2 November 2011

Gota Fria?

 Summer is over and after a lovely two months in Calpe with temperatures at times in the 40´s, we are back at home in Pilar. The weather is still pretty fantastic, considering it´s now 2 November. I still haven´t gone into tights or proper shoes or a jacket except occasionally when I´ve been out in the evening. I must say, though, that since we put the clocks back it does seem rather autumnal with dark evenings coming earlier than before.

The rest of Spain has quite miserable weather with masses of rain but our Costa strip has escaped so far, only getting a few odd showers. However, the dreaded "Gota Fria" (literal translation-cold drop ) hangs like a barely veiled threat over us. It´s a period of intense rain which might only last for 20 mins but is so heavy that the results can be quite devastating. The pictures here are from where I live and you can see the green-grassed Ramblas in its normal state and after a downpour of unbelievable intensity. This was in 2009 and so far we´ve not had anything as bad since. Fingers crossed!!

Pilar has just finished its month-long local fiesta. This year , due to the financial crisis, the Town Hall has tightened its belt somewhat and spent less on parades, fireworks and the like. But enough was kept by to make the fiestas a success. If the noise was anything to go by, it was a huge success! Some days the music
(at top volume) went on till 4 in the morning!

Ah, well, we do live in Spain so it just has to be accepted. It seems the Spaniards can tolerate noise much better than North Europeans can. I sometimes think they have a special gene which makes them impervious to external noise. I can´t understand how they can have mobile phone conversations in noisy bars otherwise. I simply can´t. I have to have peace and quiet about me. But then, it´s probably something to do with being in the grumpy old fart category now.....

30 July 2011

Holiday Time!

It´s that time of year again when it´s too hot to do anything rational or energy craving. So the best thing to do is find a pool, take a dip, get a cold drink and sit/ lie down and read something. Which is what I´ve been doing. The three books here are a few of those I´ve already read and I´m slowly going through a stack of others I´ve downloaded on my Kindle.

I can recommend "The Room" and "Three Cups of Tea", having read both and am just starting on" Fary Tales...", which is a book written by someone in my writing circle. Can´t say much as yet but he normally produces hilarious stuff so I don´t think I ´ll be disappointed.

It´s really too hot to think much  so on that note I´ll close as I can´t sit here and drown in my own sweat any longer. To the shower!!!
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26 June 2011

Whoah!! Stopping in time.

Somebody sent me this as an illustration of when you should hang up your car keys. Man´s best friend gulps, horrified at what is about to, or has nearly happened. The driver, concentrated, determined, carries on regardless.

Do we ever know when enough is enough? Does it need a bite in the backside to focus our attention? Anyway, it made me think a bit about not only driving but other stuff that one does and perhaps shouldn´t. Like going to a jazz concert which ends in  the early hours and thinking you can get up for a session at the gym at 9a.m. like you might easily have done in your salad days.

But on the subject of driving,I´ve done quite a bit of it in the last few months since hubby broke his hip. He seems quite happy to sit back and let me do all the chauffering nowadays even though he is perfectly capable of driving himself now. I must concede, however, that he gets tireder quicker, so since I am a notch or two younger than him, I suppose it´s fair enough for me to do the navvy´s work.

I just wish I were better at parking in a small space. It takes a great deal of time and concentration for me to do it well and it´s almost a certainty that once I start the procedure, several impatient drivers appear out of the woodwork and sit watching, occasionally giving their engines an impatient rev. Men, of course. I´d like them to start a multi task procedure, which is what women do with flair, watched by a line of ladies tapping their feet in irritation, and see how well they do.

So ends my passing thought for the day.

18 February 2011

Reading on an eBook.

Since buying my Kindle, I´ve intensified what was already a passion for reading and now almost always have my lovely eBook in my handbag so that I can use all those odd, normally wasted moments at bus stops, in long queues, or when waiting for some office to open. (here in Spain you can never rely on opening hours as stated on the door!).

Recently, when trawling through the Amazon bookstore, I saw that C J Sansom had brought out his fifth Matthew Shardlake book. Since I absolutely love them, no sooner had I seen the blurb than it was in my Kindle and I was away for the next couple of days. Shardlake is a sympathetic character - a hunchbacked lawyer in the Tudor era. The first book starts in the period when the monasteries were being dissolved. This book is set in the final years of Henry VIII when he was married to Catherine Parr. As all the others in the series, it is beautifully researched and you get a real feel of what life was like then on the fringes and even far away from the glitter of Court life. Brilliant!

The other book I´ve enjoyed immensely recently is Emma Donoghue´s "The Room". It relates the grim but fascinating tale of a young college student who is abducted and kept in a shed in the garden of her sexual abuser. The son she has from this relationship tells the story, beginning on his fifth birthday, and you are kept on the edge of your seats right up to the final page. Great book!

