Thursday, February 28, 2019

Penon De Ifach, Calpe

Calpe is a busy town about 25 minutes drive away, pretty streets lined with orange trees and numerous little shops, in the summer months it is usually extremely busy.  With its fishing port and market and numerous restaurants where their menus are predominately fish based with a huge diversity of freshly caught crustaceans, squid, octopus and fish, it is a very pleasant place to visit. 

The Penon De Ifach is a huge 332m calcareous rock, attached to the mainland by a spit, certainly a land mark, history dictates that the sides of the rock were inhabited in the Middle ages and before. The rock once served as a landmark for mariners, it was then used as a watch tower to  observe pirates and invaders, but with increasing attacks from the sea, the inhabitants were forced to retreat into the village of Calpe.
In 1872 it became privately owned, then in 1987, it was declared a nature reserve. The rock is home to a diverse colony of flora and fauna and with as many as 60 species of birds residing there, its a busy place. Lizards, snakes, rabbits, and even hedgehogs share this extraordinary place with the many visitors and climbers that are brave enough to climb its heights.

Even Daniel and Rebecca climbed it several years ago, using a sort of designated route with tunnels and a path, but did confess to it being a pretty scary experience. 

Surrounded by the beautiful blue Mediterranean, it is a lovely place to sit, listening to the waves as they glide in and out, seemingly tickling and gently moving the sands, watching the fish as they flick and dart, hunting for food, a place to just sit and be, immersed in the tranquility, a great place to be as one and meditate.

Ok, I digress, my friend Jo, visited a few days ago and took these stunning photos, which she has kindly let me share with you, all taken at the foot of the rock. 

I did say they were stunning, she is an excellent photographer

take care


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Roses and olives

Lovely Sunday afternoon spent with our friends having lunch at Maria´s
good company, nice food, good venue.
Certainly didn´t need any evening meal!

I did manage 8 rows of the knitting pattern in the morning but that was it on the crafting for the day

Our dear friend Jo presented us with a lovely present, very kind and thoughtful
and so very apt, did bring a tear to my eye

We have been wanting to buy some roses in memory of our beautiful Rose, so we took a trip to the garden centre today and bought a couple, not such a huge selection but I wanted more of a compact tea rose rather than an open one so the blooms would survive the winds we get here at times.

Just need planting in the rose bed now.

Whilst there I picked up some lovely fragrant, trailing petunias for a hanging basket, cilantro, strawberry plants and a geranium

They also had quite a selection of Olive trees, not that we want or need any as we have quite a lot of self seeded ones already, but I couldn´t believe the price of them
This one was 435.00 euros
and this one was 1432.00 (odd price) oh my word, so expensive

I know they are probably hundreds of years old already and when treated right will live for many more, but certainly outside my price bracket.
It takes 4-5 kg of olives to produce 1 litre of oil and most trees can produce 15-20 kilos or 4-5 litres of oil.
Picking the olives is not easy taking place between November and March and those that have already fallen to the ground are collected in baskets, as although they can be pressed they are considered to be inferior and cannot be designated as Extra Virgin quality.
Nets are spread under the trees, we usually see this about the end of October. so it can be shaken and beaten, usually by hand using stick or poles to dislodge the fruit, although some farmers use a vibrating machine instead.
The nets full of good olives are collected up and emptied into a trailer, then after separating from leaves and debris, they are ground to form a paste, whisked to develop the flavour and heated to a max temperature of 89F, this is still considered to be cold pressed.
Once the paste has been separated from the liquid and the water taken out all that is left is the olive oil.
In our area we have some cooperatives where each land owner can take along their olives for pressing and leave with their own oil.
No wonder Extra Virgin olive oil is expensive, but worth it for the pleasure of excellent oil.
Something to think about when you pick up your bottle of liquid gold!

