Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Snakes alive, St Paddy has departed

So that's St Patrick's Day out of the way - and a chance for our collective liver to rest awhile. We headed to Bar Pinche - well, there's nowhere else! - and were intrigued, not to mention delighted,  to see a shiny Guinness pump placed on the bar. On second glance we could see it wasn't actually a pump at all, but an electric machine of much magic.

Inma and Patricio (A Paddy by any other name) had stocked up on Surge Guinness, a new one for me.
It's a pint of the black stuff in a can, poured flat and then the glass is placed on the machine. That's plugged in and then a miracle happens. A surge of power wobbles the glass and the black stuff erupts like a volcano to form a creamy head and a pretty decent pint.

 Should St Patrick himself have dropped into the bar last night he couldn't have done it better.

As we sat and enjoyed it, armed with our free silly hats, Salvador rolled up.

Eyeing the machine suspiciously, he cleared his throat and asked what it was.

- It's beer, Inma answered, from Carol's pueblo 
-Yep, black beer.
-Black beer? For real? What does it look like?
-For jaysus sake, would you look, they're drinking it...(or something like that)

He looked at us wide-eyed.

Mother of God, I thought you had pints of Bombón Coffee.

The good news is that nobody else really likes the stuff, so with small regret I'll have to reduce supplies all by myself. :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

And so it's (not) Christmas

That was it. The party's over. We're into the new year with a bang, and for me, well, it's the tired old cliche - losing some weight. Getting fit. Meh.

Yesterday we set off to feed some cats, the owners are away for the holidays: Just 15 mins drive away, but their track doesn't take kindly to cars at the moment unless they're 4x4's. Our old jalopy is not, so we abandoned her at the top of the track and went down, and down. Our friend tells me it's 1.3 kms, but it's also 200 metres high at a gradient of 18%. I am 5 feet high at a fitness level of zero - so was a nice shade of beetroot by the time we climbed back again.

This morning, after finishing some work, Stan stood behind me, merrily jiggling the car keys.
- Need to go to Cadiar.
 - Go on then...
 - Coming?
- Why?
- Nice easy route next to the village of Lobras, there's an old aqueduct - we COULD drive there....
.It's useless arguing.

We reached Cadiar, we bought the groceries, and some nice stale rock hard Barra de Pan. We drove to Lobras, we saw the sign.

- Lovely day, he says, we might as well walk.

Stopping for a quick wee (I'm old) I waved at a friendly goatherd on the top of the mountain. There's always a goatherd. My ladybits have been logged by most of them. It's like trainspotting for them, only the number 88 keeps turning up.

After a kilometre or so the clouds rolled in. We tramped on and the rain hit us in a nice horizontal fashion. We climbed over boulders and crossed rivers, as branches lashed me in the face. Lovely. We came to a turn after crossing a soon-to-be-raging torrent, and decided to go left. After another trek into the unknown we came to a dead end.
No signs of human life. No rusty tuna tins, no spent gun cartridges, no spent condoms.
- Wish I'd brought the guide book and map, left them in the car....Crocodile Dundee announced cheerfully.
 - Or compass, water, knife, torch and flares, I grumbled.

CD marched merrily on back towards the general direction of the car, stopping to root in bits of poo. He does that. He can tell by taking it apart what animal it came from. With his fingers. Please. I have no idea what attracted me to him in the first place either.

Finally seeing the car I collasped into it, breaths coming in rasps now. I toyed with the idea of going back to Cadiar for oxygen.

 - No, we should have turned off here , see?
He was fiddling with the map again.
 - Shall we....

- I'll DRIVE.

Back we bumped along the track. We managed to make the correct turning. Finally, a ramshackle building, some cars and vans without wheels - it was  similar to a New Age camp in Orgiva. 4 large and snarling hounds prevented us from exiting the vehicle.

There was the famous Aqueduct. Three arches of broken stones. Meh.

A Spanish man walked towards us. Visions of a log fire, some homemade wine and a bit of pig innard cheered me up. I waved my nice stale bread enticingly and got ready to shout Howya in my best Spanish. He turned up his collar, and ran into his house, slamming the door.

So much for the friendly locals!

Wonder where we'll go tomorrow?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Remains of the Day

Just 4 hours. That's all I wanted, just 4 hours.

I have been so busy this week, not a second to spare, and work hampered by the inept non service of Parcels2go and our missing box...who could know sending one thing from one address to another could prove so futile. Still missing in action, by the way, for anyone following the saga...

A poorly cat too, we knew Fluffy was on her last paws this week, we have had her a good 5 years or so, since the idiot Cádiar Englishman left her and her sister - now deceased - behind, when he packed up and left for foggier climes....Karma, Carol, Karma....oommmmm

 Both white Persians, Fluffy got the stunning long hair and tail that Basil Brush would be jealous of, a stunner in looks and personality, especially compared with the bundle of evil sharpness we brought with us, known affectionately as Cleo.

