An explanation of the title of this blog...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The History Boys

If you didn't watch this last night, you missed a treat!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I had an email from Eve in England. She had read about our newcomer and thought she should let me know that the Monkees have opened up a new front in their plan to take over the world . This youngster has been abandoned on her doorstep in Haslemere, Surrey. She thinks their evil plan is that he should be a mole, ingratiating himself with his baby face and innocent eyes, but in reality taking advantage of the fact that she travels to the northern reaches of the Continong to infiltrate himself amongst the Danes and learn their language. Of course, now he has been exposed for what he really is, Eve wasted no time in trying to get him to talk, but he bit down hard on his dummy, thinking he would commit harikiri.... but the Dirty Monkee Tricks Dept. got the strychnine confused with the sacherine and instead of the bum rush, he got a sugar rush...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Secret is Out:

There is a stranger within our midst. Monchichiland has its first estrangero. Munkima found him rummaging in the bin behind the Red Cross shop, and felt sorry for him. Recognising that he bore a passing resemblance to Monkee Maker's creations, she brought him home, but wasn't sure what Bossman's reaction might be (dyed in the wool racist that he is) so she installed him in the potting shed and put Ruby Lou and the Ninfant in charge of his comfort and education. He was very quick to learn, and soon let them know that he required chocolate in any form, and plenty of beer; preferably not the weak stuff from Lidl he said...Once I had twigged what was going on, I had him brought up to the house and told him he could stay for a while, on probation, but he had better get used to Lidl beer, because the rest of the family get legless on gnat's pee.

As you can see, he has fitted in quite well. He is beginning to open up a little about his reasons for leaving his homeland. It seems his main reason is that he just didn't fit in. He is sure he was adopted as a baby. His mother called him PG, but in his heart he knows he is really Earl Grey. "So what should we call you then?" I asked. He considered for 10 seconds; "My Lord....?"

I'm not sure if "Get stuffed" is an insult where he comes from, but he got the message, and we came to a compromise. We shall refer to him as "EG". It seems he likes to have his photograph taken with celebrities. We don't have many of those on this particular Costa, so he settled for a snap taken with the Blues Brothers before they left for their new home down on the beach.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I have a feeling...

...that something is going on right under my nose, but I can't quite pin it down. I have found a couple of empty beer cans in the garden, and part of a Jaffa cake box pushed into a stack of empty flowerpots by the woodpile. Now Ruby-Lou has found herself a new pet; a beautiful bronze pine beetle, and the only way she could have caught one is by waiting for it to chew its way out of a log....and that means she must have been hanging around the woodpile. She isn't responsible for the beer cans, because she is a Port 'n Lemon girl, but something is going on....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I am sure you have all read about the boatloads of Africans arriving in the Canary Islands each day, often in a pitiful condition after being abandoned by the boat masters who took their money with the promise of an easy trip to the promised land. Aid from the EU has slowed down the Atlantic traffic with more sea patrols, but Mediterranean Spain is now becoming just as popular a landfall. The increased patrols by Guardia Civil boats along the coast of Almeria are forcing the traffic further north. Last week a boat was found abandoned on a small beach near Benidorm, and a couple of its passengers were later found, soaking wet, close by. How many more made it into the hinterland is as yet unknown.

This happened last Wednesday, and it was no coincidence it seems, that on our way back home about 9.30pm, we were stopped by the Guardia, just as we entered Carrio, and the interior of the car was checked. We were given the all clear and sent on our way. At the same time, Peter, who was leaving Carrio on the other side of the hill was stopped and asked where he had come from and where he was going. Had a boat been seen locally we wonder? Are there strangers in our midst?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Autumn colour

There are photos of autumn colours on so many of the Blogs I visit, that I thought I might follow suit. Then I looked around and realised that there really wasn't much evidence of the season's colour in my garden or the surrounding area. Palm trees, pine trees and rubber trees don't change colour in the Autumn, they seem to drop leaves on an ad hoc basis randomly throughout the year. My one splash of red comes from the virginia creeper, grown from a cutting smuggled in after a holiday in England, and even that didn't last long. The day after I took the photo, Bossman got out his stepladders and stripped the leaves off because he was sick of brushing them up every day! Bloody tidy Swiss!

My hydrangea, also grown from an imported cutting, is showing a tinge of yellow, and the pale pink blossoms have dried to a much deeper shade.