take care

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Tiddly bits

We had friends and their visitors round on Thursday evening for a wine and kareoke session. I made some roasted spicy chickpeas, which disappeared so fast I don´t think they were in the bowl more than 5 minutes. I also tend to do little roasties with garlic granules and rosemary in olive oil with a curry mayo dip. A finger food that everyone seems to love and helps soak up any indulgence on the vino front. Lovely company and a lot of singing fun.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, reaching 24 in the Naya, it was rather a bad day for me with the fibro, it seems to be taking me a long time to to recoup after the UK trip. Anyway I spent most of the day up there actually doing some hand sewing which I haven´t done for ages. 
There is something satisfying in transforming  little pieces of fabric that is destined for the bin into something useful, although I confess they don´t go in the bin, but into the scrap box.

Coasters, just need to put their backs on now

During our stay at MIL´s I spotted her bag of yarn and pattern, she obviously hadn´t started her project since we were there last time. I could see why when I checked the pattern, she had asked for something to knit that was pretty and easy as she hadn´t knitted for years, this is what she was given.

Very pretty, yes, easy absolutely not, the lacy effect being produced with so many through back of loops, slip stitches yarn over and k2tg that it even made my eyes cross. There was no way she would tackle something so complicated even with her new glasses. It´s such a shame that at 89 when she wanted to have another go she was rather let down. 
So me in my wisdom suggested that I take the project and knit it for her
famous last words
I started it 3 times, can only seem to knit it when all is quiet and full attention  is given, but I have got this far

Then of course they pattern calls for increasing stitches but states to keep it in pattern
New learning curve for me this, I think I am getting there, but am a bit worried about the decreasing, how on earth to you keep the pattern.
So all you expert knitters out there, any ideas, thoughts or suggestions?

I just had to take this of Tammy, here she is crammed into my serviette box which is about 6" square, ruining the serviettes of course, but by the look in her eyes makes you wonder if she had sampled the vino behind her. 

Poor thing, she has been suffering with her teeth lately and Friday saw her at the vets having all but the front ones out. She was so wobbly and spaced out on her return, but she went straight to the food bowl and once the gums harden she will be fine. Simba was the same and he eats the hard biscuits with ease. 

Enjoy what is left of the weekend
take care

Monday, February 18, 2019

Blossom and baking

The almond blossom came out in full whilst we were away, always stunning
Now though it has been replaced by the leaves

Rebecca found a recipe on line for chocolate chip cookies, which she made and they were delicious and certainly didn´t last long.
Inspired by her, I made some too, but as chocolate chips are difficult to come by here and expensive when you do, I used block chocolate and just chopped it up, some bits were a little larger, but that just made them even nicer in my opinion as they melted and turned gooey. We both cut the sugar by half and I had to cut the chocolate by 30g and used what I had, still came out yummy.

There were several bread crusts left over so I used these to make a bread pudding, but added a little more spice

I treated myself to a browse in the newagents whilst away and bought a couple of  card/paper magazines. One was quite expensive, but it did come with a book of decoupage pages and loads of different coloured pages, along with sheets of stamps. With lots of ideas to encourage you and also very useful web pages to explore in the end I think it was worth it.

This one was half the price, but still had templates and stamps, enough to explore and play for a while

When we returned on Thursday evening I was in time to place my grocery order online, in fact I could have got it delivered Friday, but decided Saturday would do. It´s great to order all the water and heavy goods without having to shop for it and then lug it back and the guys are so accommodating. So I think it´s turkey curry tonight

take care

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Home again, home again

Home again, home again
We have just returned from a weeks stay in the UK, brrr it was chilly but at least we didn´t have very much rain and of course there is the central heating.
We had booked this trip way back in November and managed to get flights for a very good rate

It was nice that Chris accompanied me this time, as we were staying at MIL´s in Woking we headed to Gatwick. The first couple of days were spent helping Mum sort out various areas that had become over loaded again and I spent several hours sorting out a huge pile of clothes by her bed, no where for them to go so I put them into relevant piles, but at least she could see what she had. Mum does like to be coordinated, even down to her watches and loves clothes, only trouble is she buys more without letting go of some of the older ones. I also found 11 handbags buried amongst it all so added these to her collection. I don´t think I even have half that amount of bags. I do tend to keep all sorts in my bag and really can´t be asked to keep swapping bags, anyway I treated myself to a lovely Desigual bag last year and it goes with practically everything.