Long Live eBooks!

Amazon Books and Kindle.

I have a special way of saving towards stuff I want but can´t afford to buy outright. Since I live in Spain and have euros as currency, and since Spain is quite a popular tourist area for other EU nations, we often get euros which are not Spanish. Every few days I go through my purse and remove the "foreign" euros(most often German, Irish, French, Italian, Potuguese) and pop them in my money savings box.

A couple of months ago I finally had enough to buy a much longed-for eBook. I chose, after carefully scrutinising lots of different sales PR, Amazon´s Kindle. I must say, I´m very pleased with it and it´s cetainly one purchase I don´t regret a bit.At the same time, I do love real books and hope they never go out of commission. I remember from my childhood the special smell of the book stacks in my local Birmingham Public Library and I revel in browsing in book shops. But an eBook is brilliant in many ways.

Mine has a really long battery life before you need to recharge. I bought the 3G model (more expensive but in my view worth every penny), which works on the same sort of technology as mobile phones and when the wireless connection is activated I can access Amazon´s bookstore and order books which are in the Kindle almost immediately. With an ordinary non-3G model you would need to be near a WiFi hotspot to do this.

A member of the Writers´Circle I belong to has a Kindle. He went on the Trans Siberian railway last summer. Somewhere in the Steppes, he fancied reading a particular book, looked it up on Amazon and was able to read it within a few minutes. I find this quite gobsmacking. Not that I plan a trip so far away but my Kindle has come in very useful in the last few months of Hubby´s Broken Hip. I´ve had to sit in doctor´s waiting rooms, hospital clinics and now at the physiotherapist´s for ages. Of course you can take a real book with you but I would point out that Ken Follet´s "Pillars of the Earth" is a whopper to cram into a handbag, whereas the Kindle can hold hundreds of books and is both slim and light.

So long live my lovely Kindle with its pink cover (optional extra!). My next target for saved foreign euros will probably be a small laptop - I think they´re called netbooks.

5 January 2011

 Surfing about the other day I came across a site called Sodahead.com
 It was here I found this piccy of a really pissed-off cat and it just about sums up the way I feel just now.

We have just had what was probably our most miserably boring and depressing Christmas and New Year ever.

Just about everyone we know was either in the UK or off rollicking somewhere and we were stuck at home with limited possibilities of doing anything very much. We managed to get round the corner to our favorite bar on Christmas eve and had a meal but although the food was good and plentiful, neither of us was in the mood for festive jollity or culinary enjoyment.

New Year´s Eve was even worse. Other half, whose back has gone adding to the misery of the broken hip, went to bed early and I was so peed off that I cleaned the toilet to within an inch of its life then did all the ironing.

Can things get worse? Well, I expect they can and I certainly hope that the malicious gods aren´t planning a stinker for 2011 but I wouldn´t put it past the rotten so and so´s.

With that vicious thought, I´m off to stuff my face comfort eating. I´ll regret it tomorrow but that´s 12 hours away . It´s now that counts.

4 November 2010

Misery and Consolation.

After suffering a broken hip for six weeks, hubby went to hospital expecting to be told he could throw away his frame, go over to crutches and start serious rehab exercises.


Two more months with the frame, no physio except for a few exercises lying and sitting down , putting no weight on the bad leg!

A black cloud descended on the pair of us at the thought of all the weeks of hobbling about ahead of us. No Christmas away, no raving up on the church square on New Year´s Eve, no walking up the High Street to watch the Three Kings´Parade!!

Misery, Doom, Catastrophe! Bugger, bugger, bugger!!!!

So we have moved over into consolation comfort eating. Several times a week we go through the tedious process of getting a man with a seriously challenged hip down to the ground floor in a lift the size of a small shower cubicle.

First, I go down with a folded wheelchair, assemble it on the ground floor and return to collect the other half, who has been sitting on a stool with his zimmer frame at the ready. We squeeze into the lift, go down and he sits in the wheelchair while I return to our floor and put the stool and the frame away from the lift door.

I then go downstairs again and we finally make our way out of the block of flats and around the corner to our current favourite bar where we order a plate of magra con tomate ( see picture above) and swill it down with wine and then coffee. It´s a very common tapas in Spain but this bar does the best one I´ve tasted yet.

It doesn´t exactly speed the healing process of the bone but by heck, it tastes great and as comfort food when you´re feeling thoroughly hacked off, it works wonders.

Plus, the weather here on the Costas is still lovely and a sunny 22 degrees so it´s better than being stuck inside watching the rain belting down. Comfort in small mercies.