An explanation of the title of this blog...

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?