The bamboo stems have changed from bright green to straw, and soon I shall be able to harvest last years growth. The only other Autumnal feature I found was a group of Chrysanths. They had been a potted gift last year, and I split them up and planted them out on the off chance they would survive. The unusually wet Summer has been kind to them, and they are in full bloom.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

For the Foodies

Did you know you should be frying your eggs on a block of Himalayan pink salt and not in a frying pan?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Did the earth move?

Well, yes, it seems it did. Last Sunday morning at 6.40am, we were woken by a long low rumble and rattling windows. My first thought was that either it was an earthquake, or the other end of the house had fallen down. My second that there had been a major landslide brought on by the constant heavy rain. We got up and looked out into the surrounding darkness but saw or heard nothing to indicate calamity. As we had just come through two days of continuous thunderstorms, we put it down to an isolated overhead lightening/thunderflash, brewed up, and then made our way back to bed to read.

Later that day, I watched the TV news and scanned the teletext of the half dozen or so channels that carry it. There was no mention of an earthquake, just reports on the clear up operation. People we met commented on the early wake up call, but no one had any definite information, just that it had been noticed over a wide area, as far inland as the Jalon valley. I can now report that it was an earth tremor; 2.2 on the Richter scale, and although nothing like the 7.9 that hit Spain in 1954, it did its little bit towards shaking sodden soil into landslides and tumbling down (not so) drystone walls. time the windows rattle and the floor vibrates, as it has done many times over the last twenty odd years, I now know to visit the Goverment's Seismic information page and confirm there has been a terremoto.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Small pleasures

I have always preferred the book to the film and radio to TV. Is it because as a child I had regular access to books but not to films, and that radio was available from a battery driven Bush, but a TV hadn't been developed that ran on bottled gas? Is it that we always remember our first loves, even when we appreciate the new? Dan Dare, the Ovaltinies, David Davies reading the Would-be -Goods are all long gone, but the Archers carries on. As a young mother, my morning coffee was timed to coincide with Mrs Dale's Diary, and later, Waggoners Walk. The Archers kept me company as I prepared an evening meal. I have continued to listen whenever I can. Sometimes on shortwave, sometimes by satellite. For the past few years, I have received a daily email with a short synopsis of the previous night's episode, and over the past year have had broadband access to Listen Again on the BBC website when I remembered. Today's small pleasure was in the form of an email from the BBC, inviting me to sign up for a daily podcast of my favourite soap, delivered straight to my blogreader. What more could an exiled Archerphile ask?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Flood levels are falling...

...but it is raining again.

On Saturday the sun shone, and in the morning we were able to shop for food, but only at the supermarket at the bottom of our hill. It was just above the flood water, but we had to park on the road because the underground car park was flooded, and the entrance to the upper car park was inaccessible because of the amount of water coming down the Merced road. The dual carriageway from this point was under water, and we were told that the back road into town was also under water.

After lunch I got itchy feet and set off from home on foot, heading for the cliff top at Calalga. The road was blocked off to cars as the cliff had come down, but I risked ducking under the tapes and walking on the side away from the edge. I reckoned if the houses there hadn't fallen into the sea, the cliff would take my weight. There had been another cliff fall in front of the Esmeralda, but the Levante beach looked unchanged. The paseo on this stretch is between one and two metres higher than the beach and surrounding roads, so the worst of the flood water had all been kept away. It was still lying in all the beach access roads and in the ground floor flats of the low lying blocks.

Our Craft Club room was up to the chair seats in dirty brown water, but I am hopeful that our boxes are still dry, as they are up on the stage behind the music decks. I can't get in to check until the room is pumped out, and that could take a while as residential property is the first priority.

It was only when I walked past the port towards Casita Belga that I saw the full impact of what had happened. I am used to seeing the dual carriageway flood when it rains, but to see it covered in a thick layer of canes from a river bed over a kilometre away was a new experience. I tried the Avenida Europa, parallel to the dual carriageway, but only got as far as the back of the Residential home. The three ambulances that had driven past me on the Levante beach were evacuating the residents. Some were being taken to the local hotels, and some to residences in the neighbouring towns. The police had been called in during the storm to help carry those in groundfloor rooms upstairs away from the rising water. The road down the side of the Home was the main route for the water to flow to the sea from the flooded Salinas area. A bulldozer had driven a path through the paseo to help it on its way, and was in the process of turning the street into a canal by digging out a channel in the tarmac. The Roman villa, the fish sauce factory and the newly discovered cathedral are all under water, and no doubt a thick layer of mud. All the hours the international archeology students put in cleaning the mosaic floors gone to waste! The iron plates laid down over the channel were the only means of access between port and town unless you were prepared to do a long detour inland up to Benissa and then down again, or paddle your canoe.
Blogger is misbehaving tonight; it keeps rejecting photos, so I'm going to put some links in instead. I've put a few photos in a Flickr album,
but they pale into insignificance compared to those uploaded by conmipero. Here's the link; more graphic content, many taken on Friday when the "dry" river bed was overflowing its banks and piling up cars and canes.

