrimo friend. I wonder if that's like a Rasta doll? He came home soon and said he'd had a good time with John and that they'd talked a lot about their writing stuff. Daddy M was very happy. Writing makes him happy. I like it when he's happy.  If that had been me I would have been panting and wagging my tail. Perhaps his tail was wagging in his trousers. He was happy anyway. When he was changing I rolled around on my back on their bed until he tickled my tummy. I love having my tummy tickled- well doesn't everyone? I know Vinci does, and I'm pretty sure Daddy does too! The smell of their dinner was tantalising. It was sausages and stuff, but I only got to smell it.

I've just had a chewy now, and the cats have had some biscuits, so that's the end of the day I guess... I wonder what we'll do tomorrow... maybe we'll get some good food... I love food!

Lots of love to everyone,  


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Digging for victory

During the night, last night, we had quite a lot of rain. So as not to miss out on the softening effect of that on the land I trotted off up the lottie this morning to do some digging. after having taken my car into the garage (the passenger side window to be repaired).

Spade over my shoulder I walked round from the house to the lottie where Sue was already in action.

In no time I was in the zone and digging like a man of the land. Jen arrived for a while but her son wasn't well, and threw up, so she left.  Shortly after Sue called it a day as Lily was whinging so I continued alone. 
I got a good bit of digging done and marked out some areas for future attack. 

 This will be where the fruit garden will be. 

 The relax area- pergola already up, just need a few lavender plants and a cover. 
 The veggie beds, some of my digging from today (rectangle bit top right)
and the beautiful sunny sky that I got to work under this morning- leaving me just a tad wet after my exertions.

During the digging Sue said she is having second thoughts about getting chickens. I think I made my thoughts pretty clear when I said 'No chickens and I'm out'. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

And the beat goes on

Things have been as hectic as ever these last few days at Casa TulStig. Here's a quick resume of what I've been up to:

  • Teaching every evening, and  every other Saturday. as well as the preparation of classes etc.
  • Taking Catalan Classes every Tuesday and Thursday morning. And the usual obligatory homework and additional practice.
  • Starting up a new allotment. Sourcing tools, digging and checking out other stuff like irrigation pipes et al.
  • Checking out apartments for our new 'rental venture'. We're seeing about half a dozen each week. We've seen some good ones (and some seriously bad ones) and just one we really liked, but it's over our budget, so we're hoping the price will drop, but if not we will keep on and on...

So these are the major things going on, then there are the usual day to day things like shopping, cleaning and stuff. This week I've also got to take the car into the garage as the passenger window has stopped working, fortunately in the closed position. 

So all in all I've not been in a blogging or writing mood so these projects have taken a back seat. Then on the way home tonight words poured into my head... my muse is back and soon I shall be putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard)....

Oh and I forgot I've also had a bad back again so have been trying to get some downtime when at home... some hope!! 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday on the land

Sunday a day of rest - Not sure what happened here then...

Started off with the final clearing up after yesterday's little do, then had to whizz out to meet Sue and Jordi to see a possible allotment- and happily it's more than possible we've signed up, it's ten minutes walk from home, we're going to get chooks and grow loads of veggies.... much larger than our last one, fenced in, water on site (and a loo) dog guarding (or should have been - liked tummy tickles though), cats running around - and only slightly more expensive than the last one. But I'll save that on petrol in no time! Bit excited to get going. Need to get our hands on a few tools - not usually a problem for me (ahem!)

Back home and quick lunch before Sue and Jordi picked me up to go to the local garden centre. The price of the tools there was exhorbitant so we'll shop around a bit, beg and borrow until we can get our own. Still excited....

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Spanish National Day

Yep it was  another holiday here in Spain today, although being in Cataluña it wasn't celebrated a great deal.

We've had a great day though. I spent the morning preparing and cooking for lunch, when we were joined by four of my favourite students. Laura, Guillermo, David & Alberto.

The menu looked something like this:

Mushroom pate, pea mint & basil pate, cheese provolone
 Endive & blue cheese salad with walnuts.
Main course

Toad in the hole 
roast potatoes, mashed sweet potato 
cauliflower and broccoli in cheese sauce. 
Fried onions with feta cheese

Spotted dick and custard 
Bannoffee pie with banana cream.

and I'm pleased to say it was enjoyed by all. Everyone went home feeling quite full!! 

 Alberto kept Cuddy busy for some time playing with her toys and this evening she ahs collapsed on the sofa, so she's happy too.

The washing up and clearing up was a bit of a chore, but means that all our plates and dishes are now sparkling in the cupboards! 

