Thursday, 27 February 2014

And so it begins - Carnaval VnG

... Carnaval de Vilanova I'm talking about. Almost a full week of revelry and fun...

The streets are already decorated:

Classes at  work are less focused on grammar and turn instead to discussions of carnival. Materials made up from the various traditions that are Carnaval, thoughts and stories from previous years fill the classrooms as the weekend looms closer. Even our Catalan class today featured a Carnaval discussion. 

Today is The Meringada, when children all across VnG will be throwing meringues at each other, either real (less often) or pretend (made of shaving soap etc). and of course some adults will join in.  The tradition traces back to when one of the pastiseries that used to put a large meringue outside its door for djous gras (fat Thursday). As they passed children would pick bits off it and end up throwing them at, or smearing them all over, each other. This grew into an all out war in the streets, culminating in a major battle in one of the town's squares. 

Tomorrow is the main parade, when the king of this year's Carnaval will be presented and make a speech in the Town Square inviting everyone in Town to enjoy (and go wild) over the weekend of Carnaval. It's a big goodbye to winter...

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Seems like our post office has been busy, at least delivering to us...

First through the door was a card from Australia from the lovely Michelle. I really love her hand made cards. If only I was so creative and good with my hands I'd be sending some like this out! 

Then another card from down the coast. The lovely Caroline sent me a card just because she could. How nice is that. We've known each other like almost forever and our friendship never wavers. We met doing our 'work experience' when studying Catering back in the day, and are both now teaching English in Spain- coincidence -probably not! 

And finally a Christmas card fell through the door today from my cousin Simon in Portsmouth, UK. Nice one posties -the postmark on the envelope was the 16th December -That has to be some kind of record! Just over two months! 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Another week flies by at Casa TulStig

So this last week:

  • Started the week with a lunch for some of my proficiency students
  • Had Denise and Paolo round for the evening on Sunday. 
  • Started our new Catalan course. After almost a month's break getting back down to studying has been a bit of a challenge. 
  • Baked a load of muffins for the Teacher's meeting which were well appreciated. It's been a busy time a work recently with one of the other teacher's off sick and having to cover his classes, but he's back now so I'll get a lie in this week!

  • We had Becky staying from Monday to Friday. It was her first time in VnG/BCN so lots of touristy stuff done, including a day trip to BCN, a morning out in Sitges, a tour of VnG, and dinners out. As well as the usual work week.

  • Watched a couple of films on our new system - X-Men First Class -a good bit of escapism, Life of Pi - enjoyed the book and now have enjoyed the film, and War Horse -Enjoyed the film and cleaned my tearducts at the same time!! 
  • Spent some time up the lottie as the weather has much improved. Weeding, planting Beetroot, and generally pottering about. 

  • Sorting out the general stuff for the sale of our flat in London. fingers crossed it may go through without hitches which will mean  a trip back to London soon... 
  • Still writing every day on my Writey Ho blog  - mixed reactions to my writing. Some days a disappointing number of hits,  and so few comments; but on a couple of days it went ballistic and got over 600 hits and over 715 another day. What's that all about? 
Can't believe this is the last week of February, so look out for our newsletter at the end of the week if you're a subscriber, and next weekend Carnaval starts... Have I ever mentioned how much I love my life?? 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Another tasty day.

Despite working this morning I still managed to organise a great of a lunch for us and three proficiency students: Laura, Guillermo & David. Sadly Alberto couldn't join us as he had a funeral to go to.

Guillermo had made the starter. . A delicious ratatouille with a crispy cheese topping. 

I made main courses of beef & ale pie; homity pie with broccoli,  broad beans in white wine sauce and roast potatoes.
And for & pear crumble with custard and chocolate brandy mousse.

Great food from first sniff to final mouthful. Great company again so a pretty great day. Even the weather was on our side.  It was sunny enough to eat in the garden. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

New Order

Having lost most of the UK terrestrial channels over the past week or so we have just invested in a new system that allows us to continue watching our favourites on the BBC, ITV & 4. 

We'd looked into several systems before settling on this one, and the main reason was that it was reasonable and local. 

Down the coast in Alicante there was a similar offer, but we thought that should we need aftersales service it may be a bit sporadic. another company was offering a  similar service for double the price. It seems us ex-pats and our need for Brit TV could be easy pickings for some money-keen companies. Not so with our guys. They even gave us a discount as there are several of us teachers (and extended families) at Supernova who will be wanting the system .

It is basically an IPTV system that runs through the internet, and means that we also have access to hundreds of films and series too. Luckily our internet connection is a good one (Thanks Orange) so our picture is clear and suffers little distortion.  

I thought that getting Tony used to the new system may take a little bit of time, but already he seems to have the hang of it.  

