Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just browsing......

Stan has a new shop on Spanish ebay, click here to view a selection of interesting postcards and vintage adverts, also a selection of music.....take 5 minutes and browse.........

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Double Diamond Works Wonders

Remember that ad....? It'll all come clear in a minute, hang in there...

Testy Teenager always needs new clothes, sports brands are hugely expensive here so we usually  order from an online shop such as for his stuff, and time it to coincide with a UK-SPAIN run by a local bloke with van...

Aware of the free delivery on orders over a particular amount, I thought I'd add in a couple of items for myself. Now I hate shopping, and invariably buy wrong size, shape, and have a wardrobe stacked with a range of Nothing To Wear.
I like to recycle where I once took to the charity shop, so if you see a tea towel with handy arms or a polo neck in my kitchen Say Nothing.

So I chose trekking sandals in the wrong size (because they were reduced... naturally) which will look lovely under the bed next to the pointy sequinned shoes,  the high heels, and the S&M lace up boots.

Buoyed by the couple of kilos shed in the twice weekly trek to school, and with the shopping devil on my shoulder, I browsed the bikini section. Before you all fall about laughing, it was a tankini with long bits to cover the wobbly bits. Large enough for my Double Diamond top size,  and 'boy shorts' you can hide a lasso in, lasso? you ask.....Hey presto, checkout, sated.

Having a beer with Stan last night, I'm off beer for lent,  I mentioned the van would soon be back, and we could all have a great laugh at me in my reduced price stars and stripes beachwear.

-Stars and Stripes?
-Yes, like the US flag, stars top stripey bum.
-But you showed me a pink flowery one.
-That was just the style, not the colour.

Now when Stan gets excited, he jiggles and adopts his Wolfish Grin.

-Stop jiggling, you're putting me off my pigs innards tapas.
-Soooooo, you'll be like Linda Carter?

-with like, white knee high socks and a crown and a lasso?
- Huh?
-Wonder Woman.

Dear guests, when you spot that as yet to be delivered star spangled cleaning cloth stuffed behind my loo, remember.....Careless Talk Costs Lives.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Got a good tapas recipe?

Having just started a new Tapas blog over at I like the idea of a guest blogger once a month.  The only specification is it has to be original, using in season produce and not too long winded...interested?  It would be great to build a good stock of recipes, and I will continue to link that blog to this one, which as you can see from the map has attracted more than 3 million hits in just the last year.
Full kudos to the authors, naturally!


Stan needed to go to the nearest town today.
 Nothing unusual in that but the car is out of action and it' s a 70km round trip. The telephone bill needed to be paid, he needed to withdraw the cash as a cashpoint is way too 21st century for Murtas, so off he went.


Well the school bus of course! Isabel the driver waved him on and dropped him in town where he sorted out the bank and the bills.  Next poser was how to get home again, he reckoned he would just thumb a lift, most people know him by sight if not name - sometimes as ' El Ingles con pelo largo' The English bloke with the long hair!  Not sure what they call me, not sure that I want to know!!

So after a coffee break he headed up the road, after about 5kms he was wondering whether there had been a 5 minute warning as not a single car had passed.............just then, tooooot - ' Hey hombre, Que hace?, he looked round to find the village bakers'  Dad and brother, doing the bread delivery round. Hop in was the command. so he did as bid, in the back of the van with the floury stock.  A serpentine trip ensued, delivering bread to the Contraviesa , up and down tracks to cortijos and hamlets before arriving back here to the village.  So he had a lift, a new experience, a chat and 3 fresh barras de Pan to take home.

Not quite the usual route but fun all the same, and when he sat down at home the sofa was covered in flour!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Happy St Patrick's day to all you fellow countrymen, have a great day, wet the shamrock (don't drown it!) fiddle dee dee and all that jazz.
Remember whatever you gave up for Lent, you can do today,  Stan thinks I made that one up, as if, huh?!

I loved St Paddy's day growing up, Mass and all the girls with a green satin ribbon in their hair, the Dublin Parade, and the New York Parade on television (always better than ours!)  For dinner what did you have? Corned beef and cabbage, Colcannon or Coddle?  I love curly Kale but never see it here, probably animal feed!

Here in Las Alpujarras they celebrate their Saints day with bigger gusto than Birthdays, luckily for me the Barman is called Patrick, we might just celebrate with him tonight ....
Albuñol a nearby town towards the coast has it's day today, the Church is San Patricio, and the rock of the man himself is just out to sea a few more kms down from there.