I waited my turn to pass over the makeshift bridge and walked on to Playa del Bol. Water had flowed down the street at the side of the Neptune apartments and carved out a deep channel through the sand and deposited a deep tangle of canes. The Arenal beach was a sorry site. Small islands of sand between deeply carved channels. The bars and restaurants along the front were all inundated, but already everyone was hard at work, piling chairs and tables outside, shoveling mud and hosing walls and floors. Our friends at Las Olas had a harder job than most, as they are a foot or so below the level of the paseo, as are the other older buildings that were built before the paseo was built back in the eighties. One of the benefits of having a large extended family is that bucket lines are well manned! Abuela was sat up on bar stool directing operations.
As I got closer to town, I had to choose between wading through dirty smelly water on the paseo, walking on the top of the beach wall, or braving the canyons of the beach. I decided to walk along the beach, and in fact, walked in the surf most of the way, as the surface was fairly smooth there. The tricky part came when I neared the river. I had to climb over tumbled rocks and the remains of the beach wall to get back on to dry land, and then had to walk through a thick layer of mud until I finally reached the fountain. I wasn't sure how high the water had been at its height. La Nina was the worst hit, obviously, but I found La Pinta was in a worst state really, because it was full of mud, whereas La Nina was swept fairly clean by the force of the water. What of Santa Maria? If that had been hit as well, then the Post Office would have been under water, and as our box is now at the bottom of a stack, I might have soggy bills.....but no, the water had stopped short just yards from the Post Office. By now I had been walking for nearly two hours, so I walked back to the Kiwi and sat for half an hour with a bottle of water and the crossword. I made the decision not to walk back along the beach, but to try the back road. The problem was going to be how to get across to it. When in doubt, ask a policeman! He told me that if I made my way down the Avenida Europa as far as the Police station, that the dual carriageway there had now drained, and I could get across and keep walking inland until I hit the old Comix road, so that's what I did. That old road is quite a lot higher, well above the flood plain, so I didn't see water underfoot again until I had to cross the Merced road, still running with the surface water from Pedramala.

Sunday was again sunny. The clear up continued. Ministers, Regional Statesmen, and local politicians made flying visits. Helicopters hovered, heavy equipment from surrounding areas arrived, more army units brought more pumps. We stayed at home and watched it all on TV. More storms were forecast for Monday. The Valencian Goverment promised money, and the mayor announced that an office would be open first thing on Monday morning where residents could register their losses and put in a claim for compensation.

Monday dawned bright and sunny. Anne rang to ask if we were bowling, then Peter rang. If four of us turned up, at least we would have a game, and I had to go up anyway to put up the list for next week's competition, so the decision was made to bowl. I also had to arrange the lunch with Debbie, as Beryl seems to have resigned her position as Social Sec, but hadn't bothered to let anyone know! I only found out when I rang her to ask if she was playing in the Triples. I'm already doing two jobs on that committee and have no intention of taking on a third, so unless someone puts their hand up and volunteers, there ain't gonna be no Christmas Do!

Friday, October 12, 2007


The lightening started at about 8pm last night. By 9pm the thunder was very close. At 10pm the heavens opened, and it bang crashed and walloped down continuously until teatime today. If you look closely at the wrought iron gate in the picture, you will see 18" of water flowing through it. At one point the water had backed up enough to be flowing through the open bricks at the top of the wall. Luckily for us, the road slopes away from our gate and takes the water through next door but one's garden. He has had this happen before and has built a concrete channel to divert it around his pool so that it doesn't fill up with mud as it did the last time.
We have been fortunate. Calpe town has not. I have just watched a TV report showing the normally dry river bed completely overflowing its banks and flooding the lower part of town. Cars are under water and some are swept on top of others. The force of the water has swept away part of the sea wall. I have no pictures for you, as I can't get out to take them. The dual carriageway that leads to town is under water. Last time this happened we had to head up the mountain and take the high road to the other side of Calpe and then drop down into town. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. It is still thundering, but the rain is not heavy now. Good weather is forecast for tomorrow and Sunday, but more storms are heading our way on Monday. The TV said Calpe had received 400 litres of water per square metre in 24 hours. 1 litre of water per square metre is equal to a millimetre in depth.  That is one hell of a lot of water by the time it has run down the surrounding hills and gathered in the river valley.
I have to go and light some candles; the weather is closing in again and the power may go off again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bossman's Birthday;

...he's 74 today, and we have spent a busy morning, ambling from pillar to post. First stop was Lidl as they were having a clear-out sale of bazaar items, as they billed it, and their bargains are usually a good price. His birthday treat was a new drill. A very large, very heavy drill for €30. I'm not sure if he is up to using it at the moment, but if it keeps him happy, what the hell?