With all the extras included I just don't know when I'm going to find time to do anything else any more. There are so many good films I need to catch up with, and that's just for starters... then there'll be the series we haven't manged to see yet .... 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Ups and downs

Up - my cc arnaval costume has arrived and I live it.

Down - Lost rest of UK terrestrial channels today.

Up - hot new toilet seat from Ikea today.

Down - the kitchen cupboard we wanted was out if stock.

Up - But they did have the rhubarb cordial. Yum.

Down - PN is playing up on right foot today.

Up ' Apart from that feeling good. 

Up - Losing channels means we've disvovered some other channels. 

Up - got some raspberries at the supermarket today.

Up - had great catch up eith great new friend.

So on balance I think the ups have it. Amazing life I have innit!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Happy Birthday

Today is my little girl's sixth birthday. I can't beleive it -six already and it seems like only a little while agoo that we were down on the farm seeing the eleven babies for the first time. 

At the time we wondered whether we were doing teh right thing, but it wasn't long before this little bundle stole our hearts away. 

Now she's a young lady with her very own special character and place in the family. 

The only sad side to today's celebrations is that there will be one plate less for the celebratory chicken dinner. 


Sunday, 9 February 2014


Having had some work done at the flat - ie the replacement of the bathroom ceiling, replacement of the kitchen ceiling and the kitchen taps replaced and re-plumbed - we have been spurred into a bit of Spring cleaning.  Incidentally the builder we had in to do the works was the best we've ever 'employed' and we've been through a few over the years. 

We have emptied the bathroom completely and only put back what we use - there were so many bottles of sun- cream and conditioners in the cupboard we could have started our own shop- binned. We had so many towels yet only use a couple each so removed the rest. 

We have emptied, cleaned and reorganised all the kitchen cupboards, getting rid of things that haven't seen the light of day since we moved along the way. Of course we are now in the state of opening the wrong cupboard to find things aren't in their familiar places, but we'll soon get over that. 

We've also done a bit of 'renovating' in the garden, and been through our seed store, ready for planting over the next couple of weeks. Having had butternut squash soup for lunch we have also saved a load of seed from that which we'll try to germinate. We'll plant in pots here ready for potting on to the lottie. 

Next job is to sort the guest room/my office/Cuddy's room ready for Becky's arrival next week ...  

Thursday, 6 February 2014

It's started

Last summer we ex-pats were getting warnings that UK television was moving satellites and that we would lose access to all UK channels. Allegedly this is so that the signal in the UK is better - is it my UK chums? I suspect it is just the BBC (initially) who are closing down on us was we don't pay a license fee -and they call the Catalans tight-fisted. 

Lucky for us the process was bugged from the start. Firstly the satellite didn't launch because one of the thrusters or boosters or some such thing was installed the wrong way round. Then when it was launched during the autumn contact was sporadic and we were warned the signal would disappear before Christmas. This caused a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth among our ex-pat community, but didn't happen.

Today we turned on the TV to find the BBC channels have disappeared. After checking on the internet I found out that this is the start of the changeover. So now we are looking at ways to get our beloved UK programmes. We have already tried out one internet site - which has a wealth of channels from across the world, and with our smart Tv we should be able to link the two without too much problem. It will just mean we (and I mean Tony mainly) will have to get used to a new way of accessing our programmes. And who knows it may make us choosier... 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Weekend Joy

What a weekend this has been.

First of all when I got up for work on Saturday morning I checked my messages and saw I had a message from Nick. He and Carla had become the parents of twins. She had gone into labour the night before and had given birth early that morning to Stanley and Lennie. Like the proud parents I was thrilled -so if you were wondering what the fuss as all about with my JOYous mood -there you have it

After work on Saturday I got back to a bit of writing - both on here and on my writing blog 'Writey-Ho'. I also had just sent out the new revised newsletter, so have produced quite a few words these last few days.

Today I spent a couple of hours up the allotment. Took up a load of organic recycling we had collected at home, did a bit of weeding, digging and retied some tin foil to keep the birds off. I love being up there in the quiet messing about with the earth and plants, and it's coming along nicely.

ON arriving home I suggested we take Cuddy down the beach for a run and to hav ea light lunch in one of the cafes down there, so we jumped in the car and Cuddy got a run and a swim, as well as getting to try patatas bravas in cafe de les arts.

This afternoon I decided to do a bit of baking, so knocked up a batch of carrot muffins anda fe wsausage rolls. Yummmm.

TO end the evening, cuddles on the sofa with the cats and Cuddy . a perfect end to a great weekend.

Saturday, 1 February 2014


Started off the morning with a wonderful piece of news. Yay I said with tears in my eyes and on my cheeks -Tears of immense happiness -and once I can I will share this newsy news! Oh Joy! 

Also had quite of bit feedback about the newsletter and all positive. Seems like reviving it was a popular move. More Joy! 

So it's been good news day! and that's all there is to it!