St Patrick himself drove the snakes out of Ireland, here's a ditty:
Oh, while a man may dream awake,
On gentle Irish ground,
'Tis Paradise without the snake -
That's easy to be found.
~Frederick Langbridge

Pity he didn't holiday in Spain.............. 

So whether you eat something green today, wear something green, or after the day's revelry feel a bit green(!), enjoy yourself, throw a tenner on a horse, wherever you are enjoy the day!

Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter
Lullabies, dreams, and love ever after.
Poems and songs with pipes and drums
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes.
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A taste of home

Now as you should all be aware by now I am the No1 fan of integration in an adoptive country, and I can think of very few things more irritating than that obnoxious tribe the Expat.....(common spotted Expat - Markings: include GB registered car, found in isolated habitat, unfamiliar with surroundings, Cry: loud, high pitched, Bockadildo con kayso).

  The thought of afternoon beers discussing Blighty both frightens and disgusts me, and I will have nothing to do with Guiris that refuse to get on and learn Spanish and mix.  To be completely honest I feel a certain sadness for them as their collective world must be absolutely tiny, socially and mentally.

Spleen vented.

Having said all that, sometimes you need a cup of Ty Phoo, and that means an hour long round trip to the nearest town of Cádiar here in Las Alpujarras. Not the prettiest town, but an evil necessity!   Should you happen to visit, walking the GR7 or just passing through on holidays, drop in to Pagamenos which is situated on the main road approaching town.  You'll find all those brands including teabags that you miss from home, at great value prices, a selection of gifts and (bilingual!) books, together with an excellent café on site.  Robin and Di are always friendly, always accommodating, nothing is too much trouble.  They speak Spanish too!  In face they're a prime example of how a foreign business should be run in Spain.
Also on site is Ali,  the best vet in the region, another reason to visit.  Click the shop name to visit the website, and call in soon. It's a pleasure to recommend nice people!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Food and Friends

A welcome to Catherine and Lucy, latest followers, Lucy appeared on the Vanessa show last week, and looked great! Just a quick post again, as I have an action packed day today between Spanish class, local magazine, a school meeting and a school market garden, also today is Carnival for the kids and I have a cowgirl to dress, furiously sticking gold quality street wrappers on sheriff badge as I type, there's multitasking for you!

 I keep getting requests for all the recipes in one place, so have started to lead them and will add more weekly or bi weekly onto a separate page over at and shall also add a tapas shop for all you Spanish food lovers outside of Spain.  This will link to an ebay shop too....when I get 5 mins to spare!
I've had a fair bit of interest from other Tweeters too, so any recipes you want to add will be welcome, the emphasis is on fresh seasonal food in abundance, therefore economy drive motivated too!

So I shall plough on with today, let's hope the rain stays mainly on the plain for today, and roll on wine o'clock, bit of boring housework to drudge on with first....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Bienvenido to Thomasina, Kitty, Sylvia and La Alpujarra my latest followers, enjoy reading, and comment whenever you want, I love feedback, also follow me on Twitter if you're not already doing! , and the Facebook badge is on the right.

My Pure Indulgence

Yes it arrived again this week, that little cardboard box of delights from My Pure, more products for me to review for you. Bliss. This month I had ordered and received a bottle of A'Kin Mandarin Shampoo a big pump dispenser of 500ml, designated for the whole family as this edition specifies as suitable for all hair types.  At 18.49GBP I consider this more than I would ever spend on a family shampoo, but to be honest the pump dispenser ekes it out and a little goes a long way.  The product itself is clear, smells of citrus and heady spice aromas, containing pure oil from Mandarin and Australian orange, almost edible!
I normally don't follow the shampoo twice regime, but had to in this case as the first did not lather, but after the second rinse I felt my hair to be thoroughly cleansed without harshness, my bleached abused barnet totally shone after styling and it even brought the colour out in brighter tones. A1 from me.  Stan tried it too, he has fairly oily hair, and has been working hard in a dusty environment, he felt it dried his hair slightly, a good thing.