One of the reasons for the trip was to surprise Chris´s brother on his 60th birthday
The meal was held at Bartons Mill in Old Basing, a beautiful 17th century mill, still with its mill workings and in a very pleasant setting. We met up with Rebecca and Antoni there which was lovely and had a very enjoyable evening.

The other reason we had booked so early was because the Sunday was supposed to have been Rebecca´s baby shower, which obviously didn´t happen, but we spent several hours chatting and showing Mum their new house, before Chris took his Mum back as I was staying with Rebecca until Wednesday evening.
Chris was busy searching for old photographs ready for a compilation for Mum´s 90th birthday, oh my word, the good old 70´s!

This was Chris back in 1974, I´m glad his taste in clothes has changed for the better lol

He also found the family projector and films going back for years, including clips of both of us in 1971 when we were very young teenagers, playing piggy in the middle with his Mum. Nostalgia or what!

It was so lovely to spend time together, chatting and catching up and collecting real hugs instead of virtual ones and as she had taken holiday we spent all our time together.
There were a couple of prearranged appointments which were extremely emotional, draining and challenging but I was so thankful that I was able to be there to support them both and give Rebecca hugs and cuddles. 

Chris and Antoni went off to see the Reading football match on the Wednesday evening, which they thoroughly enjoyed, even more as they won.
Then all too soon it was all over, having to say our goodbyes with lots of hugs, then just one more before driving back to stay with Mum that night as our airport taxi was quite early.

The return flight was late, not that it mattered really but Chris did have a window seat and took some rather spectacular shots, especially over the Pyrenees, at least the flight was smooth unlike the outward journey which was extremely bumpy.

We had a welcoming committee from the furries who curled around our legs purring loudly, but then I saw their food bowls were empty, so maybe that had something to do with it lol

It was lovely to see everyone and certainly to be with Rebecca and I miss her terribly, but there is something about going home, to your own space, comfortable around your own things, knowing where everything is, in a safe environment that you have created and can relax in.
Now I can tick the days off before Rebecca is out for a week to see us in March, as she says she is coming home aww.

Hope you all enjoy your weekend what ever you do
take care

Sunday, February 3, 2019


Firstly, sorry about all the únknown´ status appearing, it seems my new phone settings have taken over my previous ones, which I think I have sorted out now??!

Rebecca was informed that she had holiday days left over which must be taken before 1st April or lose them, so it looks like a trip over is planned for a week in late March, Yeah, can´t wait

Chris bought a new guitar several months ago, an electric one this time, a Gibson Firebird,
yeah I know, doesn´t mean much to me either, except he loves it and it does sound brilliant.

It was this that I think inspired him to make some, but in 1/12 scale
Being crafters, I´m sure we all keep all manner of items just in case because one time they will come into their own, guilty? I certainly am
In this case it was some extremely fine gauge wire that I used to use back in my days of running the family electronics business. This wire was used to make ultra fine, precision, strain gauges (wire wound coils) in fact they were used in the new London bridge.´(We are talking many years ago for this item)
Once he had  cut, sanded, ánd prepared, came the moment of ´do you have any wire?
followed by, ´wow, where did you get this?
Headpins with a tiny blob of paint acted as tuning pegs, a lot of fiddle value (but 1/12 scale can be)

This prompted a visit to Gata de Gorgos where we have an acoustic specialist Spanish guitar manufactuer. It is a family business with about 3 generations all working on the guitars, everything is hand crafted and it is a months worth of work in each guitar.  He thoroughly enjoyed his visit but unfortunately didn´t take any photos. 

Enjoy whats left of the weekend
take care