His eye also fell on a clear turquoise toilet seat at €7. He was optimistic that it would fit the c.1970 turquoise crapper that graces his bathroom, and as the original has a couple of splits that threaten to pinch his bum, we decided it would be money well spent. When he caught me reading the blurb on the box of a €30 sewing machine, however, he was quick to point out that I had two already, and what I really needed was a new pair of slippers for the winter...preferably with non-slip soles and a fleecy lining...and he had seen just the very to the extra large singlet vests...

Now then, how many of you are old enough to remember Hilda Baker? Her famous character Nellie had a tag line; "I must get a little hand put on this watch". In this comedy casa, it's "I must get a Lidl watch on this hand". I have had two leather strapped watches from Lidl. The battery died on the first one after two years, and the second is still going, well into its second year. I found the identical watch for €2 this morning, so now I have a reserve for when this one succumbs to old age!
After paying for our bargains we set off for Benissa and the travel agent. The 27th September is the date we have been given to claim our Government subsidised holiday, and it's first come first served. By the time we got to the office, it was jam packed with pensioners, a fair few on sticks or crutches, each clutching a form and asking each other loudly where they planned on going....In true Spanish fashion, there wasn't an orderly queue, so following tradition, I shouted "Quien es ultimo?", and a couple in the far corner waved, and pointed out who was in front of them, so we found an empty space and in our turn, owned up to being the last when the next person entered. We had paid for an hour's parking in the square, and as the hour was coming to an end, Bossman got a bit agitated. I asked the man standing next to me if he lived in Benissa, but he was from Calpe, the same as us, but I found someone who was local, and asked how strict they were about parking. Her advice was to get back to the car and renew the ticket, as the multa had just been raised from €30 to €90! Bossman volunteered to go as he hates standing around, and he returned just as the couple in front of us sat down at the desk. When our turn came, we were told we could go in October, November or December, and had a choice between one week or two, and between the Balearics, Almeria or the Costa Brava. Not a lot different from 10 days in Portugal in the Spring, our first choice! We had speculated about alternatives of course, and had ruled out anything entailing a long coach journey, and because Bossman is a home bird, he didn't want to be in a hotel for two weeks, so we requested, and got, one week in an hotel in, or close to, Palma de Majorca. An hour to the airport, 90 minutes wait, 20 minutes flying, and a 4km drive to the Hotel. When are we going? 12th to the 19th December, so I'm away for my birthday on the 17th. I seem to remember that we spent my 50th on a pensioners' special to Tenerife...
For anyone who is interested, our week's holiday; insurance, flight, transfers, full board, wine and water included, is setting us back €170 each; about £120. The Government's reasoning being that it is better to keep hotel staff gainfully employed entertaining and looking after wrinklies in warm and comfortable surroundings than to pay them unemployment benefit. For very little more money, we could have had a fortnight, but as I said, Bossman likes his own bed and his own mealtimes...

Talking of mealtimes, the natives are getting restless...and have requested chicken breast in a cream sauce with egg noodles and spinach...the new diet isn't too arduous, but he certainly knows when he strays off the prescribed path, so I doubt there will be much alcohol imbibed, well, not on his part anyway!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Something for Barmpot...

...a link I found on another Blog; Making one could keep him amused on a rainy day...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

May I bring to your attention...

Rachel Pantechnicon? I first heard her on Radio 4's Poetry Please programme, reading Elf Shelf, and I emailed her to ask if her poems were available on paper. She replied, and sent me a copy of her work. At that time, her website was in an embryonic state, but it is now partly functioning, and some of her work is available there to read or listen to. Go and have a giggle...I am particularly drawn to her works on the coccyx, as mine is in a pretty mangled state, and I wish I had taken her mother's advice...
By the way, Rachel is the alter ego of poet Russel Thompson.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gather ye almonds while...