Earlier this week, Luna came to say goodbye, our street dog who is off to a better life in Blighty today, besos Luna, we wish you well. There were tears and fears, but we know she's onto something good, thanks to the good folk at Lost Paws of the Alpujarras.

Thinking we'd support them at their rastro yesterday on the coast, down at Castell del Ferro. Just as we got there, we filled up with fuel, the Agip garage guy does it for you, you just say how much and which one. *Ominous instruction: Remember that line..

We nabbed a few bargains at the rastro, and headed to the beach to sit and read for a bit. I needed half an hour R&R after the crazy week. Like a sharp edged pebble, I occasionally need rounding off' to beach standards, with a few rays of sunshine and the sound of the surf.

Then a call from the Inbetweeners at home:
 Fluffy isn't good, she's breathing funny, what'll we do?
Just make her comfortable, we'll be there soon.

Half an hour later, another call:
She's choking, what'll we do?
She'll be grand, leave her alone.

Another half an hour:
She's really Not Good.

Okay, just having this one little tapa because we're starving, we're on our way...

10 minutes later:

She's dead. We think.


Back in the car. Turned the key. Nada.

Engine rolls over, sounds weaker by the second. Drops dead.

Stan said, Oh Fiddlesticks....not really. Something like that.

We called the insurance, they sent the Grua, he loaded the car, we got in his cab, he looked a little miffed at the distraction from an afternoon's fishing and also not unlike Nigel Mansell. Warning bells started to ring.

We drove, nay, sped,  and practically, well, flew up the Motorway of Death, narrowly missing the Mediterranean - Who put it there? - with me squeaking: Joder, I thought the GP today was in Japan... on every missed corner.

We arrived at Albondon, Nigel rolled the car off, rolled us out onto the tarmac and with a cheery wave and a Hasta Luego - not on your Nelly - drove home to his fishing rod and Mama's late lunch.

A quick call to a friend and neighbour....and Saint Pedro, Peter Roberts to you, pulled up with his silver chariot, pronounced PETROL had possibly been added to the car and not DIESEL: More cries of fiddlesticks from Stan, and another large bill to look forward to.

 We climbed aboard and Pete kindly ferried us home to the very sad kids, a large Gin or three and a dead cat.

Don't you just love weekends off?

Adios Fluffycat, we'll miss you. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Third Cousin Twenty Times Removed

There IS a God - I thought, albeit too briefly, as daughter sat in the Dentist's chair with her mouth open for three quarters of an hour.

"She should be uncomfortable to talk or eat for three hours. And...
That'll be just fifty quid"
, announced Jorge with a flash of an unnaturally white smile.
Merrily we handed it over, it's been a bit like that this week, €1400 was gleefully given to the Spanish Tax office yesterday, offered to the high altar of Spanish corruption.

All made worse by a preparatory drink in the bar the night before, a wee gin to soften the blow, only to watch Bárcenas smoke his fat cigar in 'prison', a mere 82 days for a fortune and a swindle.

There's a thought. I'd take the 82 days where he is and keep my €1400, but I don't have a choice. Wonder if they have WiFi in Spanish nick?

Anyway, I digress....back to the long  road home after the dentist.

B is coming for the fiesta from Granada, piped up Goofy in the back. And..... - now I hate it when she says 'and' because it normally proceeds verbal diarrhea minus any punctuation. At all.

And....she's bringing two friends up and I really really hate one of them I mean really really hate her.
 Silence. I looked around - perhaps the anesthesia was kicking in....fingers crossed....

Why? I tentatively offered...
Well, she went to London 'cos she had a Summer study course there and then she went to THE premiere - for the uninitiated this was the one day only One Direction Premiere - and then she sat down and guess what she was sitting beside THE best, bestest friend of a cousin an actual cousin imagine of Liam I can't believe how lucky I mean to actually sit beside them and then she got her photo tooken - lived here too long, fed up to the back teeth correcting it, pardon the pun - with HIM and then went paying football and everything and she has the photos to PROVE it so I really really hate her.

Three hours? Yeah, right.

Pic attribution wiki commons Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F009225-0007 / Müller, Simon / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another My Pure parcel :)

Another My Pure parcel for me.
 Maria our post lady is getting curious about all of these boxes addressed to me, reviewing is a super way to try out goodies and treats, I love my job!

I ordered a new moisturiser, but as it' s July, officially mercury rising month, I opted for one with a high SPF, sun protection factor.

My Pure have a good range of beauty products with SPF built in, you'll be glad you did as the years roll on!
Have a browse of their site, there's always loads of special offers and freebies there too.

Their stuff is Eco friendly, even the packaging, you'll love it.

What did I get?