So another fantastic day in VnG at Casa TulStig...

And tomorrow i'¡m off to look at a new allotment. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Still looking....

Phew, been a bit non-stop today, well it's felt  like that this morning.

After a short walk (Xali wasn't up for it today, possibly because we went so far yesterday) with Xali and Cuddy it was time for Catalan lessons. On the bus on the way into town Tony and I were practising our verbs that we'd been given to learn. There were only four, but we just seem to keep getting them muddled. Knowing we were due a bit of a test on them in class we were both a bit nervous. We needn't have worried, the test was just spoken and was done round the class. I'm amazed how quickly we've bonded as a class already. answers are shared, giggles passed around and we are having a good time as we try to put our newly learned Catalan into practice. 

After class I stopped for a moment on the Rambla for a coffee, whilst Tony popped into the market. During class I had missed some calls from estate agents and possible private students. Before I could do anything about them one of the agents called back telling me she had two propertied for me to view if I could meet her in half an hour or so. I could and I did.

Both of the flats were nice enough, but the first one was too far to the north of town. It was cheap and in fairly good condition and if we were just looking for a nice place to move to (without) animals it would have done fine.The second one was much nicer, a three bedroom ground floor with a small balcony. I have to admit to liking it, but not sure if it's quite right for our needs. The plan is to pass by there over the weekend with Tony to see what he thinks. It was in a quiet residential area not too far from the beach with a nice garden

I am amazed, and told the agent, that the Spanish really don't dress their flats for viewing. Some have looked like the owner has just run out to work leaving detritus everywhere, whilst others really don't smell good- none of the flowers on the table, missing personal items or smell of coffee/baking bread that you'd get back in the UK! 

No sooner had I arrived home than another agent called for another viewing (booked for Monday). 

It's a great time to buy here, with prices reported today as having fallen just over ten percent recently. I've made it known to the agents we've dealt with what we're looking for and that we're ready to sign on the dotted line and pay up as soon as we find something we like. This has made a couple of them more enthusiastic. We're in no hurry and will wait until there is something we really like, so watch this space...

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Moving along....

Thank you to the 38 people who viewed yesterday's blog - now just one question what would it take to get you to make a wee comment? I'd love to know what you think of my ramblings.

Seventeen years and one day if we're counting, and as it is something I do I am. Well, Grateful and happy.

Things are falling into place here as the school year is well into it's second week. I'm really enjoying my classes and love imparting my passion for English. I shared something on Facebook today about English spelling and punctuation which was well-received: 

I love sharing these things with my students along with the other vagaries of the English language. For instance:

The bandage was wound around the wound. 
Wind the mainsail in before the wind gets too strong. 

And I'm pleased to say I started a bit of writing today - a short story for Writey-Ho which I should polish off tomorrow and upload. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

PC Woes (no relation to PC Plod!)

I have to admit to not having any enthusiasm for updating the blog recently - there I've said it - deal with it!

After getting back off holiday there seemed to be mountains of things that needed my attention. Of course there weren't really, but you know how things multiply in your mind, or should I say my mind, and then even the simplest of tasks can be added to the 'chore' list.And it has felt like my 'chore list' has been huge of late.

Added to that our desktop PC has been playing up something terribly. As this is where most of the work for House of TulStig, Blogs, newsletters etc gets done, it's become more than a bit frustrating. It now takes over half an hour to load up when turned on, and pages can hang for ages, causing me to mutter 'oh bug*** it' and walk away with tasks still in mid-flow. We are in the process  of upgrading and I've now got an external hard drive with all our photos on, which will mean I can upload them from the laptop too. But I do feel the need for a central hub, so we're going to invest in a new PC tower as soon as I can get myself roused enough to go shopping for one. 

PC shopping isn't something that thrills me. The specifications muddle me and I end up standing in the middle of the shop wondering which could be the best deal for me. The sales assistants, all of whom look like they've just come out of school, do nothing to lower my level of purchase anxiety, as they stand around  either chatting or looking bored, and more often than not looking the other way.

Anyway I shall endeavour to update my blogs a little more frequently in the near future, and with a little more encouragement from anyone out there reading this, which wouldn't go amiss, I shall get back to a daily post as soon as possible!

This will be true for my other blogs -  The Camino-My Way

                                                    - Writey-Ho

BTW whilst writing this small update the da**ed thing stuck at least five times, but I got to the end with a little patience (I only have a little patience) and a lot of getting up and walking away while the PC 'did its thing'.