...the sun doesn't shine, because it is hot, dirty dusty work! We spread a big cloth beneath the tree and then attacked it with long poles, rattling the branches to make the almonds fall off. Each cloth full was emptied into a wheelbarrow, and as the rattling continued, I started the job of separating the nuts from their partly dried husks. There was a good measure of leaves and twigs in each barrow-load, not to mention thousands of insects. Spiders of every shape size and colour climbed up the sides of the barrow to make their escape, as did stink bugs and ladybirds of varying hue. The ants use the almond tree as their main source of supply at this time of the year, as it exudes sweet sticky resin, so there was a fair number of them too.

This was the biggest thing to climb out! She sat on the edge of the barrow for about 15 minutes, looking this way and that at all the food running around, but didn't make the effort to catch anything.

As you can see, her abdomen is quite swollen. She is probably ready to lay eggs, so I moved her to the Hoya that climbs around the patio doors of the apartment. It is sheltered from the weather there, and a good place to leave her egg case. I love the flowers of the Hoya. They look as if they are made of pink fuzzy felt. Mine has finished flowering, so the link is to another site.

There were three barrows of nuts/twigs/leaves, and each barrowfull yielded a 25 kilo paint bucket of nuts. Any that escaped falling on the cloth got raked up, and were added to the discard pile, as were the many that were reluctant to leave the husk. Husking is hard enough on the fingers without adding broken nails to the tally! The nuts are now sitting in a wheelbarrow waiting for a hot windy day, when they will be spread out to dry off a little before storing. The cloud and rain of the last couple of days has made the work more comfortable, but if the nuts are stored damp, they will grow mouldy and spoil. Kept dry, they will keep edible for years. I just wish there was an easy way to crack and shell them more than a handful at a time!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The sub-heading says it all...

....the boring life of two wrinklies...For the past week I've only been as far as the post office and the supermarkets, and spent my time divided between stitching postcards, knitting socks and blog-hopping around the "fibre artist" world. Everyone seems to know everyone else! What do they say? Something about 6 degrees of connection?

There is a new bird on the Bus. You can see a picture of him on the other blog. He has decided that he is a herd bird, and his mission in life is to keep Barmpot's beetles in order on top of the monitor.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Swiss National Day

The first of August and the flag is flying! The last few years we have spent the day in Switzerland, but this year we are giving it a miss. We celebrated with Thomy Senf, Schabziger cheese, boiled potatoes and bratwürst....and a very unSwiss Sangria!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Year in Colour

On the Flickr picture site last year, there was a Group who posted photos with a different colour theme each week, based on the colour of a crayon. Their year finished in July, and they have started another year, this time with two colours for each week. I thought I would join in. First week was pink+green, so I used Griller's pink flower, without Griller. Second week was brown+blue, so Barmpot got his picture up, and I added a photo of a busty bronze statue taken a couple of years ago in Coruña. This week is not so easy, as it is blue+orange. Up to now I have a photo of my blue and orange mugs in the washing up bowl, and a happy coincidence when I pegged out the washing this morning.

I haven't posted the washing one yet, as there is a limit of 4 a week, and I am hoping to find something a little more inspiring. My camera is being a pain again. It works fine with ordinary batteries in, but doesn't seem able to make proper contact with re-chargeables. I've tried sand-papering the terminals, as recommended by Robert, but it doesn't seem to help much. I have to keep opening the battery compartment, and tweaking the little springy brass bits, and that means the camera loses its date setting. I can't be bothered to keep on resetting it, so all my photos show they were taken on the 1st of January 2003! Bossman is reluctant to go anywhere that he can't park outside, so I'll have to look around home and garden for inspiration. Things may change later in the year. Our neighbours have decided to sell their holiday home, and are going to give me their little white Opel when they have sold. My own wheels again! Yoooooo-hoooo!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Reading Matter

Bossman has finished reading Eragon, and it has been returned to its owner. I am still making heavy weather of the follow up; Eldest. I seem to have so many projects on the go at the moment that reading is relegated to snatched moments in the lav. I have until the end of the week before its owner returns to the UK, so I shall have to get down to it if I want to finish it. I find the language distracting. I realise that the author was only 14 when he wrote the first book, and not much older when he wrote the second, but the sentences don't flow as easily as the tale..

Finding something for Bossman to read is not always easy. The more murder and mayhem the better, usually, so I was surprised when he stuck at Eregon. Fantasy and Sci-Fi are not his cup of tea. To tide him over until I could find something to keep him happy, I offered Laurie Lee's As I Walked Out one Midsummers Morning, knowing that he had read it before, but hoping that as he would recognise the placenames, and it was such a slim book, it would suffice over the weekend. This morning we joined the hardy bowlers for their coffee break, and picked out some books for the next few weeks. One each from Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman, Lee Child, Patricia Cornwell and Anita Burgh.