Lovea Organic 50 SPF £17.99 for 50ml
Here's the blurb:
Lovea sunscreens are certified organic and come with HIGH UVA/UVB ratings.  They exceed the toughest E.U rules on SPF protection.  Not only that they’re made from gorgeous natural ingredients which protect & feed your skin.
Lovea SPF 50 Daily Face Cream is an Ecocert  organic daily moisturising sunscreen, it provides maximum protection against skin ageing.  The smooth texture of this SPF 50 cream penetrates quickly and the pump action pack delivers just the right amount of product, it is lightly scented with Tahitian Monoi leaves 
Lovea SPF50 Face Cream is water resistant and packed full of anti-ageing ingredients such as Argan Oil, the new formula can be worn under make-up or just on its own at the beach.  

Lovea is coral safe and contains natural mineral sun blocks combined with certified organic, bio-degradable plant extracts. It does not contain any chemicals which can damage coral reefs...
And me? I'm delighted with it, it does go a long way though, the recommended teaspoonful would whitewash the house, just a smidgen is plenty for coverage that really lasts, it's an excellent hydrating moisturiser as well as all the other benefits.

Still on the same theme, am ordering up some suncream for the kids, they seem to live at the village pool this time of year, and why not?
Also some hydrating conditioner for my sun damaged and bleached out locks, read all about it, right here, in a couple of weeks!

Enjoy the sunshine safely, folks.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Pure to the Rescue!

My daughter is 14. That is probably enough information for anyone with one of their own!   The horrors of early teens bring fits of laughter and crying - sometimes at the same time - growing pains, and of course, that realization on waking up that her life is just about to end- because there's a new SPOT.

It's not to be easily dismissed - her equilibrium is pretty delicate and a shade off balance most days, a red angry eruption is enough to put us all in bad humour!

But, of course, I am Magic Mum - didn't you know? - and have my resources!  My Pure to the rescue, that wonderful team of wand wavers that supply organic and pure beauty products for me to review, so without further hesitation, last month's untimely break out saw me reach for the keyboard and order Yes, To Tomatoes.

No , I haven't gone a little crazy myself, Yes to Tomatoes is a range of products packed with antioxidants, and yes, tomatoes.
Dead Sea Mud, Lycopene, Organic ingredients - tomatoes, watermelon and red tea,  all part and parcel of the range.
We ordered the Daily Clarifying Cleanser - 8,99 - and the Daily Balancing Moisturizer - 14,99 - and gave them a shot.

A week of daily application and, yes, she still has spots, but they're not as angry as before, and neither is she.

The cleanser is a mild one, great for young skin, and smells pleasant. There's a stronger scrub, along with other products in the same range, ideal for younger skins.

The moisturizer is light and absorbs easily, quite liked it myself, so I would say that it suits most skin types, although it states for combo-oily skin.

It's also no bad thing to get her in the habit of cleansing and moisturizing now, at 14, a good habit for life.

Now, wonder if My Pure do ear plugs?!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

July Event: Strumming the way to Córdoba

July Event: Strumming the way to Córdoba
Next month sees the famous Guitar festival return to Córdoba. All the details here in a post for Spain Holiday

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When the Good Life Goes Bad

Such a civilised life here in Murtas far from the madding Costa and high up in the fresh air of the Alpujarra. Growing our own, spending little, stillliving the good life.

Yup. Regular Tom and Barbara Good - that's us.

But this week, returning from a visit home to Ireland, I discovered something that made me weep.

Cleaning the kitchen - at least I think it's the kitchen, it's where I left it, under there somewhere. As I busied myself by evicting the newly formed Penicillin in the fridge, and wondering how Stan and the kid were still alive, THUMP, I felt the bottom drop out of my world.

We had run out of dishwasher tablets.

Arrgh.  We may like the idea of organic living, but there is no way we can do without Davina the dishwasher, I can tell you now, hand firmly on heart - yes, it's there somewhere - I would challenge for custody of that white box of cubic metre miracles anyday in a divorce court.

Okay, breathe, slowly, in and out.

First: Local shops.  Tienes pastillas para lavavajillas?

Blank stare.


Into next village where we were running an errand.  Same question.  Ah Si, allí....pointing to anti-cal thingys for washing machines.  Nope, for dishwashers, more blank staring.

Explaining, slowly, all the actions and noises.  At last, she looked up with a bright smile.  I know, she exclaimed - just wash them by hand!

Is she CRAZY?????

Finally, I got them in the Big Smoke - known as Ugíjar - I know, it's unpronounceable -  and the world was put to rights.

 Now, where's the fabric softener gone?

By Peter van der Sluijs (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, April 29, 2013

City Heat - Top 5 City Breaks in Spain

City Heat - Top 5 City Breaks in Spain  
An article for Spain Holiday on the best cities to visit for a weekend away in Spain