Friday, 23 May 2014

Garden Therapy

For the past few weeks I've been lacking energy due to a lack of potassium. BY a variety of tests and changes in medication this has been found to be due to one of my blood pressure pills (Enalapril - just in case anyone else is on it and suffering similar). This has in turn damaged my kidneys, and I'm currently getting checked out for that- especially because of the family history. But enough of that ... 

Today I woke feeling more energised than normal so set off to the garden centre to get a few plants to add to our patio and garden here. Following that little trip I spent most of the morning tidying and repotting and potting on etc. Our garden is now almost awash with colour, and as they settle in will start to give us feasts for both sight and smell, and even taste as I've added a few herbs to the mix. Prizes to anyone who can name the ones pictured below.... 

Anyway the upshot is I still feel good for getting out here, however I am now ready for a short siesta before setting out for work this afternoon :-) 

Thursday, 22 May 2014


Today would have been Xali's 15th birthday, and we still deeply miss him. 

He was an amazing character and a wonderful companion. I've tried not to be sad and miss him today so we are celebrating the time he spent with us. Fourteen-plus great years - From Battersea to Barcelona. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Whirlwind weekend

This weekend just gone, from which I am just recovered, I made a flying trip to London (in both senses of the word. 

Sometime back my dearest and most amazing friend Andrea sent me an invite to her 50th birthday party, with a message saying that she knew it would probably prove too difficult for me to make it but wanted to send me an invite anyway.  Hmm I thought I wonder.

first of all I worked out that it would be my weekend off - score one. Then I checked the flights- reasonable price considering the late booking. Then I contacted Carla and Nick to see if they would kindly have a bed for the night. They did. I went ahead and booked the ticket and my plan was laid.

A little while later I contacted Adam, Andrea's husband to let him know I'd be coming but to keep it secret. I wanted it to be a surprise. 

Her birthday was on the Wednesday (the day ewe arrived in VnG just 10 years earlier, on her 40th birthday, which we missed :-( 

So last Saturday I went off to BCN airport, taxi supplied by an ex-student of mine my dear friend, Irene, Sitting in the cafe at Terminal Two I received a WhatsApp message from Andrea asking what I was up to. 'Just sitting having a coffee' was my reply. we then chatted about the food she was preparing for the party the next day. I cheekily asked her to save me some. She then sent a picture of her dog saying something like: 'This is what Sooty is doing at the moment'. I trawled  through the photos on my phone and found a recent one of Cuddy and sent that saying the same. 

The flight over was otherwise uneventful and Nick met me at Luton. Back at Carla and Nick's I  met the twins for the first time, and caught up with Frankie.

Nick and I spent the night watching a film and enjoying a takeaway curry, while Carla was out babysitting at a friend's place.  The film was 'Connie and Carla' and despite a slow start was really funny. 

On Sunday morning we went into Loughton to shop and take Frankie to the park. On our return I made a pasta bolognaise for lunch - Carla wanted a simple veggie recipe she could use. 

Then it was time to party. Nick dropped me off at Andrea's and i was met at the door by Adam, who led me through to the garden where Andrea was sitting chatting. As we approached her he told her that someone had arrived who she might know. Looking round she spotted me and her mouth literally fell open. She rushed across and we hugged through happy tears. During the rest of the afternoon I met some more of her friends and family and every time we chatted she retold me that she couldn't believe I was there! - Mission accomplished. We even had time for a good catch up on each others news.

Later on in the evening, my personal chauffeur, Nick, picked me up again. Amn't I lucky to have such amazing friends. Not only do they give me accommodation, but also ferry me around whilst I'm staying. 

As it was Nick's birthday yesterday I had bought a little cake when we were out shopping that morning to which Carla added a candle and we sang happy birthday to him too. 

The following morning at a completely ungodly hour Nick dropped me back at Luton where after a bit of a wait I caught the flight home. despite having two school trips on board (surrounding me) the trip was pleasant enough. 

Back home I showered and changed and set off to school almost without time for a breath, Slightly (very) knacked but it was all so worth it for the look on Andrea's face when she turned and saw me -a look I'll have in my memory banks forever! 

So huge thanks to everyone who made it possible - Irene for dropping me at BCN, Carla and Nick for looking after me during my stay, and Andrea, Adam et al for a great party. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Ten Years on

On the fourteenth of May 2004 we arrived in Vilanova to start a new life. The plan was to give it a year and see how it went. Three months in and we knew we had found a new all-time home. 

We left our home in Brockley late on the previous day to drive the thousand or so miles in our 'Bertie' Berlingo. The boot was stuffed to brimming with our personal effects and on the backseat beside Tony were Sammy and Spike (our cats) in carry cases and on his lap Xali. I was assisted with the driving by Martin, our friend from back in those days. 

On arrival we were expecting a new kitchen to be ready for use. Instead we found our builder still in situ, kitchen half finished and our bedding used as dust sheets. After a long drive I was none too happy. But it wasn't long before we had the place in ship shape, the builder dispatched and life running to our new schedule. The cats loved the sunshine, and Xali enjoyed everything life had to offer, as did we. 

During the last ten years our family has changed considerably. Sadly none of the animals that left London with us are still around, but we have a whole new crazy four-legged family. 

We have both aged a bit, well ten years to be exact, Tony hit the big six-Oh and I hit the big five-Oh, but despite the addition of the years we've both prospered. We've had a fantastic number of visitors to our little town, with which we are enamoured, and expect more this year. I've walked well over two thousand miles on the various Caminos over the last few years, many of these with Janey, and have had some success with my new found talent of writing.  

We are now in the process of selling up in Brockley and doing a few bits to the flat here.

Ten years on and life is still good, no life is better than good. We both enjoy pretty good health and a social and working life that we enjoy as fully as possible. "Was it a good move?"  we have been asked over the years to which our answer, without having to consider for a moment, is  a resounding  'YES'.