Friday, July 27, 2007


This morning on LotSW, Cleggy said to Compo: "How does it feel to live with a ferret on your head?" "Better than down your trousers..." was the reply.

Barmpot was of much the same opinion when he came across this female rhinocerus beetle in the garden today. Weight for weight, they are the strongest creatures in the world, as they can lift 850 times their own weight. If it took her fancy, she could carry him off and have her wicked way with him, but she didn't, she went off to look for a male of her species, with two large curved horns on his head. Unlike her sweet little hornlets.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Down in the garden, something stirred.....the flowers of the Aechmea fasciata have pushed their way out of their green leaf bracts and are standing proud.

Griller decided he needed a little jungle time....I don't think he realises that this plant comes from the jungles of Brazil and not from Africa.....but then he is only a Ninfant Griller.

I did some grown-up things today. Bossman received a letter from his pension company explaining why they had started deducting tax from his pittance. He hadn't even noticed that they had. £16 is easily missed when the amount that arrives in Euros changes from month to month. I spoke to a pleasant, helpful lassie who passed me on to an equally pleasant laddie (guess who the pension company is) and he explained that they had to deduct the tax until they received a new exemption certificate from the IR to replace the old one that was made redundant by the new legislation that came in last month.....He didn't seem at all surprised when I told him that I had filled in the form the IR sent back in June, but thought I should check with them that they had received it, and were not just snowed under with work. He even went so far as to give me the number he used to speak with the horses mouth in the right department. I tried the number three times, twice getting cut off halfway through the if you ...spiel, and the third time got a long-winded recorded message telling me all the lines were busy, to call back later. At that rate it would be cheaper to pay the tax than the overseas call rate. I decided to have a look on the .gov website FAQs. I couldn't find anything relevant, but there was a little button inviting me to "ask Robin", so I did. Within 10 minutes I had a reply from Robin, who after extracting all relevant information in the course of 3 or 4 emails, has promised to send it all to the "annuities team in Leicester" and will "get back to me in due course". We shall see...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When we got home from the beach, I heard the parakeets again. There were on Eladio's roof, just above his open bathroom window. I watched for a while to see if they would go in, but they contented themselves with pecking at the tiles and hanging off the edge.

The sun was shining into the camera, so I had to stand in the shade of the fence to get a photo, and the angle was rather acute. I thought I might do better from the balcony, but chances were that the carob tree would be in the way. I was in luck! A gap in the branches allowed me to get a shot of two of the birds, but it is hard to tell what they are, even though I had my Lidl digi on full zoom.

Technology to the rescue! A little magnification and I think you can just make out what they are. I'll keep trying for a better shot, but by the time the camera has warmed up, they are usually out of sight. Maybe I should get the Minolta out of storage and go back to film. I had some great photos of birds taken with a telephoto lens, but I'm not sure if I am up to holding the great weight of it steady these days, and the tripod is so cumbersome.
The question of how do the beach cleaners dodge the early risers was answered this morning. We arrived just as they were leaving, and they now have a Dinky toy of a beach cleanerupper that is no wider than the tractor. As the big green monster ploughs up and down the wide expanses, this little nipper dodges in and out of the fiddly bits, in the corners, and around the Red Cross huts and the Lifeguard's tower. 20 years ago, the Town Hall employed a Beach Brigade who covered the beach on foot, each equiped with a spike on a stick. a rake, and a capaza. Times change!
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The parakeets are back! Bossman heard a racket in the snug, and got there just in time to see one fly out through the door. It rejoined its mate in Eladio's pine tree, and they have spent the last hour there, gorging themselves on pine seeds as the cones expand in the heat, and making their unmistakeable squarking! Last year we had as many as eight in a flock, but the long wet winter must have taken its toll. That these escapees have survived and bred for so many years around our hill must be down to the number of pine trees that still survive the spreading construction, although as they survive in England and Holland as well, they must be fairly hardy.