The second product in the box of tricks was Argan oil detangler really this one for guinea pig wild haired Issey, aged 12, whose early morning pre school screams attempting to comb her hair into a semblance of order give me a headache. She sprayed after towel drying her locks and hey presto, she has been transformed into Human Child, also this seemed to transform her morning personality so not just a conditioner, more of a miracle......Buy It Now!!!  At 5.49 for a 125ml of pump spray you're worth it....also Argan Oil from Morocco is my must have smell of the moment........

So there you are for another month, take 5mins with your coffee this morning and have a gander at the site over at the folk there are helpful, the packaging as the goods are environmentally friendly, and the products are Purely Great!  Happy browsing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Where has.... blue sky gone?  Today dawned grey and rainy, I didn' t order that!
News that Spanish Airports may strike for Easter, continuing the grey and dismal note, I hope not considering the economy here virtually relies on tourism, that would be disastrous...lets cross our fingers.

Ash Wednesday today, and the start of Lent. What will you give up or do differently, if anything?
As kids it was sweets, and a big stack of "No thanks I'm off those for Lent but I'll take one anyway" sweets would await for Easter an adult it' s a good excuse to stay off the demon drink, of course being Irish the day of exception is St Patricks on the 17th March, just got to wet that shamrock...!

So yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake day, not celebrated hereabouts so Isobel took the opportunity of inviting half a dozen or so mates for Pancakes at was fun, especially as they're mostly from the " kitchens are not for kids" type of family, I let them throw and toss the pancakes round the kitchen and they all had a great time, I took the precaution of paper plates so lessening the workload for me!
They ate the entire sugar bowl so I then threw them out on the street to play afterwards, the joy of a safe quiet Alpujarran village!

Let's hope the rain stops, as do talks of striking, and the sun puts it hat on soon!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Coming in from the cold...

Last night sitting with Stan doing a little networking, fire on, cold beer, relaxing.....the sudden snowstorm knocked out the electricity. No matter, the candles added to the relaxed atmosphere, you could hear a pin drop.

Suddenly, Issey burst in the door, a 12 yr old snowperson with a red nose and no volume control.  Apparently the neighbours and their 2 kids were freezing (only having electric heaters) can they come over please?  Of couse we answered, I pulled out a few more glasses and poured another couple of beers. 
What about M? -another neighbour-Issey again. What about him? He' s freezing too, can he come? Of course, I went back to retrieve another glass, in he came with his brother.....and girlfriend.  Quite a crowd plus the kids at this stage. I went to make some tapas whilst everyone pulled off boots and layers and settled in front of the fire.
 Knock Knock Hola?? The family of 5 from down the road bearing beer wine and snacks, explaining how cold their house was, and yes we know, come in....well we saw the smoke and thought....yes yes more glasses............
The night grew warmer, at least our sitting room, we sat and chatted and sang and told stories....after a couple of hours another this stage I just shouted Sube (climb up) in came the panadero and another friend......more singing, I played the spoons.... (I had no idea I could play the spoons!!)
Finally they went home around the witching hour, Stan went with them and I have no idea when he rolled in around 4 I think.....he went for a snowball fight...!

It may as well have been 200 or 300 years ago when this same little Arab styled flat roofed house saw the same scene, wonder if these walls really have ears?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dia de Andalucia

..was on Monday, so another long weekend and another 2 days off school for the they ever go to school here?!  Holiday weekends and fiesta days are always celebrated with gusto here, and lots of  'outsiders' decamp from other parts of the world to party here in our little  normally tranquil paradise.  We decided to have some neighbours in on Sunday night, and with the local elections coming up in May we thought it would be a good night to chew the political fat as well as some Tocino.  (The latter is a really gross lump of pig fat with rind which you eat raw only when totally inebriated)
We had a nice night, everyone brought something (we ended up with 3 tortillas)  including rabbit, a Murtas speciality, and the usual suspects such as Russian salad, stuffed eggs, morcilla (another bit of Porky, a bit like black pudding but chewier) and an array of chorizo salchicon and lomo.  Not really an ideal night out for a Veggie then.....Jesus brought his wine, it' s delicious this year, with a depth of fruit and very soft, and a kick like a Murtas mule.

Anyway, here' s the Russian salad for you....

Boil and mash a couple of fluffy potatoes, mashed hard boiled eggs, add a dollop of Mayonnaise,flaked tuna, and chopped olives and capers.  Mix it all together with salt and black pepper, and shape it into something resembling an Armadillo, add whole olives and capers to decorate, and don' t under any account serve it to Stan, he hates it with a vengeance....