I felt a desperate need to take exercise this morning. Bossman felt a desperate need to walk around a supermarket. As supermarket and beach are in close proximity, we combined the two. Although it was only 9am, parking in the sun was out of the question, so we took advantage of the shade and the lavs in the Consum carpark before donning sunglasses and bowling hats and walking down to the beach. I have seen people creep down to hotel pools to claim the best sunbeds with their towel before creeping back up for a lie-in followed by a leisurely breakfast, but I hadn't realised that it happened on beaches too. As we walked along the edge of the water, there were dozens of unoccupied deck chairs, each accompanied by an upright but furled umbrella. There were only two heads bobbing in the water, so it dawned on me that the chair owners had been out to stake their claim to sit with their feet in the sea at some much earlier hour. But how early? This beach is cleaned every morning by machine; a monster that digs sand up at the front, grinds it through gratings, then sieves it through mesh to remove litter, seaweed, fag ends, loose coins and diamond rings. Does the driver have to dodge around these chairs in the same way that the mechanical roadsweeper has to dodge around the cars parked on the street for the month's duration of their owner's holiday? Bossman enjoyed his paddle, so maybe tomorrow we shall venture out at an early hour and find out.
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thank you, Uncle Mort.

I found Janet Baker on YouTube! To listen to her wonderful voice before today, I had to go down to the girls apartment and play my vinyl on the old record player, but no more...someone has uploaded a series of videos of her singing Berlioz, and a search found others; Schubert songs and various arias. I don't know any other voice that is quite like her mezzo, and I don't know why I find it so moving to listen to. Maybe because I can't sing. I'll correct that; I can sing, but nobody would want to listen. I fit comfortably in her range, as did my mother before me, but whereas my mother and her sisters all had good voices, I sound like the proverbial "cinder caught under the door".

Sunday morning, as usual, saw me ironing and listening to the radio. For a change, I abandoned R4, and tuned into R7, and listened to Uncle Mort's South Country, read by Christian Rodska. I hadn't heard this before, only knowing the Uncle Mort and Carter Brandon characters from the 70's television comedy series "I Didn't Know You Cared". Bossman used to watch this in preference to Last of the Summer Wine, and Uncle Stavely's catch phrase; "I 'eard that, Pardon" is still in daily use in this household, especially when someone tries to disassociate themselves from a quiet trump....Uncle Stavely wasn't a main character by any means, but his image; a deaf old man dressed in an army greatcoat, slumped in an armchair, with a gasmask box containing his best friend's ashes around his neck, is the one that stands out in my mind. The other memory is vocal; Liz Smith as Mrs Brandon shouting "Carter!". I have vague memories of her wearing outrageous hats, and in search of an image, a Google led me to a YouTube video of Liz Smith on the Graham Norton Show, to Dawn French on GN, to Dawn French and Alison Moyet on Paul O'Grady, to Alison Moyet singing, to ..... Janet Baker! So thank you Uncle Mort, I owe you one!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Desert Island Disks

I tied a knot in my knickers this morning to remind me to listen to Desert Island Disks. Kirsty's guest was Oliver Postgate; a voice that brings back my girls' childhood just as vividly as the voice of David Davies brings back mine. Bagpuss , Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and Clangers were all favourites. In fact not so many years ago 0j0 asked me to knit her a Clanger, and of course I obliged. My particular favourite was Ivor. I loved the sound effects. This is the last episode and reflects how the decimalisation of the coinage leads to the disappearance of the dragons. Postgate said he didn't make programmes for children, he just concentrated on making a good story, and maybe that is why people of all ages respond to his work.
If anyone would like to knit a Clanger, you can get the pattern from this address;

Peter Gregory
G K P Ltd
Springmill House
Baildon, Shipley
West Yorkshire, BD17 6AD

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mindful of my recent high cholesterol rating, Bossman made me bacon butties for breakfast today, telling me that I needed the energy to go for a walk. As it was overcast and cooler, I thought "why not?" I left home with the intention of breaking myself in gently by walking for 15 minutes, then turning round and walking back, but 15 minutes later I found myself on the cliff top at Caleta. Rather than turn round, I continued on down the slope, and cut through to the main road, crossing to the far side to face the oncoming traffic. As I approached the Youth hostel, I became aware of a tinkling sound combined with a steady ding, ding, ding, and looked up the hill to see a carosse pulled by two ponies and a mule in tandem. Further up the hill, just disappearing around the bend, was another. Hoping to catch up with them, I put on a spurt, and soon drew level with an old man carrying 4 shopping bags full of bread on the other side of the road. Just as I got up to him, he put the bags down, put his fingers in his mouth and whistled, shouted something unintelligible and then set off again. 50 metres further on, he repeated his whistle, and I realised he was trying to attract the attention of the carosse driver. I gave him a questioning look, and he told me that he had nipped into Mercadona to get bread for their lunch, and he was supposed to be picked up after the carts had negotiated the dual carriageway and roundabout, but somehow or other they had missed him. I suggested that maybe they would wait for him on the layby further up the road, where they would not hold up the traffic, but he didn't look too hopeful. As I pulled ahead of him, he had put down his bags and was trying to hitch a lift. I didn't catch up with the end of the caravan, but the tail back of traffic was growing longer. This stretch of road has a solid white line for the best part of 5 kilometres, and passing places are few and far between! I only saw two of the carts, but usually there are 10 to a dozen of them in line, travelling slowly around the area in the Summer, camping out under the stars at night, and visiting the local villages as they celebrate their Fiesta days. Our fishermen are celebrating this week, so they were probably getting over an evening of jollification. I am guessing that these were probably the group that are based up in Benissa.

I got home to tell my tale; in one piece, without aches and pains and breathing easily, even after a tough uphill walk at a brisk pace, so maybe I am not as unfit as I thought. Bracket asked if maybe I could make a cart for Pointy Kitty to pull. I'm not sure that I am up to that, but I could maybe make him some saddle bags..

Monday, July 09, 2007

Well it seems I'll live a little longer. My MOT results are in. ECG, BP and P are AOK. Blood fine apart from a high cholesterol reading. As I haven't changed my diet in the last 12 months, I can only put this down to lack of exercise. I'll have to make a conscious effort to walk more even if Bossman won't come with me, but finding the right time of day might not be so easy with the temperatures being so high. A blast of hot air coming up from Africa has raised temps past the 40ºC inland, but we do have a breeze here on the coast. The new set of lily bulbs I bought from Lidl have been fantastic, and I have been meaning to take photos. The hot wind has dessicated them, and this is the only plant to have flowers that survived the night. I've been feeding them with a weak solution of Miracle-Gro, so next year they should do even better.

Pottering around with my watering can this evening, I had a nice surprise;

a flower pushing its way up to the light.

Only one this year, though. On other occasions I've had as many as 6 or 7. I think the long cold Winter and cool wet Spring is not what it has been used to. Bossman thinks I should re-pot into a larger size, as this plant is so top heavy now, and completely pot-bound, but as it would grow high up in the fork of a tree in its natural habitat, I'm going to leave it as it is until the cracked pot actually falls apart. It is kept from falling over by a chunk of railway sleeper in front, and closely packed pots at the sides.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Saturday is Market Day, but at this time of the year, an early start is essential if one wishes to park one's steed within a 10 minute walk, and not have to carry the bags too far. Bossman says he feels like a donkey as Munkima passes him bag after bag of fruit and vegetables to hold while she does the difficult task of parting with money. Munkima believes that whenever possible she should hand over the exact amount, even if this means annoying stallholder and customer alike as she hunts for the last elusive centimo in the depths of her purse.

Today's purchases included luxury items in addition to the more mundane. A whole kilo of picota cherries, fresh from the mountains beyond the Val de L'Aguart, and 2 kilos of pink grapefruit, so sweet they can be peeled and eaten like oranges. Of course, there is sweet and there is sweet. For grapefruit, these are sweet; that is a world away from a Jaffa!

Clooney, the clever clown, says we should all eat 5 servings of fruit and veg each day. Bossman is not a fruit lover.
"Don't over-fruit me!" he cries.
"I'm not asking you to eat 5 grapefruit" said Clooney, "try 5 cherries."
"I'd rather have 5 grapes..." muttered Bossman".....the liquid ones...."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Well I know I didn't write that last entry at 6.30am...I wonder why I was on Central Pacific time? Must be something to do with the monkeys...I'm on Madrid time now.
I just thought I would say welcome, and that I have left a couple of the first posts I made here, and the last before this renaissance. The rest has gone forever.
Let me introduce you to Munkima. She is pink, fluffy, sweet, kind, the perfect housewife and a marvelous mother....just like me.......and this is Bossman....nuff said.

I did take on a little of the Munkima persona today; I ironed yesterday's washing without being nagged, I remembered that Bossman wanted his winter anoraks washing, and I even remembered to check the pockets beforehand; €1.50, 3 shopping lists, 2 till receipts and 6 paper hankies; not a bad haul.

Feeling in a good mood because Bossman had let me sleep in until 7.30 before demanding that I drink the brew he had made, I then set to work with a large needle and a roll of chicken-trussing twine to sew a beach mat to the balcony railing outside the front door. Do I see your eyebrows raising? There is a simple explanation.
1. Bossman likes to position his chair to catch the breeze that comes through the front door while he watches TV.
2. He is in full view of anyone passing by in the road.
3. Bossman likes to lounge around in his skimpies when it is hot.
4. Bossman thinks people should have to pay to see his body.

As a reward, Bossman made me a bacon butty and a large expresso coffee with evaporated milk. What more could munki ask?